Last climber removed from the oak forest
While everywhere the motor saws were already roaring, the last climber – Ed- was taken out of the Sterrebos on Tuesday, February 8. With an extra high crane because both the aerial work platform and the police climbers could not reach him. This brought an end to an eventful day that began with the announcement by the Green Spore Wolf that after a million dollar deal with car manufacturer VDL, they had withdrawn their lawsuit against the logging of the Sterrebos. Immediately afterwards, a huge police force came to clear the forest.
Ella de Beuk: ‘We are very proud of the climbers who worked until the very last moment to save this special forest with a high ecological value. In the last months and weeks VDL has played everyone off against each other from its position of power: employees against activists and interest groups against environmental activists. In no time they turned the forest into a veritable fortress, assisted by the police, and bought off objectors (the riding school) or bribed them (the Green Ghost). If you have money, you can make anything, that is what they are used to at the billion dollar company. But not everything is for sale.’
We’ve held out for 12 days, some 25 activists have spent one or more nights in a tree, and around 45 people have been arrested. Dozens of people are directly involved in the organization of this action (media, kitchen, logistics, etc). And then there are many, many people who have supported us by donating stuff or money, helping with all kinds of tasks, coming to the demos, sending letters and emails or drawing attention to the action on social media. We are overwhelmed by all the support, from all corners of the country and especially from Limburg.
Arrests and violence
All arrested climbers were transferred to the police station in Maastricht and released after 6 hours. Earlier in the afternoon, police climbers assaulted an activist during the arrest. A video of this can be seen on Twitter. The police denied journalists, including NOS, access to the forest during the eviction.
Red Het Sterrebos rejects the compensation deal for the Sterrebos. Numerous ecologists insist that replacing an ecosystem that has remained relatively undisturbed for at least 200 years is not possible. This type of forest is increasingly rare in the Netherlands and can be found mainly in Limburg. The chance that later on it will be concluded that this forest felling was also legally incorrect is reasonably high. Just like the chance that VDL does not get its desired deal with Rivian – builder of electric SUVs – and the forest is cut down for nothing.
We have also won
Has the forest clearing been pointless? No, certainly not. Forests are under threat all over the Netherlands. And partly thanks to the Sterrebos, more and more people are prepared to fight tooth and nail against even more forest clearing. Every company, every project developer and other potential destroyer of nature has been warned: you cannot just cut down a forest. We have only come out of this stronger, with more people, better organized and trained. And we are ready for it. In times of climate crisis and biodiversity crisis, we need to expand nature. Is another forest under threat? We’re going to take the tree!