GPS brings fruit in Ukraine. Like, literally

“I move, therefore I am.”

– Haruki Murakami, 1Q84

 GPS Phase 2 in Ukraine is finished – the activists had their closing retreat in the mountains few days ago and are preparing for the next stage, which is a campaign for community-led climate solutions to start in spring. In this blogpost they have a look back to recall some of the brightest moments of the Climate Week they organized last autumn as part of the GPS.

'Locally harvested' bananas

Photo: ‘Locally harvested’ bananas.

… How are Ukrainian bananas, Antarctica visitor, handmade birdhouses, environmental graffiti, social networks, talk shows and people in shorts on the streets in October connected with climate change and adaptation? The answer to this question is now known by tens of thousands of people all over Ukraine thanks to the media that paid great attention to our events. Youth climate movement organized and held an unprecedented week of climate action in Ukraine. Young teams of four cities in Ukraine – Dnipropetrovsk , Lviv, Kharkiv and Kyiv – prepared a series of events, in their sole discretion. The sprouts of youth climate activism that emerged a few years ago turned into strong and independent plants that are beginning to bear fruit. 

We did not limit ourselves to a certain format and communicated climate change by ridiculous actions, practical workshops, expert lectures and changes in urban space. The results exceeded all expectations – now people gossip about climate change in the kitchen, discuss it at lunchtime and on social network Vkontakte. We talked with the organizers about funny incidents that occurred during Climate Week in the cities of Ukraine.


Liuda Sulik, activist of UYCA, Lviv:

One of the actions of the Week was “distribution of local bananas” – we gave bananas to people on streets and claimed that they were harvested locally. Attached to each banana there was a paper with announcement of the expert lectures on climate change. People took the fruit happily and stayed for a brief chat. Surprisingly, from these talks it turned out that we also had local kiwi which grew nearby (I tried, very tasty!), and that the best tool against climate change was a common prayer. Believers in Lviv are sure – if you pray, climate change will pass away, just as the Soviet Union did, for the collapse of which they used to pray every day.

Upcycling workshop

Photo: Upcycling workshop. Credit – Postpaper.


Liuba Kolosovska, activist of “EkoDnepr” movement, Dnipropetrovsk:

I was struck by the number of people who responded to the idea and helped with it. Interestingly, the majority of volunteers joined first because they were attracted by the subject of environment, without any knowledge about climate. They only learned more about it and understood the importance in the process.

At climate change lecture

Photo: At climate change lecture. Credit – HILL.

Despite the widely admired activities, use of visuals and availability of experts, many people still did not ascertained that climate change is 95% the fault of humans. This must be due to the complexity of the topic, lack of basic education in climate science and the lack of decent media attention to climate change. It will take more than one campaign. But there were no doubts that everyone had an impact on the environment, and that more attention should’ve been paid to it.

At the talk show

Photo: At the talk show.

At one of the live talk shows that we provoked during Climate Week on TV, I had to prove anthropogenic nature of climate change to two so-called experts:  scientists and professors. Their answers were fantastic, although also very funny and motivating for our volunteers and hope – other viewers. Public opinion on climate change has to be created by modern youth!

 One of the famous banana actions

Photo: One of the famous banana actions. Credit – UkrInform news agency.


Olga Monchak, head of UYCA, Kyiv:

The action with bananas has not gone unnoticed in Kiev too – 6 TV channels queued up around us on Monday morning, ready to shoot the “banana fever”.  In terms of activists, less of them turned out than of inspired journalists and camera-men. So as a result of this, pedestrians at Kontraktova Square in Kyiv at 9am area were “attacked” by six news-making groups – an activist with a banana in hand jumping from one side, and a journalist with microphone and cameraman running into them from other side to take a close up. The scene looked pretty risky so some people just ran away (but we run faster, so each banana found its owner).

Reverse graffiti action in Kyiv

Photo: Reverse graffiti action.


Natalia Trofimova, founder of “Nature’s Friend” group, Kharkiv:

A photographer with a nickname “Brezhnev” cursed and said that we blatantly stole his photographs for our show and that he would never trust environmentalists again! Other than that all events were a great success with many people coming during the entire week. But we noticed that people preferred to do practical actions, no matter how small, like planting trees, making birdhouses etc, rather than to consume some theoretical information.

During a birdhouse workshop. Seed bombs

Photos: During the workshops.

As part of our program we had a theatrical performance. And before a performance actors always warm up. This part looks very strange for an unprepared person: like a mixture of contact improvisation, teasing, mourning, attack of nerves and kneading the muscles. Actors howl, rub against one another, loll out, laugh, and cry and so on. Occasionally some people from the audience came inside and took their seats during the warm up, thinking that the play had already begun. Considering that the show itself was very serious, and perhaps even hard, it all seemed as kind of madness and highly contrasted with the show.

Eco-themed theatric performance

Photo: Eco-themed theatric performance.


Climate Week is a step towards creating a climate movement in Ukraine. After this, activists from Ukraine visited international youth conference Power Shift Central and Eastern Europe in Warsaw, some of them remained for international negotiations COP 19 and returned to Ukraine to work on a common strategy, new projects and create new reality. Reality in which equality, tolerance and justice climate have value and power. Join before it’s too late!

Climate is changing. It's time to act!

Photo: Climate is changing. It’s time to act!

Recorded by Olga from GPS team Ukraine.