The Snow Left Us and Moved to Other Places

Reporting for Project Survival Media in Romania.
By Andrada Farcău with images by Mihai Giurgiu.

©Mihai Giurgiu

Romania was a land of diversity. We used to have four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Now we are having two seasons. So, what can be the reason of changing? It could be a natural transformation, just a temporary phenomena or the global warming. All Romanian people are affected by this change: their lands are not that good as before, their fruit production has problems and people have to fight more against the floods. The Romanian scientists say that we can’t prove yet if one of the causes is global warming or not and if the human race is responsible of it.

©Mihai Giurgiu

Săcel Mountain is a little village in Romania. Here, farmers used to have more than 600 sheep, 300 cows, lots of pigs and other animals. Now, they don’t have sheep anymore, and a family has maybe a cow and no more than two pigs.

The agriculture was strongly based on potatoes, corn and tomatoes. The altitude (771- 1125 m) of the village didn’t give people the possibility of having something else. But now, they are concerned because of the harder conditions to grow their vegetables and fruits compared with 20 years ago.

Asking people if they noticed possible changes regarding the four seasons, their answers are simple and complex at the same time. However, they are not surprised about the question, because those facts affect every corner of their life. Why? Their food and their entire activity are limited on agriculture and farming. Therefore agriculture means land, weather, rain, snow, ice, sun and a good connection between all these natural phenomena.

“Nothing good is happening anymore”

Older people (their ages are between 60 and 80 years) are concerned. They have lived enough to have an experience of appreciation about good or bad results of “their agriculture”. The Oneţ family has lived in Săcel Mountain for almost 55 years. They had a little farm in the past with sheep and cows. Now they have one cow, two pigs and ten chickens, and they practice agriculture for their own use.

©Mihai Giurgiu

“I remember when I was younger and the snow was so big that I could hardly go out just in the neighborhood. Since a few years ago, winters are warmer and it’s rarely snowing hard. I saw on T.V. that in places where it has never snowed, last years they had snow. As I can see, the snow left us and moved to other places, which is bad, because the land is freezing and it’s losing its good properties. When spring should be here and have good rain, it is freezing again and after few weeks of warming we lose our fruits. We have less and less vegetables and fruits. All the time when it should be raining is drought. When it should be warm is raining too much. Nothing good is happening anymore”, Ms. Oneţ.
Last ten years, people lost their crops because of ice rain: “This ice rain was rare when I was young and I never heard my parents complaining about it, but now… a big part of our cultivation is destroyed. We don’t know what to do about it. We are old anyway and our children live in the city” says Ms. Oneţ.
Missis Oneţ showed us some corn from the past year and gave us a gift: a pocket of walnuts.

Changes produced by man, still a supposition

Florin Moldovan, scientist and teacher at Geography University from Cluj Napoca, has a balanced opinion about the weather changes in Romania: “It is too soon to say something that big like climate changes are caused by human behavior. Until now we just can say that dangerous phenomena are more frequent and intense. You have to understand that we don’t have enough proof in this way and we don’t have relevant statistics about it”.

The floods made them change the road trough the forest

©Mihai Giurgiu

In summer of 2005 Săcel Mountain was affected by floods, created by unusual powerful storm and rain. The weather devastated some lands, a bridge and a few houses. About that time, people have bad memories: they were isolated and helped with provisions by Romanian Government.

The oldest people from the village remember that floods like these began in last 20 years, but the worst was four years ago: “We couldn’t use our cars to get aliments to the village and we had access to the other communities only through the forest”.

©Mihai Giurgiu

Virgil and his parents are saying that things are changing: “The summer is dry now, but in the same time we have floods. The rain is not enough to naturally irrigate our lands, and we have a big storm during the year that makes bad things happen. And that’s it. It rains often in autumn and spring, but this will never help the land. It will destroy it. Those situations are totally different than 20 or 50 years ago”.

People from Săcel Mountain feel some changes about their weather and scientists approve those opinions. A tendency of increase in average temperatures is clearly visible and demonstrated. Romanian scientists are declaring that the stats are clearly showing an increase in frequency and intensity of meteorological risk phenomena during past years. They are reserved in saying for sure if this is human fault or if Mother Nature is doing its circuit, but anyway a change in human mentality concerning climate change is a must.

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About rvanwaarden

Robert van Waarden is a photographer that focuses on climate change and social innovation. He has spent the last six years focusing on the social movements enacting change and the human and geographical effects of a changing climate. Van Waarden believes in the power of photography to make a difference. He believes that photographers play a key role in helping shift this world towards a thriving and sustainable future. View all posts by rvanwaarden

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