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defendtheforest_poland
October 02nd, 2017

Defend Europe’s last ancient Forest!

type:Donation, Petition, Protest, Volunteering
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Białowieża Forest in eastern Poland is Europe's last primeval forest, a priceless shared heritage. Its trees are being cut to make plywood and pallets. The only thing standing between the trees and the harvesters is the power of people’s protest.

After taking power, the current Polish government approved intensive logging in protected parts of the Forest. The excuse is fighting an outbreak of bark beetle - an argument refuted by Polish and European scientists. In reality, the wood is being sold for profit. Only since the beginning of this year more than 50,000 trees were cut down, many of them over a 100 years old.

Just a few weeks ago, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) responded to the EU Commission’s legal complaint and ordered Poland to halt logging to prevent irreversible damage, before the Court issues its final judgement. But the Polish authorities have ignored all demands to save the Forest, voices of scientists and NGOs, protests, petitions, UNESCO’s demands and even the ECJ’s order, making Poland the first ever EU country to defy a decision of the Court.

Is there no power that can stop them?

On the ground, they’re called Defenders of the Forest. The people who stop harvesters, block the roads and disrupt the logging, sometimes with their own bodies. In doing so they save hundreds of trees from being lost. Now many face harassment, fines, court cases and physical violence. To keep going, they need to know they’re not alone - and to stay safe, they need visibility.

Help bringing more public attention to what is happening in the Białowieża Forest by sharing this article, sign the Open Letter of the Defenders of the Forest or donate money to them. With your help, you’re not just showing your solidarity - you’re becoming a Defender of the Forest yourself!

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