Once a village, Garzweiler is now Europe’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter. Lignite, the most polluting and least calorific coal in the world, is mined over an area of 50 square kilometres and at a depth of 400 metres. Garzweiler has disappeared, along with 12 other villages in the region. Every year, the living and the dead are moved to make way for the mining industry. Places of worship, cemeteries and meeting places are evacuated, destroyed and, in some cases, rebuilt a few kilometres away. Since the 1980s, Garzweiler has been expanding, and in total nearly 8,000 people have been forcibly or voluntarily relocated.
Every year, activists from several countries gather to protest against Germany’s energy policy. They get together to block a mine for a few hours. In 2016, 4,500 of them held up all of Vattenfall’s facilities in Lusatia for several days. Lucas Castel was able to follow the Belgian branch of the « Ende Gelande » action. From the first meetings to the action itself.