Archives – March, 2012

Iran’s nature does not have enough supporters in Iran

A while ago an incident in the Abr forest region of Shahrood (a city in Semnan province) Province caused the environmentalists great despair. As a number of 150 trees were cut down by a group of local villagers, living near this marvelous forest, overnight. They stated their dissatisfaction with the resistance from the Environmental Protection Institution against construction of a road crossing through the forest as the reason behind this behavior. However, this incident was neither the first nor will it be the last of the confrontations between locals and organizations responsible for the environment and natural resources in Iran. Confrontation between rangers and some ranchers, farmers, hunters and charcoal makers are usual examples of the apparent conflict between local communities’ interests and the considerations so as to protect the nature.

That only in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Provine, yearly one thousand hectares of Zagros forests turns into charcoal, or the constant cultivation of Zagros jungle understory despite knowing what hazard it would be to these jungles biomass capacity, the fact that the never-ending greed of the ranchers and farmers in occupying the land has been and still is being announced as the most important factor causing destruction of the northern and western natural habitats In Iran, that the refuse collection crisis and its landscape contamination is now becoming a threatening trend, obliteration of the oldest and the most valuable botanical garden being met with silence just as the dolphin slaughter in Persian Gulf and the drilling of multiple illegal wells as the existing ones are being overly used  (causing soil depletion), and so on and so on … are all indications of one single sad yet true reality: that Iran’s nature, the way it deserves, does not have enough supporters, does it?

 

The issue becomes bolder as we realize the conditions are not the same worldwide. In fact in many countries, environmentalists enjoy such value and position that would entitle them to winning the decrees to stop nuclear power plants from operation as we recently witnessed as in the cases of Germany, Spain, Italy and Switzerland. Sometime ago, when  Merkel’s government announced its refusal of cooperating in construction of a  dam on one of the major headwaters of Euphrates, many received it in astonishment;   however, the surprise was even bigger when people realized the withdrawal was neither due to financial reasons nor to the disloyalty of the Turk  party towards their commitments, but the German government being forced by the activist pressure had no other option other than to give up the project and pay the due financial compensation.

The story was that the environmentalists as well as the green party in Germany had threatened Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union: that provided her government do not step back from signing the cooperation, they will shake the cornerstones of the coalition government which is what happened after “Stuttgart 21” when some of the most influential members of Merkel’s party and some cabinet ministers were, due to what was regarded as carelessness, were forced to resign.

Having said that, there is one considerable difference between building a dam in Turkey and building an underground station in Stuttgart for which 300 trees were about to be cut down. The fear of losing 300 trees in a city in Germany seems logical as it directly affects the quality of Germans’ lives, but when it comes to a dam in Turkey, no such thing will happen to Germans and their country. on the contrary, at the time of economical crisis, through such source of income provided by such a profitable and lucrative cooperation, Germans could improve their economy as well as their lives.

 

Nevertheless, the German Greens feared that in case of building the dam, desertification would accelerate in Mesopotamia, the number of dust source areas in Iraq and its neighboring countries (especially Iran) would increase and also the subsurface water level would go down.

In other words, the atmosphere dominant in Germany could be defined as people’s love of nature is no longer domestic or local but it has reached a global level and these days German environmentalists not only struggle to push their government to take domestic eco-friendly measures, but are also worried about ecological stability thousands of miles away. Even further, they are ready to pay for it, why? Why are the people born and raised in Germany ready to trade their own comfort for our habitable planet stability? Why?

The answer to this question, however, is not so hard, specifically after we learn it has been nearly half a century since instructive and informative ecological contents have been included in Germans’ school curriculum; in addition, scarcely does one find a newspaper or a magazine in which at least one column is not dedicated to environmental issues daily, weekly or monthly. Moreover, their broadcast media interestingly and critically analyze eco-related policies in Germany as well as the whole EU. In short, the ever-increasing people’s fondness for nature protection is the desirable result of a 50-year logical and standardized plan.

Now, can “you” name one invariable weekly or monthly TV program on Iranian national TV channels analyzing the recent eco-related issues just as we observe it in other domains like sports (90) and cinema (Haft)? Can “you” even name one fixed daily page dedicated to environment in one of the mass-printed Iranian newspapers criticizing decisions and policies in this domain? It’s even more depressing when taking a look at primary and secondary school curriculum, learning how little paid attention to environment as much as we are unable to track the foot-prints of such teachings and consideration in our cinema and TV series.

Now is high time we went back to our key question; is there still anybody who is still not sure “why Iranian nature, the way it deserve does not have supporters and protectors”?

6 Comments March 18, 2012