The Avant-Garden in Budapest
The Ecotopia 2121 Project details the futures of 100 cities across the globe as though they've somehow overcome all the grave environmental challenges our age and grown to become super-Green and super-ecofriendly. This month, we highlight the future of Budapest.
This scene here shows the Hungarian parliament on the banks of the Danube River on the last day of 2121. Surrounding the main building are plots of organic vegetables grown by various members of parliament. The produce is shared and bartered amongst themselves and with townsfolk from around the city.
So, how did we get to this ecotopia of garden delights? On the first day of January 2121, the president of Hungary stood on a podium in front of the nation lamenting about how “weird hippy lefty facets” have invaded parliament and they are undermining the culture of the nation and the security of the State. He begged parliament to invest more powers in his Presidential office to circumvent this degradation of the nation. To bolster his argument he told the story of how one MP from the Hungarian Green Party grew vegetables in his parliamentary office in a “stinking pot of his own shit!” The speech was fervently discussed in the media and amongst ordinary folk by word-of-mouth.
Nationalists retold the story with anti-Greenie invective and jumped behind the President to give him more powers. However, by the time parliament opened for assembly in late January 2121, something strange had happened. Many moderate politicians had begun their own in-office gardens. They weren’t brave enough to use their own bodily waste as soil but they were smart enough and well-organized enough to procure themselves of organic compost from local suppliers or from their own countryside lodges, and they then broadcasted images of their new office gardens.
Overall, the public feedback about these gardens was very positive; the attention encouraging urbanites all over Hungary to take up the cause as well. A new fashion spread across the country like wildfire; office workers grew lunchtime vegetables on their balconies, children grew their dinner vegetables in their school gardens, and pensioners got together to grow winter soup veggies in abandoned lots around the city. It was an eminently practical trend, drawing on long-lost traditional patterns of gardening to augment the family diet. It was also a practice that sent a clear and blunt statement against the President’s grab at more power. By the last day of 2121, the parliamentary vote to cede authority to the President was defeated as the MPs noisily munched on crisp green peppers.
For the full juicy socio-political story of Budapest 2121, consult the Ecotopia 2121 book