Penza region

Alina Mozhachkina-Gribanova - PosadiLes coordinator in the Penza region

How long have you been interested in the environmental topic? And how did you decide that you should be an organizer of eco-initiatives, and not be limited to simply making a personal choice of an eco-friendly lifestyle?

It all started in 2010. My fellow community activists offered me to become a regional coordinator in the ECA environmental movement. My first task as a coordinator was to plant 100,000 trees in the region. And I successfully coped with it thanks to the support of my friends in the Penza region. And already in the spring of 2011, within the framework of the More Oxygen! the ECA movement in the Penza region planted the required number of trees and created 100 school nurseries. This was my first experience in organizing a large-scale eco-project. Despite the difficulties, we succeeded.

I was then a 2nd year student with a degree in Environmental Engineering. When at the rally I met guys from all over Russia who were inspired by the environmental theme, I didn't want to stop there, stay within the framework of my specialty, especially since I became a social activist at school.

Our movement began to develop, other directions and projects appeared, which we have been implementing for 7 years in the Penza region.

What eco-project has become the most significant for you and causes special pride?

I am proud of our project "More oxygen!" - massive volunteer tree planting and education on forest conservation. During the "More oxygen!" with the participation of teachers and schoolchildren, under the leadership of ECA activists, 10 million trees were planted and 5,000 school nurseries were created in more than 40 regions of Russia.

In the Penza region, over 10 stages of the program, 250 thousand seedlings and 10 kg of seeds were planted, 235 school nurseries were created. Thanks to this project, a large number of schoolchildren learned about the problems of forest conservation, got acquainted with the rules of tree planting and personally took part in the creation of a school nursery.

What are the main ingredients of a sustainable lifestyle?

I believe you can start with a few simple steps.

The first is to change disposable bags and containers for reusable eco-bags and mugs. For six months, one family spends about 100 plastic bags, the use time of which does not exceed an average of 15 minutes, but the decomposition period in a landfill is from 100 to 200 years. No less harmful are the supposedly eco-friendly paper bags, the production of which takes a huge amount of forest resources. Eco-bags are designed for long-term reusable use.

Ecobags, like reusable bottles and mugs, save both personal and natural resources.

The second is to follow the "Second Life of Things" principle. About 120 million working mobile phones are scrapped every year just because they bore their owners. Trucks with these gadgets can girdle the entire globe. Therefore, it is much more effective to donate things that are boring to you, donate them on free markets or pass them on to those in need.

The third is the use of environmentally friendly household chemicals. Every year, hundreds of thousands of tons of phosphates contained in washing powders enter the country's waterways through the sewage system. This is very harmful for rivers and lakes. Traditional folk remedies can become a worthy substitute for "poisonous" household chemicals.

You can also choose from ethical and sustainable brands on the market.

Now there are many examples of how easy it is to make your home environmentally friendly. Those who are interested in this topic can find a lot of information and examples on the Internet.

 

How do you rate the progress in inculcating eco-thinking in the younger generation with whom you work?

For three years, our movement, with the support of various partners, has been developing and organizing interactive eco-lessons on various topics: water and energy saving, separate waste collection, climate change, etc. During this time, a large number of teachers and schoolchildren from all over the country took part in them. For example, in the Penza region, such lessons are regularly conducted by about 150 teachers. Therefore, we can safely say that schoolchildren are aware of environmental problems and implement their projects. But so that there is no consumer attitude to nature, consciousness must be changed in all generations. In my opinion, in order to speed up this process, it is necessary that every year in Russia be the Year of the Environment - albeit not officially, but in the minds and hearts of as many people as possible.

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