Halt Razing of Town for Coal Mine

Garzweiler strip mine

Target: President Joachim Gauck

Goal: Halt the razing of German town and the development of a coal mine

Germany is making plans to raze the village of Atterwasch, where a Swedish energy company will relocate the villagers and build a new strip mine for brown coal. While small, the village has a church, cemetery, and forest, all of which will be destroyed for cheap energy. Germany has made a commitment to clean and renewable energy, so this is development of a new mine is perplexing and frustrating – especially for the villagers who will have to be relocated.

It’s estimated that billions of tons of brown coal lie in the region of Lausitz, which Atterwasch calls home. If the entire region becomes a strip mine, it will destroy the region’s picturesque landscape of tall pine forests, farm fields, and rural villages. Unfortunately, in the last century the region has been scarred with strip mine operations that span dozens of square miles. These strip mines were used during World War II, when communists depended on the cheap brown coal to power their cities and factories. Pollution was rampant, and proved to be an obstacle for democracy activists. Now these factories lay dormant and unused, making locals believe that this practice has been forgotten.

However, brown coal is making a devastating comeback, even after Germany made an impressive commitment to clean energy. The nation promised that by 2050, the nation would be running on 80% renewable energy. But the strip mine is posed to open between 2030 and 2070. Germany is still the largest producer of brown coal, and a new lignite boom means that mining operations could continue. And since the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Germany has committed to closing their nuclear plants by 2020, leaving a massive hole in the country’s energy supply that renewable energy can’t fill.

Burning more coal should not be Germany’s solution. The consequences of burning more coal and ruining the environment should make Germany question whether this move is an intelligent one. The villagers of Atterwasch should not be relocated, nor should their homes be razed. Help halt this action by signing this petition.


Dear President Joachim Gauck,

I am writing this letter to demand that your country halt the razing of Atterwasch to make room for a strip mine. Your country has made a huge commitment to renewable energy, a promise that you should keep. However, with plans to raze this village, I and many other environmentalists are doubting your country’s commitment.

The villagers of Atterwasch shouldn’t have their homes lost to a strip mine, just like other rural villagers shouldn’t lose their homes to the same cause. It is not right to uproot 900 people just so the country can pollute the planet. There is no justification for any country to do this, and I implore Germany to find more innovative means to provide clean renewable energy.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Ekem via Wikimedia

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181 Signatures

  • Amy Wilson
  • Alice Rim
  • Julia Amsler
  • joan walker
  • sheila childs
  • James Thrailkill
  • Holly Hall
  • Mal Gaff
  • Rebecca Williams
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