For me the Ruhr area in Germany has always been the symbol of environmental disaster. So when Gisela from the integral group in Dortmund invited me to come and see how the area has changed, I really got excited.
We have been around in the area and seen how the landscape has been shaped by the coal mining during the last centuries and how it’s now reshaped for our time. The spoil tips turned into parks with sculptures and view towers on top and the industry grounds turned into lakes.
Sitting on the top of a spoil tip, looking out over the green landscape we contemplated all the effort the previous generations have put into building the society we benefit from today. Gisela’s father was an engineer in the coal mining industry and they had big disagreements. I’ve been active in the environmental movement since my early teens.
We both sat there and felt into the energy of modernity; of building big industries, to harvest the resources from nature in order to make life better for humanity. We felt the power and beauty in that impulse and we felt gratitude for all their hard work. Work that we benefit from so very much today.
Today we can see the downsides of coal mining, heavy industry and not thinking about nature. They couldn’t then, they had other priorities.