Photo by Alexey Ivanov
From March 1 to 3, Skolkovo hosts the Pure Country forum-exhibition, the largest event in Russia in support of the national Ecology project. Sergei Sizarev, director of the UNECO Fund for Support of Environmental Initiatives, spoke about the development of environmental education projects in the open studio of the Komsomolskaya Pravda media group.
“NOT GARBAGE, BUT A PRODUCT”
– Sergey, you participated in the session, which was dedicated to environmental awareness and education in Russia. Let’s summarize.
– The session was very dynamic. I believe that environmental literacy must be instilled in our young and growing citizens from an early age. Today, the attitude towards the environment depends on each of us. The President, addressing the Federal Assembly, noted that Russia was, is and will be a country where great attention is paid to ecology.
– And how do children relate to environmental issues?
– They do not relate in any way, if you do not enlighten. In this situation, adults need to do a lot of educational work. Children of primary grades need to convey such questions in a playful way. We are planning to create classes for young ecologists “YUNEKOV”. If you tell children that garbage must be separated, that is, not thrown into a single basket, they will understand from a young age that garbage cannot be called garbage. This is a product that, after processing, becomes useful again, which is applied to plastic, and aluminum, and wood, and paper. In other words, all the packaging we use can be recycled and have a second life.
Great efforts are now being made to make packaging recycling a mass phenomenon. Globally speaking, the planet is our home, and we must take care of it ourselves.
– Let’s talk about the country as a whole. How is the environmental agenda developing in Russia?
– Very active! Today the forum discussed the Rosatom project for the development and disposal of highly hazardous industrial waste. In Russia, it is planned to create 7 technoparks, two of which are already being put into operation. Furthermore, this is only one of the elements of the overall task.
And if we look at the details… Our more than a million cities are ahead of the rest. They develop electric transport (remember the same Moscow), the authorities begin to respond quickly to the appeals of citizens, especially when it comes to the appearance of spontaneous landfills. The number of inspections and control of emissions and discharges has increased. But of course, today it is a set of measures that is due both to the actions of the authorities and to that of ordinary citizens. Even on our website there is a block of “citizens’ appeals”. And we receive verification requests, which is very nice and important to us. This suggests that people are engaged in this work, and there are fewer and fewer indifferent people.
SPORT AND ECOLOGY – TWO SIDES OF ONE MEDAL
– Tell us about the projects in which your foundation is involved.
– Our fund is only a few months old, but we are making progress. We have several interesting projects. One of the main ones: together with the Volga State University of Water Transport, we are practically developing and implementing technologies for lifting and dismantling ships of the transport fleet that sank during the Great Patriotic War. This is an urgent need to reduce the negative impact on the environment.
The second important project is the development of environmental literacy. I believe that the most important thing today is the education of young people. The plans are to create a youth environmental movement, to educate children in a culture of caring for nature, particularly animals.
And, of course, sports. On March 26 we will hold an event in the Republic of Tuva, it will be a boxing night for the UNECO Cup. For us, sport and ecology are two sides of the same coin. We try to involve children and adolescents in systematic sports, having formed the skills of a healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Our foundation is also involved in innovative IT projects, such as software and hardware systems to optimize information storage based on data compression algorithms, which increases the efficiency of data storage systems, thus reducing costs and reducing the negative impact on the environment.
In addition, we are planning to organize environmental camps, which will be located in the nearest suburbs. This is a project for both children and adults. We have a big problem with the teachers. It needs to be developed.
– UNECO is an international fund. From what I understand, do you manage to develop ties with foreign colleagues as well?
We are starting to develop them. We recently signed an agreement with the BRICS International Alliance of Strategic Projects on mutually beneficial international cooperation in the field of environmental security and environmental protection. Representatives of African countries came, with whom we also signed an agreement to be representatives of the UNEKO fund in West and Central Africa.