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Hungary has doubled the size of its forests since 1921, President János Áder told students at Sopron University. Hungary lost nearly 90% of its forests when two-thirds of its territory ceded to neighbouring countries under the 1920 Trianon Peace Treaty, which concluded the first world war, the president said. He went on to say that the remaining woodlands, 11% of the country in 1921, have been increased to 21% by now. He added that the objective was to have forests on 27% of the country’s territory.

On the subject of sustainability, Áder said that in the past 100 years the global population has grown three times, water consumption six times, and energy consumption nine times as large. The world annually uses 1.7 times the Earth’s resources, which is unsustainable, he warned.

Áder urged a paradigm shift to create an economy resembling the cycles of nature, adding that the technology was in place but “social and political commitments” were also needed. He advocated “prevention, reduction, re-use and recycling”, saying that “unless we change our practices, life will be overshadowed by sad social trends”.  Over-population and climate change will lead to less and less soil and drinking water, which paves the way for famine, epidemics, economic failure, wars and mass migration; “we are already impacted by that trend”, the president said.