The forest – the Romanian’s brother?

Despite all behavioural exigencies, Romania’s politicians – both in power and from the opposition – cannot surpass their condition of prisoners of the present. They propagate a “carpe diem” (catch the moment!) that is degrading through the “simple” fact that it cancels any perspective, any predictive capacity without which political action cannot be conceived. And then the media warn them about this peril, they not only deny it, but emphatically affirm that their concentration on the present moment proves their “patriotic” realism. This emphatic behaviour is the source of many day-to-day dramas. Only when the blizzard stops the traffic on public roads, our political rulers speak about the necessity of protective patches of forest. Only when floods ravage the land they accuse the deforestation of mountains. Only when draught scorches the crops they remember the need to restore the irrigation system, which they destroyed with their double irresponsibility.

Why double irresponsibility? Because they change their concrete opinions and attitudes each day, as the wind blows. The same politicians, who when roads are covered by snow, speak about protective patches of forest, do a 180 degree turn and in the summer, when they go to the mountain or seaside, accuse these very protective forests. Why? Because speed freaks risk losing control of their vehicles and hitting trees with their expensive cars. ‘Should we sacrifice human lives for the sake of protective forests?’ pathetically wonder our honourable politicians, who live in the present until losing their personality. And such reversals of opinions are also encountered at Romanian politicians in relation to the irrigations system and to the preservation of our forested fund, unique in Europe until 30 years ago, and also unique today, but as a disaster.
As the disaster that hit the Romanian forested area – through massive illegal cuts – worries even the EU, whose climate benefits from our forests, Romanian rulers once again radically change their opinion and “join” Europe’s worries. But, of course, only in words. Because, on one hand they “observe” the demands of the EU and conceive a new Forest Code that will protect the forest, while on the other, after many backstage discussions over this code, they simply ignore it and gradually modify their parliamentary agenda so that to bury the draft new Forest Code. Nobody knows if it was put on debate, or if it has chances to be adopted at some time in the future. Why it is unknown? Because – among others – many of our elects are directly involved, as beneficiaries, in the decentralisation and privatisation of Romanian forests. Whose abusive and illegal exploitation, without precedent in Europe, lead to the export of raw, unprocessed wood to the benefit of some neighbour states like Hungary, which transform this import of cheap raw wood into export of expensive furniture. This is how much of the traditional Romanian forest is exploited and sold of such manner that it ceases being Romanian.
In the climate of the antinational and antisocial libertinage of the last decades, Romanian forests are considered assets that belong to nobody and can be robbed without restriction. If, at global scale, a surface equal to that of Romania is deforested every year, this percentage of forest destruction is higher in our country. In the 8th decade of last century, forests were covering 24.6 pc of the country’s territory, while today the figure is lower than 20 pc. In the same period, Romania had 0.30 hectares of forest per capita, twice as much as Germany and 10 times bigger than in England. Today, after criminal deforestation, Romania tends to align to Europe in a field where it admits it has committed serious environmental, climatological, energy and economic errors in the past. In our country, such errors are amplified by the fact that the massive deforestation is not even a support for the local industry of furniture, paper or other products. Raw wood is illegally exported at a derisory price.
How the theft of this national wealth was – and still – is possible? The harshest blow was dealt by the absurd law passed in the early ‘90s for the retrocession of forested areas to their former owners before year 1948. In view of this retrocession, the rule of law has been often invoked. But the rule of law demanded that the more than 2 million hectares of forest returned to their former owners remain under the strict authority of the forest law. This would have allowed their superior use from two points of view: economically, to the benefit of their owners, and environmentally, for the benefit of the whole national territory. As they were removed, through corruption, from the authority of the forest law, the huge majority of these more than 2 million hectares are today destroyed and plundered. Besides the massive theft of wood, operated by interlopers, even their new owners infringe any legal provision and savagely cut the trees, without any effort of reforestation.
The politicians of Romania, many of which gathered an immense wealth by being involved in the illegal cutting of forests, often try to divert our attention from this national robbery. They “appease” us by saying that deforestation is widespread globally today, not just in Romania, but forget to say that this cataclysm was also possible because the big powers of the world, in contrast with the much-invoked attributes of collaboration and complementariness of efforts, are unable to integrally observe their environmental commitments. In exchange, they buy the commitment of smaller and less economically developed states to maintain a low rate of industrialisation. It is precisely this low rate of industrialisation that reversely stimulates the overuse of the forest potential. In our country, this takes the dimensions of robbery. Without forest to protect mountains, hills and valleys, catastrophic floods have increased in frequency, same as blizzards and savage wind, massive snowfalls and hailstorms, while draught removes from the productive circuit thousands of hectares of farmland, destroying agricultural crops, flowers and vineyards. All these provoke intense human suffering.

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