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How we greened up

This article, although quite long, will give you an accurate impression of how we did our own weekend event – vikendovka Green up! Two versions from two organizers and a lot of photos – we wish you an interesting reading:)

Masha’s version

One of the changing points of my life was a training called School of Eco-Activist. It was the first training I’ve ever participated in, and I was immediately fascinated: by the non-formal education atmosphere with place for discussions and no authority, by the trainers who shared the values they were talking about (and it was seen through their actions), and mostly – by the topic, both challenging and inspiring. Saving Nature.


2011. Happy participant

When the training was coming to the end, I didn’t want to leave. Well, in fact I never did – I started making projects with those people, joined environmental movement in Belarus, and two years later I was in the very same place – but already as a trainer.

dRhBEjdiAYE2014. Happy trainer

This is always my favourite experience as a trainer: I’m always amazed by the creativeness and selflessness of the participants, by their concern and willingness to change. We always have deep discussions, super-intensive program and a lot of laugh. In every group there would be someone saying: “thank you so much for this training, my friends are not really interested in these problems , and now I’m so glad to find people who think the same way…” – and I would know that I’m doing the right thing, giving people time, place and inspiration to think about the Earth, to find like-minded people, to share ideas, to unite for making new projects together.

I was really missing this atmosphere – and that’s why I suggested to make some weekend event dedicated to environmental topic and eco-friendly life-style, and Shushan kindly agreed to add artistic wave to it by preparing workshop on eco-art. We called it Green Up and it happened just a week ago – and here are some impressions.

We had quite a small group, so we had space for really productive work. What we did? We talked about possible future of mankind and how we influence on it with our everyday actions, we counted our eco-footprint, we made experiment with water to see its hidden side, we watched Story of Stuff to understand the interconnections of media, consumption and waste.

We went to a park to enjoy the autumn nature and experience it with all our senses.  We went shopping trying to find the most eco-friendly goods (that’s a challenge!). We discussed the concept of sustainable development and tried to make our own projects based on it. We created beautiful things from old milk boxes and fabric. Last but not least we ate delicious food – vegetarian and with Armenian spirit (thanks to Shushan).

All in all, we had really good time.

‘I’m so glad I came here, – said one of the participating girls. – people with whom I share flat are not really into eco-stuff, although I try to teach them to separate the garbage. It was great finally to discuss these things with people who also think about it”.

And I knew I’m still doing the right thing.

Shushan’s version

The idea of making a weekend event with Masha came to us during one of our calm and nice summer evenings while drinking hot chocolate (what else in summer?). We patiently waited till the summertime, when people are mostly away from the city, will pass and we will have our right time to make the so desired weekend event.

It is not a secret that among us Masha is more aware about and into eco lifestyle and theological topics telling the truth were not well fitting into the concept of environmental organization, so seemed to be quite logical to choose green topic for our vikendovka. From the beginning it was clear for me that this time I will be mainly doing the unnecessary organizational stuff (as I am used to say) and mainly I will be more listening, learning, experiencing more like a participant than an organizer.

I never thought that it can be so joyful just to support and to help organizing a person, who cares about what is she doing and somehow creativity and energy come, bring you to a wave of not pressing responsibility that you are enjoying as never before:  starting from the propagating the event ending with the cooking for the participants.

With Mahsa before (for sure not changing the tradition: while drinking hot chocolate) we have discussed the program many times, and even before I have had the possibility to learn from her most of the things that we have been doing in our Green up and was honestly not expecting much changes in me, but the result surprised me a lot.

And the bell of our office rang and we started to green up. We were so lucky to have people that were interested and really willing to learn, to do and to share, people that were not afraid to ask or sound “wrong”, that were open for discussions and for sharing their own experience and their feelings. The process of the training was designed by Masha so clear and simple (as everything genius) that it was sad to imagine that it will last only 2 days. .

The statistics and facts are not usually making any visible effect on me, but the things that I can see, feel, experience. And during Masha’s training everything was planned so much in the balance that after gaining the theory we were using the learned in practice, or experiencing it or seeing it, calculating the footprint we have as a written proof of level or indifference to the nature.

It was interesting to see on the example how the water is changing in color, when we are washing our hands, or drinking coffee and pouring it into the sink etc., and though, yes, we imagine it, we know that we are making it dirty, still on the real example we are not willing to imagine that we are the ones to create it and we are doing it every day, without even noticing or paying attention on it. And when Masha was about to pour the clean water in it by asking “what will happen if I will mix them” I was thinking that this is the easiest question: for sure the water will become dirty but couldn’t connect it with my life and after the words “more water we pour into the sink, more dirty water we create” I understood my role, my responsibility and my blindness that I wasn’t able to understand it so long time

And the idea of feeling the tree with closed eyes, trying to recognize it later…  how many feelings and thoughts it brought together and how much I started to think and to analyze and find parallels and rediscover the things and myself as well, having a lot of new ideas and feelings and plans that started to boil inside of me (soon will write about that more detailed).

The last day was so called my day because we should make earrings from the milk boxes and the leftovers of textile. So we did it!!! It was a pure pleasure to see how people were enjoying the things that they were doing.

Later it was left only to clean the office, pack the bags and to go to Chesky Krumlov with a joyful and happy heart, with colorful and feelingly memories and a lot to think about.

And yes, the cooking was also my duty (if to call so) and I it was nice to hear from the participants that “we are having very good training and looking forward for the food” (maybe because it is not so bad) and Masha’s complain that it is so horrible: I cook average things so tasty. So on this “showing off” note I would finish my article.

P.S. Special  thanks to Eva, our colleague for her support and care about us and making our event even better with her presence.

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