Once upon a time …
… there was a forest. What’s left of it today is called the “Hambacher Forest”.
(Please notice: By the help of this fairy tale I want to achieve that violence has an end. No more criminal actions shall be commited, neither by humans, nor by goblins. Good ideas will spread without committing offenses – I mean: only without them. We have freedom of speech and many civil rights which enable us to create a social discussion. Let’s make use of them. I do this with the following story.)
It began to grow in the heart of Europe after the glacier that had covered the continent for more than 100,000 years had withdrawn itself. At that time, 12,000 years ago, the forest in Central Europe was still alone. Really alone? No, there were living many beings in it. They were there before the first humans arrived.
In Southern Europe people began to live as farmers and founded villages. They cut down trees in order to clear the ground for agriculture and kept animals. They built wooden houses and created common rules.
On the territory of today’s Germany the first human habitants settled down about 6,000 years ago. In the beginning they perforized the green tree cover for their huts, the fields and pastures. Later on they connected their settlements by roads. Some villages grew together and became towns. The forests retired and formed green islands and dots.
One of these forests is still existing.
As a legend tells us St. Arnold of Arnoldsweiler had once bestowed the land to the surrounding communities, because they were very poor. The villagers parted the forest in 28 pieces and administrated them.
At the beginning of the 20th century the forest habitants had to move closer together because five of the forests were cut down by the villagers.
In the year 1978, not even 40 years ago, the communities sold the entire territory for a large amount of money. At that time, it was called “Hambacher Forst”, a home of a beautiful variety of old trees, seldom animals and plants.
The buyer was “RWE”, a big company and producer of electricity.
The company digged up the land with excavator towers which nearly were 100 metres high. They were as tall as 58 people standing on each other’s shoulders.
Every excavator had a long iron arm with a huge impeller at its end which was almost half as huge als the excavator tower itself.
The impellers were like circular saw blades. They unceasingly sawed open the ground and abraded it.
The abraded soil was flammable brown coal. It was transported to huge power plant furnaces and burnt there.
The electricity which was produced by that, was sold to cities, towns and villages. It illuminated light bulbs and drove devices and machines. This was very profitable for the energy company.
By means of this electricity the people could heat their homes, drive electric devices and invent other devices which facilitated their lives and gave them comfort.
Some of the villagers didn’t like the thought that the energy company would cut down their forest and abrade the soil with the roots. Because in the end there was said to emerge a huge hole which would be several houndreds of metres deep and many kilometers wide.
Some of the villages were to vanish as well.
But the forest was to be cut down bit by bit over a long period of time and the villages were to be emptied later on. And so most of them didn’t think about the future.
Standing on the edge of the Hambacher Forest you could see the large poisonous clouds of dirty vapour that emerged from the power station chimney stacks. The energy company was digging a huge hole and abraded the brown coal. The hole was growing.
Where the soil once was moved away, now extended a bleak area with brown heaps, puddles and mud where no grass was growing, no bird was singing and no tree existed.
Every autumn when the leaves are colorful and golden at the trees’ twigs, the forest inhabitants, such as the squirrels, the bats, the dormouses, the foxes and the woodpeckers, got startled.
They heard motor vehicles and the roar of huge cutting machines which could harvest an entire tree at once and tear it away. They observed workers who put piercingly sounding chainsaws on smaller trees and the branches.
Tree by tree fell down with a loud crunch that made their neighbour trees’ tops shiver and were carried away. Many a forest resident had to hang on or dissapear rapidly. The trees were carried away with their roots. The soil where they had grown since thousands of years was now bare, black and devastated.
The huge excavator tower abraded the soil with its saw blade impeller and removed it. The ground dissapeared without having said “Goodbye.”
Thirteen times the Hambacher Forest was invaded and cut down by the workers and their machines. A quarter of the wood was gone. The forest habitants had retired under the remaining trees.
Then it came to that people in a distant city who were part of an authority with little influence, wrote down what all the humans in Europe were to do.
They created a list of all the animals and plants which had become rare. The people in Europe were supposed to protect all the places where these animals and plants lived.
The document was called “FFH directive”. “FFH” is the abbreviation of flora-fauna-habitat which means “livelihood for plants and animals”. At that time many of those seldom animals whose families were named on the list lived in the Hambacher Forest. For this, the forest was to be protected. But the people did not abide by this rule in that case. They believed that the authority’s words were just a recommendation.
They allowed the energy company to cut down the forest and carry away the soil during further 25 years. The permission was called “Second frame workplan 1996 – 2020”. It was given three years after the “FFH directive” had been written.
There were people who’d rather protect the forest.
But they were told that humans cannot speak for animals and plants.
Further 12 years passed and the energy company kept on cutting down the trees and carrying the ground away. Only the half of the forest was remaining.
In the meantime a little known court of justice in a distant city beyond the German border had decided that alle the people living in Europe had to comply with the directives of the little known authority.
It meant that all the seldom animals and plants whose families were named on the list were really to be protected by the human beings.
The court decided furthermore that humans were allowed to speak for animals and plants, because the latter cannot speak for themselves.
Since then even more people wanted to protect the forest. But they were still not enough.
The most of the people who lived in the surroundings of the forest and the brown coal towers kept on deciding in favor of cutting down the trees and abrading the ground. Some say that some of them were paid for it by the energy group.
But in fact they just wanted to keep up their habits.
They didn’t believe that their houses could be heated in another way and that their devices and machines could be driven by electricity which is produced in another way.
They didn’t want their lives to change because they were scared to change something.
They didn’t believe that they could change something without disappointing other people.
They didn’t believe in themselves.
During further 8 years the energy group destroyed the forest bit by bit. Not even a quarter of it was left.
The most of the animals were gone. They had raised only few childs in the small rest of the wood.
And those forest inhabitants felt like being left alone now.
Among the people who lived in the surroundings of the Hambacher Forest and the huge hole of the open-cast mine and among those who had heard about it a change happened. There were now more of them who considered the trees more important than the brown coal.
The poisonous vapour that emerged from the power station chimney stacks contained very much carbon dioxide.
This is a gas that made the earth heat up so that at many places on earth no more rain was falling and no more plants were growing so that the people there had nothing more to eat. It caused as well many bad weathers and storms which were destroying houses and fields.
Many people said: “It cannot be correct to cut down trees and burn brown coal because this contributes to worse live conditions all over the world.”
One morning in spring a group of people entered the Hambacher Forest with little tractors and pick-up trucks. They brought many wooden boards, tools, saws, hammers and nails.
They chose trees with wide tops and started to build within them. First they created the floors then they added the walls and the roofs. Among the trees, several metres above the ground you could see tree houses now. The squirrels and the mouses, the foxes and the hamsters looked interested at the people who were determined to live in the forest. The human forest habitants didn’t cut down any tree and removed no shrub.
The humans rotated. Every week there were new ones. Some of them said “Goodbye.”, some of them stayed. They talked and were happy, sharing their food and being visited and being given useful things by others.
In the evening they sat around a small campfire. They told each other who they were and where they came from and that the Hambacher Forest was important for everyone. Some told about their sorrows, others about their hopes and they discussed about our future on planet earth.
And since that they weren’t only observed curiously by the forest habitants. The forest was listening.
When the autumn came anyone believed that they would manage to save forest and the tree houses from the chain saws, the huge harvesters and the excavator tower. But they hoped in vain.
The workers of the energy group returned as every year and with them came hundreds of policemen and security guards. The tree inhabitants had to leave their houses. The piece of forest where the people had settled down was destroyed and abraded. The police arrested some of them and accused them of having resisted.
Now the forest habitants believed that their home would be lost. The people who had intended to help them had been driven out, beaten and even been arrested.
But in the next spring the people returned. They called themselves “activists” and “tree occupiers”. On a meadow beside the Hambacher Forest they established a little village and celebrated life there. They put wooden floors in other beautiful tree tops and constructed new tree houses.
Every autumn the workers of the energy group came with policemen and safety guards and destroyed the houses and cut down more trees.
The activists didn’t give up. They also returned and rebuilt the tree houses.
Everytime when the policemen and the workers came to cut trees down and to wipe them out, even more of the occupiers were there.
They tied themselves to the trees and to the machines so that the destruction would be slowed down.
All over Germany and even in other countries people heard about it.
And strange things happened:
One of the big tree harvesters which had been brought into the forest the day before was found damaged in the morning. Chainsaws didn’t work anymore. Trucks’ engines couldn’t be started. The police and the energy company tried to seek out the damagers but they didn’ t make it. They suspected the tree house habitants and so they sent more and more staff, more vehicles, floodlights and even helicopters. They wanted to break the resistance which they supposed to come from the forest.
But they were wrong. The most of the ones living in the tree houses were peaceful.
Sometimes, sitting around the camp fire in the evenings the activists discussed and tried to find out whom had become aggressive and why. They also stated that this is dangerous and kind of a mistake. At those moments it occurred that one or another went furious and started to grumble about the police and the energy company’s safety guards. But everytime when that happened the grumbling one suddenly had to scratch his ear or to sneeze so that he couldn’t take part in the conversation.
Who had sabotaged the machines?
Why did the electrical boxes in the big hole area where the excavator towers abraded the earth and sent the brown coal to the power stations burn one day? Who had cut the electric lines so that the brown coal conveyor tracks were out of function for a long period of time? And why was one of the power stations so broken once that it could be driven only with 20 per cent of its capacity?
Well … guess it is time to say the truth.
There are many more things in an age-old forest than can be seen by a human’s eye.
There are habitants in it who are supposed to exist only by children or those who have never stopped being a child although the hair is white, the skin is wrinkled and the back is bowed by the years.
These are the goblins.
Being very timid they have awaited until now and before appearing in this story they have read attentively what is written here.
The goblins want to live in peace in actual fact and don’t want to interfere in human beings’ businesses.
Besides of that they are small and more likely to kid around than to struggle.
Sometimes when they are making jokes and telling stories to each other they have to laugh so much that one by one falls off its seat and in the end they all roll about on the ground.
The humans seem to be superiour to them because they are much taller and because they change the whole area around. Goblins don’t do that.
Goblins live in the forest but they don’t modify it.
They live of mushrooms and berries and drink morning dew and spring water.
They avoid eating meat because if they would do so their arms would get short, their backs would get humps and there would grow some warts with hairs on them in their faces. Their voices would get low-pitched and they would lose the ability to sing.
One of the most important professions among the goblins is the eye-doctor. The reason is that the goblins’ eyes are especially big and round. They want their eyes to stay clear and shiny and therefore they are asking continously for herbal tinctures.
Goblins normally are keeping themselves busy with collecting the food, raising their children and spending time together.
Now and then a goblin unshackles a butterfly whom he found trapped in a spider web or he constructs a little musical instrument.
Goblins reach adulthood at the age of 35. Then they are allowed to marry. Some of them – the elder ones – say that it needs to get 50 to become really mature. It’s no wonder that they are thinking so, because goblins can become 600 years old.
When the workers of the energy group RWE began to cut down the Hambacher Forest with their huge machines the goblins did as they always had done when the humans push back nature:
And so they did every year – bit by bit.
This was making them sad.
But already their parents and their grandparents had told them that they couldn’t do anything about the humans. The humans wouldn’t listen to them. You can only see a goblin when he or she is making himself or herself visible and if you believe in it.
Humans don’t believe in goblins.
Only few goblins were left of those who had once lived in the forest when something new happened: Humans settled down among the trees, in tree top houses.
The goblins saw and understood gradually, that the activists wanted to protect the forest and that they kept on returning to it.
That’s when they felt something they had never felt before when they were thinking of humans:
And so they decided to help their new friends. Being invisible they could play jokes on the policemen. The goblins could immobilize the huge machines which were destroying the forest and they could cut the electricity lines which were providing energy to the excavator tower. They didn’t have a bad conscience over it. It was their home which they defended – and the home of the activists
The destruction of the forest hadn’t been stopped yet, but it had been slowed down.
The elder goblins said that it was not necessary to sabotage the machines and that the younger goblins shouldn’t have done so … but the younger ones didn’t mind this advice.
They felt like partisans and almost they made the humans who lived around the forest stop their support for nature protection: Because where there is violence, you don’t approach.
Fortunately the peaceful character of the tree occupation was strong enough. The atmosphere in the forest among the activists was so harmonic and unwarlike that many people became convinced.
The approval among the humans kept on growing and the old goblins, called the “whites” because they have white hair, gradually won through with their opinion.
During five years the forest habitants and their helpers stood side by side.
The goblins watched over the human forest occupiers when they were sitting around the campfire in the evening and if one of them started saying ugly words like “We should throw things on the policemen and the safety guards.” they tickled him on the ear, so that he had to scratch it. The reason for that was that once you have to scratch your ear, you’re not able to rant.
Many more people took notice that the Hambacher Forest was to die although brown coal is highly toxic when it’s burned and it’s not necessary for power supply.
But the people still were too afraid of getting out of their old habits and of changing something.
They just didn’t believe that they could manage it.
The court of justice which had to decide whether the humans were to protect the forest and its habitants allowed the further clearing and cutting to the energy group.
But the forest protectors didn’t put up with that. At the very same day they threw an envelope with a request into the postbox of a higher court of justice which was farer away than the first one and which had more say.
At this day something happened. Until today actually no-one can explain it:
Nobody knew why the humans in the higher court of justice decided that way. The court said, that a law that wants us to protect plants and animals really has to be respected.
In order to make such a decision it needs one thing:
It needs to be confident about the humans and that they will manage to change their habits and themselves and that they will overcome their fears. That they will work together and find solutions which will help everyone.
In other words: It needs more confidence than all the authorities and courts and the managers of the energy group had summoned up in the decades before.
How did it come to that?
Maybe one of the goblins had made himself (or herself?) invisible and sticked to the envelope which was sent to the higher court of justice.
Thus he or her maybe entered the judges’ room were they gave each other advice and discussed the case. And maybe two of the judges were having tea. Can it be that at that occasion he or she spilled two drops of liquid into each cup? A liquid which is normally taken by the goblins when they are blue?
It smells faintly like lavender. A tea drinker will only take notice of it when he is very attentive.
As mentioned before: No-one really knows.
Maybe the jugdes just realized: The strength of a law is more important than the supremacy of the powerful ones.
In the following year many things happened:
The higher court of justice applied the law and decided that it was not about the question how many trees were left. It said that it was about how the forest was and how many animals lived in it 25 years ago.
And because nobody knew how many rare species had existed at that former time and because this was the fault of the energy group who had cutted the forest every year and abraded the earth, the court decided in favor of the forest protectors, the animals and the plants.
And it detected, that everyone who supposes that the problems of planet earth cannot be solved should have a cup of tea first.
The Hambacher Forest or rather what was left of it was allowed to keep on existing and growing.
The energy group had to refill the ground and to plant trees which were formerly there.
And because the higher court of justice had proved so much confidence there were other people following this example, people who until that day had been discouraged and without self-confidence:
The politicians found out how it could be managed to supply energy to the humans without burning brown coal.
Then the politicians talked to the energy groups and pushed through that they disconnect the brown coal power stations and that they reorganzize their enterprises.
The energy groups had to supply renewable energy to the people. They made up a plan about how they would forego hard coal in the near future.
The energy group who had cut down the Hambacher Forest bit by bit over the years passed the land on those people who lived in the tree houses or wanted to live there.
Everyone was allowed to build a tree house there. But no tree was to be cut down and no shrub was to be removed.
The humans who wanted to live in the forest had to adapt themselves to nature and to the other forest inhabitants.
Because so many people had heard about the Hambacher Forest they had become aware of the fact that there are too few trees all over the world.
And so they began to plant trees by themselves.
Some of them extracted seedlings from the forest where they had not enough place to grow. They planted them in places where they would become tall.
Others of them raised tree seedlings on their balconies and in their gardens and donated them to people who knew where to plant them.
And because the people near the forest had become so confident and made even the big energy groups change the people in other countries became couraged as well.
They urged the big food groups to stop destroying the rainforests around the world.
Even the international food groups had to change because people were standing up all over the world. They showed attitude for the forests and their homelands.
And this is just the beginning … of the story how we saved the world …
To all those who think: “This is only a fairy tale”:
Every child knows that fairy tales are true.