Apart from the economic crisis that greek citizens have to deal with, a sharp increase of heating fuel price occurred as government decide to increase taxes, making it as expensive as car fuel. The new starting price was set at 1.35 euros per litre (1.7 U.S. dollars) resulting in a tremendous decrease in the demand for heating oil by 90% and a shift to cheaper alternative ways of heating.
More specifically, in rural areas, and mostly in northern Greece where temperatures during winter are mainly below zero, the majority of consumers made the switch last year, choosing principally fireplaces and wood stoves, while demand for wood and pellets has soared. In particular, the demand for wood noting a 100 % increase in comparison with 2011, while there are forecasts about severe shortages this winter whereas the average price of firewood has risen by some 10 percent from last year.
The unprecedented demand for wood resulted in a voluminous increase in illegal logging in mountainous regions, where forests and even orchards are being depleted. Obviously, there are worries regarding the depletion of the greek forest area and moreover the emissions accruing from the consumption of wood. Unfortunatelly, for greek citizens it is very difficult to protect the environment because they must to protect themselves from the freezing winter, especially for those with very low income and with sensitive family members who are very old and very young.
To conclude, as we can see the crisis that mainly affects the south Europe (Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal) does not have only economic or social impacts but has envrionmental too. And as citizens are incapable of acting, should governments take some action in order to protect the public by extremely cold winters and also to protect the environment before its too late?