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The following text is the transcript of the speech, delivered in Polish, by President Lech Walesa, Chairman of Green Cross Poland, to the Green Cross International General Assembly on 2 September 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland.
Green Cross is an organization that is becoming more and more effective, recognizable and with a growing footprint in the world. We encourage and foster environmental education that should be taught everywhere and to everyone.
I joined this organization after you (President Mikhail Gorbachev) founded it, so I cannot boast 20 years of membership. Back then I thought only members of the elites were members of this organization and I thought that this organization was very much needed. But I can see that it is even more needed now than it was before. This is because the world population is growing. But also there are more and more technical solutions: rhe development of land, new roads – all this has changed the face of the Earth, has changed it in a way that is very beneficial to us, but there are also certain dangers involved. My joining of this organization means my accession to these elites, me, a worker, a union member, a revolutionary.
My insight, from this point of view, is often a bit different.
I lived in a system that provided everything for the masses, without even asking the people; the system built, although often clumsily, various necessary buildings. But they were built in all the wrong places; even in the Soviet Union there were protests by people who thought differently.
I hope that the elites will draw the attention of members of the government to the upsides and downsides of these ideas.
The swaying of the masses, the masses from which I descend, will involve them in defending erroneous ideas and in organizing themselves to resist these materialistic endeavours. Today the world is based on money, and often this is more important than environmental protection, which is why I will try to present this point of view and encourage the involvement of the masses in caring for the environment and for environmental protection.
Now Poland is undergoing massive reforms, when I look how we engulf land, how we rob nature of its properties to further development, so many roads are being built, so many establishments, we cover the earth with concrete and no water or air can get through.
In my opinion this Earth can only take so many insults, It will grow some germs and we won'tbe able to recover from this. But the money has been spent and because of the hurry we are in we take no notice of the environment. And that is why I would like everyone to often repeat that every generation should pass down to the next generation what we were given by the previous generation. We have to develop, but we can do it more wisely, by predicting, researching, protecting the environment.
I believe that this NGO, which has attracted so many wonderful people, will put forward proposals, encourage people to protect and develop this world wisely.
I will surely make my contribution to that.
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