Turning $120B of Your Textile Waste Into Profit

Turning $120B of Your Textile Waste Into Profit

Want to make money from what you’re already doing instead of paying for it – oh and make a real difference in the world today?

I’m joined today by Stephanie Benedetto, the CEO and Co-Founder of Queen of Raw.

With a family in the business for over 100 years, she built a marketplace for businesses to buy and sell their unused fabric, keeping it out of the landfill and turning that pollution into profit.

– Chris Gassman

  • Created and Hosted by Chris@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
  • Illustrated by Kriszti@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
  • Edited and Published by Lee@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
  • Originally Aired on The Market And The Good

The opinions expressed by the interviewee and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

Miraculous Recovery after The Disaster – Success Stories: Japan

Miraculous Recovery after The Disaster – Success Stories: Japan

This article is about the miraculous recovery of a country after an ecological and infrastructural disaster, the Second World War. Specifically, Japan. We have some knowledge about their industry, innovation and infrastructure. But it has not always been the case, as Japan used to be very isolated, they only opened their gates in the late 19th century. More so after the Second World War. They still have an abundance of history and geography as well. We would suppose that they were the pioneers of trade and openness, because of their location, and they are required to stay relevant. However, it has not always been the case. They were very isolated, they did not want to trade with anyone in the world. Moreover, they were not open to foreigners. Japan always had been very aggressive within, we all know from history books who samurais were. In the medieval times, Japan had been in wars with the Mongols (who used to have an extensive empire, a Khaganate spreading from Korea to Kiev, Ukraine). This is when a wind storm destroyed the Mongol fleet, which became known as “kamikaze”. This means “divine wind”. At that time, the Japanese society was very feudal and this tradition is even tangible today. Just think of the shoguns or the daimyos! The Europeans first appeared in the 16th century, when Jesuit missionaries (including Francis Xavier) and Portuguese traders arrived and started spreading Christianity as well as firearms (Japan is a Shintoist country, a religion native to Japan, which practices Buddhism too). They could not remain there for a long time because Japan consisted of warring states, and only those who used European technology could remain on the scene. This is when the Edo period began (lasting until 1868), which was full of political tensions. This is when Tokyo became the capital of Japan. In 1639, the “sakoku”, the isolationist policy started to come into effect, which meant breaking any relations with the West. The only link with the West was with the Dutch, controlled in an enclave in Nagasaki called Dejima. The Dutch brought many customs to Japan, for example, drinking beer. Nowadays, a Japanese brand called Asahi is one of the most renowned brands in the world. Also, chocolate was introduced by the Dutch. The Japanese are lovers of chocolate too. This dichotomy started two ways of studying: “rangaku” (studies of Western knowledge) and “kokugaku” (studies of Japanese knowledge).

What does this imply? Japan is a success story on Quality Education, not just Industry.

This isolationism somewhat loosened in the second half of the 19th century, when the ports of Japan had to be opened up by the Kanagawa Treaty. This is when the Meiji era started, and its influence lasts even today as the state became centralized under the Emperor, and the Shogunate fell. The country stepped up Westernization and quickly became an industrial power. Their military traditions made them a superpower. The population doubled in the next 60 years from 35 to 70 million people. Europe did not want to get into conflicts with Japan. They were more focused on China. Japan defeated China and Imperial Russia. Japan gained control over the southern half of Sakhalin and Taiwan. Later on, they joined the Allies in the First World War. They captured the German possessions near Shandong and advanced into China. Japan expanded the Empire further, they captured Korea, and in 1931, they founded the puppet state of Manchuria. The early 20th century was still full of political tensions, the system was a very fragile democracy, there were many coup attempts in the Great Depression. This gave a new rise of aggression and hostility. Following the international condemnation of invading China, the government announced they would quit the League of Nations. Japan became part of the Axis by signing the Anti-Comintern Pact in 1936. They started the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937. They captured the capital and Nanjing in the same year and conducted an enormous massacre there. At least 300,000 people were killed with incredible hostility. Three years later, Japan occupied Indochina and Singapore, therefore engaging the British Empire and the United States in the Second World War in the Pacific. The U.S. imposed an oil embargo on Japan. The response was a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The U.S. president decided to step into the Second World War to restrain Japan. The British Empire and the U.S. could defeat them, but with enormous effort. The war cost Japan their colonies, but they refused to give in, only after the infamous atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki did they capitulate. They signed an unconditional surrender agreement on August 15th, 1945. The atomic bombs killed around 300,000 people, and the radiation decimated the local population further over the next few months. Much of their industry and infrastructure was destroyed by the bombings, too. How could Japan recover from such devastation?

Following the end of the Second World War, all income was spent on Education. That is why Japan is a success story of the potential of Quality Education; because without education, we cannot talk about industry or innovation at all. Compulsory education was introduced in 1872 to comply with Western standards. But it consisted of militaristic materials as well, besides being very nationalistic. The U.S. had a plan after the Second World War to somehow pacify aggressive Japan. Therefore the nationalist and anti-American materials were blackened out, besides removing other aggressive content from the curriculum. This resulted in a two-digit increase in the size of the economy because Japanese students were very well-educated.

Besides that, I have to add, Japan was the first country abroad to adopt the Hungarian Kodály method in music teaching. There is a common stereotype that Japanese people are not able to pronounce the letter “l”, therefore they are not able to sing either. This is not true. They can sing very well, thanks to the Kodály method. Because of this, there are many Japanese conductors, who reached their career peak in the late 20th and early 21st century. Let me mention a couple of examples, such as Seiji Ozawa, Yoichi Sugiyama and Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi. Kobayashi had gained a lot of fame in Hungary by being the conductor of the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra for ten years. What is this, if not Quality Education? The Kodály method teaches us to be proud to go to school. Why is this not the case in Hungary, where it originated?

Let me mention the automotive industry. We all know how famous Japanese brands are for their reliability. Everyone knows Honda, Toyota, Suzuki, Nissan, Mazda, and the list goes on. They produce cars with extreme reliability besides sporting futuristic looks. When the new generation of Honda Civic (starting in 2006) appeared in Hungary, everyone thought, “wow, this is a spaceship”. Same reaction with the Toyota Prius (a hybrid car, Japan is a pioneer of these). Everyone wanted one. Because they look “insane”. Remember the sporty sound of a Honda when revving the engine? Just watch the video at the end of this article. These cars (and motorbikes) are designed for “the infinite run”. They will run like a bullet until the world ends.

Let me mention another industry: electronics and computers. Everyone knows Canon, Casio (my watch is one), Citizen, Fujitsu or Sony. Durable, top-quality and technologically sophisticated brands. I have been wearing my watch for 12 years. It had next to no serious issues. So where do experts come from? Yes, the quality education system.

So, after such a serious disaster, you can do miracles by investing in education. Educate your community. Japan showed then – they could do it. However, sticking to their feudalistic and militarist traditions also helped them remain disciplined.

Due to its location, Japan is very prone to earthquakes and tsunamis, as it lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Therefore, infrastructural planning is crucial to minimize damages caused by them. They started to build earthquake-proof apartments and buildings throughout the whole country, especially after the deadly Hanshin-Awaji earthquake of 1995. The technology was invented in New Zealand (which is also prone to volcanic activities and quakes), called rubber-bearing. Then Japan tested it to perfection (see Nakata 2009). This technology was used in hospitals. After the Miyagi earthquake of 2008, this technology helped a lot to minimize death tolls by accommodating rescuers in hospitals and easing evacuation. However, this technology was not yet available in Fukushima, and the earthquake in Tohoku (2011) caused an incident just as significant as Chernobyl. After that, Japan’s government decided to slowly decommission nuclear power stations around the country, to some extent. As a replacement, for example, Japan decided it would place 80 floating wind farms offshore near Fukushima to replace nuclear energy.

Let me mention transportation in Japan. We all know that roads in Japan are in excellent condition. The public transportation system is top-class. We all know of the Shinkansen, the bullet train. Why was it pioneering? It is not grinding the railroad, to some extent. It almost floats on it, being able to reach speeds over 300 km/h. It even adds to the level of comfort and safety. Moreover, it is noiseless, so it is not disturbing anyone, just flying through the provinces of Japan with extreme speed and comfort. What is more, it is operated with military precision. What does it mean? It is never late. So, dear Hungary and other countries where trains are always late, this is an example of a responsible operation! They know how to operate public transportation in the Far East because they learned over the years! Wake up, for heaven’s sake! Make an effort to reach these levels. Stop making excuses why you are not able to reach them. Make your fellows proud to be part of a nation, a team, or a company. As I stated earlier, they made students proud to study at school. Music is a great tool for that, not just cramming dry facts. Then they make employees proud to work in the workplace. Because they know that the future depends on well-educated people. Without this, they would never be as up to date, as they are right now in Infrastructure, Innovation and Industry.

– Gergely Lázár

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

Three Things Will Go Wrong Today in Your Business

Three Things Will Go Wrong Today in Your Business

How do you start the idea you love that will make money by making the world a better place? Once you have started, how do you sustain it?

– Chris Gassman

  • Created and Hosted by Chris@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
  • Illustrated by Kriszti@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
  • Edited and Published by Lee@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
  • Originally Aired on The Market And The Good

The opinions expressed by the interviewee and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

Equal Opportunity for Everyone at Work – Success Stories: Iceland

Equal Opportunity for Everyone at Work – Success Stories: Iceland

Iceland is a volcanic island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean near the Norwegian Sea with an abundance of both geography and history. Yes, history, because it is associated with the legacy of the Vikings. They kept their old traditions, but recently they opened up heading into the 21st century. Iceland, a success story of gender equality, but more importantly, in terms of decent work. As we all know, the Vikings had a very patriarchal society, where women had almost no role. When the Viking raids reached the British Isles, they took women as slaves. According to a legend, these women were the ancestors of Icelandic women. Their respect for traditions can be observed even today: there are no family names in Iceland unless you are a foreigner (or an official misspelled your name). Your name is always patronymic, meaning you get your name after your father (or mother). For example, Jón Olafsson. It means Jón, Olaf’s son. His father’s name is Olaf. Another example, Helga Pálsdottir. It means Helga, Pál’s daughter. This is a part of Viking heritage, this is embodied in all the other Nordic nations (like Sweden, Denmark) too, however, they do have family names. They became more influenced by others, but Iceland was very isolated. They were part of the Kalmar Union (1415-1523; comprising the four Nordic countries as well as the Faroe Islands and Greenland). With the dissolution of the Union, Iceland became a Norwegian dependency. The latter one was under Danish reign, so this was a personal union with the two countries. This meant somewhat free internal affairs for each country, but a common foreign policy and army. During the Kalmar Union, the Black Death severely decimated the population, around 70% of the population was annihilated. The 16th century brought a change to Iceland, as well as to other Nordic countries. King Christian III of Denmark converted to Lutheranism and spread the new religion throughout the nation. In 1550, the last Roman Catholic bishop was beheaded along with his two sons, this meant Iceland also chose Lutheranism. The Danes imposed harsh trade restrictions to Iceland in the 17th century, meaning only Denmark could trade with them and the ports of Reykjavik (the capital) were only open to Danish ships. Then smallpox further decimated the population, killing almost a third of the Icelandic people. Between the second half of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century was the darkest period of Icelandic history. They even had famine at that time, almost half of their livestock died. After the Napoleonic wars, the first independence movements started to form, backed by the Danish-educated intellectuals. In 1904, the Ministry for Iceland was established in the Danish cabinet. In 1918, they received full autonomy within Denmark, only the king was common to both. They functioned as a realm of the Danish territories. After the Nazis occupied Denmark, the Brits (and later, the United States) occupied Iceland to defend them against the Nazis. In 1946, they received full independence and abolished the kingdom, ratifying the Republican constitution. They never joined the EU, they are members of the EFTA, the European Free Trade Agreement. In 1994, they joined the European Economic Area, after which their economy was diversified and their GDP increased 32% by 2007. Unfortunately, they did not regulate banks well enough, and the global crisis caused the emigration of 5,000 people in 2009. They were close to bankruptcy in 2010. Then a woman, Johanna Sigurdardottir, rose to power. She managed to stabilize the economy, and it grew by 1.6% in 2012. Nowadays, their prime minister is another woman, namely Katrin Jakobsdottir (since 2017). She is a teacher of literature by profession. What does this signify? Iceland is not only a success story in gender equality but also quality education and decent work. A woman never abandons her country, either. Therefore, she is an idol to everyone in Iceland.

But why is this country a success story in decent work? Just after the crisis of 2008, the government introduced new laws, which affected workplaces a lot. The first one declared that gender discrimination was illegal. This affected the labour market as well. More recently, in 2018, the government took another action. They decided to accept the principle of “equal work, equal pay”. This means a woman must earn as much as a man earns for the same amount of work. Non-compliance means your company will pay a hefty fine. Gender discrimination became illegal in Iceland. The law will come into force in 2020. According to one of their ministers: “We want to break down the last of the gender barriers in the workplace. (…) History has shown that if you want to progress, you have to enforce it”. Furthermore, the same law requires that company boards must be at least 40% comprised of women. This is another step towards 21st-century-compliant companies. After the financial collapse of 2010, the government said: “women are the keys”. More and more women attained high-authority positions, which was also an important weapon against corruption. The law also states that every company with more than 25 employees must have a gender-equality program. What does that mean? Men should be more mature to comply with measures this century. There is a country, with around 320,000 inhabitants, with an abundance of geography, that could reach total gender equality and make it compulsory in schools. So, men should never oppress women because it will backfire. What country is successful at this in the 21st century? Which ones preserve traditions, but ask new questions, and bravely build a new world? Therefore, Iceland should be an icon for everyone around the world. Because they have done it. What are we still waiting for?

Calls to Action:

  1. Read more about Iceland
  2. Read the following article on their pioneering steps towards gender equality: Seven Feminist Laws Iceland Has That the World Needs

– Gergely Lázár

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.



Will we let someone use us as slaves? Will we just watch when someone makes more money but our money melts away so fast? Do we have to waive all rights to our life for someone else just to make them richer?

In the 19th Century, Albert PERSONS, Adolph FISCHER, George ENGEL and August SPIES in the USA abandoned their lives for everyone for better work conditions, for equality, and 8 hours of work. They aimed for better work conditions, living in peace and with dignity. But nothing is for free, and they faced oppression. They were punished and lost their lives after marches and protests (1). Afterwards, May 1st was declared “Labour Day” in numerous countries.

Years, even centuries passed. The world has seen the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd industrial revolutions (2)—capitalism, socialism, globalism, and other “-ism’s”. Each ideology has brought new ideas and ways of regulating working/living conditions. To date, what is the result? Developed countries took lessons from history and made conditions better for citizens, or maybe, can we say they became developed because they did so? What about 2nd/3rd world countries? Can the longest work hours make a country richer and more developed (3)? I think not because everyone should schedule a time to rest and for family, hobbies, etc. Only if we separate time equally for everything, we can be happy, positive and healthy. If we are healthy and happy, we can work better and effectively, which makes our country richer and more developed. But some bosses choose to ignore such standards for their benefit. They want to see their employees at work longer.

Let’s indulge in a small and easy brain gymnastics exercise. Let’s think about a customer relations clerk. He/she is the closest person to a customer during the day. The clerk must be joyful, helpful, healthy, confidential, friendly, and an analytical thinker. Let’s suppose that the clerk is working more than 8 hours a day. After 8 hours, can the clerk still be joyful or helpful? A customer will only see a tired face. Maybe an angry face and harsh words too. Not enough help, no smiling, nothing positive. So, this clerk cannot represent the company well. Moreover, because of him/her, the customer chooses to go elsewhere. Chalk on board: “a lost customer”.

It’s difficult to understand the persistence of such an employer. Just try to make your employee energetic and satisfied. After that, his/her performance will bring you more customers. The employer won’t get anything by making the employee more tired.

Whenever I go for a job interview, the first question is often “Can you work extra hours?” It means, “Can we use you whenever we want?” My answer would be “If your salary could be higher for more hours too!” I always insist “I am very careful about work hours because I have a life after work. Please take into account my personal life too.” Of course, with such an attitude, it is not possible to be hired! All the same, I will always defend the 8h-8h-8h rule. 8 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep, and 8 hours of recreation. Even if I could be unemployed for months, I will stand for decent work for everyone.

Are you with me?

– Oğuz Yılmazlar

  1. May Day History: How May 1 Became a Holiday for Workers
  2. The Third Industrial Revolution
  3. Which Nationalities Work the Longest Hours?

Life Without Nuclear Energy – Success Stories: Austria

Life Without Nuclear Energy – Success Stories: Austria

Austria is located in Central Europe. It is smaller than Hungary and the population is less. This article argues the non-necessity of nuclear energy. Is it possible to switch to renewable energy? Yes, it is. With responsible energy policy and responsible leaders. Again, let me refer back to Gender Equality, where Trudeau’s Cabinet was analyzed and why his ministers are real idols. I have to mention Austria as a successful country, both in terms of gender equality and clean energy. Striving for gender equality is also represented in their national anthem, as it says “Heimat großer Töchter und Söhne”, which translates to “Home to great daughters and sons”. Moreover, its lyrics have been written by a woman, called Paula von Predarović.

Turning back to clean energy, Austria was the powerhouse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Hungary was developing itself to be an agricultural power with its fertile soil. Therefore, only the food industry could develop in my country. Following the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1919, Austria slid to the right in terms of politics. The government of Austria was highly pro-Nazi between the two world wars. Before World War II, Austria was annexed by the Nazis (Anschluss). Then Soviets came in and Austria was forced to join the Soviet sphere. After ten years of a provisional government, the Austrian State Treaty was ratified (1955), which forbade Anschluss and Austria remained neutral. Therefore the Red Army left. This meant the country could return to their way, as they always did. Beginning in the 1960s, it turned out that they had become reliant on the Danube, and the government started to sympathize with nuclear energy. The government planned three reactors in the 1970s, the site was near Zwentendorf, Lower Austria, a bit northeast of Vienna. The ground was developed in 1972 and Siemens was responsible for the construction. The first uranium rods were placed in 1978, which meant the nuclear power plant was ready to be operated. However, demonstrations against the use of nuclear energy started in the surrounding villages (especially in Tulln). Nobody wanted to store fuel elements nearby. This dispute would have forced the government to store them abroad, which would have been very costly. Moreover, it would have endangered their energy sovereignty. Therefore the chancellor decided to have a referendum on whether Austria wanted nuclear power. With a small majority, people voted against nuclear power! Soon after this, the parliament passed a constitutional amendment that forbade the construction or operation of nuclear power plants. Everyone thought that the chancellor would fall after this referendum, but he remained in power. The nuclear plant was dismantled and the reactors were transported to German plants, which are scheduled to be shut down soon, too.

Which nuclear power plant is the safest? The one which is never brought into operation!

Austria made a decision. They do not want nuclear power. This meant the government turned towards renewable energy. In 2005, solar plants were installed on the structure in question, backed by Vienna University of Technology. The energy generated was fed into the Austrian electricity grid in 2009. The university founded a research centre for photovoltaics at the site. This is a very important milestone for Austria and their journey towards sustainability. The Austrian mentality has always been: “do it our way, and stay away from conflicts”. Leaders are real idols who serve as an example to the people. Where did this “do it our way” mentality lead? Austria produced as much electricity as providers started to pay customers for the use of their privately-generated electricity. In other words, the country is free from dependency on other countries thanks to the electricity surplus they have. This means they will have enough power for the decades to come. They invest a lot in renewable energy. They have run out of their coal supplies, but the thermal power station (which was built instead of the nuclear plant) made a new step towards clean energy: recycling waste heat. This meant electricity became more and more affordable in Austria. They do not need nuclear energy to be successful. However, globally speaking, nuclear power is still needed as renewable energy is not at the same level of being as efficient. In the next few decades, renewable energy will gain more prestige and people should be educated on the use of clean energy. Governments should sponsor installing solar cells on buildings and private houses. They should also cut the price of energy-efficient electric appliances. Without these measures, energy will never be affordable.

Let’s turn to wind power, which is also crucial for Austria. They started to build wind farms in the 1990s. The first farm was placed into operation in Zurndorf in 1997. Later on, six plants were added to the park. The plant output quickly tripled within a year. Until 2018, the installed capacity of wind farms exceeded 3,000 megawatts. A wind park with only 6 megawatts can save the earth from at least ten million tons of carbon dioxide every year. The Austrian government has always been an example of being ambitious. According to Nikolaus Berlakovich (who was Minister of the Environment), by 2020, Austria will generate 34% of its energy from renewable sources, and by 2050, this will reach to 100%. Therefore, they will become self-sufficient in clean and affordable energy. This is where Austria should serve as a model for us to be environmentally-conscious.

– Gergely Lázár

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

Choose Your Side!

Choose Your Side!

Let’s check the two sides of energy sources and make a decision. Which side is the best for us? Which side is best for YOU?

Group A:

  • Solar
  • Wind
  • Geothermal
  • Hydropower
  • Biomass

Common Features: Renewable, Natural, Harmless (1).

Group B:

  • Petroleum
  • Coal
  • Natural Gas
  • Uranium

Common Features: Non-Renewable, Harmful (2).

If YOU want to destroy, finding a way is easy! But we aim to live in better conditions, don’t we?

– Oğuz Yılmazlar

  1. Biomass Explained
  2. Non-Renewable Energy Sources

P.S. April 26th is the day to memorialise the Chernobyl disaster. May those who lost their lives rest in peace. Solace and respect to people who got ill afterwards and have had to cope with it for years.

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

Good Content for a Change

Good Content for a Change

How do you move from a lousy draft to achieving what you are striving to create? Guest: Ed Frauenheim, Director of Research and Content at Great Place to Work®.

– Chris Gassman

The opinions expressed by the interviewee and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

Water is a Source of Life – or Not?

Water is a Source of Life – or Not?

Without water, we can only live for a couple of hours. This is taught at schools. Two-thirds of our body is water. It is extremely important to keep this balance in our lives. But some people tend to forget about it and start polluting or even manipulating life underwater, which eventually leads to biological disasters. Do we want to pollute the source of life? Or, do we want clean air and water everywhere?

My country lies in a basin, at the confluence of many rivers. The two most significant ones are the Danube and the Tisza. The Danube is shorter in length in Hungary, but it discharges more water. It is the second-longest river in Europe with a total length of 2850 km. The basin flows through Hungary and Romania, the two countries that are extremely dependent on the Danube. Hungary and Romania are home to environmental hazards, affecting both the Danube and the Tisza. Let’s begin with the Danube. On its right bank, there is a nuclear power plant (I will discuss the non-necessity of nuclear power in my next article) in the city of Paks, which employs thousands of people and is responsible for generating more than 50% of the Hungarian electricity supply. However, the problem is that nuclear waste flows dangerously close to the Danube. In case of a disaster, like Chernobyl, one cannot imagine how serious an effect it can have on the Danube. Moreover, Paks is close to a tectonic fault. Even though Chernobyl is not likely to take place again (as Paks automatically shuts down in case of breakdowns), imagine the damage done to the environment? More importantly, the fault line is close, what can we do in case of an earthquake? More recently, it has been agreed this nuclear power plant will be expanded with Russia contributing. What does that signify? The Danube will be more vulnerable to nuclear hazards as a nuclear power plant needs tons of water to cool itself. Now, the plan is to build two cooling towers, so even more water will be used. Everyone knows that this water will be heated in the plant. Last but not least, heated and contaminated water will be released into the river, which is harmful to the flora and fauna. On top of that, the weather in Hungary is becoming dryer and dryer due to climate change. Because of the nuclear plant, the temperature of the Danube is always higher near Paks than near Budapest. Where does it lead to? The flora and fauna will get dangerously close to extinction, as more heated water would be released into the Danube.

Let’s focus on the other major river of Hungary, the Tisza. It originates from Romania with two rivers (Black Tisa and White Tisa), which confluence in Ukraine near the city of Rakhiv. Eventually, it flows into the Danube at Titel, Serbia. The river used to be around 1,400 kilometres long, but it has been shortened to 1,000 kilometres to keep villages safe from flooding. Still, it is the longest river in Hungary. They are the two biggest gravity dams of Hungary, at Kisköre and Tiszalök. Originally, its purpose was not to provide electricity, rather to bloat the Tisza River and to create a reservoir. Therefore, its performance was not very high. There were plans to build hydraulic power plants on the Danube as well, but these had to be suspended due to environmental concerns. This issue is still facing a lot of controversies. Turning back to the Tisza, it has already gone through a serious environmental disaster, when cyanide spilt into the river following a dam burst near a gold mine in Romania. The mine was a joint venture between an Australian company and the Romanian government. One night, the dam, holding contaminated waters burst and at least 100 tons of cyanide spilled into the Somes River, and then into the Tisza. The spill caused extreme high cyanide concentration levels (700 times higher than the permissible level). This meant drinking supplies of more than 2 million Hungarian people had to be cut off. This also meant more than 50% of the wildlife was killed by the toxicity. Five weeks later, heavy metals (zinc, lead and copper) spilled into the river, and it caused further disaster. Both the company and the government blamed the disaster on extreme snowfall and the cold weather. According to the European Union, the mine was badly designed, with a complete lack of an emergency plan. Fishing businesses suffered extreme losses and around 15,000 people lost their jobs. This means the company is at fault for the incident. The wildlife was severely damaged, how come they cannot accept responsibility? Following the disaster, the Romanian government banned drinking tap water around the Danube, as well. Later on, they tried to ban cyanide in gold and silver mines, but they have not been successful yet. This dam failure was not the first one in Romanian history. In 1971, the Tailings Dam near Certej Mine burst. Almost 90 people were killed, as the flood destroyed apartments and dormitories as well. Similar dam failure took place in Hungary, in 2010, near Ajka. Ajka used to be the capital of Hungarian aluminium mining. The red mud (a byproduct of aluminium-oxide) burst the dam and flooded the area near Devecser and Kolontár. This highly alkaline product is very harmful to the soil and the rivers as well. The mud even contaminated the Danube. The government blamed the company and later nationalized it to gain more control.

All in all, water is the source of life, so we should look after it, rather than polluting it or devastating wildlife by releasing radioactive water into the rivers. Our rivers have been widely cherished by our poets. Why should we pollute them as well? Who said it is a good idea to place environmental hazards like gold mines and nuclear power plants near our main rivers?

– Gergely Lázár

  1. Paks Nuclear Power Plant
  2. The Danube
  3. The Tisza
  4. 2000 Baia Mare Cyanide Spill
  5. Ajka Alumina Plant Accident

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

Water War on the Door

Water War on the Door

In a few articles, I have already talked about how humankind is, and why 17 Sustainable Development Goals have emerged. But we see that problems are still similar. Also, I have already talked about water wars, which will occur in the future. As a person who is interested in politics, history, and wars, I would like to focus on water wars again.

Mother Nature endowed us with lakes, oceans, drinkable water, sun, stars, trees, and lands—all for free—but afterwards, the idiocy of humankind takes the stage… Fighting against nature itself, conquering its scarce resources, and competing against each other to reach them. It’s like an endless vicious circle with no end in sight. What’s more, water wars will intensify sooner than you think.

The Nile-Euphrates-Tigris (Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Sudan), the Brahmaputra-Ganges (India, Bangladesh), the Indus (Pakistan), and the Colorado (USA) areas host critical water sources (1). As we know, climate change and global warming are leading country politics. States must adapt because we are sharing the same world, and these water sources will become even more significant.

Humankind! You do not stop damaging. You do not stop killing, polluting, enslaving. And you do not care how our world is! Is everything for you?

We are tired of seeing dead people every day (at least on the news). If we are fighting for peace, we can tolerate it, but this fight only benefits a few while innocent people are dying.

As you know, if something is scarce, it’s more valuable, and history teaches us that if something is in short supply and valuable, there is a war for it—without a doubt! Gory and wild wars are awaiting us if we are complacent. Year by year we are getting close to them.

Read, one more time, the article Where Will the “Water Wars” of the Future Be Fought?, and tell me which area is safe, even now? Turkey or the Middle East? Egypt or Sudan? India or Pakistan? We can only say that the Colorado is, but we should remember that the USA has never been faced with even WW1-2 on its lands. So, for now, the Colorado is safe for humanity but we cannot be sure about the rest.

So, shall we say that the Water Wars have already begun? Yes, or No?—it doesn’t matter! Another big catastrophe is waiting for us around the corner, and, alas, another time we can point the finger at humankind itself. How poor! How pitiful! How pathetic!

– Oğuz Yılmazlar

  1. Where Will the “Water Wars” of the Future Be Fought? Also, please check Here’s Where the Post-Apocalyptic Water Wars Will Be Fought for more.

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