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Pedal Power solutions to petroleum dependence and polluting vehicles: Arcata Library Bikes, Pedal Power Produce, and more!

CAOE - Committee Against Oil Exploration - stop offshore oil drilling to protect sensitive habitats and cut petroleum dependence.

Culture Change through music! The Depavers eco-rock!

Take our Pledge for Climate Protection and learn about the Global Warming Crisis Council.

SEI hometown action!
Arcata city council's proclamation against war on Iraq and Kyoto Protocol proclamation.

Overpopulation has become a reality.  Overpopulation Resources and News Tidbits

Sail Transport Network

Fact Sheets
Press Releases

Long Distance


Index of articles

Ukraine society: a disaster like Chernobyl

I had in mind to portray many problems that besiege my country, and thought that they can be summed up in one phrase: "rich get rich and the poor stay poor"  ("Everybody knows" by Leonard Cohen).

All that Vandana Shiva has been saying about insecurities - ecological, economical, cultural -  holds true not only in "third-world" India, but also in the "second-hand," post-Soviet states.

I give you an example: Kiev is bustling with new "cultural" centers, fancy shops, casino, etc.  But there's no quality water.  Those who are rich can buy the bottles.  Others have to fetch filters that are quite expensive, too. Only foreign offices (run by Americans) can afford to install the quality filters.  The majority have to drink the water from the Dnieper (polluted by industry and Chernobyl).

As to energy: Ukraine is the most energy intensive country in the world. The steel and chemical plants continue to devour enormous quantities of energy (spitting tons of pollutants into the air), while many rural schools and hospitals don't have enough heat. (The thing is that steel remains one of the few items of export). Coal mines are working for that steel industry, where miners perish by the dozen.  The coal extraction has long became unprofitable for the Ukrainian economy. And the government is furthering not conservation but the construction of two nuclear reactors, and even thinking about re-starting Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station.  (Electricity also serves as the "pure" export energy for Europe from hopelessly polluted Ukraine).

Unfortunately, Ukraine has a weak democracy and cannot oppose blatant government policy.  The society has lived under autocracy for 80 years, we had no civil dissidents whatsoever (in Russia, for example, were Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov -  I exclude West Ukraine's dissidents that opposed central authorities on a nationalist ground). What about a Green Party, then?  Nothing. Absolutely nothing. A showcase. It doesn't even oppose the existing corruptive regime.

Also, the new generation that is coming on the scene has little understanding of the past. The elite is preoccupied rather with the new gadgets from the West. Media outlets are a puppet in the hands of the ruling class (ex-Soviet nomenclature plus criminal elements hybrid). Independent journalists get killed. No wonder that people are scared to overtly oppose the regime, or even state their mind openly.  In these circumstances, we need help and to be stirred up by humans rights organizations in the West.

My conversing with you over the Net has always been a source of joy, as well as a great moral help. I see that I'm not alone in this darkening age. But I wish we could unite more tightly. I don't know how many Chernobyls it should take before an environmental agenda re-enters people's minds.

In solidarity and hope,
Victor Postnikov

The above was originally written for the LeftBio discussion group online, headed by David Orton of Canada.


Articles of interest:
Anti-globalization protest grows, with tangible results.  WTO protests page

Tax fossil-fuel energy easily
by Peter Salonius

UK leader calls War on Terror "bogus"

Argentina bleeds toward healing by Raul Riutor

The oil industry has plans for you: blow-back by Jan Lundberg

It's not a war for oil? by Adam Khan

How to create a pedestrian mall by Michelle Wallar

The Cuban bike revolution

How GM destroyed the U.S. rail system excerpts from the film "Taken for a Ride".

"Iraqi oil not enough for US: Last days of America?"

Depaving the world by Richard Register

Roadkill: Driving animals to their graves by Mark Matthew Braunstein

The Hydrogen fuel cell technofix: Spencer Abraham's hydrogen dream.

Ancient Forest Protection in Northern California . Forest defenders climb trees to save them.

Daniel Quinn's thoughts on this website.

A case study in unsustainable development is the ongoing crisis in Palestine and Israel.

Renewable and alternative energy information.

Conserving energy at home (Calif. Title 24)



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Culture Change (Trademarked) is published by Sustainable Energy Institute (formerly Fossil Fuels Policy Action), a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) California non-stock corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible.