- Tesla is gearing up to clear acres of forest near Berlin, Germany for its fourth Gigafactory.
- But some Germans, who have seen their native forests threatened by droughts and fires in recent years, don’t want the factory in their native land.
- “I am not against Tesla,” one activist told Reuters on Jan. 22 at a protest. “But it’s about the site; in a forest area that is a protected wildlife zone. Is this necessary?”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories .
Tesla announced in Nov. the location of its fourth Gigafactory: a village of less than 9, 06 souls called Grunheide, some miles east of Berlin.
The automaker would need to clear (acres of forest for the factory, which will produce up to , 06 cars per year. The factory will employ as many as , people. Bloomberg reported that plans for the factory have already lured more investment into the village of Grunheide; Some developers have plied local leadership with plans for 24 – story apartment high-rises and massive malls. But locals are pushing back. On Jan. , a group of some 262 protesters gathered in Grunheide to make clear their distaste for Elon Musk’s plans.
“We are here, we are loud, because Tesla is stealing our water,” protesters chanted, according to a Reuters report .
The protests were sparked by a report from a water association representing Brandenberg, a German state with 2.5 million residents. That report indicated Tesla would require more than 500 cubic meters of water per hour – which would deplete local reserves.
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Others are concerned that the factory would contaminate local drinking water, reported Deutsche Welle . This inspired signs like “no factory in the forest” and “Tesla or drinking water.”
Tesla did not return Business Insider’s request for a statement.
“I am not against Tesla,” environmental activist Anne Bach told Reuters . “But it’s about the site; in a forest area that is a protected wildlife zone. Is this necessary?” Germans’ critique of the factory did not start on Jan. 22. Conversationalists have studied the potential risks of the factory since the site was announced in November. Friedhelm Schmitz-Jersch, the chairman of the Nature Conservation Association (NABU) in Brandenburg, previously told Business Insider Deutschland that the factory could threaten a species of bat. “We need to start mapping out which species need to be taken into account,” he said in an interview with Business Insider. A counterprotest also emerged – albeit a much smaller one. Around 68 People held banners with messages like “construct instead of frustrate” and “Elon, I want a car from you,” reported Deutsche Welle . A demonstrators holds pro-Tesla poster during an action to support plans by U.S. electric vehicle pioneer Tesla to build its first European factory and design center in Gruenheide. Reuters
Germans, on the whole, are more worried than Americans about the environment. A Pew survey revealed that % of Germans say climate change is a “major threat” to their country, compared to 71% of Americans and % of the average earthling.
And woodlands are a particular flashpoint for German environmentalists. A third of Germany is covered by forests – almost billions trees Covering a country half the size of Texas. And the country is investing seriously into fighting an upswing of droughts, storms, and fires that threatens those forests.
“In such an ecological system like the one here and with the background that climate is changing, I cannot understand why another location was not selected from the beginning, “Frank Gersdorf, whose group” Citizens’ Initiative Gruenheide against Gigafactory “organized the protest, told Reuters .
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