Poland is more divided than ever before, between those who defend traditional values and those who want Poland to modernise and look to the future. The government has put in place an ultra-conservative policy which runs counter to the values of the European Union.
Despite injunctions issued by Brussels, Poland continues to exploit its black gold: coal. In the south-west of the country, Michal is a miner, like his father and grandfather before him. In 2022, 15 miners lost their lives in accidents caused by rock slides or fires. The use of coal makes Poland one of the most polluted states in Europe, and in many areas, the air has become toxic. In winter, the city of Rybnik is shrouded in a thick fog of coal particles that darken the sky and cause serious respiratory illnesses.
In Poland, many civil liberties are now under threat. The Law and Justice party, in power since 2015, is attacking women’s rights in particular. Poland, along with Malta, is one of the last remaining countries in the European Union ban abortion. As a result, 80,000 women have illegal abortions every year. The associations that help them risk criminal prosecution. We followed the trial of Justyna Wydrzyńska, who faces three years in prison for supplying abortion pills. Izabela, a thirty-year-old mother, died after doctors refused to terminate her dangerous pregnancy.
Indifferent to the president’s reactionary rhetoric, ultra-nationalist groups like the Youth of Greater Poland flourish. With flaming torches, dark suits and tightly packed ranks, its members march through the streets defending the idea of a white, Catholic and openly homophobic Poland. Faced with these threats, some LGBT activists are even considering fleeing abroad. Despite this, a large part of the population rejects this return to conservative ideology. The country is now divided between the defenders of traditionalist values and the supporters of a modern and tolerant Poland.
Every year, 500,000 Europeans die prematurely due to air pollution. One of the main causes of this pollution is coal, still used in many countries. And this air pollution has no borders. It contaminates the entire continent.More info