Unable to afford heating oil because of austerity measures and big hikes in taxes on energy products, more Greeks are turning to the forests and using wood for fuel, even if it means taking to illegal logging, according to the British newspaper The Guardian.
The newspaper reported on one couple who could no longer afford to live in Athens and moved to the area of Mt. Pelion, north of the city. Yiannis Chadziathanasiou and Natasa Rempati said that until last year they had good jobs in fashion and architecture.
“Although we were both earning good salaries, taking home around €3,500 a month, we were really squeezed. There was never a euro left over. Our heating bill alone cost 3,000 euros and that was before the 500 euros we spent on petrol and all the new taxes. We were stressed and really anxious and didn’t think we could afford to go through another winter in Athens,” said the 29-year-old Rempati.
“I’m not used to chopping firewood and my body aches but then doing it this way we only spend €300 on heating our home,” said the 33-year-old Chadziathanasiou. He said that, “All our friends have gone to England and Holland mostly. We could easily go to New York where I’d often attend shows and have lots of contacts but we want to give it a go here. Greece is a beautiful country even if our politicians have destroyed it. Come back in a year and see if we have survived.”