Commentarymony so that each nation, within the framework of itshistory, culture and mentality, cooperating with others,finds its own way.At Green Cross International, we have been work-ing on the preparation of the Earth Charter. It [is] akind of set of ecological commandments….It is ad-dressed to everyone—to politicians, to business-men….Politics and business need a push from civilsociety. There should be mechanisms to influence poli-ticians and businessmen because society [will not] likeenvironmental problems that much. Even social prob-lems, they accept with a lot of difficulty and certainlynot environmental problems.Another project that we [Green Cross International]are doing with UNESCO . . . is a project forenvironmentalized education. Education at all levels, inprimary school and all the way to university level, tostudy the environment and to study every problem orevery discipline, how to [respect] the environment.…[A project that is of] great importan[ce] for Rus-sia and the United States [is] the environmental legacyof the arms race….We are also working on the consequences of . . . thewars in the Gulf. . . . the very brief use of weapons re-sulted in the poisoning of the soil, and in poisoning
with oil products, and particularly fifty percent of stra-tegic reserves of freshwater and strategic aquifers of Kuwait have been polluted. A similar situation is nowbecoming clear in . . . Yugoslavia. Petro-chemical facto-ries were bombed and the Balkans have now beenpossibly polluted.And finally we have a freshwater project. We havebegun this project in the Middle East. It is very difficultthere to negotiate the interests of different sides. We aresupported by the leaders of Middle Eastern countries,and I believe that we will be able to be a very importantproject that will be a precedent to solve not only [theMiddle East’s own] problems but other problems of drinking water and of freshwater….To conclude my remarks let me say this. If the envi-ronmental movements in the United States, in Russia,and in Brazil, and China, and Europe [can] work effec-tively, then we can hope to do a great deal. I would likeyou in the United States to help us in developing a verystrong organization. In the United States, a strong envi-ronmental organization is emerging, an affiliate of GreenCross in the state of Georgia. The governor will be help-ing us to develop a regional branch—a state branch of Green Cross. That [is] very important.…
Seattle: What it Meant and Where To Go From Here?
The World Trade Organization (WTO) meetingsin Seattle have put international trade issues and theway in which trade policy is made under new publicscrutiny. The old way of conducting global trade talks—where governments negotiated agreements in closed,exclusive settings—proved unacceptable to ordinarypeople and even to many governments, especially thosefrom the developing world. The protests’ fundamentalmessage was that global institutions like the WTO needto be democratic and accountable and that economicrules must be balanced and should promote social val-ues, such as environmental, labor, and human rightsprotections.Since Seattle, protests at the World Economic Fo-rum in Davos, Switzerland and the World Bank/ International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings in Wash-ington, D.C. have amplified that message. A new socialmovement of environmental, labor, human rights, stu-dents, and other groups is growing in the United States.This movement—which joins the calls of developingcountry activists—recognizes the inevitability of global-ization, but contends that it must be changed so itelevates social values, and does not leave them behind.It is calling for the economic rules of the game to changeso they put the public interest before the corporate in-terest. Environmental organizations, like Friends of theEarth (FoE), are calling for specific reforms of the trad-ing system, which include:
1.Democratizing Trade: In Washington and Geneva
In Seattle, President Clinton acknowledged theneed to democratize trade policy and to make the WTOmore transparent and accountable to people. FoE be-lieves democracy starts at home. Before we can reformthe WTO, we should first reform the way the UnitedStates makes trade policy. Today, the corporate sectorprovides input into United States’ trade policymakingprocess, but the public is largely shut out. U.S. posi-tions on trade therefore reflect the corporate interest,not environmental, human rights, and labor interests.This must change before the United States can credibly