Thursday, 15 October 2009

More Moscow Minds

Unfortunately I am a complete idiot, somehow managing to delete the video recordings most of my Moscow interviews and some later ones too. I have some notes but I'm really kicking myself for relying so heavily on what I should have known would prove to be unreliable technology.

My last day in Moscow is spent running around the city interviewing to three people, all a generation above the group of young people I first spoke to. I speak to Boris at Focus Media, a public health and social development foundation, and Olga and Lyobov at the Agency for Social Information. I hugely appreciate the time all of them have taken to speak to me. At their offices I get the impression there is always more work to be done.

Boris, like me, used to work for a national agency on climate change issues and has the tired, defeated look that I wish I saw less commonly in older environmentalists. His English isn't perfect (though obviously much better than my Russian!) but he has prepared a statement, which he reads to me. He says that global anthropomorphic climate change is happening right before our eyes and that the potential impacts are frightening. He compares the human race to a greedy crowd of rabbits that destroys itself through over-consumption of natural resources. It's difficult to disagree with him.

Olga seems shy but my interviewing technique is far from polished, which probably doesn't help. She knows climate change is a problem for Russia and wishes her contemporaries took it more seriously. She says her teenage son and his friends are much more aware of environmental issues than her generation. I am also informed that the vodka in Russia is much better in the countryside than the city.

Lyobov has twinkling eyes and a bubbly personality. Like Olga she is modest about her ability to provide an interesting interview but goes on to be absolutely fascinating. She worries about the Russian attitude to the environment in general. She is angry that any areas of natural beauty in the country are spoiled by her littering countrymen. She thinks Russia needs more awareness raising on climate change but remains optimistic about the future.

These three are all deeply concerned about climate change. They tell me that they are taking action in their lives but that the majority of Russian people are not. This sounds little different to a conversation I could have with most educated, middle-class people of their generation in the UK. Caring about the environment, and more specifically tackling climate change, may not be in the forefront of everyone's mind but there are clearly not so few people who are willing to ignore the evidence of climate change that now appears plain to all but a few dwindling 'flat earthers'.

PS Today is Blog Action Day, an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. Get involved.

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