Youth Climate Forum dedicated to climate change, global impact of these processes on the traditional craft of indigenous peoples and Arctic ecosystems took place in Murmansk, Russia on May 13-15.
In partnership with Global Power Shift, Murmansk public youth environmental organization “Nature and Youth” and the international climate movement 350.org held a three-day hands-on forum. The event united university students, environmental activists, members of NGOs, indigenous Sami people, business representatives, and the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Murmansk region, for a single goal: establishment of a youth working group for resolving the climate crisis.
Photo: Olga Dergunova
“During the forum, we tried to bring people with a variety of experiences together to create a space of dynamic discussions. There is almost no youth climate debate in Russia, especially in the regions. I think we managed to create such a platform, and we should actively work on climate change and social justice,” chairperson of “Nature and Youth” Nailya Ibragimova says.
Yuliya Makliuk, coordinator of 350.org in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, came to Murmansk from Kiyv. In her opinion, climate change is already noticeable and, for example, the marine states already feel the natural consequences of global climate change, but we need far-reaching practical actions right now to solve the problem: “All of us are responsible for these processes, so we are those who can affect climate crisis, it requires coordinated and systematic work on the subject, starting with energy saving in houses and ending with the influence on environmental decision-making at the international level.”
Issues of global climate change constitute social justice and human rights. These problems are not imaginary; these are real people’s lives, so you need to use your best efforts to reduce the negative effects on the environment at global and local level.
This event is unique for several reasons: it is the first Youth Climate Forum in the Murmansk region. In addition to the diversity of participants, the Forum is distinguished by a wide range of reports.
Alexey Kokorin, coordinator of WWF-Russia “Climate and Energy” program presented the scientific view of the climate change problem, factors and consequences of this process. One of the major topics covered by the expert was the problem of climate change mythologizing, misreporting, and therefore the unwillingness to recognize it as the real problem requiring systemic solutions.
According to Valentina Sovkina, chairperson of the Sami Parliament of the Kola Peninsula, indigenous peoples of the Kola Peninsula don’t feel significant effects of climate change yet, but now there is a problem of a later freezing of rivers that disrupts the natural drift of reindeers to pastures: “The problem is also that we don’t associate it with climate change, as we simply don’t possess the full range of information, so this forum has provided us with adequate access to scientific information on global climate change.”
Is Germany able to abandon fossil energy? What role did German public played in the energy revolution in Germany? How can we integrate this experience in the realities of the Russian Federation? — Comprehensive answer to all these questions was a lecture “The energy turnaround in Germany” of a co-chairperson of the international environmental group “Ecodefence!” and lecturer of Higher School of Economics Vladimir Slivyak, who introduced a set of measures to which Germany will resort in the fight against climate change, reducing import of energy resources and enhancing energy security.
“I was impressed by the situation in Germany, where citizens can produce energy by themselves and sell it; we have to strive to it with our highly centralized energy. After all, the point is not to use only renewable energy, but it is in energy diversification, and of course it is a great experience in the context of self-organization and development of local communities,” a forum member Gleb Paykachev shared his impressions.
Coordinator of the program of renewable energy “Bellona-Murmansk” Yuri Sergeev, coordinator of environmental program of the Heinrich Boell Fond Alisa Nikulina, as well as representatives of “EcoMurman” that supplies technological equipment for renewable energy, held an overview of development opportunities of renewable energy sources in the Russian Federation and the Kola Peninsula. The Murmansk region has a high potential for wind energy development.
A construction of the largest wind farm of 200 megawatt in Russia will be started here in 2015.
Lecture of the representative of “Kola Environmental Center” Elena Kruglikova “Energy efficiency — the largest and cleanest source of energy in Russia”, held in Murmansk Energy Conservation Demonstration Center, confirmed one of the key rules of the fight against climate change is to save energy!
“The energy saving potential is around 40-60%, it’s foolish not to use such opportunities, but the introduction of these technologies is very important not only in everyday life at the level of “replacing incandescent lamps on energy-saving”, but in scale of large manufacturing plants, which are major consumers of energy”, the forum participants discussed during breaks.
The final chord of the forum was the screening of anti-utopical drama “The Age of Stupid”: 2055, the world is nearly destroyed by the catastrophic climate change. The unnamed Archivist keeps the knowledge of mankind, trying to figure out when the irreversible changes have started, and why mankind didn’t solve environmental problems.
The Forum has become not only a platform for the expression of different points of view on this issue, but also a start of development of the youth climate movement in the Murmansk region, as the Nordic regions with fragile ecosystems might suffer from the consequences of climate change, and we should think of adapting to them today.
Following the Forum in Murmansk a climate activists working group appeared, which will continue its work at summer environmental-human rights-based camp of “Nature and Youth”, that will be held in the Khibiny on July 20-27.
If you feel the responsibility for global climate change and want to contribute to solving the climate crisis, join the project “Climate Workshop”: for half a year the initiative group implements a practical project to reduce CO2 emissions (energy efficiency, renewable energy, transport or adaptation) and conduct information campaign on climate change for the population. The Working Group will be supported by the international climate movement 350.org.
Contact Information: Ibragimova Nailya — сhairperson of “Nature and Youth”, +7 (960) 02019 59, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Text and photos – by “Nature and Youth”