The construction of a nuclear power plant cannot be an end in itself. Activists make a case for stricter protection and restoration of nature in Poland.
On July 15, on a beach in Lubiatowo on Poland’s Baltic coast, activists affiliated with FOTA4Climate launched an appeal to Polish authorities to link the country’s energy transition with other necessary climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. Poland’s first nuclear power plant is to be built near this beach.
The activists, who are part of the international RePlanet network, pointed out that the construction of a nuclear power plant cannot be an end in itself, and that stricter protection and restoration of nature in Poland is needed. They also pointed out that in order to reduce the effects of climate change, other changes are needed in transportation, production and farming, the way we work and live.
As a relatively large number of trees are being cut down for the construction of nuclear power plants, Polish authorities should create new national parks
They proposed that, as a relatively large number of trees are being cut down for the construction of power plants, Polish authorities should create new national parks, according to the principle of one reactor – one park. The activists propose the creation of the Turnicki National Park, the Lower Oder Valley National Park, and the Szczecin National Park (Bukowa Forest). They cite a document prepared by the Natural Heritage Foundation, which includes a proposal to create new national parks.
In addition, FOTA4Climate is demanding a reduction in the area of old-growth forests to be cut down in connection with the investment, as well as the maintenance of high environmental standards, including the protection of trees during the construction of infrastructure accompanying the power plant.
‘We do not treat the investment as an end in itself, hence our demand,’ explains Adam Blazowski of FOTA4Climate, who also serves as chair of RePlanet’s Board of Directors. ‘Only a comprehensive look at the problems facing Poland during the biodiversity and climate crisis and the energy transition would help build greater public support for this and many other investments.’
As the authors of the idea emphasize, a solution combining the energy transition with the protection of nature and with a vision of systemic ecological and social change would put Poland among the world leaders of change.
‘Only a comprehensive look at the problems during the biodiversity and climate crisis and the energy transition would help build greater public support for this and many other investments’ – Adam Blazowski
‘We came to Choczew to support residents who want nuclear energy and decarbonisation, and for their municipality to have a reasonable basis for supplying Poland with clean energy from offshore wind and nuclear power,’ Blazowski said. ‘We will support the residents, but more is needed. We want those in power to address the biodiversity crisis as well – we want one park per reactor.’
Andrzej Gąsiorowski of FOTA4Climate stresses that the creation of the parks and a change in the approach to nature conservation would immediately show the public around the world that nuclear power can go hand in hand with nature conservation and biodiversity protection. This is how the world should be built for future generations; this is how Poland should be built. ‘Linking the energy transition with real nature conservation would signify real hope. Forests, marshes and power plants are the key to success,’ says Gąsiorowski.