Yellow Cross - Climate Protest in Lützerath


Climate activists have been occupying the site in Lützerath, Germany since 2020, as the energy company RWE plans to expand the neighboring open-cast lignite mine and excavate Lützerath for it. Local residents have moved away years ago, but the activists want to stay and oppose RWE. They argue that if the coal under Lützerath is dredged, Germany will not achieve its set climate targets.

RWE and German Economy and Climate Protection Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) have reached a compromise to end lignite mining in North Rhine-Westphalia as early as 2030, while still allowing coal mining under Lützerath.

Mining was scheduled to begin on January 11, 2023, but faced strong resistance. Activists entrenched themselves in tree houses and erected barricades. After three days of eviction, the resistance culminated in a demonstration with more than 20,000 participants. Attempts to storm Lützerath were violently stopped by the police. Frustration among climate activists is high, and further actions have been planned.

For my work, I photographed the site before, during, and after the eviction, with some of the selection taken during assignments for ZEIT online and Chrismon.