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Forest. Image from Wikimedia Commons
NEWS ROUNDUP 22 Nov 2017

We are the forest -- Slovaks protect national treasure

Ria Gehrerová recommended by Ria Gehrerová Denník N, Slovakia

Tens of thousands of people are protesting against the logging in national forests. They demand regulations, and are sick of the fact that for many companies wood is not a national resource but a commodity.

Slovakia Change indicators

Why this story matters:

environment, protest

"We are the forest," Slovaks declare on Facebook. Many of them changed their profile pictures, and 50 thousand people have already signed the petition against logging in the forests of Slovakia. The video campaign "My sme les" created by the protesters has over a million views on Facebook -- quite an achievement, considering that there are 5.5 million Slovaks!

For many Slovak companies, wood is not a national resource but a commodity. Due to the lack of regulations, even the national forests are disappearing.

The campaign, created by environmentalist and activist Erik Baláž, has gained wide support among well-known Slovaks who contribute to it nonprofit, in their spare time.

In Slovakia, we have a close bond with nature. Many people live next to forests, and rarely miss a chance to go hiking in the Tatras (the highest mountains in the north of Slovakia) or mushroom picking outside of their towns and villages.

It comes as no surprise therefore that the logging has caused such a stir. After all, when you ask Slovaks what they are proud of the most, many answer "the Tatras".

Details from the story:

  • The "We are the forest" campaign was created by environmentalist and activist Erik Baláž.
  • Baláž won the White Crow Prize for bravery and civil activism a few days ago.
  • Activists demand to leave at least 5% of the Slovak land untouched and stop the logging in the primeval forests.
  • Since 1990 foreign companies in Slovakia have increased logging by 75%.

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