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Ecohumanism without borders: RePlanet Conference 2023

Updated: Jun 3, 2023

And a visit to the coal mine that engulfed a village.

The RePlanet network held its 2023 International Conference on 27-28th May in Düsseldorf, Germany. I was privileged to attend on behalf of RePlanet Australia. This gathering of global RePlanet representatives includes annual reports delivered at the General Assembly, valuable workshops, and inspiring talks.

Welcome to the fold

I am delighted to report that at the meeting, RePlanet Australia was accepted as a formal member of the global RePlanet network. This gives us a vote at the next General Assembly alongside the other member organisations.

Left to right: Andrea Leong introduces RePlanet Australia to conference attendees; Professor Germán Orizaola's uplifting presentation on rewilding in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (an updated version of this talk); a group workshop activity.

The end of a town

During my short stay in Germany, I had the chance to visit a massive open pit coal mine near the now-empty farming village of Lützerath. Residents of Lützerath were evicted to make way for German multinational energy giant RWE's plans to expand the mine. This destruction for extraction of the lignite beneath people's homes is a terrible sight to see, especially in the context of the German government's decision to close nuclear power plants early.

Thousands of protesters (including Greta Thunberg) clashed with police earlier this year over the expansion of the mine — some protesters had occupied the town since 2022. These scenes highlight the desperation of climate activists who are putting their bodies on the line to protest increasing carbon emissions and inadequate investment in clean energy.

RePlanet Australia supports the right to non-violent protest.

Watch this video on Facebook or Twitter.

RWE operates some renewable and nuclear energy assets as well as some of the largest coal-fired power stations in Europe. In 2018, RWE was the largest producer of carbon dioxide emissions in Europe. The lookout over this coal mining operation is a grotesque tourist attraction, an extreme exercise in greenwashing.

These uplifting and confronting experiences were invaluable and invigorating. Sign up today and join in the work to protect our environment and promote prosperity for people everywhere!


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