Greta Thunberg Detained in Lützerath

Lukas Lehner

Opinions Editor

Climate Activist Greta Thunberg, creator of the Fridays for Future movement, was detained twice in Lützerath, Germany during a climate change related protest. She was first detained on the 15th of January and after being released was detained again on the 17th of January.

One of her tweets from January 13th reads: “We are currently in Lützerath, a German village threatened to be demolished for an expansion of a coal mine.” Thunberg joined a group of 35 thousand protestors outside a lignite coal mining site, where they managed to break through police barriers to enter the coal pit. More than 1000 police officers were detaining protestors under the grounds that the soil was loose from rainfall and the amount of people on the site could set it in motion and injure people. Of the people detained, Greta Thunberg was one of them as seen in the viral photo of her being carried by three police officers.

The Garzweiler coal mine in Lützerath has become an important area for climate-change-related protests for activists in the area because the coal mining plant could become one of the first major breakthroughs in stopping coal mining. Lignite, the type of coal being mined on the site, is one of the most polluting types of coal when burned, and protestors are calling for a transition from such energy sources to green renewables.

Activists argue that continuing to burn coal for energy will increase global warming to a point far past 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which would be a violation of the Paris Climate Agreement. Thunberg used the words: “We need to stop the current destruction of our planet and sacrificing people to benefit the short-term economic growth and corporate greed.”

  The mining site is an easy target for activists because it has been proven that the expansion of the coal mine is not necessary for the town of Lützerath or anywhere surrounding and that it is only being built for the profit of the RWE. The RWE are aiming to exit from coal use by 2030, claiming that they are making big steps towards the energy transition, however some are claiming that they are now trying to mine as much as they can before that year comes.

As of now, the RWE has not made any changes to their plans for expanding on the neighboring farmland, which includes four homes. Instead, they plan on building a 1.5-kilometer perimeter fence around the village including all buildings, streets, and sewer systems before everything is demolished.

Although the biggest protests are over in the area, groups that have already been in conflict with the RWE for years in that area will remain and have the goal of stopping the expansion project.

Greta Thunberg, now released from detention has moved on to continue her climate strike for her 233rd week in a row in her home country of Sweden.