News / Europe

Gorbachev: Environmental Degradation Threatens Planet

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev,  March 30, 2013.
Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, March 30, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Schlein
— Mikhail Gorbachev has warned that environmental degradation threatens the health of the planet and the security of future generations.  The former Soviet president's pessimistic assessment of the state of the environment came on the 20th anniversary of the founding of Green Cross International, the non-governmental organization he established after the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.
 
Mikhail Gorbachev led the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991, and, during the final two years, was its first and last president.  As Soviet leader, he embarked on the polices known as "glasnost," meaning openness, and "perestroika," meaning reconstruction. These iconic terms have become identified with his quest for political reform of the Soviet Union.

Now, Gorbachev finds these same terms resonating with his concerns for the environment.   Via video from Moscow, the founder of Green Cross International says a sustainable perestroika is needed to overcome the unchecked exploitation of natural resources and prevent the further degradation of the environment.  

Gorbachev says perestroika will not work without glasnost.

"In developing and implementing our plans and doing our work on the environment, what we need above all is glasnost," said Gorbachev. "Glasnost and again I say glasnost, so, it is totally wrong and unacceptable when some leaders and some businessmen are trying to force their way, are trying to do what they plan to do, to do their projects without regard for environmental consequences.”  

Gorbachev accuses the international community of failing to respond to the threats facing humanity and the environment.  He says this disregard of the environment has been going on for two decades.  He warns putting profits over people in dealing with climate change and sustainable development is both shortsighted and dangerous.

The former Soviet leader notes the world population will surpass nine billion people by 2050.  He says this population pressure, coupled with a crumbling world economy and unbridled exploitation of the earth’s natural resources, will aggravate today’s environmental crisis.  He says it will lead to more human suffering, increase poverty, and cause more conflict.

"The economy should be re-oriented to other goals," he said. "It should include such public goods as sustainable environment, peoples’ health in the broadest sense of this word, education, culture, and social cohesion-including the overcoming of the huge gap between wealth and poverty.”  

Gorbachev says the future is not preordained, but rather depends on what people do today.  He says it is urgent to move from talk to action to save the environment.  

He appeals especially to young people to act.  He says young people want to live on a healthy planet.  They do not want to live on what he calls "an empty planet."  He says living on a planet that has no drinkable water would be a tragedy.  Young people, he says, can prevent this from happening.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid