On My Country and the World6

Written by Mikhail Gorbachev

"Environmental problems are mounting. A shortage of food resources, sources of energy, and potable water is beginning to be felt. The area covered by forests and cultivated land is shrinking, and the world's oceans and atmosphere are being polluted. All of these phenomena have arisen or become more acute in recent years because they are unique manifestations or consequences of the quickening pace of globalization and the growth of universal interdependence. Global problems have a quality that differs from other challenges that humankind faces. Delay or refusal to search for answers to the challenge of global problems could lead to the gradual extinction of humanity. 

Prognoses differ regarding the number of years remaining before worsening global problems, especially environmental problems, become catastrophic, o­ne thing is clear, though: The human race has only decades, not centuries, to resolve its global problems. 

The world continues to live at the expense of future generations. We are living o­n borrowed time, with the risk that we will never repay the loan. This failure could ruin our descendants' lives, the lives of coming generations. 


The root of the evil, it seems to me, is found in the very paradigm of development, the very concept of progress, and the incentives to progress that developed over many centuries and still persist today. This boils down to the fact that for centuries progress for society has been equated with continual technical advances, the instruments for maintaining the necessary domination of humans over the forces of nature, the concept of "man as the king of creation." This approach has lead. o­n the o­ne hand. to an unlimited expansion of the demands placed o­n natural resources, which are largely unrenewable, and, on the other hand, to the depletion and poisoning of the biosphere. including disruption of its internal balance and capacity for self-renewal.


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