World Water Day - Living Lake 2024

Archives of Press Releases of Global Nature Fund

World Water Day - Living Lake 2024

A promise to the future: Lake Crivitz is "Living Lake of the Year 2024".

Out of sight, out of mind: after the end of the Second World War, weapons and war equipment were simply dumped in the lake. Only with the help of committed citizens can nature recover from the pollution. © Andreas Buhr
  • The Global Nature Fund and the Living Lakes Network Germany have named Lake Crivitz in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania "Living Lake of the Year 2024".
  • The award is presented on the occasion of World Water Day on March 22 and is a recognition of the work on the ground to restore the habitat.
  • The small lake is a living reminder of how drastic the consequences of war are for an ecosystem and its environment.
Radolfzell / Crivitz, 22.03.2024: The Global Nature Fund (GNF) and the Network Living Lakes Germany (NLSD) have named Lake Crivitz in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania "Living Lake of the Year 2024". The award will be presented on the occasion of World Water Day today, March 22, and is in recognition of the continuous efforts of committed citizens to restore the lake, which has been heavily polluted by war and sewage.
A piece of German history is hidden beneath the surface of Lake Crivitz: According to eyewitness accounts, weapons, explosive devices of all kinds, entire vehicles and even small tanks were dumped in the 37-hectare lake after the end of the Second World War - with devastating consequences for the ecosystem. The untreated wastewater from the GDR era made the situation worse. In 2015, the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Ministry of the Environment classified the lake, which is located in the west of the state, as polluted with nutrients and contaminants in an expert report.
Renaturation with citizen participation
However, despite the heavy impact, nature is slowly and painstakingly regaining its place at Lake Crivitz: greylag geese, great crested grebes and some duck species are once again at home here; a diverse world of insects and fish has developed. Citizens' initiatives have been campaigning for the renaturation of the lake for years, and the founding of the "ZU NEUEN UFERN" association is planned for this year. The association will unite the citizens' initiatives and take over the planning of the renaturation process and a socio-cultural development concept for the lake and the region, with active citizen participation and the involvement of various experts.

"The award as "Living Lake of the Year" by the Global Nature Fund is a promise to the future of Lake Crivitz. BUND is happy to be a partner in this network and contribute its experience in lake nature conservation," says Corinna Cwielag, Regional Director of the German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. BUND plans to set up its own group at Lake Crivitz in 2024, which will cooperate with the BUND group in Schwerin and benefit from their experience. "Lake Crivitz is a treasure for the city that needs committed friends," says Corinna Cwielag.
Environment as a silent victim of war
Lake Crivitz is just one of many ecosystems worldwide affected by war. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) studied the environmental impact of over 20 wars and conflicts between 1999 and 2009 - from Kosovo to Afghanistan, Sudan and the Gaza Strip. The UNEP found that armed conflicts cause considerable long-term damage to the environment and communities that depend on natural resources.

The small lakeside town of Crivitz is now a member of the global organization "Mayors for Peace", which has almost eight thousand member cities in 164 countries and is particularly committed to nuclear disarmament. Every year on August 6, the peace bell rings at the lake - in memory of the atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the horrors of the Second World War. In the context of current conflict situations and the new challenges associated with them, Lake Crivitz also becomes a memorial for people and at the same time a symbol of a strong community and what it can achieve.

Find out more about the Living Lakes Network Germany
Contact us
Global Nature Fund
Katja Weickmann
Project Manager Nature Conservation
Hackescher Markt 4
10178 Berlin
Phone: + 49 30 2400 867 341

Contact information of the campaign partners
BUND Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
Corinna Cwielag
Regional Managing Director
Phone: +49 385 521 339 12 / 0178 5654700

Katja Feist
Phone: 0163 7596011