Miruna Codeanu

Fracking in Romania

In espresso on October 17, 2013 at 6:14 am

There are some things that literally drive me out of my mind. One of these things is the assumption that I am, to be polite, naive. I am many things but not naive. I spend 1 hour a day reading business magazines, 1 hour researching market trends and the rest 10 hours a day thinking of profit. And you, out there, you stop being naive, I am not a wild capitalist, my thinking of ways to make profit along with other people ensures jobs for about 200 people and other side businesses. Someone once threw this quote at me: “Marketing people look down to people. (…) Commercial things are done by people that want to exploit other people and couldn’t care less about quality. We are interested [in] quality. … Nobility is our life — isn’t that great?”. No, guys, we pretty much keep the world together, this world as you know it, we can educate through campaigns, we pretty much invented CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and we do that in order to sell, but you know that and that is what gives you a job, this is what feeds your family.

It’s not us who look down to you, but someone was clever enough to redirect the public attention. There was a class that looked down to you even before the rise of advertising. Yes. those who want your vote. There are all sorts of regulations for commercial advertising, labeling, design, etc. In comparison to the regulations that apply to commercial advertising, political advertising seem so much, much less regulated. I have a product, something to eat, let’s say. Its label has to mention its ingredients respecting the percentage of quantity, that product has to be analyzed and verified before being released, there are some forbidden ingredients, its label has to mention the quantity with a certain symbol and with a certain font size and when I advertise it I can’t claim that it does something it doesn’t do.
This applies to commercial marketing. But when you go to political marketing there’s a whole different story. A political campaign lasts for 30 days and no political ad can be aired with less than 24 hours before the vote. That’s kind of about it. Let me ask some questions:  Is there any kind of data about the “ingredients” of a political product? Is there a verification of those ingredients? Is there a font size about labeling that product? Is anybody given a penalty for untruthful advertising? If you answer that all these are regulated by voting, that let us, the commercial world be regulated by the buyers’ choice. But you claim the buyer can be manipulated.  My buyer is your voter, so he can be manipulated too.

This was a long introduction, but I needed this statement in order to be able to prevent any possible theoretical attacks. Also, I am not a leftist, quite on the contrary. I, however, believe in human decency. Some public people are doing something very indecent these days: disregarding people. And here is my topic today: fracking in Romania. After all the Rosia Montana story, with all the protest, some government officials decided they could just ignore them and give the right to explore the soil to Chevron. Long before the project reached the public in Romania, news like these started to show up: UK Fracking Firm Admits They are Causing Earthquakes and More Evidence Drilling Causes Earthquakes. And there’s more, much more, and those are not tabloids which write sensational titles. In the last month, a South Eastern region in Romania has been massively affected by surface earthquakes. This could be directly linked to drilling in the area and that area may be sinking. I’m curios whether there are any environmental warranties for possible damages that can be claimed by Romania in case, just in case.  There should be, right? Because, otherwise, this is a very unfortunate business for the Romanian state, as it has to pay bills for those people in the are: health, housing, etc. and a very large part of the profit obtained from concessing its natural resources to a private company. It’s not only about the short term income the state can have, it is about the long term costs of that exploitation, that a state has to pay. Aside from the environmental costs for exploitation there are social costs: higher healthcare costs in that area, higher conflict potential, rise of prostitution, drug and alcohol abuse. Don’t believe me, check the reports from the World Bank.

Secondly, yesterday an official representative made a very surprising declaration. This guys said, in almost these words: “Having natural resources and not exploiting them makes Romania comparable with Black Africa in the 19th century: a very rich state in natural resources but actually poor”. Oh dear, you are either offending my intelligence in so many ways, either you lack any information and so, right, to make that affirmation. Firstly, Africa is still black. Africa is the black continent. Africa did exploit its natural resources, later on. It still does. The world’s poorest countries are in Africa. In Africa children are weighted before being declared malnourished, even though that kid is so thin he cannot move, because they can’t offer care for everybody. Mothers boil stones so that their children fall asleep thinking and dreaming of food. More than half of the African continent does not have access to drinkable water. Most of the very bloody armed conflicts in the world as we speak happen in Africa.  Romania, however is an European developing country. Not so many years ago we were considered a 3rd world country. However, your comparison, Mr. Official Representative, shows me the level of information government officials posses. Africa is supposed to be the opposite of a model for exploiting natural resources. Natural resources in Africa are what actually maintain the blood bath in Africa, and support poverty.  It may seem contrary to any logical thinking but this is how it happens: people are poor and uneducated, corruption has extremely high rates. Rebels take control on a certain natural resources, a diamond open pit. They control the extraction and the resources, so the commerce with that natural resource and decide who exploits it, and so they finance their weaponry. Check it for yourself, again World Bank Reports on social dangers for natural resources exploitation. If you, Mr. Official Representative, have the courage of publicly making this comparison, you are either well informed and have the arrogance of believing I think Africa is a prospering, flourishing continent, either you shouldn’t be an official representative. No government representative on this planet should ever have the courage to publicly make that comparison. If you ever think it is acceptable, let me tell what nowadays Africa means: civil war, women accepting to be raped so that they can provide water for their families, roads paved with dead bodies, children forced to kill their parents and join the rebels, blood,death, disease and poverty. Ironically, Chevron, the company to be fracking in Romania is involved in many international scandals mostly in 3rd world countries: Angola, Bangladesh, Ecuador and Nigeria.

I am supposed to be living in an European, democratic country and I will not allow any government official to prove me wrong.

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