Right now I’m in the middle point of my two-weeks tour through the Nordic, Baltic and Eastern European countries. There’s been many presentations, speeches, workshops, meetings and conversations (and a healthy amount of partying, too). And, as my vocal chords have begun to fail me, I decided to take a minute and communicate via written text, not with spoken words.
My tour started last Tuesday, on April 12th, with a two-days stay on Tjärö in Blekinge, with a fantastic group of teenagers from Klaipeda in Lithuania, Kaliningrad in Russia and Karlskrona in Sweden discussed the climate and environmental issues of the Baltic Sea region. Sven, Maja and myself delivered a presentation on youth climate action and facilitated a workshop ‘Redesign the World’ in three parallel groups. The project was organised by our friends in Blekinge, Green Teens, and was led by the project manager Sissa Pagels.
Then it was time to cross the Baltic Sea and join the Baltic University Programme’s Student Conference in Rogów, Poland, where 70 students from 37 universities in 12 countries spent four days together, discussing climate and energy issues and, most importantly, talking about and trying to find practical solutions. To paraphrase my new friend Hannes Kjörnsberg from CEMUS in Uppsala: “Wow, what a week! This conference was just amazing!”
And then it was time to catch a train from Warsaw to Kiev, Ukraine. I arrived there on Monday morning, April 18th, and just two hours later I somehow found myself at the round table with some Ukrainian mayors, business leaders, a chairperson of the Green Party of Ukraine, a couple of ambassadors from countries in Southern and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia, and some NGO representatives. My role was to present 350.org and our work in the world and in Ukraine and to talk about our plans for the “Moving Planet” on September 24th this year. Our friends in 350.org Ukraine got invitation to that round table thanks to their awesome work and the latest publication in a luxury reference book about environmental agencies, organisations and campaigns in Ukraine.
Today my morning started with watching pictures from the PowerShift 2011 in Washington, DC and watching Bill McKibben’s great speech addressed to the participants of the PowerShift. Beats any TV news program for breakfast! Oh, when I was watching those handsome faces, lit by an inner passion, doing all these amazing things in the capital city of the US. I just could not wait for PowerShift to arrive in Europe next October!..
I still have another week of travels ahead of me. I’m spending a week in Moscow, Russia, connecting with the wonderful organisers of the past year’s 10/10/10 events from different regions of Russia. Together we will be planting trees, setting up recycling stations, running workshops, attending inspirational speeches, participating in protests against the illegal destruction of Khimki forest, and strategizing about the continued movement-building in Russia… It’s going to be crazy, inspiring and absolutely awesome!..
Now I have to run for a meeting at the British Embassy in Ukraine to talk with about climate change and energy efficience with a representative of the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change and fellow NGO colleagues in Ukraine. Then it will time for another talk about the 350.org campaign, PowerShift, and the international youth climate movement for the general public in Kiev, and then, finally, a relaxing dinner with our local organisers and activists in Kiev. I look forward to that moment of peace and laughter before the next whirlwind round of activities begins tomorrow.
I promise to be back with more updates about connecting young people in the Baltic and Eastern Europe regions and bringing this fantastic movement closer together.