By Miodrag Stosic
Belgrade, Aug. 3 ( Serbia Today) - One of the biggest problems of a modern man is an impossibility of creating balance between a constant modernization process and preservation of the environment. Developing countries, and Serbia among them, have been hesitating for long to put the question of a sustainable development on the agenda. It has been justified by claims that state has much more serious work to do, so ecological problems got into the working spectre of nongovernmental organizations.
However, Serbian government recently decided to support many actions taken to awake consciousness about the need to preserve the environment. The biggest proof of that is the adoption of Law on the protection of the environment, which besides usual defining of the state’s ecological priorities based on human right to a healthy life, introduces an active approach to the environment. The law defines strategies of prevention, whose goal is to prevent the pollution itself, as well as the principles for responsible management of valuable natural resources. Also, for the first time, the law opens the door to public, by publishing state’s work and by inviting citizens to take part in the preservation of the environment. What is new in the law is the creation of Fund, which should provide a permanent presence of financial means for solving actual and future problems in the environment. The Government promised it would allocate a billion dinars for removing 160 ’’wild’’ dumps all over Serbia. It also started the action ’’Očistimo Srbiju’’ (’’Let’s clean Serbia’’).
Besides state activities, many citizen manifestations have been recently held to witness that ecological consciousness of the nation has begun to wake. A few months ago, there was a musical festival ’’Supernatural’’ in Belgrade. Many popular bands played on this festival, and reminded audience between songs why the healthy environment is important. Symbolically, instead of a ticket, every visitor had to bring 4 empty cans.
Belgrade ’’Beer Fest 2009’’ tries to merge people’s passion towards beer with the development of their ecological consciousness. Action called ’’Biram da recikliram’’ (’’I choose to recycle’’), which will end on 9th of August, put an accent on recycling. There’s a stand on Nikola Pašić square at which citizen’s can exchange 3 cans for a Beer Fest souvenier package. Also, in cooperation with mobile networks, action to collect money by sending SMS has been started. This action is an interesting attempt to merge a popular manifestation and solving so important problems of the society.
By July 29th, a student’s camp ’’Sačuvajmo Dunav’’ (’’Let’s save the Danube’’) was held on Veliko ratno ostrvo (Great War Island) in Belgrade. This action, whose goal was to inspire students to preserve our biggest river, had the greatest support up to date. Its conceptual creator, Faculty of Ecology Practice ’’Futura’’, was supported by City of Belgrade Assembly, communal enterprise ’’Zelenilo Beograd’’, public enterprise ’’Poslovni prostor Zemun’’, as well as by Secretariat for municipal affairs and housing. The Danube was our link to the world, even when all the other connections were cut. That’s why this action deserves to be praised and should inspire more similar actions.
Ecological problems can not be solved by only one law or manifestation, but by constant development of ecological consciousness and taking care of our planet. We should always remember that our care about environment is in fact our care about ourselves. Like in George Carlin’s witty remark: ’’Earth is fine. We have a problem’’.