Problems with the environment certainly have been around for more than 10 years. But they were not taken seriously, especially in Europe, even as late as the beginning of the 1980s. Today Green parties are in every country in Western Europe.
Green parties, unforeseen as power-brokers by most politicians, grew because of the Soviet nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986 and the Rhine industrial pollution of 1987.
Earlier, the European Community tried to resolve the dumping of raw sewage at sea, in particular by Britain. The target date for enforcing water purity requirements throughout Europe is 1993. The standards were supposed to have been implemented in 1985, but Britain had at the time only five inspectors. (Japan, by contrast, has had thousands of inspectors to fight pollution in their heavily industrialized islands.)
The list of environmental issues confronting us now, at the end of the 1980s, includes the greenhouse effect, the ozone crisis, deforestation, acid rain, the extinction of plants and animals, toxic waste, pesticides and water pollution, air pollution and the death of forests. Not to mention trash and indoor air pollution.
Solving these problems will not come easy. It demands willpower, time and money - large sums of money, to undo past mistakes. And that brings us to the next drastic change in the '80s.