Poles get OK to gather firewood as energy prices soar

Category : Business

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. rummage / ˈrʌm ɪdʒ / (v.) – to thoroughly search for something by moving things around and looking in or around them

    She rummaged through her bag to find her missing wallet.

  2. populist / ˈpɒp yə lɪst / (adj.) – caring about the needs and wants of ordinary people instead of the richer few 

    Populist leaders fight against systems and rules that benefit only the rich.

  3. fumble / ˈfʌm bəl / (v.) – to deal with something in a clumsy way

    The players didn’t attend practice. That’s why they fumbled the first game.

  4. squabble / ˈskwɒb əl / (n.) – a long and aimless argument

    We didn’t finish anything because our meeting turned into a squabble about the budget.

  5. reform / rɪˈfɔrm / (v.) – to change something to fix or improve it

    The school reformed its curriculum to match the more modern needs of students.


Read the text below.

Poland’s authorities are reminding citizens they can rummage forests for firewood to heat their homes as energy costs continue to soar.

Opponents of the country’s populist government called the firewood reminder a sign that it’s fumbling the economy.

Inflation in Poland is now at nearly 14%, with fuel prices surging to over 8 zlotys ($1.87) a liter. The government of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki blames Russia’s war in Ukraine for driving up costs, calling it “Putinflacja” — or “Putinflation.”

But critics of Morawiecki’s party, Law and Justice, say the war is only part of the picture. They argue costs have been driven up by seven years of the ruling party’s social spending policies, including cash handouts to families with children and the elderly.

Billions in European Union funds could help ease the crunch for many, but they continue to be held up over an ongoing squabble over Poland’s judiciary. The chief of the EU’s executive arm, Ursula von der Leyen, was in Warsaw June 2 to tell Polish leaders that the money will flow only once Poland reforms its judiciary.

“After yesterday’s visit, I can say that theoretically we are billionaires, but in practice, we will all be collecting brushwood,” said Donald Tusk, the leader of the largest opposition party, the pro-market Civic Platform, on Friday. “Because this seems to be the latest idea to prevent Polish poverty that Law and Justice has prepared for all of us.”

The public has long been allowed to purchase branches left after logging in state forests.

“Collecting branches for fuel is allowed at all times, with the consent of the forester,” Edward Siarka, the deputy minister of climate and environment, reminded last week.

He said more people are asking how to go about obtaining firewood following the start of the war in Ukraine and the energy market turmoil.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • What do you think about gathering firewood as a solution to rising energy prices (ex. creative, not carefully thought out)? Why? Discuss.
  • Do you think that this kind of solution would also work in your country? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Some people criticize the Polish government’s social spending policies, such as cash handouts to families with children and the elderly. Do you think the government should continue with these spending policies despite the criticisms? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Should the government consult the common people when allotting its budget and creating spending policies? Why or why not? Discuss.
Category : Business