Silver / 2018 / Press / Nature/Environmental

Fight for World Heritage

  • Prize
    Silver in Press/Nature/Environmental
  • Company
    Forum Polish News Agency
  • Photographer
    Krystian Maj

After the elections in Poland in October 2015 the victorious Law and Justice party announced it would allow logging in the Bialowieza forest, the oldest primeval forest in Europe, and a UNESCO World Heritage. The environmental minister claimed the spruce bark beetle plague necessitated the logging but environmentalists disagreed. Scandal broke out after information was leaked that the government planned to cut 200 000 trees, some of which were in zones strictly prohibited by UNESCO. The European Union Tribunal of Justice demanded Poland stop the activity but the Polish Minister of Environment said the Bible allows man to rule the earth and logging would continue. Environmentalists from all over the world came to Bialowieza in the summer and fall of 2017 to defend the unique forest. These pictures document the controversial decision of the Polish government and the dedication of ordinary people committed to protecting the forest.