GB No. 4(23)/96


"I am for and even against!". This statement, uttered a few years ago by the former President of Poland, made an incredible career. It became not only a slogan, but an amusing expression with which we often comment on various situations demanding the choice of decisions. Unfortunately this expression more and more often describes and explains the mental state and decisions of various local politicians and decision-makers.

In the "Polityka" weekly, of the 22nd of June 1996, in the column titled "From Life", I found a good confirmation of the above theory. The note is short, so let me cite it in full:

The governing bodies of the town of Olsztyn (near Czestochowa) did not agree to broaden the Jurajski Landscape Park (? - A.F.) In the statement issued by the authorities we can read that: "We are for the protection of the environment, but not one hundred meters from the main square". Damn you, how this respect for the market became our second nature...

That much for the citation. Let us take no account of which park the author meant. Probably he meant a Group of Jurajski Landscape Parks. Let's leave out the problem of the "free market" which we, or rather, according to the author of the note, the authorities of Olsztyn respect so much. Let us have a closer look at the reasoning of self-governing bodies: "Well, has anyone ever seen an environmentally protected area within the distance of a hundred meters from the main square?"

Unfortunately, as I do not know the main square of Olsztyn (near Czestochowa) I may interpret the statements of its local authorities in two ways: either the main square is so unique and magnificent that any border shift of the Park would be an offense to the market itself, or the authorities of Olsztyn, knowing the state of their main square and caring for the good mood of the Park visitors, prefer to remove this unpleasant contrast: on one hand - nature, and a legally protected area, and on the other hand - the main square of Olsztyn. The whole matter could even be funny if not for the fact that it perfectly illustrates a certain way of thinking of self-governing bodies - "Protection of environment? Yes, sure, but not on the territory of our commune!"

I once had the opportunity to participate in a meeting of mayors of towns and communes on the territories of which a Landscape Park of Beskid Niski is intended to be formed. The voivodship conservator of nature presented us with the prospect of the park and the planned list of all orders and prohibitions to be obligatory on its area. I remember a long and lively discussion and the protests against the prohibition of use of any helicopters or planes for agricultural reasons within the borders of the future park, even though such "agrotechnical procedures" have not been utilized in The Beskid Mountains for many, many years. The project was then negatively assessed by self-governing bodies themselves. Summarizing: a syndrome of "a hundred meters from the main square".

The idea of creating a landscape park on the territory of Beskidzski originated in the mid-seventies. Around the middle of the eighties, a detailed project of the park was worked out. Since that time it has been consulted with self-governing bodies. At the beginning of this year the authorities of all "park" communes were supposed to present their final opinion concerning the formation of the park. From what I know. only one third of all the communes gave a positive opinion. Another syndrome of "a hundred meters from the main square?"

Almost three years have passed since the meeting I described. In the meantime, the elections to self-governing bodies were held. In most cases, the people caring so much about the air fertilization of their communes were the winners. Practically all of them, in their pre-election programs, gave environmental protection and the development of tourism in their communes a top priority. Today they "rule and distribute" and feel good, which is so characteristic for "the right people at the right posts". And what about the Landscape Park of Beskid Niski? Of course, we are strongly for it! But God forbid it on the territories of our communes during our term of office!

Aleksander Fober
reprinted from Zielone Brygady, Sept. '96

GB No. 4(23)/96 | Contents