Immerath, Kuckum, Keyenberg, Lutzerath are in the process of being destroyed by RWE and joining a list of over 24 villages and towns erased as if they never existed just for the Gartzweiler mine with over 50 more having been demolished in the region. The local villagers are not consulted or included on any of the resettlement committees that are constantly filled by the outsiders, their schools are not rebuild in the new locations forcing the parents to transport their children to neighboring towns.
RWE also does not allow residents to negotiate what residents get paid for their destroyed homes using the justification that it has a small and limited pool of financial resources for resettlement. It has to be this way for the company that can get away with causing so much damage already globally with its largest carbon emission in Europe, all this disruption and destruction is only possible by bending and wrapping the whole political and governmental structure around its interests: Hence the whole process of resettlement is done under RWE supervision on RWE’s terms and with the police assisting if need to, otherwise with their private security companies taking over law enforcement in the area. There is numerous disturbing class and socio-economic biases at work here: the older residents are usually given much smaller homes to resettle in than their original homes with the justification that their to be destroyed homes were old and not valuable and that they will not need the new residences for long, with many of those same residents being severely depressed and stating that they hope to die before their homes and towns vanish. All are forced to hire their own architectural experts to assess the price of their homes and if they can not afford one RWE will assign one for them with the common knowledge that they will offer much lower estimate. In either case RWE does not even honor their own estimates and gives even lower prices anyway. The company that is the biggest energy conglomerate in Europe defends itself by stating that financially they are not doing well and only have a limited sum from which to pay for the properties. This is intentional strategy, with many coal companies going bankrupt due to lower costs of renewable energy, yet still operating with budgets of billions, increasing the top corporate salaries and moving and hiding large portion of their profits among their subsidiary companies to avoid massive post mining assessment and clean-up costs and preparing to for the risk of being held liable and responsible for the massive “external” costs of rising water levels and of climate chaos. The tobacco industry was facing the same health and quality of life if not environmental liabilities in the 80’s and 90’s with hiring the same corporate damage control PR firms now getting paid by fossil fuel industry to deny climate change and Fossil Fools Corporate responsibility for its effects. The demolition seen to make way for Gartzweiler mine is a good mirror on the global scale of how destructive and deadly coal is and how it will continue to destroy, repress and poisoning the planet unless it is met with wide and diversified opposition.
Many locals are overwhelmed by the sheer scale of this catastrophe unfolding and consuming their homes and their whole surroundings with RWE not just maintaining security with its oppressive and often violent security companies but also with workers who have been known to peek into backyards of people who are taking a bit longer to move with statements such as “Those are our diggers that you can hear, can you hear them, they are getting closer.” Corporate psycho-culture with politicians and main-stream media staying away from the area, when large actions such as KlimaCamp of Ende Gelände are not happening. Leaving the community with the feeling of abandonment. With some pro-RWE residents even suppressing others who are more outspoken by constantly removing the Yellow X/crosses inspired by the railroad crossing/stopping crosses of anti-nuclear movement that have been constantly placed and removed entrances to the doomed towns and villages. It would not be surprising if low and non-negotiable prices offered by RWE without any outside supervision might not add to the atmosphere of snitch-culture in which people are co-opted by this climate killing giant(with limited funds) into thinking that they will get better offers for their properties if they become co-opted into the process, collaborate and repress others.
It is surreal to pass through the parks, stand on the ponds and go through wooded areas that will shortly not exist with the ground itself on which you stand about to vanish. Lignite requires moving of 5 tons of earth for each ton of coal and that is only in the Garzweiler mine in Hambach with the coal being deeper down its 20 to 50 tons of earth for a single ton of earth.
The whole region besides unique habitats and eco-systems like Hambacher Forest is full of historic and archeological sites, from prehistoric to Roman and medieval periods. Yet studies are only conducted on about 5% of the sites with over 95% being irreversibly lost. Lost like the water gone from the local water aquifer pumped by pumping stations all around Garzweiler with the local creeks no longer having spring fed natural flow and being instead fed by the water that RWE pumps back into them and in some case even pumps out at the other end to make it appear as if all is normal. Giving rise to surreal situations in which locals call RWE if there is no water in the stream to turn it back “on” again. But that is only in the towns like Keyenberg and Kuckum that still have a high percent of residents left. As the mine gets closer the landscape turns dismal with piles of rubble and bulldozer scarred empty “fields” that locals often compare to ruins of Aleppo.
The massive disillusionment of the local could be addressed by many anti-coal groups regionally and globally reaching to those who are truly on a front-line of ecological destruction especially since many of the local groups have a very specific and clearly defined focus and very often have a hard time connecting and often or are even intentionally divided from other local citizen, grass-roots and NIMBY(not in my back yard initiatives) this is where more radical like autonomous, EndeGeleande and Hambacher Forest activists become like messengers and go betweens that can sometimes carry a message between those groups. This is also realized by RWE and authorities who are determined to continue and deepen the climate crisis and use it as justification of removing already limited limits of their powers. Those climate criminals(not to give actual criminals a bad name) try to alienate the local population and even the local citizen initiatives by constant campaign of Green-Scare propaganda against the Climate and Forest Eco-Theorists. So please do all is in your individual power to connect with, spread the message, and become active about what is happening in Immerath, Kuckum, Keyenberg, Lutzerath Hambi, Zad, Rojava and countless places that are attacked and destroyed first as the whole Planet and its countless species continue to pay even a greater price.