Search engine Ecosia offers to buy ancient German forest to save it from destruction

Ecosia, the world’s largest not-for-profit search engine, has stepped in with an unsolicited €1 million offer to buy and save the last remaining stretch of the Hambach Forest in Germany.

It follows weeks of strong tension between the German police and forest activists regarding the Hambach Forest.

The Berlin-based tech startup put in an offer to buy the remaining 200 hectares of an ancient German forest in order to save it from being destroyed for coal surface mining.

Ecosia typically uses ad revenue to plant trees in deforested areas around the world. It has planted close to 40 million trees in 19 planting sites globally to date.

Ecosia approached the energy firm RWE, which started mining in 1978, with an offer of €1m (£877,000) to secure the final stretch of the 12,000-year-old Hambach forest in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Ecosia’s CEO, Christian Kroll, said: “A profit focused, coal mining company should not be able to own one of Germany’s most ancient forests. And whether or not the court decides in favour of RWE or this millenium old biotope, this issue still remains. We are offering one million euros to RWE to take the fate of this 12,000 year old forest out of limbo land. With their ability to mine for lignite under the remaining stretch of the forest in question, we ask RWE to consider this offer.”

Activists have been living in treehouses within the forest for six years, and over the last few months thousands of demonstrators have journeyed to the forest to protest the planned October cutdown.

The remaining part of the Hambach Forest is just 10% of its original footprint. Some of the trees are more than 350 years old and the forest is still home to 13 endangered species.

Ecosia’s aim is to save and promote the Hambach Forest’s biodiversity for future generations, making sure the public has continued access to the ancient woodland.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea

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