Biosphere Reserve or Coal Basin? Civic Debate on the Future of Polesie
civic activity
City (headquarters):
Voivodeship (headquarters):
Lublin Research Group, Lublin, Poland
01-10-2021 - 13-05-2023
Project cost:
64 950,00 EUR
64 950,00 EUR
Types of activities:
social actions and campaigns, activities to activate local communities (animation), environmental protection activities, advocacy activities, actions to reduce social polarization, dialogue despite differences
Target groups:
activists / community leaders, decision makers, local government, society

The Polish part of Polesie is part of the UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve “Western Polesie” and is an area with unique natural values, particularly in terms of water retention and water resources. This area is also part of the Lublin Coal Basin, and planned mining developments pose a significant risk to the environment and water resources. We wanted this threat to be recognized and considered by residents and investors.

We organized a debate on the development of mining in Polesie, inviting representatives from various groups of residents in the region. During the debate, we addressed topics related to climate, nature conservation, water resources, and a just transition for coal regions. The debate consisted of an educational part with the participation of experts and stakeholders (businesses, local authorities, nature conservation institutions, naturalists) and the collaborative development of recommendations for the future of coal mining in Polesie. A total of 26 demands were formulated, addressed to various decision-makers. We published a report that expanded on the debate’s conclusions. We reached out to individuals involved in promoting sustainable development in the planned Polesie Coal Basin and networked them to support development paths more effectively for the region that do not threaten its nature.

Together, we conceived and implemented the “Poleska Caravan” campaign, preceded by a press conference in Lublin. The main part of the campaign was a four-day bicycle ride during which we engaged with people we encountered about the project and the region. In municipal towns, at the Urszulin market, and near the Bogdanka mine, we conducted 10 actions with live broadcasts, banners, and leaflets. We also organized a concert titled “Songs for the Marshes,” dedicated to the protection of the Polesie nature, in the Poleski National Park parking area.
Our project partner was the Lublin Research Group, which has extensive experience in community engagement and social research. They facilitated the debate as a neutral entity, ensuring transparency and credibility in the process.

We succeeded in subjecting the topic of mining development to a multifaceted discussion. Thanks to the Polesie Debate, we managed to bring this issue to the local community and public institutions. It is a significant success for us that so many people engaged in a collective conversation about the region’s development.

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