OPINION

Forest destruction raises awareness

The fires that destroyed so many hectares of Greek forestland over the past couple of weeks have sent a real shock wave through the public. It appears that Greek citizens have at long last become environmentally aware. They feel for the mountains, the forests, the beauty of the countryside, regarding them as their own assets, and hurting when any harm comes to them. It is interesting how the public’s response to the damage wreaked by the fire on Mount Parnitha, along with several destructive blazes in other parts of the country, differed qualitatively from the response to similar disasters in the past. It was not confined to complaints about who is responsible but developed into the unprecedented mobilization of a large segment of society. Environmental protection organizations were bombarded by phone calls and e-mail from citizens wishing to help in efforts to regenerate and protect burnt forestland. This is a real source of satisfaction for Kathimerini because it demonstrates that we all regard the environment, and its protection, as an issue of personal – as well as collective – importance. In view of this, Kathimerini has undertaken the initiative to organize a debate for the first time about what action needs to be taken on Parnitha. And, for the same reason, Kathimerini will continue to highlight issues such as the quarries at Markopoulo and the pollution of the Asopos and Kifissos rivers as major political problems of our time.