[Eva Golinger, author of The Chavez Code: Cracking U.S. Intervention in Venezuela, argues that even though Venezuela is a nation under the constant aggression and verbal attack of the U.S., it is setting an important example about how government truly can play a protagonist role in stopping global warming and environmental decay. --Ed]
Venezuela’s Green Agenda: Chavez Should Be Named The “Environmental President”
By Eva Golinger - Venezuelanalysis.com
February 27, 2007
“We are an oil producing country and that obligates us to take even more care of the environment—on an extreme level—and to avoid contamination, and to reduce contamination in all areas: earth, water and air.” – President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, February 24, 2007.
Did anyone from Greenpeace or Earth First! ever imagine that the world’s first environmental president would come from Venezuela? Many Greens might find such an idea ludicrous considering that the South American nation is one of the largest oil producing countries in the world and a major resource for heavy mineral and coal mining. However, ever since Hugo Chávez Frías first won office back in 1998, he has been developing a very green conscience that simultaneously is reflected in the nation’s policies and social programs.
Chávez probably wasn’t an environmental activist in his youth, yet one of his finest characteristics is his openness and his willingness to listen and learn. And President Chávez has been listening to calls from anti-globalization and environmental activists around the world now for years and learning how to change Venezuela’s form of governance so as to support and endorse efforts of conservation, balanced consumption and decontamination campaigns.
Last year, President Chávez launched Misión Arbol (“Mission Tree”) to combat deforestation and to create a community-based model of sustainable development with a social consciousness based on the recuperation, conservation and maintenance of the nation’s forests. The “mission” - or social program - has encouraged local communities, environmental activists, ecologists and Ministry of the Environment employees to together plant more than ten million trees throughout the country, in both rural and urban areas. The program is aimed at generating environmental consciousness nationwide about the importance of ecological equilibrium and the recuperation of damaged forests in order to improve quality of life.
During a press conference on Saturday, February 24, 2007, President Chávez announced the elaboration of a new law to control emissions and to defend the environment. “We have to place controls on those companies that continue to openly contaminate the environment with clear disregard and disrespect, from the largest State industries to the smallest private companies. They must respect the law.” Speaking directly about world environmental concerns, the Venezuelan leader declared, “environmental issues should concern us all, especially climate changes, global warming and other aspects of the planet. We must continue to raise our consciousness about this problem”
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