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#Wuppertal #Haan – #Gruiten #OsterholzBleibt: A forest walk with surprises

Germany: A forest walk against the deforestation of 5 hectares of the Osterholz forest with beautiful surprises. Things are heating-up on the city border of Wuppertal and Haan-Gruiten.

Originally published by Osterholz Bleibt. Translated by Enough 14.

The Osterholz forest is situated on the city border of Wuppertal and Haan-Gruiten. Oetelshofen would like to clear 5 hectares of forest this year. The operator of a limestone quarry has been using a salami tactic for decades, here a little is logged, there a little is logged and it is always about a small piece of forest. This time there are 5 hectares of forest for a spoil heap. A spoil heap is a trivializing word for a rubbish dump. There the unusable material which was extracted from the limestone pit is to be stored.

Today, Sunday June 30, 2019, a first walk through the forest was organized to protest against it. Although there was a village festival in Haan-Gruiten, about 70 people went into the forest. It was shown which part of the forest is to be deforested and which functions the forest has for the ecosystem. During the walk Till Iseke, assistant to the management, was also present and discussed with participants. He didn’t want to talk so much about the lime supplies to RWE’s lignite industry (Which is around Hambacher Forest, EIE). When he was told that these lime supplies are important for the lignite industry and that the companies Iseke and Oetelshofen are therefore jointly responsible for the greatest environmental destruction in NRW, he started to be evasive. “He sees it differently…” That didn’t really surprise anyone, Till Iseke quickly distracted from the topic and continued to try to convince people. But he succeeded only marginally.

A large part of the lime mined at the Osterholz lime quarry goes to Thyssen-Krupp, another large part to RWE’s lignite industry in the Rhineland region. The lime from Oetelshofen is used in desulphurisation plants in lignite-fired power stations. Lime is also used in combination with power plant ash in open pit lignite mining as an acid buffer. This is an attempt to stop the constant flow of pollutants into the subsoil from opencast mining. The BUND association writes: “In the end, these measures could only lead to a reduction of pyrite weathering by about four percent. This means that a relative minimization of the acidification of groundwater of a maximum of one third can be achieved, i.e. two thirds of the acidification potential remains”.

Shortly after the forest walk passed a piece of forest that had already been cleared a few years ago, a banner was suddenly hanging on the trees: “Forest instead of garbage – Osterholz stays”. It was the intro of what was to come. About 150 meters after the banner, an activist with another banner hung in the trees. This second banner said: “Soli greetings to Hambi – One Struggle One Fight – #OsterholzBleibt”. A bit further more activists were hanging in the trees: “As you call into the forest…”. The activists in the trees were greeted with applause by the participants of the forest walk.

Later we learned that before the forest walk an activist was taken into custody. But this person was released after some time. This may be due to the fact that climbing in trees is not forbidden, it is not even an offence.

We send solidarity greetings from the Wuppertal/Haaner Osterholz to all these lovely people in the Hambach Forest.

Next Sunday the second forest walk takes place. We meet at 13:00 (01:00pm) o’clock on the eastern parking area of Grube 7 (near crossing Hahnenfurther Weg – Habbach, there is a sign for the parking area Grube 7), Haan (Gruiten), Germany.

Meeting point: Route planner and map:

Bike route map (Open Street map):

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