News / Europe

Green Cross Warns of Impending Ecological Disasters

Participants applaud on September 2, 2013, in Geneva during the opening of a conference to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Green Cross International.
Participants applaud on September 2, 2013, in Geneva during the opening of a conference to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Green Cross International.
Lisa Schlein
The Environmental Organization Green Cross International warns the world is facing a multitude of new threats, which will have severe consequences if left unchecked.  Leading political, environmental and academic personalities are gathering in Geneva this week to mark the Organization’s 20th anniversary and to explore ways to tackle environmental and other global threats.

The President of Green Cross International, Alexander Likhotal, tells VOA he views the current anniversary celebrations with mixed emotions.  He said he is proud of what the organization has achieved since it was launched 20 years ago.  “But, of course the impact of that work could have been bigger.  Therefore, though during the 20 years we have done maybe more than we planned, but less than we hoped,” he stated. 

Green Cross is the brainchild of former Soviet leader, Mikhael Gorbachev.  He realized many States were in deep ecological trouble and needed help to resolve their environmental problems.  

He modeled the Green Cross after the International Committee of the Red Cross.  However, instead of providing emergency medical aid, Green Cross applies Red Cross principles of impartiality and expediency in offering environmental solutions to countries in need.  

And, those needs are growing.  The United Nations reports more than 600 disasters have occurred in 2011 and 2012.  Over 300 million people were affected, inflicting one-half billion dollars in economic losses.

Green Cross President Likhotal said 20 years ago, when an earthquake or other disaster occurred, the world responded by providing humanitarian aid without thinking about the environmental damage and its possible consequences.

“When Green Cross came into existence, our idea was to blend two sides of this problem because if we ignore environmental issues, they hit back very quickly.  They reach the population, they damage the health of the people, they create unbearable conditions for them,” Likhotal said. 

Over the past two decades, Green Cross International has been tackling the interrelated threats of nuclear arms, chemical weapons, unsustainable development, and man-induced climate change.

These threats have not gone away.  But, Likhotal notes, new threats that did not exist at the time of the Cold War 20 to 25 years ago have emerged. He said it is more difficult to deal with these threats because they are more diffuse.  “They cannot be associated with a specific enemy today.  They are more dispersed exposures to dangers.  We are exposed, all of us, to these new dangers-terrorism, climate problems, water problems," he added.  

This week’s anniversary celebrations include exhibitions, cultural events and panel discussions.  One highlight is an awards ceremony to honor individuals and organizations for outstanding work in preventing and responding to environmental emergencies.

A daylong Earth Dialogues Conference will cap the week’s events.  Gorbachev and other eminent personalities will discuss the challenges confronting the 21st century.  They aim to draw up a set of concrete proposals to tackle the ecological degradation that is threatening the health and stability of the Earth.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid