Russia in the Surrounding World - a View
from the Small Country of Holland
At the end of 1960s ecological problems sharpened greatly in Europe, especially as a result of polluted water and air. In many water reservoirs fish either disappeared or they were so polluted that it was forbidden to eat them. As a result of industrial development and road traffic, “smog” appeared. Journalists drew much attention to ecological problems both in articles and broadcasts.
In 1971 the Ministry of Ecology was established (then it was called the Ministry of Peoples’ Health and Ecological Hygiene.) Then, at the beginning of the 1970s such non-governmental nature preservation organizations as “Vereniging Milieudefensie” (Friends of the Earth), “Stiching Natuur en Milieu” (The Society for the Preservation of Nature and the Environment), “WNF” (the Dutch branch of The Worldwide Foundation for the Preservation of Wild Nature) and other appeared. Public opinion polls conducted in 1975 showed that 45 % of the Dutch are positively in favor of and 44 % agree with the decision that the government has to adopt strict measures of controlling of environmental pollution.
In the second half of the 1970s the government of Holland adopted a number of new laws in the field of nature protection, including the particular problems of environmental pollution. The first environmental restrictions were introduced. As a result of these measures and plans the most urgent problems in the sphere of environmental pollution have been, to a great extent, solved: pollutants in discharges have now been caught; and practically all industrial and economical-household run-off has been purified. It will require more than just technical measures for Holland to continue to progress along the path of sustainable development. Now it is high time to stimulate the transition to an “ecologically clean” way of life. Holland has put forth considerable means for the solution of environmental problems throughout the world, mainly in Eastern Europe (including Russia) and in developing countries. There exists the opinion that a sufficiently wealthy country should support poorer and less developed countries.
Environmental problems do not respect borders. CO2 discharges in Russia also have an influence the green house effect. And Holland, which is located below sea level, is quite vulnerable in this sense. Insofar as the nations of the world came to an agreement on the joint reduction of CO2 emissions, it is cheaper to achieve this in Russia, for example, than in Holland. This is because $ 1 in Russia can achieve a higher ecological result then in Western Europe, since there are still places in Russia where initial investments have not yet been made. It is in precisely these areas that the greatest ecological results can be attained.
Ecological directed towards Eastern Europe usually provide for the sale of Western European technologies, which simply serves as a stimulus for the economic development of Western countries.
The Dutch do not like to speak of crises. A Dutchman is a pragmatist and he sees solvable problems, not crises. It was fashionable in the 1970s to talk about the global ecological crisis.
Especially with the release of the book The Limits of Growth in 1972, in which computer analyses showed that in several decades population growth would lead to an intolerably high level of pollution. In the 1990s it became fashionable to speak of sustainable development, which is much more constructive.
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