Once upon a time, a rich hypochondriac was complaining about pains in his head and stomach. He consulted a wise man who pointed out that the root of the problem lay somewhere else: in the man’s eyes. To resolve the persistent headache and stomachache, the sage suggested focusing on just one color in the surrounding… Continue reading Painting the World Green
Once upon a time, long, long ago, I testified before the great assembly of our land. When I describe this event to children today, it really does sound to them like a fairy tale. Once upon a time — a time before the world splintered into a million pieces and America became its current disunited… Continue reading A Fairy Tale from 2050
During the 1980s, Poland had perhaps the strongest civil society in the world. The Solidarity trade union movement, created in August 1980, eventually counted 10 million members, a quarter of Poland’s population. And when the government cracked down on Solidarity, declaring Martial Law in December 1981, the opposition was strong enough to survive underground under… Continue reading Poland’s Uncivil Society
It was certainly cool to be an environmentalist in Hungary in the 1980s. Demonstrations against the government’s plan to build a dam on the Danube drew lots of young people. Opposition to the Communist government, even in the more politically acceptable form that the incipient Green movement took, attracted the counter-culture, the dissidents, and the… Continue reading Making Green Cool Again
Hungary has a rich tradition of environmental activism, from the anti-dam campaigns of the 1980s to the nature conservation efforts of the post-Communist period. It has also seen the rise and fall of a number of Green parties, including the most recent, Politics Can Be Different (LMP). In the run-up to the most recent parliamentary… Continue reading Rebuilding Hungary’s Green Politics
For the last 20 years, the small village of Kapolcs has held an arts festival in the summer time. The town has fewer than 500 people, but thousands flock there during the festival to hear music, buy crafts, and eat traditional Hungarian countryside food. Kapolcs is also on the edge of a national park that… Continue reading Toward Local Resilience
Video games usually provide you with multiple lives. If you step on a landmine or get hit by an assassin, you get another chance. Even if such virtual reincarnation is not built into the rules of the game, you can always reboot and start over again. You can try again hundreds of times until you… Continue reading Earth: Game Over?
The environmental movement has long stressed the importance of personal responsibility. What we do as individuals might seem trivial when set against the huge complex systems that regulate the earth. But if enough individuals change their habits, it can make a difference. And so we do what we can: turn down our thermostats, install insulation,… Continue reading Participatory Environmentalism
Every few years in East-Central Europe, a new political movement emerges that challenges not only the status quo but the very substance of the political system. Sometimes the movement targets the party patronage system. Sometimes it focuses on the corruption that enriches those who participate in governance. Sometimes it elevates a set of issues that… Continue reading Can Politics Be Different?
As part of their industrialization policies, the Communist governments of East-Central Europe built nuclear reactors to boost their energy production. Only Poland, at the time of the changes in 1989, didn’t have any nuclear reactors on line. Of the 26 reactors in the region, 24 were Soviet-designed. Although they generally weren’t the same models as… Continue reading Addressing Nuclear Power