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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

In Hollywood, Gorbachev Seeks Ecology Law

HOLLYWOOD -- Mikhail Gorbachev is still a star, at least in the City of Angels.


The former Soviet president plugged his environmental organization before a gathering of entertainment industry executives Monday, saying the world is facing a greater danger from nuclear weapons now than during the Cold War.


And he used the high-profile opportunity to take a swipe at President Boris Yeltsin for failing to stop what he called the illegal exporting of nuclear components out of Russia.


"In some ways it has even become more dangerous because of lax control over nuclear and fissionable materials and the spread of modern technologies for producing the weapons of mass destruction," Gorbachev told the Environmental Media Awards presentation in Los Angeles.


Gorbachev said he hoped to present new guidelines for sweeping international environmental laws at next year's conference marking the 50th anniversary of the United Nations.


The former president arrived here on a two-day mission designed to advance the causes of Green Cross International, a nonprofit environmental organization he founded in 1993, two years after he left office.


The non-governmental group -- with chapters in the United States, Russia, the Netherlands, Japan, and Switzerland -- says its goals are to clean up military toxins, assist in the creation of global ecological law, and foster a value shift on the environment with the media's help.


"Like perestroika ... environmental awareness is about creating a different mentality in the same heads," Gorbachev said in an interview.


Practically and psychologically, the 1986 Chernobyl disaster was a "turning point" for the environmental movement, said Gorbachev, who was leader when the Soviet government tried for a brief time to cover up the nuclear plant fire.


At a private luncheon, Gorbachev spelled out Green Cross' purpose to 60 entertainment and business leaders, including Barbara Streisand and media mogul Ted Turner.


Observing that people in half the cities of the world drink contaminated water and breathe polluted air, he called for a universally binding code of environmental ethics.


"The time has come when we must finally stop the evil pursuits that are bound to have irreversible consequences, unless we are ready to be called 'Homo Non-Sapiens.'"


He called for the development of a universally binding, international code of environmental ethics to ensure the safety of the earth's ecosystem.


"The time has come for mankind to adopt the wise philosophy of Native Americans: 'We do not inherit this planet from our fathers -- we are borrowing it from our children.'"


(Reuters, LAT)