As almost 100 international climate scientists brought together by the United Nations warned that we are headed for catastrophe, a ‘quiet man’ of the mountains has been working, in his own words, to save the world.
Scientists have told governments to take “unprecedented” action to reverse climate change.
Global warming, they say, may be about to trigger the near-total loss of the world’s tropical coral reefs, the collapse of ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland – and sea levels could rise wiping out millions of people.
In short, the scientists say the world has only a dozen years left to tackle climate change.
Dr Jan Telensky, who has built an eco-empire in Slovakia’s High Tatras mountains, said: “People are still denying climate change. But two decades ago I understood what we were storing up for ourselves because of our disregard for the environment.
“Self-interest and short-termism mean little is being done to save our world. Now we need to act swiftly.”
So, can Dr Telensky, a property magnate and financial angel who doesn’t often seek publicity, really show us all the way to the tough-love the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change say is needed?
For the last two decades, while so many governments have ignored the dangers of greenhouse gases, Dr Telensky and his team have been working diligently to find ways to reverse the problems of industrialisation and consumerism.
“I am known for beavering away quietly when I believe in something as much as this but now everybody needs to take notice,” he said,
Dr Telensky has actually created a wonderland of ecologically sound hotels on the border between Slovakia and Poland.
AquaCity Poprad which was built to run on geothermal and renewable energy opened in 2005. It consists of Mountain View and Hotel Seasons. They share the eco-heated pools, spas and saunas.
The adjacent Hotel Riverside is a part of the national football training centre and presides over a geothermally heated football ground.
AquaCity itself won the title of Europe’s Leading Green Hotel five years running.
Dr Telensky has also has a farm nearby which uses environmentally friendly methods and has banned pesticides.
Dr Telensky didn’t have the best start in life, he was driven from his family and home by the Soviet Union-led Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
When he landed in Britain he had just £2 to his name, couldn’t speak the language and ended up in dreary Dunstable.
But in the distance he could see Luton, a crumbling decaying town which would soon become the base for his dreams and ambitions.
Twenty years later he arrived back in Central Europe, this time in Poprad, a small unheralded city next to the Tatras.
He met his wife there and it was because of her family that he first saw his ecological vision of the future. They had showed him the blow-hole of the subterranean geo-thermal lake which was about to buoy up his future.
But his head office is in Luton, once famous for its hat-making industry.
He said: “Luton has been good to me but one day I was standing at the window and watching this fug, this dark dirty cloud hanging over the town and suddenly it came to me, I knew what I wanted to do. I knew what my legacy would be … I wanted to save the world. Or have a damned good go at it.
“Poprad for many reasons had already come into my radar and I realised its potential, its elevation is high but it stands in a valley surrounded by ice-capped mountains and it has air so fresh and pure it revitalises you. Then my wife’s family told me the story of an underground lake which was heated by the core of the earth.
“I remember thinking, what if I can harness the energy this lake is producing? Almost a decade later I did it.”
It is estimated that the world produces 32,294 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year yet AquaCity over the same period prevents about 10,000 tonnes of it from getting into the atmosphere …
Now that might sound like a drop in the world’s ever-expanding and over-heating oceans but put another way it really is one small but positive step for mankind.