The extent of the damage wreaked by forest fires this summer – tens of thousands of hectares of forestland and farmland reduced to ash – is a painful symptom of a more pervasive ailment that has been plaguing this country for a long time. The political leaderships of successive governments have always displayed a distinct inability to foresee dangers and plan effective preventive measures. And this does not only apply to our forests but with regard to every major challenge that we face in this country, such as securing crucial water resources, given that our national water table is dwindling due to our voracious and wasteful consumption of water, particularly for irrigation purposes. Having for years witnessed the negative repercussions of such inefficiency and ineffectiveness, Greek citizens now expect Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to take the initiative – to sound the trumpet that will wake us from our national slumber. The premier’s chief aim at this stage should be to mobilize the entire healthy active population to ensure that the chronic problems that have been crippling our society are resolved before they develop into national catastrophes. From the charred remains left behind by weeks of wildfires, from the mountains of ashes to which our forests have been reduced, hope must be reborn. Our country must mobilize the necessary human resources and secure the requisite funding to tackle every challenge it faces, particularly those that put human life and our environment at risk. Authorities owe it to the public to make a genuine effort to bring about change.