The logging season has just started in Germany and forests are under siege. The largest is the Dannenroder forest. In two nearby forests, the Herren forest and the Maulbacher forest, people in treehouses have already been evicted, their houses destroyed and trees have been cut with a brutality that can barely be described. The chainsaws come nearer to the Danni day by day.
The Danni is becoming a symbol for what is being destroyed by insisting on expanding an old, obsolete transport system that is driving us full speed ahead into the climate crisis. Building more freeways is a double whammy. It means destroying forests and other natural areas that actually help us fight global heating and making space for more cars which adds to greenhouse gas and other pollution. We need a new vision for transport, one that cares for the environment and is accessible for all.
Cutting through a forest for a new highway in times of climate crisis and mass extinction, building it through a forest home to trees that are over 200 years old and many endangered species – not to mention on top of an essential water reserve for the region – is enraging and reveals the hypocrisy of the German government’s green pledges.
For years people have been fighting against this project.
They fought legal battles, started petitions and lobbied politicians, but the government still wants to go ahead. Business as usual on a highway to climate hell and ecological destruction.
But, “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.”
People rose up and started to build tree houses in the forest in the pathway of the planned highway. From a handful of activists with a small number of tree houses, the occupation has quickly grown, and entire tree house villages were built into the forest.
This is not only resistance to protect a singular forest or stop one highway. These forest protectors also fight for climate justice and lived resistance against the system that destroys our lives.
Police have moved in and are taking action to make sure trees can be cut and the road built. But this won’t happen without a fight. Hundreds of people are mobilising to defend the forest.
Will you be one of them?
See you in the forest.
Marion Tiemann is transport campaigner at Greenpeace Germany.