International bike environmental conference on climate change, energy and water issues
International bike environmental conference.
Made its way from the White Sea coast to Lake Onega in the first half of June. It was rganized by the Centre for Environmental Initiatives and Friends of the Baltic in co-operation with the Karelain Council of All-Russia Society for Nature Protection, Dodo – Living Nature for the Future (Finland), and Association of St.Petersburg Environmental Journalists.
This was the 10th campaign organised every summer in the Baltic Sea Region by the Centre for Environmental Initiatives and Friends of the Baltic with participation of environmental organisations and activists from different countries. The previous routes went around the Gulf of Finland, Ladoga Lake, Lake Peipsi and in other regions. This summer the activist campaigned in the White and Baltic Sea Regions, going through Kem, Solovki, Belomorsk, Segezha, Medvezhyegorsk, Kondopoga and Petrozavodsk.
The main theme of the present campaign was climate change and practical issues of energy efficiency – the themes most urgent in view of the forthcoming UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December this year. Of course, the traditional issue of preservation of aquatic ecosystems – traditional for all previous bicycle campaigns – was raised as well.
This campaign was a part of the Programme of Socio-Ecological Union ‘Education for Sustainable Development in the sphere of climate and Energy’. Its mission is dissemination of knowledge about climate change issues, local possibilities for reduction of GHG releases, and easy ways to efficiently use energy and resources. The campaign participants handed printed materials on climate change and energy efficiency and on SPARE educational programme to local schools and libraries and to local residents. At the meetings, they exchanged experience on energy saving in housing sector, where energy losses sometimes reach 75 %.
Protection of lakes, rivers and marine ecosystems is traditional for the campaign organizers and was performed within the Coalition Clean Baltic priority area Promotion of good ecological water status. Besides analyzing the current situation in the area extremely rich with lakes and rivers, the campaign participants disseminated manuals on sustainable wastewater treatment for small villages and single-family houses, River Watch guides and other materials.
The campaign participants met local activists, representatives of local administrations, and journalists all along their route – in Solovki Islands, Pushnoy village, Segezha town, Nadvoitsy village, Medvezhygorsk town, Berezovka village, Petrozavodsk city. In all places, they discussed the issues of local actions for reduction of GHG emissions and other environmental problems. These included: water and air pollution (for example, from Nadvoitsy Aluminium Plant and boiler facility in Pushnoy), illegal and improperly organised dump sites for solid wastes, danger to Lake Onega from the plans to develop uranium in its vicinity and many other ‘hot’ issues.
In Petrozavodsk, the International Bicycle Environmental Campaign participants gave the final press conference and met deputies of the Petrozavodsk City Legislative Assembly. Giving the set of posters on energy saving in house sector to the Karelian Council of the Russian Society for nature Protection, Olga Senova, the leader of Friends of the Baltic and coordinator of the Russian Socio-Ecological Union Climate Secretariat, said: “Simple energy saving measures in flats can save up to 40 % of heat and electricity without damage to comfort. More serious investments, for example, insulation of house outer walls and installation of facilities for controlling heat and hot water, pay back in two to three years and bring considerable benefits, both of the house budget, for comfort of residents, and for the global climate.”
Alexander Fedorov, co-chairman of the Russian Socio-Ecological Union and leader of the Centre for Environmental Initiatives, underlined the importance of measures in transport sector, whose contribution in global GHG emission is over 30 %. In his opinion, city planning and policies aimed at priority development of public transportation are very urgent at the current moment, when the number of private cars boosts in Russia. Very serious attention to development of bicycle infrastructure in cities is also needed.
Olga Senova, Friends of the Baltic, Russian Socio-Ecological Union Climate Secretariat, SPARE project: email@example.com
Alexander Fedorov, Russian Socio-Ecological Union, Centre of Environmental Initiatives: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tatyana Artyomova, Posev magazine, Association of St.Petersburg Environmental Journalists: email@example.com
Lina Zernova, Environment and Law magazine, Association of environmental journalists with the Russian Union of Journalists: firstname.lastname@example.org