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Politics | 17.04.2015

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Meet Europe's climate heroes

Fighting for forests

Mori and Mila are determined to save Hambacher Forst, an ancient forest in Germany, which is facing the chop. German power company RWE wants to expand the country's largest brown coal mine. To keep the diggers away, Mori and Mila have moved into treehouses. Some activists even regularly sneak into the open-pit coal mine where they lock themselves to mining excavators to stop operations.

Meet Europe's climate heroes

Fishing plastic out of Amsterdam's canals

Where others see trash, Marius Smit sees a valuable resource. Amsterdam's canals are littered with discarded plastic bottles - until Marius and his volunteers have passed by. They enjoy a drink, while casting their nets and pulling in a haul that Marius’s company "Plastic Whale" turns into boats. That way, the bottles make their way back onto the canals - but in a much more attractive form.

Meet Europe's climate heroes

Making people taste their waste

Luana Carretto believes we've lost touch with food and can't tell if something wrapped in plastic is still good to eat. As a result, we throw away perfectly edible food without a second thought. That's why she set up "Taste Before You Waste" in Amsterdam, delivering food otherwise headed for the trash to those in need. She hands out "waste" food to strangers and cooks up delicious community meals.

Meet Europe's climate heroes

Pioneering clean technologies

Guus van der Ven helped set up a green-tech playground, De Ceuvel. Built on an old shipyard in Amsterdam, the site was heavily polluted. Now it's being cleaned up using pollution-extracting plants and is home to a creative co-working space thriving on renewable energy and recycled materials. Even human waste is turned into fertilizer and used to grow food in the on-site greenhouse.

Meet Europe's climate heroes

Taking legal action

In 2009, 195 countries agreed to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Belgium was one of them - but Ignace Schops, director of an NGO that runs Belgium's national parks, says his government isn't taking the action needed to fulfill that promise. So together with a creative group, he is suing the Belgium parliament to cut CO2 emissions by 25 to 40 percent by 2020, and 87 percent by 2050.

Meet Europe's climate heroes

Banking on the power of the sun

Tobias Postulka is passionate about boats and passionate about protecting the planet. That's why he converted an old fishing boat into an eco dream, running solely on solar power. Even on cloudy days, the solar panels are more than up to the job. He’s now even inviting groups of tourists, friends and school kids aboard to educate them about the power of the sun - and to ship them across Berlin.

Meet Europe's climate heroes

Pedal powering through Berlin

Guido Borgers uses sheer physical strength to provide 100 percent carbon-neutral transportation around the German capital. Unlike many of his competitors on Berlin's bike rickshaw market, which have bikes powered by electric engines, Guido's vehicle relies solely on muscle power. More than just a taxi driver, he somehow finds the breath to give guided tours of the historic sights along the way.

Meet Europe's climate heroes

Selling nude food

With the average German producing 250 kilograms of waste every year, Milena Glimbovski found herself asking: "Why is all of this food I buy every day wrapped in so much plastic? Is that really necessary?" That's why she founded Berlin’s first package-free shop: "Original Unverpackt." It gives customers a more climate-friendly way to shop, with more than 400 products - minus the trash - on sale.

Meet Europe's climate heroes

Greening the festival scene

What used to be a coal mining region has become a green festival haven, where five colossal steel excavators provide a dramatic backdrop as up to 25,000 festival goers dance the night away. Thies Schröder, CEO of the festival site Ferropolis, is determined to host a climate-friendly party and pave the way to a greener festival future. 75 percent of Ferropolis’ energy comes directly from solar.

Meet Europe's climate heroes

Testing the energy future

Windtest Grevenbroich gives wind turbines a rigorous going over to gather the data manufacturers need to get the best performance out of these green power behemoths. Benjamin Böhme's job involves finding new locations where the turbines can reap their zero-carbon energy harvest. He says the German government needs to do more to reach its target of 80 percent renewable power.

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