H.E. DR. FERENC NLADL,
OF THE REPUBLIC OF HUNGARY
SEPTEMBER 7, 2000
Madam President, Mr. President,
It is often, but rightly said, that global challenges require
global responses. In our time, nations can and
will only be able to fight poverty, transnational organized crime,
international terrorism and illicit drug?trafficking, if they act in
concert. Hungary is ready and
willing to play her part to this end.
One of the major concerns of the international community is the
issue of the protection of the environment.
I believe that the time has come for us all to rededicate
ourselves to address environmental issues, including
degradation of the environment and, at the same time, exert redoubled
efforts to preserve the blessings of nature
on our planet for generations to come. The principle of polluter pays
should find its proper place in all relevant
In this regard, Hungary is more than prepared to act regionally as well
as globally towards this effect.
Akit az egesz erdekel itt cim:
Mivel az elnok megemlitette gondoltam ide tartozik .... (ja a legtobb
beszedben meg ennyi sincs ....)
| Gabor Szilagyi (Mr.) |
| Computer System Adm. http://www.nyo.unep.org |
| UNEP/New York Office Tel: +1-212-963-7781 |
| Fax: +1-212-963-7341 |
LET'S STOP RACING EACH OTHER AND GO FOR BEAR INSTEAD
I've heard the joke about the bear before, and so, probably, have you.
are sitting outside their tent in a forest campsite when they see a huge angry
bear charging toward them. One starts lacing up his running shoes. The other
says, "Are you crazy? You'll never outrun that bear!" The first says,
have to outrun the bear. I only have to outrun you."
Haha, kind of sick humor really, down the memory hole it goes with all
jokes. But recently it came back up for me in a setting that got me to keep
thinking about it.
It was a meeting about the future of the forest industry. We were
the rapid growth of sawmills in New England. We were wondering whether the
forest can grow trees fast enough to supply the rising capacity of the
Wondering whether mill owners ask that question before they expand. Wondering
what would happen, if (or when) the mills, through their independent expansion
decisions, collectively outgrow the forest.
Folks who know the industry well were saying, in effect, that the mills expand
because they have to, to adopt new labor-saving and wood-saving
cut costs, to underbid each other in the marketplace. They can't know the
expansion plans of other mills until those plans are built. They have
no way of
tracking the combined wood demand of all mills against the total supply capacit
of the forest. They only know that if, by expanding, they can cut their costs,
then they can survive to expand again. If they fall behind, a bigger, cheaper
mill takes their business. Grow or die.
That's when an experienced forester told the joke about the bear. It
because we've been hearing the same story in other contexts.
Corn farmers in the Midwest, who get corn yields that are the envy of
will do or buy just about anything that will help them grow more corn.
Fertilizer, herbicide, pesticide, gene-spliced seed, newfangled tractor, more
land whatever boosts output, they go for it.
They also know -- it's amazing to hear every blessed one of them say it
as they put more corn on the market, the price of corn goes down, down,
The more corn they grow, the lower the price, the more they have to grow
MAKE THE SAME INCOME. They're on a treadmill that no one is turning but
Each one knows that if he's the first to adopt the new technology, his yield
gets a bit ahead of the others, and he survives. If he doesn't, his is
farm on the auction block.
You don't have to beat the bear, you just have to beat the other poor suckers
who are trying to beat the bear.
We're also working with shrimp fishing fleets in the Gulf of Mexico. Everyone
there, from the fisheries experts to the guys working on the boats,
agree that there are about 30 percent more trawlers out in the Gulf than there
should be for the fishery to be profitable. Another way to say this is, 30
percent of the time they lose money fishing and would be better off staying
Because shrimp are wonderfully prolific, this boat excess doesn't appear
wiping out the resource, yet anyway. (That is happening in dozens of other
fisheries.) It is just wiping out profits. Yet every fleet captain
puts all he
can into bigger, faster, more efficient boats to beat the other guys to that
limited supply of shrimp. Since the resource is used to capacity, for every
boat that catches more, another catches less. Grow or die.
One sick joke applies to three very different industries. Probably many other
industries as well.
Even in these three I know, the cost of trying to outrun the other guy
the bear is immense. There's the wasted investment, the idled machines, the
laid-off workers, the bankrupt families, the dying communities. There's the
incalculable environmental cost of pushing a resource to, or beyond, its
The northeast forest has spreading clearcuts and ever-younger trees. The
seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico is constantly plowed up by shrimp
of bycatch, young fish of many species, are dumped out dead from shrimp
Millions of dollars worth of fertilizers and pesticides wash off
the wells and streams of the Mississippi watershed.
Somehow we have created an economy that keeps our most basic and necessary
producers on the edge of ruin, living in fear, preying on each other, wasting
financial, human, social, and natural assets at an enormous rate.
If we had just a minute to think, might it not be wiser to stop racing each
other against disaster, and to start working together to address the
(Donella Meadows is an adjunct professor at Dartmouth College and
the Sustainability Institute in Hartland, Vermont.)