Symposium on Ecological Alternatives in Hungary Nádasdy Academy, June 25-26, 1999
Motto: Have You Done Anything Yet? What Can we do Together?
Ecological Alternatives in Hungary The Nádasdy Foundation initiates regular projects for outlining a sustainable and habitable present and future. Its goal is not problem analysis, but rather the development of solutions and dealing with offering alternatives especially significant to Hungary. It was in this spirit that the Symposium on Ecological Alternatives was held by the Nádasdy Academy on June 25-26, 1999.
The Temple of the Universe
Opening speech at the Symposium on Ecological Alternatives.
"Presumably there is not a single day in the world today without a conference being held on one of the two popular topics: information and ecology. There would be nothing wrong with this fact, but for the feeling that it is the tail that wags the dog, and naturally I mean an intellectual tail and an intellectual dog, instead of the other way around. I know that in the opening speech of a conference it is not polite to criticize the form itself, but it is even more awkward to admit to the fact that we never talk about what all these deliberations are worth, what our thoughts on the intellectual orbit of ecology are worth. For a long time now I have been under the impression that the narrative on ecology has been - and please forgive my officiousness - thickly interwoven with preaching, with intellectual sermons."
Past and Future. A Discussion with Ferenc Nádasdy
Members of the Nádasdy family have been well known figures throughout Hungary's history since the XII. century, the era to which their family tree dates back. One of the most famous members was Ferenc Nádasdy who took part in Miklós Wesselényi's conspiracy against the Habsburg's and who, despite the intervention of the Pope in his behalf, was sentenced to death and beheaded in Vienna in 1671. One of the family's descendants, who is also named Ferenc, has enhanced the family's reputation by founding the Nádasdy Foundation for the Arts and Environment. The first Nádasdy Foundation was founded by his great-grandfather in 1857, at which time he placed 5,250 Forints with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences "with the purpose of rewarding the best Hungarian epic poem's author with the sum of the money's interest". János Arany, the great Hungarian poet, wrote his epic The Death of Buda for the foundation's competition. Ferenc Nádasdy would like to revive this tradition and in the future plans to advertise literary competitions as well, as part of the foundation's mandate.
Lakható város és élhető vidék
The Concept of the Autonomous Settlement
Globalized economy and the dissolution of borders carries within it the potential for the loss of identity and the defencelessness of the economy. Instead of warding off negative risks we should meet the positive challenges the situation has to offer head on. This is only possible if the operation of regions is embedded within world economy, and can only be carried out based on self-government and autonomous operation, and a strong cultural and economic self awareness.
The Prospects of Environmentally Friendly Transportation Policies
The object of today's transportation policy-making is for environmentally friendly modes of transportation.
Gyűrűfű: Building an Eco-Village and the Problems That Go With It
In the collective social conscience of Hungary the abandoned village of Gyűrűfű is considered the victim of socialist society-building and centralization. A documentary was filmed about it and the village's fate created quite a sensation. Since the early '90's, however, a new Gyűrűfű has come to life, in the same place and in continuity with the previous one, but founded on a completely different, more positive concept.
Agriculture, not Agri-Business!
It's impossible to agree with extreme opinions which would banish agriculture due to environmentalist considerations. Today, the task lies in finding the optimum degree of intensity and form of agriculture that best suits the environment. We must admit that local and passive nature and environment protection systems, as well as those that are based on subsequent restrictions, have failed. The system of using the environment with the goal of production and consumption according to the fundamental concepts of active, regional protection carries more promise if it is transformed in such a way, that besides production the task of regions would be the sustaining of the population and the stabilization of society, culture and environment.
Life in the Big City
Imagine an ideal situation, in which high quality environmentalist education begins in nursery school. Children would be aware of their responsibility from a very early age. What would cities be like then? Our hope is, that it will be better and it must be better.
Dezső Ekler's Theory of the Army Service Corps-Society
Dezső Ekler represented one of the sharpest views of the symposium. In his opinion there is no alternative to the destruction of nature any more for nature, and human intellect within it, has deformed to such a degree that the only possibility left is reconstruction. Yet his pessimism doesn't suggest we resign ourselves to the inevitable, but emphasizes the incredible difficulty of setting things right.
Habitable City - Livable Country. A Debate Summary
Gábor Nagy: "The sequence of certain things cannot be turned around. The spirit of the times is a part of the human thought process, and the paradigm of the times cannot be violated: If the spirit of the times changes so does the paradigm. However, local rules of the game can be created which have an effect on the sign of the times, while being significant over and beyond it. This way they give rise to a new spirit of the times. And that's when professional 'smarts' come in, technical solutions. The reason why techniques based on 'alternative' energy cannot be introduced is not that they aren't good or that they don't meet professional requirements, but that they are not accepted by the spirit of the times."
We Turned Destructive Storms into a Daily Phenomena
"The process is the following: The transformation of the macro-climate, that is the change in climate, is due to two causes that have the opposite effect. On one hand the acceleration of combustion, on the other the reduction of area covered with vegetation, mainly forests."
Az egész-ség joga
Hope for the Next Century
Hungary could be one of the world's great powers rich in intellectual resources if only human beings would be considered a source of energy in the eyes of the country's leaders, as well as in the eyes of individuals. Unfortunately, this is not what we experience.
Eco-Medicine: The Chances of Gentle Healing
If the wisdom of the saying holds true, according to which "Doctors treat; nature cures," we must ask the question: can healing exist without ecological humility?
Consumerism: The Race in the Viscous Circle
A majority of today's environmental and health problems derive from our models of consumption and the modus operandi of a consumer society.
The Food-Toxicology Problems of a Healthy Diet
Chemicals and pesticides used in agricultural production pose a constant threat to plants and animals, and through the food chain, to humans as well. Soil, water, animal and plant derivatives transmit the poisons of an over-polluted environment into our food. Dangerous dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are carcinogenic.
Malfunctions in the Ecological Integrity of the Environment and Man: Allergies and Ragweed
In Hungary the number of allergy-related diseases is on the rise. Western civilization is an important contributing factor to this phenomenon, along with the growing number of allergens in our environment. The most frequent cause of respiratory allergies is ragweed pollen. The imbalance of both the immune system and ecosystem due to inappropriate agricultural activity and the ever increasing areas of neglected environment, are the principal contributing factors. Action has been taken by individuals, the authorities, and even the media to restrict profuse ragweed growth but the effectiveness of these steps has been minimal. Much more effective steps must be taken in the future if we are to put a stop to the growth in numbers of the allergic population.
The Right to Health and Wholeness. A Debate Summary
Imre Lázár: "Non-violent medicine is wise medicine, but it cannot renounce the power of efficacy, of often invasive procedures. The problem arises when industrial and business interests propel the intrusion of medicine into areas of life which are otherwise not considered the terrain of medicine. Examples of this type of medicalization are the regulation of the menstrual cycle using birth control pills, or considering menopause an estrogen deficiency disorder. The conquering of psychological and sexual problems by the medicine business is not only beneficial: it is also extremely marketable and profitable."
Where are Ethics in the Hungarian Economy?
The group of Hungarian companies leading in the area of ethics is dominated by those dependent on the foreign market. Companies that underachieve in this area are mainly those that depend on the domestic market. The ethic direction of western companies operating on the Hungarian market, contrary to popular expectation, is not outstanding.
What would the path be like upon which we could improve negative environmental and social consequences of energy production and usage? The Nádasdy Academy's purpose is to find answers to these questions.
How Can the Condition of the Environment be Improved?
"If we really want to change the behavior and thought processes of human beings according to the requirements of sustainable development we must turn the present ratio between news motivating the intensification of environmental destruction and that promoting the protection of the environment around in the media and other sources information. Instruments of mass media, especially television, broadcast lifestyles that are in complete contrast with environmentally sustainable development, day and night."
Solar Energy Utilization
"The usage of so-called fossil energy resources dominates the Earth today. The formation of crude oil, natural gas and coal, all carrying the radiant energy of the sun within, began 10,000 - 400,000,000 years ago. At present we obtain energy mainly by burning these. However, due to the intense energy usage of industrially developed countries these resources are being rapidly depleted, and compared to the pace of utilization their reproduction is exceedingly slow."
Alternative Economics. A Discussion Summary
"How can we convince the individual, the entrepreneur, international companies and society to look for ecological alternatives? Is it possible to do something in an alternative way successfully in a globalized world? In today's world model aren't economy and ecology contradictory concepts? Can development and survival be reconciled?" The Nádasdy Academy's aim is to find the answers.
What Have You Done? What Can we do Together?
"(…) The most significant result of the symposium is that representatives of various movements came together for two days and formulated the need for acting together. Having access to the information of the symposium is important and is provided by the journal Ökotáj. (…) The population, decision makers and those working in the field of education must be more well informed."
There Is an Ecological Alternative
"There is an ecological alternative; this was the most important message of the environmentalists who came together for a symposium at the Nádasdy Academy. In Nádasdladány it became evident once again, that it is not the lack of an image for the future or the unpreparedness of thought that stifles those who try to herd our self-destructive civilization onto an eco-logical, habitable, sustainable and likable path." We need practical solutions to solve our problems.
A szám címlapja.
Special Edition: Symposium on Ecological Alternatives in Hungary. Nádasdy Academy, June 25-26, 1999 Motto: Have You Done Anything Yet? What Can we do Together?
Különszámunkban felhasználtuk Dávid András konferencián készült fotóit.
Az angol nyelvű összefoglalókat Nagy Piroska írta.