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‘Earth Is Our Only Home; We Must Preserve It’

‘Earth Is Our Only Home; We Must Preserve It’

© HSE University

The Green HSE student organisation recently held the ‘Green Conversation’ festival at the Cultural Centre on Pokrovsky Bulvar. At the event, participants discussed the planet’s main ecological problems and the steps required to start building a green future today.

Environmental activists at HSE University organised the Green Conversation event in order to draw students’ attention to the environmental agenda. Tatyana Kotelnikova, co-creator of the event and second-year student of the Bachelor’s in Business Administration, said the idea of the festival originated with volunteers in autumn 2022.

Tatyana Kotelnikova
© HSE University

‘At the meeting where we discussed plans for the next year, we proposed conducting some kind of large-scale event, but one that is both educational and interactive in order to appeal to more people interested in ecology,’ Tanya explains. In her words, the activists specifically wanted to draw attention to the environmental agenda at the start of the year. ‘Given the current circumstances, there is a sense that people have forgotten about the environment,’ she says. ‘At the festival, we wanted to remind people of the importance of green living and the need to at least take small steps to preserve and protect our environment.’

The event programme included a series of educational lectures from business representatives. Alexandra Kumpan, Director of Foodsharing, spoke on the topic of ‘How Food Sharing Works in Russia’, while Natalya Makaed, Head of the +1Gorod loyalty programme, spoke about ‘Trends in Eco-education’. Natalya Porotnikova, Deputy Director of the HSE University Institute of Ecology, spoke about ‘The Professions and Skills of the Future in Ecology’. The university’s EcoCheck student organisation held master classes on decorating tote bags and making postcards from receipts. The participants pulped the receipts and smoothed out the resulting mass in order to prepare a base for the postcards, which they then decorated. The master class was led by Polina Merekina, second-year student of the Bachelor’s in Media Communications. ‘It is important to expand one’s horizons, to understand why we must pay attention to the environment,’ she explains. ‘Each individual’s lifestyle has an impact that extends beyond them personally. It affects our shared future.’ These kinds of events can be useful and interesting to anyone, she believes. ‘Great ideas originate and are implemented here. Environmentalism is a broad platform for creativity. It seems like a complex topic, but even small steps such as collecting and recycling receipts can help slow down the pollution of the planet,’ Polina explains.

Visitors to the Green Conversation festival could learn more about nature and rare animals in Russia from mini-programmes and films, as well as donate unwanted clothing to the Second Wind foundation and recyclable waste (PET bottles and bottlecaps, waste paper, and batteries) to the Sobirator environmental organisation. Volunteers from Greenpeace organised a quiz on environmental conservation and a game called ‘Guess the Forest’. Nikita Pustovalov, a volunteer, believes that organising and attending such festivals is a necessity for future life on our planet. ‘Earth is our only home; we have no other planet, so we must preserve it,’ he stresses. ‘Nature is totally unique, and we simply won’t survive without it.’

Participants of the Green Conversation festival shared their impressions with the HSE News Service:

Timofey Belyakov, 9th-grade student of the HSE Lyceum

© HSE University

‘Events like this help people to see environmental problems. The younger generation must take an interest in this agenda in order to find solutions. Here, I handed in materials for recycling and also visited the Greenpeace area.’

Dasha Yasonova, 3rd-year student of the Bachelor’s in Economics

© HSE University

‘The planet is facing serious environmental problems. In my dorm, we try to sort waste—we have several separate containers for bottles, bottlecaps, batteries and paper so we can take them to be recycled. I also handed in waste paper at the festival.’

Anya Shebyreva, 3rd-year student of the Bachelor’s in Economics

© HSE University

‘It is important to popularise the topic of ESG, as the issue of the environment is an acute one. Students pay more attention to this than adults. I myself am only starting to follow certain rules, such as recycling batteries instead of throwing them away. Today I attended the lecture on “Professions and Skills of the Future in Ecology”. It seems to me that in the near future, this topic will become especially relevant and that more professions linked to ecology will appear.’

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