of the Earth - Oh beloved forests
Environmental issues in Iran have to be taken
as the most serious and urgent problem to be tackled
September 2, 2005
A gift of civilization
the wooden horse of greed
that dead wood
filled and unfilled with locust soldiers
praying to their blindfolded gods
- for if you cannot see nor can your god -
while chopping and burning trees
not for peace
the lungs of the earth
turning to hurricane
the old sweet breeze.
Eyes that can not see wood
not for the trees
but for the currencies
- made of sliced dead wood-
which grow in their pockets
for lives des-troyed
and for horses of flesh
unfleshed while bleeding to tears
by the wooden horse of greed
a gift of civilization
Anyone still doubting the disastrous effects resulting from the
destruction of the forests on the environment - well 5 years into
the 21st century - is
not only behind the curve but out of the loop (thanks BB) altogether.
are sitting in USA wondering at the reasons for the increased numbers of
hurricanes in your vicinity and not having a clue of what is happening
rainforests in Brazil, Indonesia and South east Asia (plus other parts of
South America and Mexico) then you need to get real and inform
yourselves, as you
are already involved no matter if you like it or not.
The individualism in the
US has gone so far that even hurricanes are now treated as individuals
with human names. Perhaps the other reason is because those who name them
have been bottling up their anger for too long, and by identifying
with the hurricanes leave
the acting out bit of their suppressed angers to the weather. But why not
bang the cushions instead?
The only interesting effect the individual
naming could have would be that these hurricanes would lead to Americans
turning pagans praying to Wotan, asking
him to stick to his usual storms as his job description and avoid getting
outraged so frequently, as he seems to be these days.
My suggestion is that the hurricanes
should be rather designated with numbers so as to help people to be more
aware of the increasing numbers of hurricanes
within a shorter period of time. This in turn would hopefully lead to the
realization that prevention is indeed better than cure.
Awareness of the following facts
may also increase the speed of the realization as it is happening just round
the corner to most of this site's readers:
is responsible for 80% of the global pollution.
- The US regime's attitude
towards the Kyoto summit and the European negotiations- currently in progress-
has been up to now cynical.
It addition it persistently
ignores the warnings of the country's own scientists and fails to enlighten
its own general public regarding the urgency of the
global environmental issues.
- Only 6 percent of forests in the US states have
been protected in wilderness areas or National Parks (info: Native Forest
There seems to be a common
claim amongst the Iranians living in the US about the high level of education
in their community. But what is the point of high
education if it is used only for money and career without a real long term
contribution to humanity today, and to the well being
of the future generations as well?
A future generation who is doomed to deal
with the mess the current societies have made of the world. Should the future
generations forgive us? Definitely not. And would they? I don't
What are the facts?
We are losing 50 million
acres of rainforest (not counting other forests) per year. This
is about a football field (soccer) per SECOND. This means that
unless conservation efforts in the tropics are intensified, most
disappear by early next century.
Just a few centuries ago, Earth's equator was girdled
by a green belt of 15 million square miles of rain forest; an
area five times that of the contiguous
United States. Now three America's worth of forest are gone, with just 6.2
million square miles left. In Brazil in the late 1980s the
annual emission of carbon dioxide from the burning of forests equalled the
amount of this gas spewing
from the industries of Poland and West Germany combined. Because
of the burning, Brazil
was fourth on the list of greenhouse polluters, Behind the United States, the
Soviet Union, and China. Without the burning, Brazil would not even be in the
top twenty polluters. Alberto Setzer, a Brazilian space scientist who monitored
the fires using satellite photographs -- sometimes counting more than eight
thousand fires in a single day -- calculated that emission from the annual
burning season in the Amazon equalled those of a large volcano. But, as Setzer
put it: This is a volcano that erupts every year, not just once in a lifetime
-- Andrew Revkin, Global Warming - Understanding the forecast /
American Museum of Natural History. Environmental Defence Fund,
but not surprisingly Iran is amongst the countries which contributes to the
problem of deforestation/destruction of the forests. This is true
Gilan forests in general and the Siahkal forest in the last 6 years in particular.
is of course beside the destructions of old gardens and felling of old trees
in the cities for the purpose of building blocks of flats (apartments).
Dwellings which are unsuitable for the climate anyway, as they need air conditioning,
which contributes to the pollution that is dominating the big cities.
happened to that cool basement room of my aunt's old house in Dezashib with
turquoise blue tiled little pond (hoes), Summer afternoons with watermelons
in the little pond to make it cool, and my uncle having a siesta before going
back to work? And where is the reflection of that beautiful and mysterious
Berkeh-e Niloofar -- Water lilies Pond near Kermanshah is ever to be found?
That pond which has been destroyed to build roads and houses and the air
pollution to match?].
As far as I am informed the other reason for cutting trees has
been for the purpose of planting flowers instead (sic!) which was
due to the policy
well praised mayor of Isfahan /Tehran in the 90's (to whose fame presently
my memory is unable to contribute). I believe he took the expression keshvar-e
gol-o-bolbol (the land of flowers and nightingales) too literal, not knowing
that nightingales need more trees than flowers in order to survive.
architects and city life planners have caused a disaster waiting to be complete
within the next ten years. When it comes to Iran and inside information,
the tragedies related to destructions have always a cynical bend to them
which most people show as a kind of moan-syndrome
(maraz-e naaleh), which is there to show that:
a) They are well informed
b) Nothing can be done about it
c) This can be used to express frustration hence
one can carry on coping with further expected frustrations. A kind or recharging
of energy as children do when crying noisily.
d) It can
provide material for satire (tanz) created by the ones with a sense of humour
e) If one can laugh about it, it cannot be that tragic after all
f) One can
get used to the pollution and other destructions - hence moan - but have
two cars if possible, one with an odd number and the other with
even number so that one can drive everyday into the traffic jam in order
to moan even more.
All this means the perpetuation
of the moan-syndrome with no remedy to cure the actual cause.
So the symptoms are suppressed -- provisionally
of course - by the use of narcotics, antidepressants and all
the various allopathic medicines used
for heart and lung's disorders. These organs in particular having been
mainly poisoned by carbon monoxide (CO gas), lead, Nitrogen dioxide
Volatile organic compounds(VOC), Ground-level ozone and suspended particles
released in the air by constant use of breaks while driving in cities with
a me-me-me-first road culture and with too many untested cars/buses on
the streets going nowhere.
Other aggravating factors being of course the air polluting
factories and refineries built near or within the cities for that matter.
Back to our precious Siahkal forest, in contrast to 'rainforest', 'Amazon
forest' etc., when you enter this in your search machine you won't find any
information relevant to the deforestation of this forest.
Instead be prepared
however to deal with another old hat (is there going to be ever a fitting
new hat for the Iranians as a nation? Why choose a hat in
the first place? Or/and in Persian terms why let anyone to put a hat on your
head (keh saret kolaah begozaarad)? Why not bareheaded? A cool head and a
warm body is what one needs to keep well in a holistic way).
So, what you will find
are all sorts of manifestos by Fadaiyan-e khalgh (O.I.P.F.G.) dreaming on
and on. And no, they haven't got a clue about what has been happening
to Siahkal forest neither. After all what is a forest for an Iranian kameh-nist
? Only a hiding place isn't it?
Shooting around damaging trees for the already fruitless idea
of az deh beh shahr (the tactic of the guerrilla fighting in the
country side and
towards the towns in order to topple the regime)
In fact this group of middleclass
wish-to-be-rulers guerrillas attacked the Gendarmerie in the town of Siahkal
in 1971 and failed, ending up in Siahkal
forest as their hiding place.
This of course was in the time of - at last -
the last shah of Iran (the lack of constitutional laws, which ensure the
separation of the legislative, the
judiciary and the executive forces in a democracy renders the use of the
word king in its modern European meaning irrelevant to an Iranian
shah. This of
course continues to apply to the role of presidency in the present regime
It is likely that the authorities in Gilan have intentionally
started the deforestation in Siahkal for the fear of another guerrilla
the area. But sorry
az deh beh shahrihaa I can't see the current youth of Iran running around
in the forest with a gun in one hand and a laptop in the other.
No wonder that
the Mojahedin-e khalgh have to lock their members in. Perhaps searching them
for laptops and mobiles? And do they have electricity or is
it cut off as well?
Although this might not be such a bad idea as they may learn
to make ornamental candles and raise even more money in the west - especially
fact not learning any skills other than shooting/bombing has caused serious
long term problems for other nations.
For instance the IRA members know only
how to survive during a war, but what other skills do they have
in order to survive during a peace period? That
is what Gerry Adams and the other authorities need to offer: Training for
skills amongst the die hard IRA militants, creating opportunities for a
change of careers.
Yes, beloved Siahkal is being sold by theocrats to industrialists,
while both parties carry their shavers in their pockets just in case the
to change as quickly as the last one. Only this time will take a shorter
period to adjust with no need for hiding in order to wait for the
growth of their
Apparently the people of Siahkal town have been very unhappy about
the forest's destruction.
My first reaction when hearing this was that if everyone in town
felt strongly about this why wasn't there any initiatives to run a local
campaign I thought could be in the form of a petition signed by all residents
and addressed to their selected theocrat and the local paper/Gilan
Although the university graduates in the field of forestry and
environment in Gilan Province have already complained to the Gilan's
governor - at least
in the second half of the 1990's - starting a voluntary group of conservationists/
environmental groups consisting of local people could prove more fruitful.
groups could educate themselves and the local population around the issues
of conservation in the area.
Contacts with globally involved and independent voluntary organisations like
the Friends of the Earth, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) could
also be of help.
Inviting delegates of these organisations to visit the area and
further investigate and report the results in order to raise global concern
for the forest could
prove even more effective.
Impossible to even think of it? Perhaps not so.
Unlike in Shah's time, when
everyone feared to complain or even make a comment about politics in public
places, Iranians today can openly express their opinions
about the situation in Iran when talking to strangers in public places.
matter how we feel about today's system, people in today's Iran
are able to speak out - something they could not in Savak's time
(Shah's secret police).thirty
Democracy is not only electing and having the right to be elected
every 4 years (Not relevant for Iran anyway, though the claim of being a
remains hence the potentiality)
For the ordinary people it would mean mainly
to exercise their citizenship rights by having a say in their local issues.
This in turn brings democratic
change within the society forcing the politicians to have to adjust to the
public confidence in expressing their concerns and needs.
In case of Siahkal
it is only natural that the local people are more concerned than the Fedaian-e
khod group, who like all the other Leninist/Trotskyites/Maoists
have still no real understanding of the seriousness of the environmental
issues -- out of the loop altogether.
The use of Siahkal as a web log/page without
reflecting on the present day
problems of this precious forest used and abused, is an exploitative deception
altogether. So, would OIPFG either get involved and make the world hear the
plight of the Siahkal community and start to care for the forest or otherwise
change the name of their site a.s.a.p. please? What? You don't even know
one person there to inform you of the local news? After all that
game of hide and
seek with the murderous Savak?
Please note however that by the time you would
come to power in Iran -- for the sake of the principle of hope at least -
there won't be any oxygen left
to breathe in anyway. Sorry mates.
Some environmental facts about Iran:
--The total areas of forests in Gilan Province have been reduced
by half over the past 50years.
-- At present 340 hectares of forest is being destroyed every
DAY (see Iran Daily 21/10/04).
-- Currently11 percent of the country is forested.
-- On the seawards slopes of the Elburz Mountains and on the Caspian
plain vegetation is abundant. In these areas broadleaf deciduous
trees such as ash (zabaan-gonjeshk), elm (naarvan), oak (derakht-e
baloot) and beech (aalesh/ mamarz/ zaan) flourish, along with some
broadleaf evergreens, ferns and shrubs.
The forests of Gilan Province - left from the third geological
era - are the sole jungle deposit of the country where over 80
species of trees have been identified ( for more information on
the destruction of the Gilan forests in general -up to 1997 - check
The Zagros Mountains in the west of Iran have a semi-humid forest cover dominated
by oak, elm, pistachio and walnut trees.
-- Apart from forests, trees cover only 0.9 percent (1995) of
the country (in comparison 30 percent of London is green space).
--Iran has established dozens of officially protected areas, covering
only about 5.1 percent (1997) of the country's total area; Iran's
remaining forests are being destroyed at the rate of 1.7 percent
(1990-1996) every year.
The country is inhabited by 54 threatened animal species.
-- Another problem in store is the long term obsession of Iranians
Vast areas of East Tehran hills have been planted with non-native
conifers since the time of the last regime. These now have been
spreading (seeds travelling through wind and by animals) already
well into the south slopes of the Elburz Mountains. If not controlled
urgently by conservationists this will eventually destroy the whole
bio ecology and the biodiversity of the Caspian Sea area.
-- The pollution of the Caspian Sea's water is another huge issue.
The fishers are reported to suffer from skin diseases (Mazandaran
TV 1999). This also means that the effect on marine life is likely
to be devastating.
There has been a signing of a framework treaty amongst the Caspian
Sea states for the protection of the sea against pollution from
industrial waste. . If this will come to fruition is a different
matter. It is precisely here that the Persian proverb vaght talaast
(time is gold) applies.
--On the other hand years of wars and bombarding of oil resources
has effected the unique marine life in the Persian Golf in an irreversible
manner- this in particular applying to the coral colonies.
It would be correct to say that what has taken the nature millions
of years to build have been in the process of being destroyed by
Homo sapiens in less than two centuries and on a greater scale
in the last 60 years.
During my last three visits to Iran between 1999- 2002 I have
come to conclude that regardless of who and what regime will run
the country, the environmental issues in Iran have to be taken
as the most serious and urgent problem to be tackled.
This is also
because people in the cities are already showing symptoms of
poisoning (Carbon monoxide mild poisoning for instance has exactly
the same symptoms
as the flu and is mistaken as such by the public. Hospital workers know about
this and attach drips to people who end up in hospitals just in case. There
are also other symptoms resulting from plumbism -lead poisoning).
If the environmental issues in the cities and the forests are
not addressed promptly a serious deterioration of the public health
will be the result leading to a disastrous outcome in less than
a decade I believe.
The London Smog Disaster of 1952 which took
5 days in December killed officially 4000 people (for longer
term -until the following spring- 12, 000 is the estimated
number). During this time people died of heart and lung failures.
As a result factories were moved to the country side and with
the 1956 Clean Air Act household had to stop using coal as well
(a usual practice in English houses for warming living rooms)
The more recent London Smog of December 1991 caused also an estimated
160 more deaths than normal in the 4 days of its duration. Only
cardiovascular and respiratory deaths are shown by statistics Non
fatal incidents are not recorded and long term effects such as
neurological and cancers are also not considered in the smog's
My question is why the third world countries (precisely
for these short comings a country can not be called a developing
country) seek and get this kind of
information before heading for the environmental destructions of their countries?
Do these countries have to rush to go through the same procedures
in order o arrive at the same dead end?
When China with its largest population on earth arrives where
others have already landed, it will be the end of hope for the
environment indeed. If Chinese ever needed a cultural revolution
it would be now before it's too late: consciousness raising for
As for Iran the election of the selected has
been reflecting a race to see who can destroy Iran at a faster
rate. However, if the one decade old struggle of the voluntary groups
- who have been seeking recognition of the non-governmental
voluntary organisations - succeed, then there will also exist a
possibility for the environmentally
concern people to work effectively for the benefit of all.
This in turn would create opportunities for work in the conservation
areas as well.
This could happen for instance by attracting people away from
the cities and by keeping local young people interested in their
countryside instead of pulling them to the overpopulated cities
in search of work.
Many Iranians living outside Iran have been financially
investing in Iran in the last 8 years.
Their responsibility would be to ensure that these investments
do not contribute to the environmental destruction of Iran (I know
of some who didn't mind to destroy large gardens in the Iranian
cities in order to build housing for commercial gain).
they could get involved with the issues surrounding their own
immediate environment in order to leave behind a healthier world
Any experience gained will eventually influence their extended
families, relatives and friends - living in Iran - as well. Just
as those in Iran also influence our lives outside Iran.
of the environmental issues would hopefully also shift the focus
from nationalism to a more globally focused way of thinking.
try to hold on to a perceived national identity by being prone to the past
and holding to a memory related culture in a desperate way,
as if culture was a static phenomenon.
This attitude makes the minorities frequently more conservative
in their tastes - be it in music, art or interpersonal relationships-
than the majority of the same nation living in their birth place.
It is this conservatism that makes transformations and the birth
of new ideas within the minorities' culture more difficult and
full of birth pangs.
For the Iranian community for instance the
search for Iranian-ness (which by the way has the positive effect
of distinguishing the community from our
creepy politicians perceived as un-Iranian) race and myths of course are
used to reconstruct identity on an on going basis.
But when looking at this intensely,
we find that all this state of permanent reconstruction of the identity is
in fact the result of the lack of a true
integration in the societies we currently live in. Minorities need to feel
proud of their past because they are made to feel as the "other".
identity perceived by self is in fact nothing more than a repeated reconstruction
of the self through the use of memories and myths.
The only true hope for a
real belonging is the focus on the earth related issues, which can look at
the human beings as a part of the whole ecosystem
as the centre of the world- as the concept of religion and other ideologies
By shifting the consciousness from being the centre of the world
to being a part of the whole, we may still be able to gain our
true role as the expressive
consciousness of the earth itself -- which is a whole organic being/body
-- and possibly even the consciousness of the cosmos of itself in so far as
we know it.
This would spare our planet from the total destruction lying ahead,
by the up to now the irresponsible human race. Changing our role from the
appropriators of the earth to Homo sapiens, who care for the nature
as the true body of their
The time is ripe for the human race to leave its childhood
behind and initiate itself into adulthood.
This could be a great journey.
Let's recycle the content of our baggage and travel light if
not with light.