Taiga Rescue Network: Youth camp in Scandinavia

Zhanna Dolgan, volunteer of TRN
30 August, Jokkmokk, Sweden

From 22 to 29 August a youth camp was organised by the Taiga Rescue Network, an international organisation engaged in the rescue of the boreal forests of our planet (www.taigarescue/camp). In the camp were representatives of youth movements engaged in the preservation of forests in European countries and Russia. Dialogue was constructive despite the language barrier – there were Finns, Swedes and Russians from different parts of the country, aged 16 to 32 years.

It was constructive also because the themes of the training courses and seminars concerned each participant of the camp: “Ecophilosophy, ecology of forests”, “Social and cultural aspects of forest building”, “Lobbying strategy”, “Campaigns – examples of successful campaigns”, “Legislative base in Russia”. During seminars and training courses participants met with representatives of indigenous people: Saami (northern Sweden) and Koryak (Kamchatka). An important aspect of the informal dialogue was to share each other’s knowledge and skills. Everyone who possessed any special abilities or creative skills was invited to share them with others during the evenings. People from Kamchatka presented their area through dances, stories, legends, and souvenirs. The location of the camp was one of the unspoiled corners of our planet. The nearby lake Årrenjarka was rich in fish and an abundant variety of berries. Cedar trees, larch, pine trees—the species of the boreal forests need to be protected as they belong to the “lungs” of our planet. Theory was followed up by practice: hikes across the forests and mountainous landscape showed what we may be deprived of – we saw a unique species of a tinder fungus that is almost not found elsewhere in Sweden anymore. Climbing in trees, as it appears, is not only a sport, but also a way of indirectly manipulating the ecological situation. People climb up trees with special equipment, hang up banners with straight appeals contra or pro, take pictures, send them to the mass media and thus try to influence the situation concerning the felling of trees. One of the indirect ways to influence the ecological situation is to use only recycled paper. Despite the fact that each country has already chosen how it will struggle against deforestation and the deterioration of the ecological situation, all have come to the common opinion that cooperation and an exchange of experience is necessary for all organisations. The general idea for our future cooperation was developed: camps will be organised in different regions and with different ecological issues. Invitations have been heard from Russians in Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, and even Kamchatka. We are looking forward to the proposals from our Kamchatkan organisations.