A trio of environmental activists, who were instrumental in converting an 870-mile (1,400-km) long strip of land that once marked the border between West and East Germany into a wildlife refuge, won the German Environmental Prize on Sunday.
They conceived the “Green Belt” project in the 1970s, more than a decade before the collapse of the Iron Curtain. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier praised the project during Sunday’s awards ceremony in the northern German city of Braunschweig.
He called it a great post-Cold War story that capitalized on the unique environmental conditions in what had become a no-man’s land dubbed the “death strip.”
“The ‘Green Belt’ is now home to countless natural wonders that have been crowded out in other areas,” Steinmeier said.
The winners “called into life a European vision for the ‘Green Belt’ and a symbol for overcoming the Cold War,” the German Federal Environmental Foundation said in a statement.
Environmental activists and researchers …