For the first day of climate change week in Tbilisi, we were asked by my friend to march from Philarmonia to Parliament. She said that lots of people are coming and that we would stop the cars and make a statement. That everyone will see us marching and realize how polluted our air is. That Georgians will start recycling, stop using so much plastic bags, will start riding bikes and throw away their cigarettes. O.K. she did not say that but all of these statements have one thing in common—they are utopic!
We arrived at ten in the morning, sleepy and complaining. We expected a crowd—nobody showed up. Apparently, there is a new trend amongst Georgian people: promising to come and leaving you waiting in vain.
We were supposed to rally with the kids on bikes. They passed by, without stopping. So, we courageously started marching in the middle of the street, with cars honking at us angrily. Some environmentalists gave us booklets made of cut-down trees. Last time they gave us water in plastic bottles.
We carried a poster, stating: “Travel Smarter, Live Better”. It was confusing to the spectators and they probably thought that this was a demonstration of marshrutka drivers.
I noticed that many of the environmentalist girls rallied in high heels. It is beyond me how people can’t understand what counts as an appropriate attire for such occasions. It is a freakin environmentalist march! We are walking! And holding flags! And drinking water out of the plastic bottles! And giving out paper booklets! Put on some bio-degradable fabrics dammit!
Some important foreign guy walked along with us. Had something to do with integrating us in NATO or EU. In your dreams, Tbilisi!
Our dear mayor was waiting at the parliament. He said several sweet words about how important environment is and rode a bike afterwards. I missed that part because husband and I got tired of his talk and sprinted to the café Entree, where we sipped our coffees and ate our croissants, and lied to ourselves that we’re in a civilized city where people consume these things for breakfast. The lie was unsuccessful though, as the table was wobbly and we ended up spilling hot coffee on ourselves.
I do care about the environment. I love cute little animals and enjoy camping. I can’t do much, but I do what I can: I have a grocery bag that I use instead of plastic bags, I re-use my water bottle, I don’t litter. I will raise my kid the same way, making sure she does not throw garbage all over the place and does not abuse our cat Gaia. That’s all I can do in Tbilisi. I feel really sad for people who can contribute more, but end up rallying with no purpose. Like my friend, who wants to be an environmental lawyer, though such word combination does not exist in Georgia.
P.S. I opened the booklet. It said: “Climate change…it is not a muth, it is reality”. Sadly, it is.