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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Is Climate change a MUTH?

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 cafĂ© 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.


  1. Interesting, but there is one thing...
    You are writing in English, in my opinion most of the Georgians who do understand English would not litter anyway and be more environment friendly, so... Whats the poing of posting it in English, I think Georgian would work better.

  2. Did the booklet really say "muth"?

  3. it did: i have it at home and yes, it says "muth". i know it isn't very ethical to make fun of typos, however, i thought it indicated a non-professional attitude.
    god, i hope my friend was not the one that made the booklet!

  4. Dat, I am thinking of switching to Georgian but I really love writing in English. Plus, I think that people who read blogs know English anyway.
    And, people who litter won't read this blog. Maybe I'll post in both languages, I'll think about it.

  5. "I think that people who read blogs know English anyway. " - I don't think that's neccessarily true, furthermore there maybe some people who don't speak English but would like to read, or at least have the potential to do so. I think if you wan't to bring positive change you should try to target that kind of audience.

  6. Yes, thats the way it happened and thats the way it gonna happen in most cases. Althought it is also sad that people come to these rallies for example if I ask them to do I mean this is a friendly support and sometimes my frineds do think that they come to march just for me. I m not the one they should care about but the climate and all this garbage that is all around us. I do blame all the organizers for being so "unorganized" but because I cant do the better alternative I am still marching with them. I hope next year would be more positive. I should also note that for example last year no one new about 350, and I with my friends tried to join the global 350 movement, although at that time we thought that our effort was useless I should proudly say that this year almost 5 events took place to join 350 movement. So sometimes some activities do matter even if they are not as good as expected. I know I wrote too much:) pardon;)

  7. Ok, we've established that climate change is not a muth, but is it really a reality? Just thinking out loud :)

  8. @ anonymous: no, i actually think that activities matter. but i am not sure if even the organizers cared about the matter that day... i mean the big, important people, not the young girls who tried 2 bring many people and make a statement.
    we should be able to do much more. we should be able to recycle and we should be fined 4 littering.
    as for my friend...i see a great potential in her and i feel sad that georgian society is not ready for her yet. i honestly think that she should be in a position that holds more power, a position that would allow her to change our environmental outlook.
    @rindi: anecdotal evidence: my mom's closet does not contain as many warm coats as mine does. weather in georgia has definitely changed: winters get colder and colder.

  9. Lika, even though I think that some of the environmentalist claims are legitimate, my impression is that story is much, MUCH more complicated than that. I suspect that even if cars were not invented, your closet would still have more warm stuff in it... ok, that might be a little too radical of an example. The bottom-line is that this theme has become rather more political than a scientific issue. And we hear all sorts of bullshit on this from people who have no idea what is really going on (usually politicians).

  10. @ rindi
    just becoz this problem is politicized (and I agree, it is), doesn't mean that it's not important.
    here in georgia, we are not even thinking that deep.all we really want it 4 people 2 stop littering everywhere and act more responsibly. go to any picnic area here and u'll find more plastic bottles than plants