From the history of the fight for Toplodolska River, awakening of the resistance against SHPP and building hotels in the protected areas of nature. Year 2011, reaction on the irreverence of the 2007 results and unequivocal rejection of diverting the entire river to the long basin.
In the times when planet Earth suffers unremembered consequences of human arrogance and pays the price of the lunatic race for the profits, we are witnessing the situation where one part of the human kind continues to plunge headlong into disaster and judges the majority with its insatiability and blinded by their own fears of ephemerality. The vicious circle of the economic globalization, hypocritical politics and dependency of the cheep goals of comfort daily routine, supported by the most negative selection of characters in the history of mankind, leads us inevitably towards the final breakdown of the natural balance and cataclysmic establishment of the new rules of nature.
Rare expression of wisdom or more like sparkling in the overall darkness, but we still, no matter how rare it was, genuinely rejoiced such moments.
Opposing to the diversion and movement of the water of Toplodolska River from one basin to another, avoiding spending millions on the economically unjustified investment was in a few instances the brightest move of the politically disunited local authorities of Pirot.
We trusted back then, following sharp and argumented campaign of the biologically conscious part of Serbia, inhabitants of Temska, rare voices of reason in the government institutions and non-compromised NGOs, that the victory over economical-political lobby is nevertheless possible.
From today's point of view, we can't help feeling like the upcoming world economic crisis and unrealistic expectations that serious partners will invest their funds into the Potemkin village, have helped us in this. Because what other name could one give to the plans to build mega ski-centers on a mountain without serious winter conditions, or to produce electricity on a water courses susceptible to flooding, with huge oscillations of water levels and serious hydro-potential for barely couple of weeks a year. Yet, in a society like ours, we see every day that money flows are not always under control, so it's not a surprise to see ideas that we thought were buried by the aforementioned decisions of the Pirot city council members, revamped again.
Complete argumentation against diverting Toplodolska River applies as well to the plans for dozens!!! of power-plants even on the smallest water courses of the Pirot municipality. Changes and environmental impact which would happen if these ideas came to a realization can, to put it mildly, be considered as catastrophic. Heavy construction machinery is not a pen or a surgical scalpel; the proportions of destruction of nature by such works are already visible on a shameful ski-slope at the bottom of Babin Zub and terrible demolition of Jabučko Ravnište. Political takeoff of the two, at that time united ministers and servility of poor municipality of Knjaževac, craving for any economic prosperity, have caused the destruction of habitats protected by laws and international conventions and disappearance of rare plant and animal species. Bulldozers, concrete and cutting upper belts of highland forests, have brought us, right next to the real monuments of nature, some other monuments to the human stupidity. Monuments so big and drastic that they can be seen from the stratosphere, from which the real monuments of nature look like crumbs of the eon-long carving of the terrain.
Inserting non-existing lakes into the new geo-touristic maps of Stara Planina is just another cuckoo egg of the preparations to captivate some of the cleanest water sources on the planet for the purpose of making the artificial snow, water supply of the hotel complex and the future "energetic boom of the Balkans". We can barely trust institutions whose job is to protect nature anymore, although their opinions in the impact assessments should be final. We've seen so many times that their practice is very flexible and susceptible to the influence of the biologically completely illiterate ministers. Every attempt to seriously stand up against them gets awarded by replacing the "unsuitable" with the obedient ones, which are always ready for the compromise.
We will once again need to get out in front of the authorities and the public, with the question what is more valuable: mentioning comical sums of kilowatts, raping unrealistic sports and tourist ambition, or stability of the natural balance which is only ostensibly remote and disconnected with the life outside of it. How much time, unjustified waste of money by the state which is living its last days, and shaken faith of the citizens in the honesty of the authorities, will be needed to recognize the mistakes in the ambitions of those who ended their contact with nature in the lower grades of the elementary schools.
For the end, I'm giving you a couple of scenes from the highlands of Stara Planina, which someone wants to see inside the pipelines or enriches with the feces of instant sportsmen and tourists. Do we want and can the generations who just started their lives, manage to handle another Babin Zub, Jabučko Ravnište, Obrenovac, Obrovac, Kozloduj or... Chernobyl? Gradation goes exactly like that and catalysts are woodcutting, dams on streams, playing with the DNA, chemistry, physics...
Author: Aleksandar Panić, February 2011
activist of the "Defend the Rivers of Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains)" movement