Received on 16.02.18:
This is an invitation from the Limousin Mountain to all potential accomplices who oppose the industrial offensive currently taking place under the veil of an ‘ecological transition’.
To our dear Friends in struggle in Khimky, in Bure, in Iceland, in Notre Dame des Landes, in Białowieża, in Durham, in the the Cevennes Mountains, in the Mi’kmaq Territory, in Amazonia, the woods of Charnie, in Cambo, in Salau, in the Susa valley, in Dompierre, in Roşia Montană, in Standing Rock, in Gueret, in Atenco, on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, in Chalkidiki, in Saint Victor, at the Lake Baikal, in Wallmapu (Mapuche-Territory), in Guayana, in Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche, in Pyhäjoki, on the dunes of Trégor, in İstanbul, in Landivisiau, at the Hambacher Forst, in the Woods of Chambaran, at the Makwa Camp (Ojibwe Territories), in Loc Envel, in the K’iche Territory, on the shores of Kafue, in the Wendland, in the Niger Delta, in the Gran Chaco, in Merléac, in Norra Kärr Vättern, in the gardens of Lentillères, in the Treburer Woods, in Jabiluka (Mirarr Territory) – and everywhere people counter the industrial madness…
We write to you from the mountains of Limousin, somewhere in central France. Our region is being threatened with the construction of a torrefied biomass plant. This large-scale industrial project is being planned in the small rural towns of Bugeat and Viam, in the Corrèze region, an area that is a natural refuge with valleys, moors and forests.
The development plans are being lead by a venture capitalist*1 who stumbled upon a great opportunity to make a quick buck when he made friends with the president of the Corrèze city council*2, who is known for his ties with the agro-industrial lobbies. Despite numerous concerns and well-argued opposition to the plan, the public inquiry has announced its support for the project. This makes it clear that they intend to carry out their plans of development by force. Thus we have entered a new phase of our struggle and the time has come to call for your support.
The goal of this project is to introduce a new torrefaction method that was developed in the US. The product produced will be marketable as ‘renewable energy’ and it will be burned in French coal plants. In short, this is an obvious attempt at a ‘green washing’ campaign that seeks to save the same energy devouring system that has pushed us to the brink of collapse. The magnitude of the project and the astronomical quantities of raw plant material that it would transform into charcoal (including the roots of the felled trees) would quickly make a desert of our fragile mountain soils.
In recent decades, these soils have already suffered from the industrial exploitation of resinous wood plantations. Heavy machinery, systematic clear-cutting, rootstock removal, pesticides and heavy rains have all taken a huge toll on our environment. It is undeniable that this process of exploiting our natural resources is disastrous. The pellet plant would serve as a bonus for this suicidal logic.
The development of ‘biomass’ energy seeks to put the forest as a whole to work. This voracious beast is on the verge of attacking the plateau’s beautiful hardwood forests as well. These mixed forests regrew on the land in an unregulated manner after they were abandoned during the rural exodus. These lands are now being targeted by developers who want to control, calculate and profit from these wild regions.
For us, the struggle is about more than mere resource management or the preservation of our particular lifestyle. This is a fight to affirm a different way of relating to the world. We humans are but a small fraction of that world. Like many of you, we have decided to turn our back on our species’ frenetic race towards its own destruction. This fatal destiny of mankind is not ours. We choose to live as earthlings amongst a diversity of earthlings, and to defend that which makes life possible. It’s on behalf of nature itself and its violent impulses to defend itself (which we have only seen a small portion of) that we have made the decision to hinder anyone seeking to add to the general pillage.
The various struggles that you all have lead all over the globe in recent years have been a great inspiration for us. Today we would like to contribute to a necessary effort of coordinating on at least a European scale. There is much to share and to learn about facing off against these projects. Even though each project seems different, they are all expressions of the same old extractivist logic. A logic that tries so conceal itself by hiding behind the moral alibi of an ‘ecological transition.’ Let’s share our analysis, our stories, techniques and strategies, many of which were successful.
We invite you to come and visit us, to lend a hand if the need arises, or to express your support in any way possible. Whether it’s today, tomorrow, or in the weeks and months to come, we hope you will fight alongside us during this decisive and time and help us bury this project once and for all.
A big thank you to all. We hope to see you soon
Friends of the Limousin Forest
*1 M. Gaudriot CEO of the enterprises CARBON’ ENGINEER BUGEAT-VIAM and SOMIVAL
*2 M. Coste, president of the Conseil Général de la Corrèze.