On June 26th, Friends of the Baltic took part in a panel discussion “The role of nature protection organizations and thematic programs in creating environmentally friendly culture in Russia” that was held in the conference of the Council of Journalists. Olga Senova, Council chair of Friends of the Baltic, told about the different educational events dedicated to the Gulf of Finland Year 2014 and about their influence on the ecological culture of the young people living in St. Petersburg.
The year 2014 has been declared as The Gulf of Finland Year: Finnish, Russian and Estonian environmental ministries have all signed the memorandum. The theme year doesn’t mean only intensive scientific research, but also all kinds of educational events for a broad public, where the citizens have the chance learn how to reduce the pollution load to the Gulf of Finland. Friends of the Baltic coordinate part of these events.
One of the educational projects of the year is the international Youth Declaration on the Protection of the Gulf of Finland, which will on September 19th be presented at the Festival of the Gulf of Finland in St. Petersburg and also in other events in Finland and Estonia. The idea of the declaration is to give the young people in Finland, Russia and Estonia the chance to address the political decision-makers. Young people from three countries will give their suggestions for improving the state of the Gulf of Finland and tell what in their opinion the decision-makers should do, what is the responsibility of the citizens, and what they themselves are already doing.
Young people from three different countries have generated their views on the state of the Gulf of Finland and on the measures that have to be taken to improve its condition. In July, they will meet at an international camp in Helsinki, where they will draw up their collective Declaration on the Protection of the Gulf of Finland. The declaration will be presented to the decision-makers and the public in each country, and on September 19th in St. Petersburg at the Festival of the Gulf of Finland Year.
All the educational events connected to the Gulf of Finland Year aim at attracting young people’s attention to the theme, and through the activity of the young, bringing the problems and the necessary actions to the attention of also the adults and politicians.
According to Olga Senova, the involvement of young people in nature protection helps to demonstrate what any one of us can do for a sustainable, green future. The first simple step towards solving the problems concerning the Gulf of Finland is to understand how our everyday life is connected with the problems, starting from all the chemicals we use at our homes. Where do they end up? For example, it would be good for everyone to know, that when buying washing powder, it is important to check if it contains phosphates. Bringing these kinds of simple everyday choices for a cleaner Baltic to the people’s knowledge, and in this case to the young people’s knowledge, is at the heart of the educational events of Gulf of Finland Year.
In a situation, where not all the media are prepared to cover ecological themes and the city and the sea are not in the best possible ecological condition, it is extremely important to educate and inform all the layers of society about the current problems and about the ways to solve them. It is also important to show, how you yourself can reach the decision-makers and develop an active attitude towards life and the things that go on around you.