Prague - Nature protection has become business and thereby discredited in the Czech Republic, and environmental issues have been played down by the former and present heads of state, which caused the position of the Greens to weaken in the past years, Petr Fischer says in Hospodarske noviny (HN) today.
Předseda zelených a pražský lídr před předčasnými volbami do Poslanecké sněmovny Ondřej Liška zahájil 30. září na Palackého náměstí v Praze volební turné strany. ČTK Neliba Martin
At the Green Party´s (SZ) congress last weekend, SZ chairman Ondrej Liska ascribed the SZ´s failure to enter parliament in the autumn elections to its incapability of presenting its programme to voters, Fischer recalls.
However, the problem does not rest in the party´s programme, which experts praised as user-friendly, comprehensible, clear, convincing and witty. It rather rests in a kind of isolation the party faces as a result of the belittling of environmentalist issues and of the disfavour showed to it by those who influenced communication in the past years, Fischer writes.
Both the incumbent and the former presidents, Milos Zeman and Vaclav Klaus, have preferred business to environmental protection. In addition, environmentalist issues have been ignored by the media, Fischer says.
Green issues have been discredited by the fact that nature protection has turned into a lucrative business. Environment protection is not opposed to the economy, former SZ chairman Martin Bursik would say. His view was espoused by most politicians across the political spectrum who launched businesses mainly in the solar energy field, Fischer writes.
Those of the Czech voters who would otherwise incline to support a green policy, believe its present aim is business rather than the proclaimed "Green planet," Fischer writes.
Bursik´s mistake was that he tried to bring to the Czech scene the Western, mainly German style of thinking with its environmentalist aspects that are a natural part of the society also thanks to decades of efforts taken by the German Greens, Fischer writes.
The Germans are green out of their inner conviction. Even if they doubt about the pro-environment policy´s vital importance, they let themselves persuaded by economic factors such as the future prospects, money saving, job positions etc, Fischer writes.
The Czech society still lacks such way of thinking. The Czechs still prefer the economy, with its more immediate material effect, to environment protection. They view the green policy as an luxury activity that the country should pursue only after generating money for it, Fischer writes.
People believe that the country does not have enough money for it, which is why they should not cast their ballots for the SZ as a party promoting green policy, he adds.
After all, the German Greens, too, attained seats in parliament and government only step by step, and they entered parliament only after the Germans understood that they would raise their wealth only by focusing on a healthy life style, Fischer continues.
The thinking of the Czechs has not progressed that far for the time being. The Czechs still believe that the Czech Republic is "a poor relative" compared with Western states and that it has enough time to start seeking "the green luxury," Fischer writes.
The only exception is Prague, where Greens succeeded in the last three general elections, but this was of no use to them in view of their failure outside the capital city, Fischer recalls.
The rich Prague, with its global thinking, is not the Czech Republic. This, along with the feeling of relative poverty, is probably the main cause preventing the green policy from becoming more popular with voters, Fischer writes.
Liska may seek ways to persuade voters that the SZ´s leftist faction of Matej Stropnicky is not harmful to green policy. He may struggle against the media resistance to the SZ and against the cynical scepticism of the Klaus-Zeman type, which unfortunately prevails in Czech debates on environment protection. All this will be of no help to the SZ until a sufficient number of Czechs realises that the rising wealth can also be used otherwise than to buy a car, a house and a holiday trip, Fischer writes.
If the SZ wants to enter parliament, it must steer its campaign in this direction. The Czechs have been long rich enough to make not only their voice but also their eyes green, Fischer concludes.