A DIFFERENT LOOK
Documentaries about people and their worlds
Generation forest occupiers -
In the tree house against the climat crisis
A film by Tatjana Mischke und Karin de Miguel Wessendorf
A production for HR
TV premiere: 2nd of february 2020, 7:40 pm, ARTE
7th of february 2021, 6:30 pm, HR
18th of february 2021, 21:45 pm, HR
The film is available in the ARTE-Mediathek from 2nd of February.
For the expansion of the A49 highway the Dannenröder Forest is planned to be deforested. Climate activists from all over Europe are occupying the forest to prevent the forest clearance. They are supported by locals and citizens' initiatives who have been fighting against the highway extension for decades. When thousands of police arrive in November 2020 to evict the forest occupation, the conflict begins to escalate.
For decades, the supporters and the opponents of the A49 highway expansion have been arguing bitterly. The highway is supposed to provide a better connection between Kassel and Gießen and is endorsed by the regional economy. The first plans were already prepared 40 years ago. For almost as long, climat activists and residents have been protesting against the construction of the highway. This is because 27 hectares of old, intact mixed forest have to be cleared and a water conservation area built over for the traffic route.
For more than one year, over 300 young climate activists have been occupying the Dannenröder Forest. They camp in tree house villages and tent camps to resist the deforestation machinery. They not only want to protect the forest. They also demand a traffic concept that is compatible with the climate goals of Paris. Joschik, 25, used to study politics. Now she lives in a tree house she built up herself at a height of 20 metres. She stays here in summer and winter. Joschik knows that she is breaking laws. But for the fight to achieve the climate goals, she is also ready to go to prison.
Barbara Schlemmer lives in the neighbouring town of Homberg (Ohm). The former teacher is the representative of the protest alliance against the construction of the A49 highway. Together with many other local residents, she supports the forest occupiers and organises a protest walk through the Dannenröder Forest every Sunday.
The conflict escalates with the start of the deforestation work in November 2020. 2000 police officers from all over Germany are sent to evict the protest camps. Violent confrontations, arrests and people being injured follow.
The non-violent resistance at high altitudes created special challenges for the police, as reported by the police operations section chief. The officers were able to bring down more than 100 activists from the treetops. There have been accidents with life-threatening injuries. Immediately after the evacuation, the tree-cutting machines arrive and start destroying the forest.
Joschik is one of the last to stay up in her tree house.
Re: has been accompanying the forest occupiers and their supporters, but also the police and parliamentary observers during the four weeks of eviction
Commissioning Editor: Sabine Mieder (HR)
Camera: Frank Kranstedt, Jennifer Günther, Dieter Stürmer, Roland Possler
Editor: Dirk Hergenhahn