OPINION

Cement and profit

The destruction of the Mount Parnitha national park and parts of Pelion have pierced our hearts. But we appear to be sad for the wrong reasons. Our sadness originates from an aesthetic loss, such as the killed deer, or the loss of a source of fresh air and unsullied natural landscape – and rightfully so. We feel anger at the sluggish state. Again, rightfully so. But a forest fire is for the most part a natural phenomenon and, under the proper conditions, a way for the ecosystem to renew itself. Experts have long known the conditions for reforestation – politicians ought to know them too. In fact, there’s only one condition: Protect a burnt forest against landgrabbers and it will grow back, just as forests have done for thousands of years. Politicians’ promises of immediate reforestation are suspect. That’s because safeguarding a destroyed forest area is mandated by the Constitution; it’s not some original or bold decision. More importantly, we should confront our politicians with questions: Why have you delayed the classification of forest areas? What have you done to protect burnt forest areas from landgrabbers? Have you come up with a forest register? Have you considered the input of environmental and scientific experts? Have you warned greedy individuals against building their homes next to forest areas? The answer is always the same: «No.» National growth is propelled by a monstrous machine: the real estate business. The aim is to turn everything into plots of land. Cement and profit are kings. There are no measures to ensure a balanced, sustainable living environment. There is no prevention or implementation of the law. Politicians rehash the same old mantra: «A new forest will replace the old.» But what is a forest? Where is it? How do we define it? There’s only one thing to ask of our politicians: clarify forest areas. And leave them alone. The rest is insincere and destructive.