About economy of nature friends and green propaganda propping it

21.01.2018 |  Māris Liopa

“Once again we hear arguments in favour of cutting trees to help heath care. I would like to remind, once again, that health care itself is one of the ten sectors collecting the bulk of the taxes, whereas forestry cannot be found among these sectors.

I red this revelation of ornithologist Viesturs Ķerus on Twitter and at first I thought poorly of teachers which did not have ability to teach something, of the lack to teach basic economy knowledge at school, of the natural laziness of children, etc. But then, I realized that school is not the one to blame, as such a statement is not a proof of illiteracy, but characterizes the way how young people and even a wide group of society thinks. These people never had to think of the way how to earn money by themselves; they always have received it, and therefore they despise those who are forced to cut trees in forest (obliterate green nature!), plough fields (destroy natural biodiversity!), or build houses (build up natural territories!). No wonder that they do not know that at first taxes into the national budget are paid by those people, afterwards the money charged is allocated to the health sector using it and later re-paying part of the money back to the State budget. Of course, earning profit from chargeable services as well. I assume that they believe that holding seminars by utilizing European money is an activity leaving the same importance to the national economy as manufacture of furniture for instance. The more workshops are held, the more taxes are paid. Respectively, the more seminars are organized, the larger the investment in national economy. The only problem is caused by the fact that such an economy requires seed money that may be acquired. Therefore, projects are needed to get money from wherever you can get it. Mainly from European Union funds and the same old state budget. Recently, on the Internet and urban environment there were advertisements titled "100 clear fellings for centenary of Latvia?". The list of contributors included also the Society Integration Foundation, which in reality turned out to be the real sponsor – giving EU funding amounting to EUR 14 205. I was confused why the fund whose purpose is to "financially support and promote integration of society" actually contributed to a conflict-provoking campaign directed against one of the most important sectors of the national economy. Then it turned out that the project submitter – association Friends of the Earth – has wangled the money from the fund by telling that within the project it has to express opinion, engage and not remain indifferent to the issues topical for it, deforestation of Latvia is one of which. In the project application, however, the specific initiative (placement of advertisements) somehow was not mentioned. Opinion about such an absent-mindedness of the money provider – the EU – and whether it will or will not be qualified as fraud is not known yet. However, one thing is clear – nature friends are not troubled by their conscience, since it was such a noble intention, moreover they are working for the good forces, therefore money has to be taken before the ship has sailed. Besides, Jānis Priednieks, representative of the Friends of the Earth, has expressed an opinion that preservation of the nature diversity has greater importance than the national economy of Latvia. Such campaigns are needed because society that is aware of major global problems, such as deforestation of rain forests or smog in largest cities of Asia, solution for which has not been found, hear out statements of local professional nature friends saying that "in terms of forests, we are among the worst countries in the world" incredulously. Whereas on the other hand, society is quite responsive to hearing something like that. For example, let’s remember the campaign conducted on the website TVNET in 2014, no money on which, as it seems, was saved, or the legendary documentary film produced by the Al-Jazeera, a TV broadcaster based in Qatar, on "how dramatically and in which way the rare ecosystems are destroyed" in Latvia. Within the professional community in both Latvia and neighboring countries, this movie was regarded only as a joke, but now – at the time when a reform of forest management services takes place – it has emerged in Lithuania. Of course, this is pressure on Lithuania, intimidating by "the terrible experience of Latvia", which Lithuanian government unreasonably deems worthy of imitation. Such a propaganda in terms of work and existence feeds many small green organizations. You may ask – why don’t they unite and form larger and more influential organizations. Actually, very naive question – if there was only one World Wide Fund for Nature, only one chairman would receive wages. However, there is also Latvian Fund for Nature, and it has its own chairman. In general, there are not so many beneficiaries as it may seem from the list of organizations, since a number of true nature friends have positions in several of them. For example, Jānis Ulme, one of the leaders of the above mentioned Friends of the Earth, is burning the candle at both ends by having leading posts also in Foundation for Environmental Education and Alliance for Sustainable Development, whereas Ģirts Strazdiņš, the other head of the Friends of the Earth – in the same Foundation for Environmental Education and additionally also in Latvian Fund for Nature. My only wish to all professional nature friends is success in obtaining and acquisition of money, thus contributing to the Latvian economy heating. However, the problem of this peculiar green economy arises from the conditions that the European Union money will dry up eventually or reduce significantly at least. Of course, if the country will be prosperous at that moment, it will be possible to take something from the money paid to the budget by those engaged in forestry, agriculture, construction and others sectors. However, in case the country lacks money, nature lovers will have to support the sad conclusion drawn by a former prime minister after a lost election: “Will have to start working”.

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