Alina Mungiu-Pippidi: “The European Expansion of Trash”

I read in the prestigious daily New York times that our country refused to take over the trash in Naples which accumulates in the streets before Christmas, since no neighborhood in Naples will accept the opening or re-opening of a trash facility near it. I congratulate Romanian authorities on this first gesture of stopping the European expansion of trash and take this opportunity to discuss this topic which is rarely in the news, although it’s becoming a problem for many cities and countries. In contrast, a topic such as global warming is invading us at all hours, as it has become one of the journalists’ passion. As of late, the number of people dying because of the heat is constantly being accounted for, although the BBC has discreetly published a report indicating that the cold has been and still is the main cause of human health issues, and I even saw a promotional video for the Bali conference featuring a gentleman from the United Nations complaining that no consensus has been reached on solving the problem. But any political science student knows that we cannot resolutely solve that issue. Not even if we could agree a solution between Europeans and Americans – we still wouldn’t be able to reach a global political consensus with China and India, and even if we could miraculously reach it, the undertaken measures still couldn’t change the trend, etc., but instead we’d be spending hundreds of billions of dollars. Far less money could allow us not to try and change the way God left this world, but the indisputable problems created by human habitation that can be changed. I therefore plead for us to handle the trash, whose poor management is affecting the lives of well over half the Earth’s population, versus global warming, which will especially hit a few bears, a few penguins and a few rich people who’ve built beach homes. During the past thousand of years, since the planet has become increasingly inhabited by humans, several other warming and cooling cycles have occurred and human civilization has adapted. […]

Excerpted from an article published on January 14, 2008, in the APEL press network

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