When the Dome res(is)ted

by | 5. September 2018

Manheim, Germany | Hambach Forest, 18 August, 2018: On the occasion of the camp for [future] 2018, the Europe Dome is put together in the baking heat. Around 17.30 about 120 young activists are approaching the resistance acre of the BUND NRW via the steppe-like ground.
The NRW tour ends with another highlight: The European Public Sphere travels to the camp for [future] 2018. The camp for [future] took place from August 17 to 26 this year. It created an experimental space for young people who are interested in a variety of future topics, want to get to know exciting approaches to solutions and, together with a lot of fun, want to become active in climate protection themselves. Similar to the European Public Sphere, the camp enables the exchange and networking of participants from different backgrounds. It informs and motivates to become active for a sustainable society. Main topic: RWE’s lignite production in the Hambach Forest.

And the dome came dangerously close to the open-cast mine: For its first stop in the Hambach forest, it was erected on the BUND resistance acre about a 10-minute walk from the camp – the only property near the mine that RWE has so far been unable to buy up.

Video from the Dome Talks at camp for [future] on 18 and 23 August 2018
“I think that environment is in principle the most important issue of our time. All things that people fight for in this world need an environment. No matter what you stand up for, I think you have to stand up for the environment at the same time, otherwise you’re not consistent. And I think we should understand the issue as such.” Participant under the dome

And the acre made us all feel like part of a western. Surrounded by fields that resemble a dry steppe in the midday heat, not another soul as far as the eye can see and in the background the gigantic open-cast mine with its towering excavators. On the resistance acre itself the remains of a cross, which stood for the protest against lignite and became its victim. In the background its successor, another yellow cross with the inscription “Hambacher Forst bleibt!“. As a symbolic protection from RWE’s excavators, the acre is surrounded by a small earth wall – excavated with a rented vehicle. When looking around again and again root-like plants on the ground, which remind strongly of the whirling bushes from western films. Such a “steppe runner” then became the table decoration in the middle of the dome. Its construction is only interrupted by a few “sheriffs”, two policemen in their vehicle, who want to check if everything is in order.
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Then comes the invasion of the camp inhabitants. Already from a distance you can see the approaching crowd of 120 people. Equipped with flags, banners and calls for an environmentally friendly world without brown coal, they move across the fields towards the Europe Dome. Under the watchful eyes of those present, a drone rises up into the air and captures the spectacle in pictures. Probably startled by the sudden bustle on the field, the “sheriffs” of the area visit us again – this time with several vehicles as a precaution.

Upon arrival, the participants learn what the resistance acre is all about. Afterwards, everyone is invited to join the discussion group under the dome. And the Europe-Dome is well filled! Topic no. 1: Climate protection, of course. But democracy, co-determination and the various political decision-making levels are not neglected either. The day shows once more how young people from all over Europe are also keen to discuss and are not afraid to express their opinions.

At the end of the event, the tipi is dismantled for one night at dusk. A lonely “sheriff” visits us one last time and enthusiasticly asks about our project. Maybe another guest for the following Dome Talk?

And the Europe-Dome continues to be available to activists as a discussion space. The next day it is rebuilt in the camp itself. Between the bicycle workshop and the sleeping places it is open to everyone until the end of the camp for [future]. Finally, on Thursday it hosts another official dome talk, a kind of summary round. This time a smaller group intensively discussed – about climate protection, education, participation and the revolution.

We are curious what the next meeting with the young activists will produce.

Some impressions from our dome-event: