Coal is just dead dinosaurs – 20th July

So my Uncle used to say. I’m not so sure of the science behind that, but this dinosaur is very much alive! Its arms flail around scaring small children under the guidance of cyclists and campers until it reaches the centre of the village. It’s stomache opens up and regurgitates a hosts of black biodegradable balloons with messages tied to them praying for the village to be spared. They drift off into the distance as local Sorbian counter-polka animates us into dancing the traditional Sorbian circle dances we have just been taught. It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon, and we are making the best of the weather to demonstrate against the plans to turn the area into a lignite mining hotspot.

It has been a busy morning of preparations, meeting another biketour leaving for the North to explore issues around energy and giving a presentation of the Zone A Defendre – a struggle in France against an airport. Locals have successfully stopped the airport from being built for the moment at least by occupying the 5000 hectars of land due to be turned into concrete following a Climate Camp four years ago. We watch two films about the struggle, which has met with police confrontations, battles and barricades in which some biketour members, past and present have participated. ‘Zines’ are passed around explaining the history and personal stories of those who have been involved in the campaign, with locals expressing their solidarity with a fight not so different from their own. A fight to simply live their lives on the land left to them by their forbears.

Flyers float around the camp advertising another occupation in Mannheim planned in the near future – an area where 40,000 residents face losing their homes to Lignite mining. It’s amazing to see the dots joined together between these disparate yet connected struggles. Dinner has just been announced, and it’s time to grab a plate before the Reclaim Power biketour give a presentation of their tour which will pass by various political hotspots of the summer – the War Starts Here camp against an urban warfare training unit in Wendland, an anti-nuclear camp in Munster, and the European Reclaim the Fields camp in Mannheim. I’m not missing that! Now where’s my spoon?

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