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Thread: European Politics Thread

  1. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by Femme View Post
    Eek I feel like a jerk who stereotyped Austria real bad D: I'm sure ill have a lovely time there including interactions with people! It was my choice to include it in the trip anyhow! I'm just terribly pessimistic sometimes and I should've thought twice about my phrasing.
    I'd hazard a guess that your stereotype won't even register as an insult to the people in question lol.

    The smile acceptance gap is probably one of my favorite cases of culture shock betwenn cultures.

    But is Austria the only European country on your current tour?

    Well not like all the time, but interacting with strangers is generally easy here... not so in your city?
    Dunno how you behave in your natural habitat but the Americans and Canadians you meet out in the wild tend to be quite sociable. Atleast that's been my experience. Not big on the comfortable silence

  2. #82

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    yeah, people usually say americans are easier to interact with. I don't know how much true it is

  3. #83

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    Enough people are convinced over here that the fire over galicia and portugal weren't just natural or accidental, but provoked in order to take advantage of a new law that considers burned terrain useable to urbanize.

    Back in my town, the damn mountain burned every year during the hardest weeks of summer, probably before if some idiot smoked around. When forest fires don't happen regulary, dry wood keps building up until a bad hot day, or an idiot comes by.

    Would certain powerful people dare to cause this much destruction to buy land, while the hectarea price down in Andalucia and the like must be dirt cheap after the crisis? Would Portugal stay quiet if that were to come to light?
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  4. #84
    Cutter Chrior's Avatar
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    I don't see as much talk about criminal fire starting as I should. The truth is that the entire south of the country completely escaped this wave of fires while nearly every single corner of the northern half (filled with trees) was affected. Almost 550 fires started in 24 hours is way too much to be a mere coincidence or to atribute to random cigarettes or natural occurences. Most of the talk has been about the sheer incompetence of the Civil Protection Authorities and the Minister of Internal Administration. The conservative party here is already trying to vote the government down on parliament, although it's probably more rhetoric than anything, just trying to be relevant.

    Honeslty, this country has a huge, serious issue with forest fires stemming from a lot of different factors. First of all, the dismantling of public surveillance services, namely ending the position of forest watcher, and lack of involvement of the military in the firefighting. Then handing all of the aerial part of the fighting to private companies, while our air force is stopped from joining, for some reason. Which is probably economic interests and lobbying.
    Then the fact that the communication service for protection authorities, policemen and firemen is a public-private partnership which does not guarantee even the minimum required standards for its correct functioning, leading to an unbelievable lack of coordination of all these forces, making them ineffective. A LOT of people died because the guards sent them to burning roads because they didn't have the required information to do otherwise.
    Then the excessive urbanization and complete lack of policies for rural areas make the interior of the country an abandoned wasteland with no order. No enforcing of laws pertaining to cleaning plots of land and orderly planting of trees have made our forested areas into wild messes which only need a small ignition to generate huge bonfires. Lots of corruption in regards to the cellulose industries and others who use burnt wood, who exploit small producers and take advantage of this wild west of tree plantations. The complete liberalization of eucalyptus plantation by the previous neoliberal government. Eucalyptus is friggin' flammable. Like, really.
    Oh, not to mention a culture of utter impunity for arsonists, who most of the time are arrested for the 2nd, 3rd, nth time and then promptly released on account of psychological disturbances or something. So there are a LOT of problems to fix and barely any solutions have been put forward by our governments for the last 3 decades, since this whole process began.
    Last edited by Chrior; October 17th, 2017 at 03:43 PM.
    The beginning of wisdom is the statement 'I do not know.' The person who cannot make that statement is one who will never learn anything. And I have prided myself on my ability to learn. (Socrates (Σωκράτης) method to enlighten people, ca. 500 BC)

  5. #85

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    Punctuation dude, I'm reading it but parragraphs are your friends.
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  6. #86
    Cutter Chrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: European Politics Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by maxterdexter View Post
    Punctuation dude, I'm reading it but parragraphs are your friends.
    Sorry, still too pissed off about it to write properly. I'll break it up.
    The beginning of wisdom is the statement 'I do not know.' The person who cannot make that statement is one who will never learn anything. And I have prided myself on my ability to learn. (Socrates (Σωκράτης) method to enlighten people, ca. 500 BC)

  7. #87

    Default Re: European Politics Thread

    I know the feeling.


    So I understand is a systemic issue, the kindle is both more controlable and predictable than the kindlers?
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  8. #88
    Cutter Chrior's Avatar
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    Sorry, I couldn't understand what you meant in your question. Meanwhile, the number of dead people has been confirmed to be 42, although some people are still seriously injured in hospitals. The Minister of Internal Administration quit and the conservative minority is presenting a motion of no confidence in parliament to be voted next week, although it is doomed to fail, of course. So far, nobody knows what the government and other authorities plan to do about all this. Total of 107 people killed in forest fires in 4 months...
    The beginning of wisdom is the statement 'I do not know.' The person who cannot make that statement is one who will never learn anything. And I have prided myself on my ability to learn. (Socrates (Σωκράτης) method to enlighten people, ca. 500 BC)

  9. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by maxterdexter View Post
    Enough people are convinced over here that the fire over galicia and portugal weren't just natural or accidental, but provoked in order to take advantage of a new law that considers burned terrain useable to urbanize.

    Back in my town, the damn mountain burned every year during the hardest weeks of summer, probably before if some idiot smoked around. When forest fires don't happen regulary, dry wood keps building up until a bad hot day, or an idiot comes by.

    Would certain powerful people dare to cause this much destruction to buy land, while the hectarea price down in Andalucia and the like must be dirt cheap after the crisis? Would Portugal stay quiet if that were to come to light?
    Adding to what Chrior said, hoping to give a bit more of social context, this is the result of doing barely anything in the past decades to deal with the problems.

    For many years, at least two decades, Portugal has a semi-official fire season. While many countries may have a earthquake season, or hurricane or monsoon or any other natural and unstopable disaster, we have a man made disaster season.
    And I say semi official because while it's obviously not celebrated it's normal to hear the media or even the governament talk about the "fire season", it has kinda became accepted. Yet, every year some people seem to act surprised when a good chunk of the forest burns down.

    A recent study done here reached the conclusion that 98% of fires were man-made, most of them were not of criminal origin, simply lack of care.
    Adding that poor maintenance of the terrain to the non-autochthonous species the wood and paper industry plants here, like the eucalyptus, and also clime in the summer we get a great recipe to uncontrolable forest fires, whether they are natural (which is actually something that should happen to forests in every few years and should be manageable), accidentals or criminaly made.


    This is absolutely a systemic problem our country has but the fact that it's seasonal and the industries lobbies applying their force in the off-season has let it grow to these absurd cases (this is the second time we had such major fires this year, although last time it was bigger fires in fewer places).

  10. #90

    Default Re: European Politics Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by maxterdexter View Post
    Enough people are convinced over here that the fire over galicia and portugal weren't just natural or accidental, but provoked in order to take advantage of a new law that considers burned terrain useable to urbanize.
    So what you are suggesting is that they could be pretty much running a Scooby doo-esque land scam?

    Like if i can scare these people of this land i can develop it and build a hotel or something.

  11. #91

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfwood View Post
    So what you are suggesting is that they could be pretty much running a Scooby doo-esque land scam?

    Like if i can scare these people of this land i can develop it and build a hotel or something.
    I'm not so sure now after all of this. But my co-workers seem to believe it.
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  12. #92

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    It's not about scaring people away, it's about taking the forest out of the equations. Altough the fires can easily reach vilages they alway start in the middle of the woods.
    Like, there's this nice piece of land but the city/governament won't allow for the construction of some new urbanization or the planting of commercially viable species of trees because there's a natural and healthy forest in it, but woops looks like that forest burnt down last summer so I guess now there's room for those projects and the governament can at least make some money with the licenses.
    Sometimes it may also be easier and certainly much cheaper, to burn it down and clean the land after instead of taking down the patches of forest the old fashioned way, with big saws and security measures.


    A big problem we have here is the replacement of our autochthonous trees with species that are more commercially viable, usually the eucaplyptus, a species that grows fast and is therefor much used and profitable in the paper industry. On the down side, they drain the soil around them and literally burn like exploding torches, spreading the flames very easily.
    If you take take a trip to Portugal and travel betwen cities it doesn't matter if you take the big highways or the older roads, at some point you'll look to the side and see a big patch of eucalyptus planted amist oaks or pines or olive trees, etc.


    I can speak from personal experience on some of it.
    I live about a dozen kms outside the city and there's a pine forest just a couple hundred meters away from my house. It already had some terrains next to it with eucalyptus, and truth be told I'm quite fond and accustomed to their smell and feel from growing up here.
    About 10-15 years ago, during the typical summer, there was a fire in the forest. Luckily, it was manageable since there werent' many fires in the region and the proper means were avaliable. It was quite a scare but despite coming near some houses, including mine, it didn't reach them and no one was hurt. The winter of that same year, a big patch of the burnt area was cleaned up and replanted. Where there used to be pine trees now stood eucalyptus, and that wasn't a surprise to anyone, it's quite normal actually.
    This isn't a recent problem, it's similar to the USA's gun control debate, it keeps happening and the governament never seems to do much about it because of lobbies and then there's a new tragedy and it's really starting to escalate.

    I do have to say, luckily it wasn't the whole forest so there are still pine trees around here and a while ago they stopped planting new eucalyptus in said patch and switched back to pines, which are now growing.
    There are still many eucalyptus in the area but you know, it's something.



    If you want to see the difference betwen the tree's effects on the situation you should check this story, which happend earlier this summer, where a house located in the middle of hills ravaged by the huge fires survived because it was surrounded by local species like oaks, which burn at a much slower and manageable rate.

    https://www.jn.pt/nacional/interior/...o-8583333.html

    The link is in portuguese but you can easily check the photos and there's a facebook post written in english at the bottom.



    EDIT: Just leaving this edit to correct something I totally forgot, but was just now reminded by reading another article on this topic.

    Pine trees are also not native to Portugal. They were brought here for comercial reasons. They are more versatile in use for the general population living near them than the eucalyptus but still present dangerous risks during fires.
    Like I said above, I always lived near a pine forest so I always wrongly associate pines with something natural in this country. But as much as I like them they are also part of the problem and need to be adressed.
    Last edited by FolhaS; October 19th, 2017 at 04:47 PM.

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