OTHER LOCAL THEMES
culture and customs
introducing the area
quotes about environment
key testimonies featuring environment
Several narrators spoke of changes in the local climate in recent years. One former forester noted that "the winters here are so hard, you cannot work in the forest without skis. That's how it was some time ago, anyway . [but] perhaps for 8 years now, you could wear just low shoes to work. The climate has changed a lot". Another pointed out that the mid-winter months are now much milder: "Novembers tend to be very frosty, whereas you can wear just a shirt in February or January". Although there was little agreement about the fine detail of climate change, most were convinced it was happening and that one feature of it was an increase in climactic extremes. For more on the disastrous flood of 1997, see Water.
Pollution of the environment was a serious problem in the Klodzko Valley during the 1980s and early 1990s, but now the feeling is that "everything is going in the right direction. Things are changing for the better". The problem of acid rain was particularly acute between 1980 and 1986. It had a devastating effect on the local forests and during this time, one narrator claimed it was possible to see the increasing "degradation of the environment . with the naked eye". Local rivers, too, were also increasingly polluted.
Opinions were mixed about the impact of tourism on the environment. Whereas one narrator thought that tourists "littered the forest", another thought that the impact was not too severe: "those tourists, when they walk across the forest, what can they do? Break a twig or something? . No, I don't think they do any harm to the nature". Several acknowledge that developing tourism is going to be an economic necessity.
quotes about environment
""[Pollution] could be seen most in the 1970s and the beginning of 1980s. Not only acid rain, also the snow was contaminated with some chemicals. I noticed in several places up in the mountains, where the snow would stay longer, that grass does not grow there any more. It means there must have been some sulphuric compounds in the snow, something that burnt out all the vegetation.""
Jan, M/60, former baker/hunter, Poland 12
""The rainfalls are much heavier; they often result in floods. On the other hand, there are droughts and extremely high temperatures. The contrasts are something new in our climate.... I don't remember such changing weather in my childhood . It is caused mainly by man's activity." "
Tadeusz, M/43, farmer, Poland 39
""It's started changing for the better. There was a time when it was terrible. Here, on Snieznik and around, everything started dying out, all the trees and plants got dry. It looked terrible. That was about 10 years ago.... Imagine, one year, you walk along a route through a forest, a beautiful one, and the next year, you can see only dry timber sticking up to the sky.... Now you can see the trees grow.""
Stanislaw, M/86, army officer, Poland 15
""I think that simply, nature can defend itself up to a certain point, but when it is crossed - it can't anymore.""
Krzysztof, M/60, Scientist, Poland 22