The Post-apocalyptic Utopias Working group is looking for ways out of crisis situations to develop opportunities that set the course for a sustainable, stable future. A simple example: The one below is the Schleenhain opencast lignite mine. Since the end of the 1940s, cultural landscapes have been cleared on a large scale for lignite mining. What remains is a barren landscape. Most political and economic initiatives are dedicated to transforming these barren landscapes into lakes and local recreation paradises. But is this really a sustainable solution? Water is a dark area on land. It reflects the sun’s rays less and thus leads to global warming and a warming of the environment.
Mike Jessat, director of the Natural History Museum in Altenburg, has been working for many years with the remaining holes from open-cast mines in Central Germany and knows: “The biodiversity of the sandy areas in open-cast mines gives the species back their habitat, which we have already lost elsewhere. These are, for example, the floodplains of unstraightened rivers, which often only came under the pressure of landscape changes at the end of the 19th century.
Before the straightening of the river, the rivers meandered; in the Elster floodplain, for example, the 1930s. Here, rivers created particularly young vegetation areas such as sand deposits, which only allowed vegetation to grow for a short time. During the next spring flood, these alluvial sand areas were removed again and distributed elsewhere. These sandy areas were rich in insect species that only felt at home on sand here and which disappeared from our landscapes with the disappearance of the river meanders. These now return to the disused open-cast mining areas.
In addition, open pit areas are bright and reflect sunlight to a high degree, which prevents the atmosphere from heating up. The Groitzscher Dreieck, for example, which was closed down in 1990, still has a large number of light-coloured sandy areas which are still uncovered 30 years after the closure of the open-cast mine and are home to a variety of rare animal and plant species.