The Greek philosopher Empedocles (495–435 BC) identified fire, air, water, and earth as the four most important elements which make up all structures in the world. The quality and purity of air and water have become central issues in the recent decades. It is the—sometimes self-styled—greens who have become the most vocal advocates of environmental protection in industrial societies, primarily in the West. ‘Green’ issues are popularly identified with the political left, and the various green parties invariably join forces with political actors and groups on the left. The commonly shared ideas incorporate a belief in social engineering and—in general—a doctrinaire approach, sometimes coupled with a great deal of aggressiveness and intolerance towards those who promote a gradual and more considerate solution to the indisputably existing problems in this area. The conservative approach, in fact, predated the rather intemperate left-wing green contemporary policies, many of which were born in offices—and as the similar quip about the EU goes, that is the only place where they will work. The preservation of our natural and built environment, our ‘home’, has always been central to people who believe in organic change, and who are aware of the delicate balance of nature. They are suspicious of radical solutions imposed on either society or the environment, as well as of theories, no matter how fashionable they may seem at times, which treat both as proper subjects of all sorts of experiments no matter how outlandish these may be. A proper and responsible ‘green’ policy should be carefully adjusted to the reasonable needs of mankind, including as sustainable and clean an energy mix as possible, and preserving nature as fully as we can, by, among others means, adopting the respect the Ancient Greeks showed towards the elements of nature, instead of resorting to wide-eyed utopian mental constructs.
Tamás Magyarics, Editor-in-Chief