Welcome to our Series „Humans of Climate Action“. This series is dedicated to uplifting non-European climate activists.
This interview is with Alexei, from St. Petersburg, Russia.
Alexei is active with FridaysForFuture.
You can read the German transaltion of this interview here.
1) Can you tell us something about yourself?
My name is Alexei, I’m 20 years old and I’m studying in Bonch-Bruevich Saint-Petersburg State University of Telecommunications. In actual fact I was born in Crimea, Ukraine, but after finished school went to Saint-Petersburg to obtain a higher education.
2) Can you tell us a bit more about your personal motivation for participating in this movement?
Everybody know about terrible consequense of climate crises, but struggle against it can’t be goal in and for itself for me. My personal motivation derive from my social position that ecology it’s humans’ way to decentralized, autonomic societies without discrimination for any reasons. The way, that nature developing using mutual aid and harmonics relations, can be the best practice for our hierarchic system which was a basis for climate crisis. It’s neccesary to sensitize relation between climate struggle and humans right in short-term in Russia, becouse of democratic inctitutes are only structure that can provide safe environmental for everyone.
3) What is your role in the #SchoolStrikeForClimate in your country?
I’m coordinating the Fridays For Future Saint-Petersburg group now. I’m trying to make posts at time, answer to people in comments or in message and arrange about new strikes or participating in some social / ecological events. It’s not some kind of high office, because anyone can be coordinator or carry out some cases like that.
4) What are the talents and abilities you provide for a better world?
I think every people have greatest talents and abilities, but only the chainless social environment could help them to improve themself. Сlimate movements are create this environment mainly. So I’m trying to provide for movement the same abilities like anyone else: immersiveness, succession and sustainability, using my free time to write or translating the articles, organizing events or appearance on it.
5) What is the movement like in your country?
Fridays For Future is very young movement in Russia, but very unique in many aspects. We have a lot of institutional and cultural borders, which prevent to engaging with youth and pupils. But those of them who start involving in movement open their mind to new experience and change their view social position. There are over ten FFF groups in Russia in different cities and there are about three hundred activists sum total. What about Saint-Petersburg there are from seven to ten activists in our group.
6) What is the most serious environmental problem in your region? Are your government, the society or big environmental organizations working on solutions for this problem or is the problem just getting bigger without anyone changing anything?
Russians are more involved in problems with garbage now like separate collection, recycling and right infrastructure. All this sphere are carrying by NGOs and other social initiative. But where goverment have his influence it’s become very corryption social sector there. The last thing that goverment did for „soluting“ this problem release the law equal garbage recycling with garbage incineration. We’re doing everything to unite this garbage theme with climate changing, because of it’s no other way for us to be more convincing in climate struggle rirht now.
7) What was the most successful action you participated in or heard about to protect the environment?
There are no so much examples that i could call „successfull action“. In such big and centrilized cities like Saint-Petersburg and Moscow it’s very small chance for success for social activists with some global summon. I took part in campain against landfill site in Shiyes, Arkhangelsk region. It’s too early to give some conclusions, but the interregional help and local people struggle make a lot to safe Shiyes still. The main special was grass-root of this movement. There are ninety five percent of natives was against this landfill site. There are no more examples in Russian history yet when local people were so united for nature and their own territory. It’s very demonstrative lesson for all of us.
8) What’s your vision for our planet, our nature and us humans in 2050. Do you think, it’s realistic?
My political and ecological views motivating me to dreaming radicaly. I can’t believe that all world plans about low-carbon development can save society against environmental collapse. I think that motivating people using extinction rhetoric the bad way to realy change our world. So I’am telling everyone about alternative way – solarpunk. It is an eco-futurist movement which tries to think our way out of catastrophe by imagining a future most people would actually like to live in, instead of ones we should be trying to avoid; a future characterised by a reconciliation between humanity and nature, where technology is utilised for human-centric and eco-centric ends, and where a society driven by hierarchy and competition has given way to one organised on the basis of freedom, equality, and cooperation. Everyone can find more extended articles about this concept in the Internet.
9) Anything else you want to tell us?
Just represent my favorite answer for people who don’t believe in system basic of climate crisis: «Google Bookchin». It’s some kind of joke, but also «many a true word spoken in jest».