Grasshopper no 5, Winter '94
In October 1994, the North-Eastern Slovak Union for the Preservation of Nature "PCOLA" started its campaign against placing the Winter Olympic Games in the Tatra Mountains, Slovakia in 2002. The main aim of the environmentalists is to show how Nature Protection Law is broken, in the core zones of the two largest National Parks- the High Tatra N. P. and Law Tatra N. P. The environmentalists, during their silent protests in Strbske Pleso (2x) , Poprad and Tatranska Lomnica, carried on a dialogue with the local inhabitants and the Tatra Mts. visitors. The SZOPK stands in a position, which is absolutely discordant with the Olympic ideals. It is considered as wrong presentation of Slovakia all over the world. The five points of the SZOPK's position/warning are as follows:
The forest (6, 127 ha) and dwarf mountain pine (1, 278 ha) are to be clean cut in the Law Tatra's core zone.
Breaking some legal acts (the High Tatra Mountains Act, Nature Protection Act, Slovak Republic Constitution)
The Winter Olympic Games in Albertville had deficit amounted to 1,5 billion SK (Slovak krones)
Lack of infrastructure/activity plan after the Olympic Games, what makes impossible to introduce alternative forms of development (e.g. eco-tourism, agro-tourism)
Breaking the nature protection regulations - International Agreements- in a barbarous manner.
The above presented SZOPK's standpoint was accepted and signed by app. 20% of the local inhabitants and the Tatra Mts. visitors. The appeal's issue had an impact on a meeting in the Hotel GRAND, Stary Smokovec, where Thomas BACH (the International Olympic Games Committee) , Olaf MYRHOLT (expert on ecological parameters evaluation) and the SZOPK's representatives gathered. The planned short meeting became an informal, sincere two hours long discussion, ended by promise that on December 9, the official report would be prepared. Furthermore, after a week, the next meeting with the Poprad-Tatry Olympic Games Committee was held. Also that four hours long meeting should bring an official standpoint concerning the Slovakian candidature.
The campaign, supported by the local REC Office in Bratislava, was appreciated as the most correct by the Olympic Committee. It is a pity that the most of Slovakian media representatives have not been so correct. The final output of the campaign will be known after January 29, 1995, when four final candidates will be chosen in Budapest.
PČOLA - Stará Lubovna - Ela Polacková
I have heard from TV news, that a Christmas tree, carried from Zazriva Valley, Slovakia, will be place this year at the St. Peter and Paul Square in Rome. This event probably satisfies some of the nationalists, but not a man who knows a tree value, its worries related with a present global air pollution, a man who knows how humans need plants. Such a man cannot be satisfied. Every year too much beautiful spruces, pines and finally fir-trees (which are protected by law in Slovakia) die, just for a human Christmas dream. No, I do not want to insult beauty and value of a Christmas time, but cannot identify myself with a thought, that so many Slovakian forests, so destroyed, are plundered on the Christ birthday. And not only Slovakian trees ! Nevertheless, Christ propagated a modesty and he lived in simplicity. Where is this parable modesty, if each church, each village and even the Holy city decorate their surroundings and interiors a living victim of our beautiful trees. It is idolatry, is not it? Nevertheless, God gave the tree a life in order to keep our and Your life. Something alive, what the mankind could not imitate and invent. But how to destroy, it is well known for man. And how to make it proud lyon the biggest Christian holidays. Environmentalists have fighted through many years for artificial Christmas trees implementation in that places where beautiful and large tree are used to be placed, or for tree planting (in front of churches for instance) in order to use the growing trees as Christmas ones. I would like You, His Holiness, ask for a help. Just You, using your position, might help to protect 130-year-old Slovakian spruce - a treasure of Slovakian nature. I am begging You, please forbid this destroying. Please, order all Christians to use artificial Christmas trees. If we would not protect the tree this year, let it become a "final point", the last "living" Christmas tree in the Holy city. I believe, You will not treat my letter as taking the liberty, but as an ask of those, who in this hard time work for nature protection, and for whom nature is the sanctuary and source of vitality.
The North-Eastern Slovak Union for the Preservation of Nature ("Pcola") - members of the Slovak Union for Nature and Land Protection (SZOPK) were those, who proposed to establish an international organization for the preservation of the Carpathian nature. Owing that initiative, the International Carpathian Bridge was founded, gathering different ecological NGOs from Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine. From September 24- 28, in Lviv, Ukraine, the Fifth Meeting of the Carpathian Bridge was held both by "Pcola" and the Carpathian Geographical-Ecological School from the University of Lviv. Andrej Michajlik (the Ukrainian Ministry of Nature Environment) , Honak Michail (the Carpathian Euroregion) , Taras Grincisin (the Institute of Ecology of the Carpathians) and one of the Dean of the Lviv University participated in open discussion. During the meeting, all "green" activists debated about:
PČOLA - Stará L'ubovna
20. 11. 1994
English translation by Mirosław Klimkiewicz