Zoltan Mityok, Hungary

[Speaking about my childhood in Hungary, over 70 years ago]… At that time the lakes, and the streams and the rivers, along the Duna and the Tisza, all of the people would fish. All they needed were baskets to scoop up enough fish. Now, they cannot fish. Neither in the Danube, nor the Tisza, the two major rivers, because the fish are poisonous from the industrial waste. Where I was grown up, there is no fishing anymore. Neither in the lakes, nor the streams. Same that I’ve seen in Canada, for the first 20 years when I went across Canada, from Montreal to British Columbia, I could still fish in the lakes and swim in the lakes and drink from the lakes and streams, but 20 years later when I was bringing up my children, we could not stop at the streams and lakes anymore, and drink the water from it because it was already destroyed and poisoned. Within a very short period of time, the terrifying destruction of the environment from industrial waste in both Europe and Canada, made so that nature is not clean anymore. Not for human consumption. The quality of the air is the same. The effect was so fast to me. Young people cannot go to the lakes and rivers to swim and fish without getting poisoned. Nature to me means something beautiful and safe and healthy, but it also means disappointment to me now. Disappointment and loss. But, nature to me also means learning from the past, to remember the past so that people work to restore and clean up the world to a standard that young people don’t even know existed before. A standard of living and nature that to young people now is a dream.

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