Dark Matter - The sky over Garzweiler
The Rhineland lignite mining area in Western Germany is shaped by large surface mines, providing lignite for the nearby power plants. Mining has great impacts on landscape, agriculture and the people in the region. Many villages have been destroyed, their inhabitants relocated into new settlements several kilometers away from their former homes. Citizens´groups and environmental associations protest the ecological devastation and the relocation, while local politicians fear job losses in the course of the german energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.
According to the energy companies, the pits are planned to be functional until 2045. In 2019, a german government commission decided to end lignite mining by 2038. Environmental associations demand an end to fossil energy production by 2030 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This leads to uncertainties about the future of the region concerning jobs and the relocation program.