Even if essentially correct, weather forecasts are much surpassed in seriousness by the weather phenomena of this year. The summer months – June, July and August – are defined as a period that is rather hot and less rainy, while the precipitations, when they come, are rapid showers. This general rule was negated this year. Fast and abundant rains, with more than 150 liters/sq.m., were often accompanied by hailstorms that transformed creeks into torrents which damaged roads, bridges, railways and many rural localities, market gardens, orchards and other agricultural crops. Counties like Arad, Bistrita-Nasaud, Cluj, Dambovita, Dolj, Harghita, Hunedoara, Prahova, Sibiu, Valcea suffered irreparable losses. This made the inhabitants whose homes were hit by disasters desperately seek the help of the government.
In May, agricultural crops were in a very good condition, amounting to possibly twice the quantities that will be harvested now. Floods, storms and especially the heavy hailstorms destroyed much of the crops of wheat and barley. This real or – sometimes exaggerated – cause produced most damage to the small farmers who belong to agricultural associations. On many occasions, they are paid money for the crop destroyed on their lands. But this financial support diminishes every year. When the wheat crop is rich, the managers of these associations “defend” themselves by saying that the abundant harvest led to smaller prices for wheat. And when the crop is affected by draught or other natural disasters, the higher prices of wheat are undermined by the frequently invoked “poor harvest”. So, not only under the pressure of climate changes, but also under that of the incorrect behavior of the so-called “managers” of agricultural associations, the small farmers – most of them of old age – are forced to sell their crop at ridiculously small prices.
This led to the reappearance in the Romanian economy of vast farms of hundreds of hectares registered on the name of one sole “strategic investor”, who often comes from Asia, Africa or Western Europe, where farmland is at least 10 times more expensive than what is paid today in Romania. The positive economic and social effects of the three reforms conducted over the last 150 years for distributing land to peasants largely disappeared today, not only because of climate changes, but especially through the appearance of farming properties similar to those from the feudal era. This resulted in poverty strangling Romania, under many aspects. The state aid distributed also in rural areas cannot supplant the absence of material resources. Today, more than 3 million peasant home steads have no participant in the productive activity and live from day to day only on social aid, especially on child benefits.
The salutary solution, also under the pressure of climate changes, mainly refers to the government’s policy that must take into consideration several fields of activity. It pertains to a retrospective and prospective vision, a synthesis factor that rescues the entire Romanian reality from the chasm of poverty, irresponsibility and selfishness. And the first step needed here is for the Romanian state to resume its traditional organic attributions and assume the role of essential factor, decisive for the whole economic and social policy. The means of defense against all the negative factors, be them natural or political, must be attributed to the national state. The organizational capacity of the state is decisive for the restoration of our day-to-day realities, affected by many organizational setbacks. One of the main means of defense of the Romanian state is to retake under its administration the entire forest fund. This is the source of most of the weather disasters we endure these years: the destruction of our forest fund through unlimited and irresponsible privatizations. This is the source of problems in agriculture and transportation, in many other activity sectors. Approximately one million hectares of forest were felled down in Romania because of the disaster that started two decades ago, which reached the record figure of 3 hectares illegally deforested every hour of the day and night.
In 1986, for instance, Romania had more than 6.5 million hectares of forest – a very large surface according to European standards. From this situation, which persisted until the ‘90s, Romania collapsed during the last two decades because of the savage deforestation that reached now 3 hectares an hour. As this robbery expanded, weather changes worsened, ravaging the country year after year. Romania is thus pushed toward an acute environmental and economic imbalance, because of the policies embraced by its successive governments. The hardest hit was dealt by the absurd law issued in the early ‘90s, which retroceded the forests to their former owners pre-1948. The rule of law was often invoked for these retrocessions. But the principles of the rule of law also requested that the more than 2 million hectares of forest that were returned to their former owners remain under the strict authority of forestry laws, so they can be exploited to the benefit of their owners, while also maintaining the environmental balance unchanged. As they were removed, also by political corruption, from under the authority of forest laws, these 2 million hectares remained open to robbery.
The politicians of Romania, many of whom became very affluent precisely because they were involved in the robbing of forests, often try to divert our attention from this unprecedented theft. They “reassure” us by saying that the “defensive” of forests happens at global scale today, not only in Romania. But they forget to say that this global cataclysm is explained precisely by the failure of great powers to keep their environmental promises, in contrast with the much-invoked attributes of international collaboration and complementarity of efforts. Instead, they purchase the commitments of smaller and less developed states to keep a slow pace of industrialization. But this slow rate of industrialization, with increasing unemployment, reversely stimulates the overuse of the forest potential. Which, in our country, takes the aspect of plain robbery that cancels the protection of mountains, hills, valleys and plains, favoring the catastrophic floods, storms and blizzards, while draught removes from the agricultural circuit thousands of hectares of farms, vineyards and orchards.