In Romania, People Are Resorting To Witchcraft To Stop Illegal Loggers

Illegal logging has considerably degraded Romania's pristine old-growth forests demanding immediate action from authorities.
Illegal logging has considerably degraded Romania's pristine old-growth forests demanding immediate action from authorities.

The devilish hunger of the illegal logging trade is consuming Romania’s forests at a rampant rate. The hapless circumstances have forced environment activists to harness the indigenous belief in witchcraft to stop the felling of trees. Thus, Greenpeace Romania launched the “Curse for Good” campaign to mobilise Romanians to put pressure on the Ministry of Waters and Forests to act against the unauthorized logging activities prevalent in the country.

The Monster To Be Cursed

Romania has the largest remaining virgin forest in Europe that is home to precious ecosystems. The country’s forests encompass about 7 million hectares (about a third of Romania), around half a million of which are old-growth forests. Nicknamed “the Amazon of Europe,” these wild habitats nurture Europe's most abundant brown bear population.

Unfortunately, human greed has found its way to Romania to steal timber from its forests to make furniture, building materials, paper, etc. According to a BBC report, spruce forests in the country’s north and east, and beech forests in the south are the hardest hit. 

For years, environment activists have been struggling to save Romania’s forests from the illegal logging industry. With corruption and violence ruling, the conflict has mostly tipped in favor of the logging industry. In most recent times, the battle took an ugly turn when two forest rangers trying to guard the forests against the illegal activities were murdered.

On November 4, a highly successful protest organised by Greenpeace Romania witnessed thousands of Romanians marching in the capital Bucharest and some other places to raise their voice against illegal logging.

According to Greenpeace Romania, the country is losing 6 hectares of forest per hour. For each tree that is cut legally, one is illegally chopped down. The annual loss of 20 million cubic meters of wood through unlawful harvesting in the country translates to a loss of 5 billion lei to the Romanian budget. Add to that the ecological and social consequences of such felling, and there is a gigantic issue.

The Unconventional Approach: Romanian Witchcraft To Save Trees

In Romania, the homeland of superstition and the Dracula, witches thrived at a time when medieval witch-hunts plagued most of Europe leading to the mass murder of at least 100,000 women. 

In fact, witchcraft is alive in the country to this date. Even the country’s politicians fear it. Hundreds of witches practice their craft across Romania claiming to cure diseases, rid people of evil spells, predict the future, make and break marriages, and more. And they have a sizeable following from all walks of Romanian life.

So, given the indifference of authorities regarding illegal logging, Greenpeace Romania adopted the unconventional approach to use witchcraft as a tool to grasp the attention of the country towards the issue. 

Instead of celebrities, influencers and activists, Greenpeace took the assistance of Irina Primavera, a real Romanian witch, to cast a spell on illegal loggers. 

In the campaign film “Curse for Good,” Irina, who claimed to have inherited her special powers from her grandmother Dochi, recognizes the trees as beings with souls. She said: “I saw the disaster they left here and what is happening in our country. They left the place bare, they cut down souls, trees that were hundreds of years old. They left a lot of pain behind them.”

To stop them (the illegal loggers), Irina cast a spell that whoever cut down a tree, a curse would befall on them and their family, and their relatives for 99 generations. 

Whether Irina’s curse will work or not is a debatable issue but the rampant deforestation that is taking place worldwide will undoubtedly deprive the future generations of every being on Earth of clean air, water, and food. Curse or not, everyone will be suffer.


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