Alexander Potemkin’s Address at the Environmental Forum on 28 September, 2019 in Moscow
Published on the Internet in all the languages of the world.
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Hamburg’s Club first meeting of environmentalists.
The Hamburg Club is aspiring to gather all the world’s national environmental organizations into a single international movement. However, the Club has no intention of engaging in political activity or putting forward any political slogans. Its main task is to resolve environmental problems and protect the environment.
Nor does it aim to create a Green party. We are striving to bring together scientists, experts, activists and concerned citizens in an effort to jointly draw up new scientific, cultural and worldview standards for the future. We are not here to demand, but to recommend. The authorities are much more willing to listen to recommendations than they are to demands. I do not think that environmentalists need political confrontation. Their main priority is to resolve environmental problems of a global nature.
Registration in the Hamburg Club is currently underway in Hamburg, Germany. Hamburg is a prime example of a city where environmental programs are being successfully implemented, environmental protection initiatives are supported and the green movement is well-developed. This was why it was chosen as the center for uniting environmentalists from all over the world.
Russia could in fact also become a center and initiator of our future programs. We have plenty of things to resolve here: the Russian Federation is the largest country territorially, as well as one of the most environmentally vulnerable states. I am talking about its temperature conditions and the steady ongoing rise in temperature over time: Russia does not have enough large internal water bodies to cool the air. This will play a negative role when faced with the consequences of global warming.
But, as you know, Russia and all of its initiatives are rejected in many countries of the world community. The country’s policy is considered toxic. I think this is entirely unjustified.
Nevertheless, if you think it will be beneficial to establish a branch of the Hamburg Club in Russia too, we will endeavor to register one shortly. Despite all their contradictions, Germany and Russia have extremely close relations, both today and in the past (excluding the First and Second World Wars). By the way, I categorically refuse to lead any fund or movement, but wish to remain exclusively an active world environmentalist.
In my project EURICAA – An Environmental Worldview Revolution, I propose introducing a code of new Eco sapiens civilizational standards. It is not a finished product and is open to any new proposals that may arise during our discussion. It is important to keep in mind though that these standards must be adopted by all countries of the world. If only one country pledges to follow them, they will not be very effective and could lead to collapse of the national economy. Strict control over adherence to the new code must be introduced since it will effect and change the consumption sector, consumption being one of the main indicators of economic development. Economic regulation will naturally require the introduction of new legislation.
The world’s environmentalists must reach a unanimous decision by the end of 2020 and present a finally approved standards code with all of its amendments and addenda. A single environmental website (in different languages) must be created for exchanging information, developing strategy and coordinating activity. All of the recommendations drawn up and published on this website will then be offered to parties represented in the State Duma, as well as to the parliaments of other world countries.
Furthermore, there should be ongoing discussion with scientists who believe that no environmental threat exists.
I am disturbed when I see an increasing number of anchormen, guests and participants appearing on television programs dressed in bright, flamboyant clothing. They are triggering consumption and overproduction of the textile industry, which ranks second in terms of environmental pollution after agriculture. This means we must encourage a new culture regarding clothing and nutrition, a new culture regarding the use of transport, electricity, eating utensils, water and all of the Earth’s resources, which we are accustomed to taking and using without a moment’s hesitation and with no thought to replenishing them. We must ultimately come to the understanding that the animal world cannot be a target of our constant predatory exploitation. We need to ban hunting and fishing and put a stop to the exploitation of animals in circuses and their captivity in zoos. I propose introducing a technique for collecting methane from farm animals, which I set forth in my EuRICAA project.
We must stop firework displays, which pollute the air with heavy metal salts that cause disease. We need to introduce a program for installing mirrors at low Earth orbits for reducing electricity consumption and consequently the level of hydrocarbons and uranium-235 in the atmosphere. We need to look for any kind of technology that will process CO2 into O2—oxygen. The world’s academies of sciences must make this initiative their priority, which means encouraging it and giving grants to scientists for pursuing it.
According to my calculations, this year, which has been brutal in terms of natural disasters—fires, flooding and other catastrophes—has cost Russia a total of around 500 billion rubles. Global, not national environmental funds are necessary for restoring taiga settlements and equipping them with all the necessary modern infrastructure. Since Russia’s forests constitute 22%% of all the world’s forests, one country will be unable to finance these programs on its own. A total of 5 to 7 percent of brushwood has accumulated in Russia’s forests, which releases a huge amount of methane, thus leading to mass fires. Brushwood has always been an energy resource for the residents of forest settlements. This situation also applies to the Canadian and Amazon forests.
States should not have to bear all the expenses themselves. Taxes can make a significant contribution to the planet’s environmental rehabilitation. The implementation of environmental projects and programs requires funds not only from state budgets, but also from sponsor funds of environmentally conscious citizens around the world. We need to introduce an environmental protection tax of 0.3% on incomes up to 100,000 rubles, 1% on incomes of 100,000 to 1,000,000 rubles, 2% on incomes of 1,000,000 to 10,000,000 rubles and 3% on incomes 10,000,000 and higher. This tax will be levied on the income of both physical and legal persons, keeping in mind the environmental condition of each country.
I propose introducing a socially negative term “environmental violator” and publically assigning it to citizens who commit environmental violations. Anyone assigned such an undesirable status must justify themselves and amend their ways, proving that they will no longer harm the environment with their behavior.
I think that the anchormen of every media center—TV, radio, newspapers, bloggers—should go to environmental organizations to receive all the pertinent information. Many of them know nothing about global warming, the melting ice caps, the increase in CO2 content in the atmosphere, or the microplastics now consumed by and found in most living organisms, and so on. I have not heard one realistic proposal about how to fight forest fires in any media publications or addresses.
Yesterday someone sent me Vladimir Soloviev’s commentary from his Sunday Evening program, where, in the presence of absolutely incompetent experts, a discussion took place of Greta Thunberg and her speech in the UN. I was shocked at the lack of culture— throughout the program the anchorman slandered the girl in wild abandon, without being fully informed of the situation. Interrupting everyone, Mr. Soloviev tried to prove that humanity is having no anthropogenic effect on the planet and that there are no global environmental problems. This gave the impression that the last book Soloviev read was Puss in Boots by Charles Perrault, and that he himself was a poor student in school. The fragment of the program devoted to the environment was complete nonsense! Ninety-seven percent of the world’s scientists believe that anthropogenic activity is currently destroying the environment. And 198 scientific organizations around the world, including the Russian Academy of Sciences, confirm this. And only Soloviev is convinced that this is not the case! Why was such a person entrusted to lead an environmental discussion on one of the central channels?
We should applaud Greta—not one adult, even with media opportunities, has raised the environmental problem to the level she has. Of course, there are people concerned about this, people who are worried about the environment. If an adult were to defend environmental problems, people like Soloviev would begin accusing them of financial interest or other sins. This was why a girl was entrusted with the task. When adults are too chicken to stand up, it is children who are left to speak out and act for them.
However, I would like for not only the younger generation, but for all of us to become socially active regarding the environment. Every citizen should think about the future of the planet, their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Every resident of planet Earth must take an active stance, otherwise our world is doomed.