Environmental Policy in Hungary

2020. február 24., hétfő

Under the title “Care for Creation - The New Conservative Environmental Policy in Hungary”, Tamás Kodácsy, Head of the Eco-Congregation Council of RCH offered a reflection and evaluation from the Churches’ point of view, first published on the website of the European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN).

János Áder, President of Hungary, addressed fellow citizens on New Year’s Day in a public media broadcast just after midnight in 2020, wishing them a happy New Year as usual. He is well known about his commitment to protecting the environment, but he raised his voice with an uncommon religious phrase in wider public media. “It is our common responsibility to care for the created world” - he said and urged a national consensus in the question of protecting the creation. “We don’t need to defeat the nature, we have to defeat our own human nature!” - he added rightly putting his finger on our personal duty.

“The protection of the created environment and of nature just on a biblical basis is an especially Christian democratic policy” – said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at his New Year international press conference on 9 January, and he indicated to launch the National Energy and Climate Plan. One week later, Péter Harrach, Leader of the ruler coalition party (Christian Democratic People's Party) Parliamentary Group expressed that the care for creation has been an organic part of Christian culture for two thousands year. It based on the creation account focusing on the human responsibility for saving and guarding the created world.

The shift to environmentalist policy of the government was obvious, when Hungary was ready to sign the EU 2050 carbon neutrality plan with conditions, after an unfortunate veto against it in June. [See the contributions of churches in it] According to the government’s action plan on climate and the environment, the Hungarian cities with more than 25,000 people can buy only electric buses for public transport, and illegal landfill sites should be eliminated and rivers should be cleared of plastic bottles.

On the one hand, it is a good news for the environmental church organizations in Hungary, since their goal and program of care for creation somehow became a government policy including concrete actions. And care for creation is indeed a conservative idea, in the sense of conserving and guarding the created world. On the other hand, it can be a danger if the “care for creation” becomes a slogan for only one political party or only an instrument for fighting of political battles. God gave the mandate of guarding our world for everyone (Gen 2:15). “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it”, without exception. (Psalm 24:1)

Written by Tamás Kodácsy

Originally published at www.ecen.org

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