ABSTRACT

The alarm generated by the Chernobyl fallout has heightened Ukrainian awareness of ecological issues. While the original focus on ecological issues may have come from Moscow, the Ukrainians have subsequently embraced ecological preservation as one of their most significant goals. It is impossible to discuss the economic future of Ukraine or the possibility of an economically sovereign Ukraine without taking into account environmental issues. Ecology has become a populist topic, one that raises emotions and frustrations, and moreover one that encompasses a broad spectrum of the population. In essence it concerns the present and future existence of Ukrainians and whether they will live in a healthy or polluted environment. The problems that have been elucidated predate Mikhail Gorbachev, and many also predate Leonid Brezhnev, who is widely cited as the main culprit for expanding industry so carelessly throughout the republic in the 1960s and 1970s. This chapter highlights some of the principal ecological dilemmas now facing Ukraine and demonstrates how such problems led directly to the formation of the ecological association called Ζelenyi svit (Green World).