Others have been saying it for a while now, but former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev has put it most eloquently: there’s no fixing the economic crisis without also taking into account our environmental crises.
“This financial turmoil, which will heavily affect the real economy, was absolutely predictable, and it is only one aspect of the wider crisis of all the current development systems,” Gorbachev told the Inter Press Service (IPS) this week. “In fact, there are connected simultaneous crises that are rapidly emerging. These relate to energy, water, food, demography, climate change and the ecosystem devastation.”
All these problems, Gorbachev says, can be boiled down into one root cause: the mistaken belief in unlimited growth on a planet with finite resources.
While it’s possible to deal with that reality and start fixing the world’s problems, economic and ecological, too many people and industries are either ignoring or actively silencing the challenges we face, according to Gorbachev. The antidote he’s calling for: a global glasnost (openness) that exposes the true nature of the Earth’s environmental threats.
That glasnost is especially needed in the media, which needs to shift from its superficial, breaking-news-type approach to a more investigative, long-term-consequences-focused approach, Gorbachev says.
“Time is running out,” he says. “The most efficient way to tackle the urgent environmental problems our planet is facing is transparency, and the media have a vital role to play.”
Words of wisdom from a long-time leader in social change (the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Gorbachev has since founded both Green Cross International and the Gorbachev Foundation).
You can read more of the Gorbachev interview at IPS.