Students:Environmental NGO group - "Protest"
Who we are/ what we are doing
Protest is a non-profit and -governmental organisation in the region Ore mountains with its office in a small town Hora Svaté Kateřiny and it is member of Český svaz ochránců přírody (Czech Union for Conservating Nature) Protest´s main goal is the sustainable development of this region and it focuses its work on such issues like improvement the environment and quality of life for the local residents, preserving the existing limits of mining, more involving local residents in regional affairs, cross-border cooperation with Germany and finally environmental education. Protest helds various cultural and educational events for local residents, their government and tourists to help a better cooperation of the regions Usti nad Labem and Karlovy Vary, closer cooperation of inhabitants and to support a building their own identity.
Fields of interest
Mining and connected problems belong to the main talking point of this region. Below the mountains on the Czech side, there are several large quarries of brown coal which influece the development of the surrounding landscape and local society. Since 1901 surface mining of brown coal progresses constantly towards the Ore Mountains and brings lots of problems for the region. Our main goal is to maintain the existing limits of coal-extraction, the final write-off of coal reserves and so ensuring to local residents security of living at the place that becomes their home. Breaking the limits would mean apart resettlement of local people even surely the construction of the fifth power plant in this area below the Ore mountains. This is associated with more pollution and degradation of ecological valuable space.
Air pollution around the Ore Mountains leads to very big health problems of the inhabitants and the environment. In the 1980s were 60% of the once most lushly forested landscapes disturbed as a result of SO2, which was emised by the coal power plant. Today the emissions exceeded the health limits as well. The most problems today are immisions of SO2 and the particulate matter 2,5. The matter is so small that it’s able to penetrate deep in the organisms. Consequences are for example lower life expectancy, allergies, cancer, morbillity of children and lower birth weight. Even more problems came from even smaller particulate matters, but they are not measured. We urge the government to measure even this particulate matters. Furthermore, we want to proof the measurement of the air to get known if the real air pollution is measured in all important regions. Apart from that we urge measures against this air pollution to keep human beings and flora and fauna healthy.
According to study “Program Teplice”, started by member of Academy of Sciences of the Czech republic MuDr. Radim Šrám, DrSc. in 1993, there are provable adverse effects of the mining on the health of local residents. Long-term exceeded limits of harmful substances in the air, mainly in the period of socialism, brings increasing number of serious diseases like respiratory diseases, illnesses of CNS, behavioral disturbances, lower immunity and cancer. Mining is however just one of many factors acting on health of local residents. Unhealthy life-style of locals plays also an important role for health of local population, e.g. smoking.
Ore mountains located in area in the Czech-Germany border known as Sudetenland with a very eventful history. During the time of Charles IV. in the 14. century there was the first systematic colonization and lot of German people came to these area. Before the Second World War the Czech residents were made to leave Czech Sudetenland because of its annexation to German Empire. After the Second World War the German residents were displaced and Czechs got a chance to repopulate this area. This massive population transfers destroyed the roots of the local residents and their relationship to this place that is conditioned by trans-generational presence in the area. Important topic of Protest´s activity is to support relation of locals to place where they live.
Biodiversity and ecosystem services
There is a huge range of biodiversity in the Ore Mountains with many diverse ecosystems. This is caused thanks different climate zones and different soils. This region is famous because of its oaks, beeches, and oak-hornbeam woods. Apart from forestry landscapes one can find biodiverse peat boxes and grasslands. Especially the Ore mountain peat boxes are very important for the region because of providing fresh water. The high biodiversity is important for climate change and other ecosystem services.
Facts about biodiversity and what it would provide to human beings
There is substantial scope for greater protection of biodiversity through actions justified on their economic merits for material or other benefits to human well-being. Conservation of biodiversity is essential as a source of particular biological resources, to maintain different ecosystem services, the resilience of ecosystems, and to provide options for the future. These benefits that biodiversity provides to people have not been well reflected in decision-making and resource management, and thus the current rate of loss of biodiversity is higher than it would be had these benefits been taken into account. Benefits in this region are especially in providing fresh water (from peat boxes), wood and fiber. High biodiversity is also important for accumulating CO2, cleaning the air, water purification and from cultural point of view for its aesthetic and educational functions. This mean for the population well being because of security (personal safety, secure resource access and security from disasters), providing basic material for good life (adequate livelihoods, sufficient nutritious food shelter and access to goods). Another important thing in this region is positive influence on strength of health, feeling well, access to clean air mainly, and on social relations like social cohesion, mutual respect and ability to help others.
Statements to the development of the region
We see the problems of the region and of the inhabitants. We want for the locals a sustainable development of the region , wealth and healthy. But we want a sustainable development, that means, nature must be preserved. Nature, especially biodiverse nature is the basis of our life. So we don't accept breaking the limits, apart from that we can’t accept more downhill courses or golf courses. Especially the peat boxes must be solved, and so we can’t accept an intensive forestry in sensitive areas. For the re-cultivation of the mines we urge to create a multi-used and ecologically valuable landscape to plant fast-growing trees for the biomass production and to set there photovoltaic.
Our main activities and projects
- background information about our main subjects
- Lectures about mining and connected problems
- School programs- environment, history, lifestyle, handcraft
- Running competition-in cooperation with German neighbours
- Hiking track of destroyed villages
- Cooperation with NGO´s and cities in the region Ore mountains in monitoring lobbying activities
- Active involvement of citizens in public affairs e.g. with addressed letters and petitions
- Millenium Ecosystem Assessment http://www.maweb.org/documents/document.356.aspx.pdf