March 03, 2013

Riverside Under Siege

Significant uproar followed as the news went wide about the plans of the Budapest City Council, involving a popular landmark of the capital, called Római Part (Roman Coast).

Even marketleading online news portal Index published heavy criticism of the project through one of their most popular publicist, László Szily, who, unfortunately from the viewpoint of the backers of the reconstruction project, happens to be a hardcore angler, who knows and loves all the ins and outs of all the fishing spots around the capital

I rode up North to this unique place, which is one of the very few spots left where people of the city can actually walk on the coast of their river, rest under robust trees, encounter ducks and other birds nesting near the water, eat (imported) fish and (prepacked) chips , in a very chilled out, nostalgic environment. I went there to check out the demonstration organized by the well-established sustainability think-tank, Védegylet, and Valyo, a group dedicated to fix the broken relationship of the city and the river.

The City Council plans to "enhance" the area, first and foremost, with building a dam to protect the real estate investments already came to being somewhat illegally, since that area is naturally quite defenseless from floods. The dam would bring opportunity for the ones who started business there to prosper more, and the stage would be set for new hotels, pathways, all that sterile and fake environment that some urban developers think it resembles nature, and what already can be seen at the southern end of the city at an area called Kopaszi-gát (Kopaszi Dam). All this, in exchange for cutting down a riverside groves of trees and destroying the habitat of all lifeforms living nearby, up from the unicellular level.

The mayor of Budapest, István Tarlós is backing this project heavily, which gives it a rather ironic spin, as he is a proud "Óbudan", born and raised right here, the northern part of the Buda-side of the city, thus probably spent many careless hours as a kid along these very shores.

At the demo, I got there quite late, so I missed the boring part (speeches, which were quite unheardable anyway as I heard, asking some familiar faces in the crowd), and was able to listen to music instead.

Everyone wore these cool stickers, which features a dozer which symbolically pushes the Római away:

And there were badges up for grabs featuring endangered local faunae, which I humbly represent on my cool recycled belt I got from the Noha Shop.


The demo and the working group has a Facebook page of course, with a lot more photos.

So, what is our statement regarding the issue? All Plants Bulletin was there, because we think that human-industrial civilization is beyond any comprehensible limits already, realizing a FUBAR situation in the whole ecosystem, which means that even the slowing down of the scary climate- and biodiversity changes cannot be done with any "refocusing" of efforts. Only the most radical solutions remain, e.g.: not a single tree should be cut down, not another wild animal killed, no fish caught from the waters, until we at least stabilize our world and assess the damage. Nature as a whole is cornered on this planet, and the backlash will be painful, so, let's just chill out on the riverside instead of more urban developments.

The Budapest Council gave the project green lights. Several hundred people registered on the "fast-response" mailing list of the demo organizers. The game is on.

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