Where: Irkutsk, Russia
When: We met on 26th September along with a number of other people involved in environmental activities in this area.
Who: Svetlana and Lubov, two ladies who together have come up with these ideas and made them happen.
What: They have initiated an environmental festival focused around arts and creativity called ‘Point of Return’. It has run over two consecutive years so far. Architects, journalists, designers and anyone else involved in creative professions are invited to participate in activities, workshops and challenges over 6 days by Lake Baikal.
The other project they have initiated is called Green Art Hour and happened for the first time on 1st August 2014. It is a similar concept to WWF’s Earth Hour, encouraging people from all over the world to come together and organise and participate in green events. It is not about switching off lights though; it is about drawing attention to environmental issues and the creativity we have to solve the problems we face.
Why: The name of the festival is a play on the concept of ‘point of no return’, with the idea that if people act, we can avoid the negative impacts of climate change and other environmental issues. It is designed to encourage participants to bring ecological considerations into their work, and implement ideas they have there in the places they have come from.
Green Art Hour was set to inspire people to do more, by inspiring others through a chain reaction, encouraging original thinking on what they themselves can do for environmental action.
Impacts/successes: After the festival, some of the projects initiated there have been taken forwards, including a business to produce environmentally friendly packaging, a film about ecological principles and a number of art projects focused on environmental issues to help spread awareness. There were more than 3000 people involved in Green Art Hour last year, from more than 10 countries.
Further info: eco-idea.org
Personal reflections: Svetlana and Lubov are incredibly positive and so pro-active in making things happen where they live, in Irkutsk, as well as spreading it and increasing that sense of connection with people in other parts of the world too.