The Newsletter of
A Center for Coordination
Moscow, Russia -- Issue 4 (04),
IN THIS ISSUE:
CAVIAR NOT OIL
THE MARCH FOR PARKS, INTERNATIONAL
THE EARTH DAY EVERY DAY
CHEMICAL SAFETY DAY
BRYANSK FIGHTING CHEMICAL WEAPONS ATTACK
GRIGORY PASKO - AN UNHAPPY BIRTHDAY
UKRAINIAN SELFGOVERNMENT IN ACTION
RIGHT TO ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION DEFENDED IN COURT
THE GREEN MEDIA FESTIVAL
SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE
A year ago,on April 7, 1998 I sent out a message to the World Community
"Implications of the "Business-As-Usual" Scenario. A Call to Action".
I wrote that "economic and environmental indicators show that we are
at a critical threshold within the global economic and social system".
I wrote that from my point of view we would run into the fall of the global
economy much earlier than predicted in 1972 by Donella Meadows, Dennis
Meadows, Jorgen Renders and William Behrens III in their famouse report
"Limits to Growth" for The Club of Rome's project, The Predicament of
Mankind for 2020, possibly at any moment. The fall of the Berlin wall, the end
of apartheid in South Africa, and the break-up of the USSR, are good
reminders of how quickly and unpredictably social change may happen.
I wrote that "a global catastrophe, resulting out of expansion beyond the
limits to growth, is not a fantasy. To see it one should study the smaller, but
highly illustrative, crisis that happened with the Soviet Union as a limited
economic system in the 1980's in order to understand what kind of future
expects us if we do not change our ways".
The crisis of the USSR as a model of global socio-economic crisis makes
it possible to predict what will happen to the global system.
In April 1999 it is evident that some of these predictions became sad reality
and others became the reality evident for experts.
I wrote that:
"It is very probable (and the Iraq-US conflict illustrates this ) that the Western
countries most likely would initiate the World War III: they would loose
their financial stability during the crisis but not their ambitions and weapons" -
and NATO-Yugoslavia war is here already.
I wrote that:
"All international mechanisms preventing the use of chemical and nuclear
weapons would cease to act". We know that NATO military forces are using
depleted uranium and other weapons prohibited by international conventions.
I wrote that:
"The international bodies like UN, UNESCO, WTO, World Bank, etc would
disappear or will become vestigial structures without any real power or
influence. It is very probable that even the idea of international legislation and
international rights would be abolished" - and it has happened already.
I also wrote that as a consequence of the crisis would be the deep
de-globalization of economy:
"As in the USSR all interstate borders and barriers would be restored and
strengthened and the nations would restore their full sovereignty including
prevention of immigration and extradiction of immigrants and foreigners".
I also wrote that:
"Because of the extremely difficult economic situation all the states will
deliberatly separate from each other and disavow all social obligations,
including the support of science, education, healthcare, etc. Conversely, the
state authorities will quickly build up the military and police structures and
will spend the majority of their budget to build a strong army and strong
internal security, including the structure of suppression of the population
Today I am even more convinced that these events and many other are coming.
My intent was not to frighten anyone but simply to pass the facts, as I see
them, to enable us as rational human beings to make the decisions
adequate to the situation and thus providing chance for survival.
I will be glad to send the full text of my "Call to Action" to those interested.
Co-chairman of the Council of
Socio-Ecological Union, International
SEU - SPECIAL
CAVIAR NOT OIL!
The end of April was marked by significant international event - NGO conference
"Strengthening partnership in Caspian region environmental problem
solution", organized by the ISAR and funded by the USAID.
It gathered more than 60 people from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia,
Turkmenistan, Georgia, Iran and USA.
Geopolicy and commercial interests are clashing today over the Caspian Sea,
choking it to death in a deadly hug. The Transanationals are already there
leaving no time for inner quarrels and academic discussions.
The Kazakhstan International Operating Company (OKIOC), "boasting" such
"environmentally - prominent" members as Agip, British Gas, British
Petroleum - Statoil alliance, Total, Mobil, Shell, is to start drilling in the
northern part of Caspy (Kazakhstan) in the nearest future.
According to the OKIOC claims, profits gained will go to the Kazakstan
state budget, but only after all expenses are covered - and that means 50 - 60
years waiting. Before that Kazakstan will receive as a reward only 20% of the
profit and dead, devastated land and sea.
The North - East part, the most threatened one because of drilling planned is
extremely valuable for fishery - it is like a kindergarten for valuable fish
youth. The richest coastal zone, the once specially protected area, the habitat for
more than 300 bird kinds, sea mammals and fish, including sturgeon, -
is the most fragile one, and drilling there means complete devastation.
It is necessary to change the artificially created international image of the Caspian
Sea as a large oil puddle. The majority of oil product customers
simply don't have the least idea of the price environment pays for oil-based fuel.
It is quite clear that NGOs willing to preserve the Sea should join they efforts reaching
over the borders and interests posed upon their countries by the
politicians and corporations. They will also need cooperation of their Western
colleagues experienced in influencing customers and corporations.
The future looks gloomy for Caspy in the corporation-set scenario. One can see just taking
a ride around Baku neighborhood, where drilling has been
going on for almost a century - orange, burnt land, abandoned drilling facilities, dirt,
stinking sea water.
For several years by now, after the Caspian oil fever had started, multiple international
agencies are demonstrating their interest to the region
environmental problem solution. Unfortunately, it looks more like a demonstration than
like real work.
In 1995 GEF and TACIS decided to start the Caspian Environmental Program (CAP),
aimed "to provide for sustainable development and management of
Caspian environment on the middle and long term basis".
In year 1998 GEF even violated its own rules giving grant to the CEP. According to its
rules, the beneficiary country should be GEF member and have a
contact person, while two out of five countries - CEP participants are not GEF members.
So the whole program started with judicial violations, and CEP
representative could not give any sensible comment on it.
The way transnational corporations are communicating with public and NGOs of the
countries they get profit on is also a kind of story.
For example, British Petroleum - Amoco representative in his presentation attempted
to persuade everyone of the company's openness and
transparency, forgotten to mention that those openness does not go beyond public
relations department prepared presentation materials. The attempts of
Azerbajan Greens movement representatives to receive any real information failed
all the time. The representative of the company working actively for
several years in the region did not have any ideas of NGOs acting there.
Overall transnational agencies tried to present the whole situation as invariable.
The oil extraction is inescapable and only way of the development for
the region, and this idea is promoted on all levels. But it is well known that oil drilling
in rich fishery regions is profitable only for companies extracting it
and polluting the sea. The state that owns the area will only loose. Much more profits
might be gained from fishing - and this precisely relates to Caspy
that is still rich in valuable fish species, like sturgeon - a deli itself, not to forget the
black caviar. And all this be lost in 3 or 4 years after massive oil
drilling starts. The problem is that all pollution will stay where it is, as Caspy is a
closed basin, with limited self-restoration capacity.
According to the latest estimations oil deposits are overestimated, and will last for
50 - 60 years - precisely the time when extraction should start
generating income for the states owning the area, and by
far enough to kill everything in the Sea.
In this scenario NGOs are offered endless participation in endless assessments
and negotiations that principally would not change anything - the drilling
would go on, and in that case NGO participation - as mere observers in reality -
would only legitimate the Caspy destruction.
So the oil extraction should be banned by the countries around it not only for
"just" environmental, bot for economical reasons also.
But here we run into other problem. First, it's the absence of international legal
satute for the Caspian Sea, and thus we are demanding to speed up all
negotiations concerning the agreements on it.
The other problem is low level national law enforcement and high corruption in the
Caspian states. Today corporations know, how much money it is
needed to change this or that article in national environmental legislation.
Today it is quite clear that international cooperation is needed to save this unique
nature area, and international attempts are needed to influence the policy of
international agencies, corporations and Caspian Sea governments.
The first attempt was made on the meeting - the participant drafted a letter to GEF
and TACIS, stating disagreement with the claim that the extensive oil
extraction is the only way for the regions development. But the decision makers are
the Caspian Sea governments, on one side, and corporations that
intending to extract oil there. The international NGO community should use every mean
to persuade them to withdraw from Caspy - leaving it to fish and
local population, and will reward countries surrounding it with profits from fishery,
gardening and tourism.
For further information or cooperation contact
THE EARTH DAY
THE MARCH FOR PARKS, INTERNATIONAL
The end of April 1999 in Russia and many other countries were devoted to zapovedniks
and national parks - multiple exhibitions, concerts, excursions,
roundtables and press - conferences. Multiple stories in newspapers, on the TV and
radio, speaking about the nature conservation. The list includes all
central TV-channels (ORT (Russian Public TV), RTR (Russian TV and Radio station),
NTV (Independent TV-Channel), MTK (Moscow TV channel) and
others), Russian and foreign (BBC) radio-channels.
All this variety of events and celebrations is called March for Parks. This year
became a jubilee - it was held for the 5 th year, About 220 local Marches
were organized, with over 1 000 000 people in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia,
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania,
Mongolia, Poland and Finland. In many places March for Parks was included in the
regional official list of conservation actions. Governors of regions,
representatives of Governments of Republics, people of all professions including
military men, artists, actors, writers, youth, etc. participated this year in
Today March for Parks - The Day for Zapovednics and National Parks - is an
international conservation action, aimed at support of protected areas. Since
the development of this initiative in Russia, March for Parks has truly become an
international event. Now, following the Russian initiative, "March for
Parks" takes places in a number of the republics of the former Soviet Union: Turkmenia,
Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan (Central Asia), Armenia (Caucasus),
Ukraine, and Belorussia.
It has proved to be a very successful means to attract people to participate
in the conservation activity of Zapovednics, National Parks and other
protected areas (in festival form). It provides them with real practical help, to find
partners for future activities, to awake pride in national property. It has
become the day when Russian Zapovednics and National Parks can feel themselves
as a part of the World Protected Areas System. In addition to this,
"March for Parks" has initiated the real possibility of attracting donors.
In 1995 a paradox idea to attract the whole society to solving protected areas'
problems of SEU non-traditional for Zapovednic System method - by
establishing national, opened for everybody festival - "Zapovednics and National Parks
Day", was developed by an initiative group of the Biodiversity
Conservation Center (BCC). This group was led by Irina Chebakova and Margaret
Williams. It was anticipated that such a festival could effectively attract
and make aware a number of different groups to protected areas' problems.
Such an effort would offer communities a chance to learn more about their
local park or nature reserve in a positive atmosphere. An equivalent program
"March for Parks" has been conducted in the USA since the 1990 Earth Day
celebration which was devoted that year to National Parks. By participating in
"March for Parks" citizens take responsibility for their preservation and
prosperity. Earth Day was to be used throughout the nation to raise awareness of the
protected areas system.
The Russian "March for Parks" project started in February 1995. Initially it was proposed
to a number of Zapovednics and National Parks to conduct a
March on the week-end before Earth Day (on the same day as in the USA). It was
explained what actions they should carry out, and what the anticipated
results would be.
Throughout the summer and fall, news of the 1995 March and it's ensuing successes spread
like wildfire throughout Russian protected areas. Such mass
activity indicated the solidarity of protected areas even in such a difficult period. In September
1995, the coordinator decided to further develop the
program on a step-by-step basis to build on this success. A logotype for the Russian
March was designed, methodical materials developed, and
additional volunteers attracted to join the initiative group to conduct
"March for Parks-96" in Russia.
In 1996, coordinated from the BCC, and thanks to the energetic and enthusiastic efforts of
individuals across the former Soviet Union, more than 120
sites joined in the celebration "March for Parks-96": 26 National Parks, 70 Zapovednics,
16 ecological NGOs, local administrations, etc. Over 300
newspapers disseminated information about the March and published articles concerning
Zapovednics, National Parks and nature conservation. The
number of participants increased to 100,000 and included people of all ages and
occupations: school pupils, students, protected areas employees,
governmental officials, schoolteachers, journalists, priests, businesses,
etc. Approximately $100,000 (not only money, but materials and equipment)
were raised by the protected areas, and this result was achieved in spite of the
fact that it was the first experience of work with sponsors for many
"March for Parks-96" was the winner of Ford European Conservation Awards in
Russia in 1997 and now it is sent to European Final event .
THE EARTH DAY EVERY DAY
Every year, on April 22, people concerned about the life of our planet celebrate
the Earth Day. This year, ECODEFENSEgroup decided to prolong this day
and organized the Earth Days in Kaliningrad (Koenigsberg), a whole week,
from April 17 to 26, full of various events.
We started on April 17 with creating a "green protection screen" for one
of kindergartens in Kaliningrad; some dozens of young birch trees were
transplanted to the territory of the kindergarten from a site that is just about to be built up.
On April 18, in the Art House, the exhibition "City is Our Habitat", a central
event of the week, was opened. Over 200 people, as well as representatives of
the local mass media, attended the opening ceremony. Since then, hundreds
of schoolchildren and students have visited the exhibition. The exhibition is
devoted to the most critical environmental problems of Kaliningrad that unavoidably
influence the health of its residents. The city environment becomes
a part of our organisms getting inside us with every drop of air, water or food.
We would not like to scare visitors with the information concentrated at one
place, on the contrary, in every section of the exhibition we tried to show how some
of problems may be solved by a single person. We have already got
a lot of responses showing people have raised their understanding and awareness
of the environmental situation in the city and the people's role in it.
On April 20, 22 and 23, in German-Russian House, showings of environmental
videos for school students have been organized. Over 600 schoolchildren
of 1st -3rd grades have already seen some environmental educational videos of the
On April 21, in the hall where the exhibition is located, ECODEFENSE held the
press-conference invited journalists of the local press, radio and TV,
officials (the head of the City Council Commission on city building and ecology; the
head of the local Parliament Nature Protection Department),
representatives of non-governmental environmental and youth organizations
(the Public Council on environmental education, OZON, Platan, and, of
course, ECODEFENSE), and our friends from Denmark who
represents Danish Ministry of Environment.
On April 22, The Earth Day itself, we invited residents and guests of Kaliningrad to
the Museum of History and Art to attend the concert "What will be left
after us?.." The program of the concert is designed especially for the Earth
Day and includes creative works of the famous poetess and musicians
of the city.
On April 22-24, school teams meet each other on the final stage of the annual
environmental contest, which is held in Kaliningrad for the fifth time. First
day they clean up one of the city streams, two following days they spend in a
small town on the seaside, not far from Kaliningrad, having different
contests and cleaning, by the tradition, the Baltic sea coast.
On April 25 it is turn of another city stream to be cleaned up. In the morning about
a hundred of students gather to clean up its banks and bed from the
garbage accumulated there during winter.
At last, on April 26, the Memory Day of the Chernobyl catastrophe, in the very
center of the city on the steps of "Rossia" cinema, we are organizing the
concert "Chernobyl+13" with participating some known among the youth of the
city rock-music and theatre groups.
CHEMICAL SAFETY DAY
The Chemical Safety Day was held April 28 for the third time by the SEU member
organization, Union for Chemical Safety. The story of the day goes back
to 1974, when the fire at the chemical weapon plant broke out in Novocheboksarsk
in Chuvashia. Large number of the most dangerous V-gas armed
bombs were burned, and tons of toxic chemicals were released into the
atmosphere. The whole accident remained secret until 90 is when environmental
activists revealed the truth to the population.
Coincidingly in 1997 the Convention on chemical weapons, signed in 1993 by
138 countries was enforced on the same day. According to the Convention,
Russia must finish its chemical armament supply destruction by the year 2007.
It is quite clear that this condition is not to be fulfilled, as the destruction
has not started yet due to various reasons. The main of them are economy crisis
and absence of really safe technologies. The projecting of the CW
treatment plants has started in several places, but these activities are met by
population and environmentalist protests, demanding safety and social
provisions neglected by the military officials.
Every year on April 28 Union for Chemical safety holds meeting with people living
near chemical industry and military objects, chemical industry and
military employees and officials, journalists. Different actions are also held on this day.
This year Union for Chemical Safety leader Lev Fedorov participated in
press-conference organized by AVE-info (Agency of the Volga river Environmental
Information) on Chemical Safety problems in Nizhny Novgorod and Dzerzhinsk
(one of the most chemically -unsafe cities in Russia). At the same day
environmental activists were joined by people in planting trees near the chemical
plant in Dzerzhinsk - it was an attempt to revive the dead land and to
give the tribute to the memory of chemical disasters.
BRYANSK FIGHTING CHEMICAL WEAPONS ATTACK
In Bryansk local population ran out of its patience after 5 years of endless dialog
with all level authorities.
The story starts in 1993 in rather optimistic mode - by president Yeltsin promising
environmental assessment as obligatory for chemical weapon
destruction and different safety and social guaranties for the population living near
the CW treatment facilities.
Bryansk local population, trusting to this promise, through the year 1994 kept
requesting military agencies information about the CW storage facility near
Bryansk, at the Rechica settlement, but received no answer at all. In 1995 high
military official in written form denied to the journalists the mere
existence of such facility.
In the same year people started to act more radically and a large protest demonstration
was held in Pochep, city of Bryansk region that neighboring CW
storage facility. As the result, regional authorities introduced 15 years long moratorium
in CW treatment works. In November of the same year a large
international public conference was held in chemical safety.
But in years 1996 and 1997 Russian government adopted several documents on
CW destruction neglecting all the promises given before. In response to
that citizens offered military authorities to set the social agreement, giving social
and safety guarantees to population and permitting works on CW
Obviously military authorities tried to play their old game of ignoring peoples voice
and safety and started treatment facility project works within the
On December 1997 Rechitsa inhabitants gathered and brought up the decision
prohibiting administration any to give land for the treatment facility
We already wrote that there is no safe chemical weapon destruction technology -
the one that is offered has never undergone any real field trials - only
the lab tests. Nevertheless, on February 16 the State Environmental Committee
Chairman Danilov - Danilyan signed the environmental assessment of
the CW treatment facility in Kurgan, practically permitting this technology.
On January 19 1999 79 NGOs warned Government about the dangers of the situation.
But the response - again - came form military authorities in a form
of final decision about the places were the CW treatment facilities were to be built.
So on April 24 people from all the Bryansk region gathered and
brought out the final decision:
We express the distrust to authorities of all level and demand the removal of all
chemical weapons from the Bryansk region.
HUMAN AND EVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS
GRIGORY PASKO - AN UNHAPPY BIRTHDAY
On May 19 Grigory Pasko had to celebrate his 37th birthday in Vladivistok
jail. For one year and seven months now journalist is kept beyond the bars,
being charged by Federal Security Service (FSB) for espionage and treason.
Grigory is not free and threat of unfair and secrecy-driven closed military court
decision is as close as never before - the court decision might be
announced by the mid - June.
But one thing has changed - it's the public bias. Changing form triumphant
FSB representatives press-conferences calling journalist a spy ahead of the
trial and even investigation, journalist community fearfully silent, to the
on-growing public campaign, saterted by Pasko's attorneys and
environmentalists - greens remembered well the case of Alexander Nikitin
facing similar charges for similar work - unveiling the truth about the threats
coming from Russian nuclear fleet.
To not let the FSB-directed spy-show go on under the cover of secrecy, making
the trial open to public scrutiny - that was the main request coming from
the attorneys, environmental and human rights organizations, journalists.
And that was and still is the main threat to the case brought up against the
environmental journalist - as it would never get through any unbiased study.
After 19 months after Pasko was arrested the following is clear:
- none of the charges against Pasko were verified at the closed trial handled by
the Pacific fleet military court
- all the papers that Pasko used were received legally and officially from officials.
None of these officials faced any charges
- none of the document at the time that Pasko used them had secret statute or any
limitations like for inner use only
- all Pasko visits to the military objects, military corpses, Pacific fleet ships were
documented in proper way and admittance were signed by the Pacific
fleet authorized chiefs
- ALL document materials before publication, like articles, photographs, videos were
obligatory checked and permitted by the FSB
- all witnesses questioned at the trial said that they had no evidence of Pasko's
Then what are the remains of the case?
Pasko's straightforward articles on the Pacific Fleet caused radioactive
contamination, on the radioactive waste processing and storage, on liquid
radioactive waste discharges into the Sea of Japan, on the threats coming from
the chemical weapons, on how the Pacific Fleet sell-of, on corruption and
millions dollars and roubles given for radioactive waste treatment vanishing nowhere.
What else? - The career rise for those of FSB officials who so luckily managed to
catch the "spy".
And declining health of Grigory, kept in jail for all these 19 months.
What else happened during that time?
The Public committee in defense of Pasko was established by prominent Russian
people. Grigory was admitted to be the "prisoner of conscience". More
than 5 000 addresses came to the Pacific Fleet Military court supporting journalism,
demanding justice and freedom. On his birthday 125 Vladivostik
journalists filed the petition demanding release of Grigory -
but had to face the refusal again.
The Court is stuck. Every court session proves Pasko innocence. But the court
has no courage to admit officially that no crime was committed, setting the
precedent ruining the case set up by KGB - FSB. That would be the first time
that they loose the case. The case against the freedom.
YOU CAN HELP!
* Question sharply about the case any Russian official of any level especially
in the media and other countries official presence
* Picket, boycott or do other public demonstration of your concern about the
case at the visit of Russian officials to your country or before the official
Russian entities at your country
UKRAINIAN SELFGOVERNMENT IN ACTION
On April 22 1999 public hearings were held in Nikopol, Ukraine.
The subject for the hearings were environmental safety issues of the population
living near the Zaporizhzhe NPP and self-government body attitude
definition to the nuclear energy use and radiation safety.
The hearings were initiated by "Zeleny Svit - SEU", local Ukraine Green Party
organization, Committee of Nikopol Environmental Salvation.
The hearings brought up the resolution demanding economic and environmental
safety guarantees for the population living in the NPP zone. They also
obliged related entities to provide technical safety means for the case of
the nuclear breakdown. Special issue was the drinking water quality, as the NPP
is polluting the water reservoir of the whole region. At the same time, NPP
employees are using different drinking water source.
Hearings also issued recommendations on energy saving, pointing out that
that energy saving policy should replace the further nuclear energy sources
development. Specific demand was to stop construction of NPPs in Rovno
and Khmelnitsky and to close the Chernobyl NPP.
GETTING TO THE COURT
RIGHT TO ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION DEFENDED IN COURT
Russia has not signed the Arhus Convention on Access to Environmental
Information, but its citizens are defending their rights to environmental
In Kostroma "Movement for the Sake of Life" won case in court against
Kostroma Committee on Environment.
This Committee refused to hand over document relating to the first group
forest lands transfer into non forest and documents on Kostroma NPP
environmental legislation violations.
The committee officials claimed these papers to be confidential, and thus
not for public scrutiny.
The Movement filed appeal to the court, and the decision made on April 21
stated that according to the RF Law On the Environment Protection,
environmental and other unities working with these issues have all rights
to request and to receive the full information on issues related to the state of
environment. It also stated that papers requested contained such information
and in no sense they might be considered secret or confidential
The court obliged Committee to hand over the documents requested.
SEU - PRESS
THE GREEN MEDIA FESTIVAL
Significant environmental media event Eko Efir 99 festival was held on 3-8th
May,Kiev,Ukraine. It was held under TACIS Raising Environmental Program
for second time. The first contest was held in 1997 as environmental festival
for entrants from Ukraine and Belarus alongside the annual TV and Radio
Trade Fair organized in Kiev. In year 1999 it was broadened to all CIS countries.
The festival jury received over 200, entries, selecting 40 finalists.
The international jury was held a months before the event, and consisted of 7
journalists and environmentalists. It included also 2 Seu members - Hrant
Sarkisyan, journalist form Yerevan, Armenia, with 30 years of TV work skills behind,
he is also a leader and founder of SEU member organization Eco
Club Tapan (The Ark), and SEU CCI Press-secretary Olga Berlova.
Eko Efir 99 had aimed to identify, reward and publicize winning entries
(1st, 2nd and 3rd) in three main radio and three TV categories as follows;
best environmental news report (up to approx.maximum of five minutes)
best environmental program
best social advertising on an environmental theme
and also special prizes for
best educational material
most innovative and original treatment of an environmental theme
most optimistic/positive treatment of environmental stories
The Grand Prix of the Festival, for the most outstanding work.
The level of the works submitted differed greatly, but the large number of entries
indicated that media becomes more and more interested in the
7 of the 40 finalists were the SEU members, and "Sreda" (The Environment")
program, created by SEU member Natalya Velikodnaya won prize for the
most optimistic/positive treatment of environmental stories ("anti-chernukha").
Sreda is a regular program on one of the most popular Russian channels
NTV. The jury members were attracted by the inventive manner of doing the
program, and by program's active feedback with the audience.
The Grand Prix was awarded to Olga Gerasimyuk of the Ukrainian channel 1+1,
for her program "Tragedy in Transcarpathia" (a landslide devastating a
remote village last winter, a direct result of illegal logging).
The first prize for the TV-news bite went to Armen Sargsyan from Armenia - in 2
minutes and 17 seconds he managed not only to present the problem of
loggings in Armenia but also built it upon the old Armenian story.
All winners of the best environmental program nomination deserve special
mentioning - the first place went to Nodar Begisahvily, Georgia for splendid
cartoon "The Autumn Bus" about the waste management problem. The whole
cartoon was based on children drawings. Kids are sending their artpieces to
Nodar asking him "to make the alive". The other Nodars work would be seen
at the opening of the Environment and health Conference in London, and is
called "The Magnificent Sky".
The second place went to Leonid Semago from Voronezh. The 75 - years old
writer and scientists is the author of splendid series about the mid-Russia
nature, done in the best traditions of nature programs.
The third place belonged to the young and energetic journalist from Novosibirsk
Julia Danilova for her program "The Living Space". It is an
environmental news program that is watched with great interest in Novosibirsk
and tackling different urban environmental problems in interesting and
Social advertising is not much developed in CIS countries, but still there were
some nice entries. The winner became Georgian ad "The Trash Can",
featuring trash can as a lovely animal cheerfully catching the waste. Other
winning works belonged to Natalya Velikodnaya - on energy saving, and to
EcoProject - a team from Kazakhstan, on the dessertification problem.
The EkoEfir became valuable fair of ideas, contacts and cooperation.
SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE
The May 21 was a celebration for SEU CCI Press Service - it was the 100
issue of Ecosvodka - weekly news bulletin for media. On the same week we
received information that our bulleting has on the Silver Nika in the "Environment
of Russia" prestigious journalism contest in the "News Agency"
The SEU Press-Service was found in 1992 to promote highlighting the environmental
issues in the mass-media. Currently its media mail-list contains
more than 150 newspapers, magazines, TV and radio companies,
Russian and foreign as well.
At the present time, as well as a decade ago, the lack of the reliable information
on the situation in former Soviet Republics, is one of the considerable
problems. By far the worst informational situation is in the environmental field
as the public attention is primarily (and in many cases artificially) drawn
to political and economical problems.
State monopoly for information allows officials to escape responsibility
for unwillingness to solve the problems while autocratic governing
methods still protect governing bodies securely from the public control though
democratically principles have been declared.
The Press - Service information policy is conducted in a way to uphold constant
public interest to ecological issue.
Since year 1997 SEU Press-service provides media with weekly environmental
news summaries "Ecosvodka". On the mailing list there are round 60
Russian and foreign media. Electronic list is around 100, including regional media
and active freelance 'green' writers.
Among these active users of "Ecosvodka" are State Russian Radio, Radio
"Yunost'", "Izvestia" news-paper, NTV (4 channel of Russian TV), ITAR-TASS,
WTN, , BBC MPM, "Mayak" radio-station, "Obshaya" newspaper, "Moskovskaya
pravda" newspaper, NTV channel ecological program "Sreda", "Moscow
times", "The Mainichi newspapers" (Japan), RIA Novosti information agency.
The SEU CCI Press service conducts and supports informational campaigns on
environment -related issues. In many cases we are part of international
information campaigns or are trying to make our information campaigns international,
as we believe that only cooperation beyond the borders and mutual
support may bring us closer to the problem solution.
We consider that international collaboration on issues like rights defense - for example,
in cases of Alexander Nikitin and Grigory Pasko was and still is
The other example of successful international campaigns are for the protection of
the oldgrowth forests, within the framework of Taiga Rescue Networks
activities, the informational support of "March for parks" dedicated to International
Earth Day (since 1996), participation in the sustainable energy source
promotion and on nuclear safety, like campaigns against MOX-fuel projects in
Russia and new NPPs construction or completion in Russia and Ukraine
and constant information delivery on chemical safety and chemical weapon
We are currently working on the campaign against Genetically Modified Organism products
introduction into world market - we already have partners
from Ukraine, Hungary, Scotland, Netherlands and international organizations like ASEED.
The other campaign that needs international promotion and participation is on the project
of Caspian Pipeline Consortium in Novorossiysk, threatening to
destroy the coastal and marine ecosystem of the place (see SEU-Times 3)
The threat that international nuclear lobby is posing on the environment of Russia is
the changing of environmental legislation in favor of nuclear
industry projects to recycle foreign nuclear waste in Russia. We consider that
campaign against that also should be international, as the results of such
change will pose global threat on the environment (see SEU-Times 2)
The more "peaceful" field of activities is promotion through media of "green" way
of life, paying special attention to promotion of Ecodom (environment
friendly housing project) and alternative way of community management. As a part
of it we gather and publicize through media example of clean
production, alternative energy sources, organic agriculture etc. And here our
interest is to receive as much as possible examples from international
We deliver our information to the media and community through Our bulletins:
- Ecosvodka (environmental news summaries weekly) - Russian
- Ecosvodka-Obozrenie (bimonthly analytical bulletin for journalists and NGOs) - Russian
- Forest News and Forest Update (English version) - in cooperation with Russian NGO Forest Club
- Bulletin "SEU Times" for SEU-members and those activists who are interested in green
activities. It is published in two languages (Russian and
as well as through press-releases, press-conferences, events, etc.
We also have a special educational project for journalists - since March 1995
The SEU CCI is conducting educational program "Environmental
Essentials for Journalists" at the Moscow State University Journalism
Faculty. After a pilot project in March-May 1995 the MSU Journalism
Faculty Administration made environmental education course created by SEU
Press-Service a mandatory course for second year journalism students. Since
1996 SEU CCI is conducting seminar for those students of the third year who
is interested in environmental journalism. In 1998 new program of
course "Environmental essentials for journalists" for second year students has
been developed and the first guide-book on environmental journalism for
third year students has been published
We are open to cooperation and information exchange. The information you are
sending us is delivered to media and NGO community, broadening
possibilities for cooperation and environmental problem solution.
Olga Berlova, Vicktoria Kolesnikova, Anna Kochineva
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