Since the last newsletter, SEN's Environmental Telecommunications Project has taken on a new form, increasingly led by SEN's Moscow office and Regional Coordinators in the remote corners of northern Eurasia.
During 1997, SEN brought the ETP to a new level. What began as a purely technical assistance project directed from the US has transformed into a series of increasingly regionally-driven, and locally implemented initiatives for improving communication and cooperation among environmental advocates with specific common interests. Regional and Thematic ETP coordinators and councils have taken a high degree of ownership and responsibility for shaping their unique components of the ETP to more effectively fit the needs and conditions they encounter.
By incrementally handing over more responsibility for the project to
local leaders, the ETP serves as a forum in which participating
groups build stronger relationships and set the stage for full Eurasian
autonomy of ETP activities in 1999. This transition, now underway, is the
culmination of something rare and special: the creation of a cooperative
tions infrastructure still developing that supports a growing and diverse grassroots northern Eurasian environmental community.
In 1997, the ETP accomplished nearly all of its planned goals and objectives for the year, despite raising only 72% of the budget. Besides publishing and distributing the 1st Russian e-mail directory, and handing over greater responsibility to SEN Moscow, we accomplished the following:
· Established 42 e-mail stations, including 22 full computer systems, and 20 "modem-only" grants.
· Held three 2-day gatherings of Regional ETP "Councils" focusing on expanding the given area's environmental e-mail network and increasing effectiveness of communication among groups in the region. Two additional ETP Regional Councils meetings occurred, without SEN participation, where project participants discussed and carried out the next steps in their work-plans.
· Held two 3-day training/seminars on cooperation-building for groups with common areas-of-interest: one on alternative energy and sustainable housing, one on environmental law.
· Provided equipment to upgrade 7 e-mail stations to World Wide Web capability.
· Organized 34 on-site e-mail training/technical support visits
by 9 technical consultants and provided e-mail and telephone consultation
from the SEN Moscow office for at least 29 groups. Held 3 Internet workshops
for larger groups.
ETP Internet Training in Nizhny Novgorod
Susan Cutting Reports From The Field
I've just returned from Novosibirsk, Russia and Tashkent, Uzbekistan where I participated in two key Environmental Telecommunications Project (ETP) regional meetings. What I witnessed was both profound and inspiring. Both groups took our ETP "recipe"the boiler-plate structure, with its conditions and budget for ETP regional components and shaped it into projects aimed at fostering improved communication and cooperation among environmental advocates in a way that addresses the needs and circumstances specific to their regions.
Participants of the Southern Siberia Conservation Initiative (SSCI) (a regional component of the ETP) took the "bull by the horns" in Novosibirsk on March 11-12. Members of the SSCI advisory and coordinating councils gathered with specific proposals for interregional cooperation. Groups from Barnaul, Gorno-Altaisk, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Kemerovo oblast, and Krasnoyarsk offered their resources and invited participation of others in their on-going projects. I have seen diverse groups working together before, but this is the closest to true "coalition-building" that I have ever experienced. Alexander Dubynin, <shura@ ecoclub.nsu.ru> head of Novosibirsk State University's "Ecoclub" and SSCI Regional Coordinator added: "For the first time in the history of the public environmental movement of the region, environmental organizations have developed a mechanism for collaboration and are really starting to work together."
In Tashkent, environmental advocates from Tajikistan, Kyrghizistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan gathered as a "working group" to create and start up the ETP in the Tien Shan Mountain Region (ETP-TS). This groupan extremely diverse mix of conservationists, environmental educators and "networkers," eco-journalists, organizational development specialists, and othersmay have been initially uncertain of whether or not they would come to a consensus on the project's plans and priorities. Yuri Skochilov <email@example.com>, head of the Dushanbe Youth EcoCenter, and serving as the ETP-TS Regional Coordinator, told the group: "SEN works in a sly and clever way: they gather us all into a room and hand us this task of creating something concrete together." I think we all surprised ourselves by laying a well-rounded foundation in an open and productive atmosphere.
Thanks to all who attended these meetings for their complete presence
and creative contributions.
Mikhail Shishin, Andrei Laletin and Nikolai Zubov at the Southern Siberian Conservation Initiative (SSCI) meeting in Novosibirsk, in March.
In a new, exciting development, we were invited by the European-based Global Eco-Village Network (GEN) and our northern Eurasian colleagues to coordinate eco-village activities in northern Eurasia. Eco-villages are an attempt by modern humans to live in harmony with Nature and with one another. An eco-village is a human-scale, full-featured settlement which integrates human activities as softly as possible into the natural environment, supports healthy human development, and can be continued into the indefinite future.
SEN and its staff have been very active in the Earthlands community here in Petersham so this invitation is a natural outgrowth of our work in the U.S. and abroad. We are currently seeking funding to establish a northern Eurasian coordinator for GEN in the SEN-Moscow office. In doing so, SEN will actively promote the eco-village concept across northern Eurasia.
Within the vast landmass of the former Soviet Union, small groups of people (including indigenous peoples) are demonstrating that a mixture of organic agriculture, appropriate technology, alternative energy, spiritual practice and conflict resolution can lead us back to living in balance with our environment. These groups are underfunded, fledgling, grassroots efforts. Most are isolated from one another and from their counterparts in the West, and most have no access to the information they desperately need to grow and prosper.
Eco-villages are one of the powerful solutions to the global social and ecological crisis. They represent a "leading edge" in the movement towards developing sustainable human settlements, and provide a testing ground for new ideas, techniques and technologies which can then be introduced into the mainstream. The eco-village is truly the next wave of ecological activism: living the solution.
We are honored and excited to be expanding into this arena! For further information on eco-villages, see the following web-site: www.gaia.org
SEN proudly announces the 5th edition of its Directory, a comprehensive resource designed to help organizations and individuals communicate with Eurasians who are working to protect and heal their beautiful land. This edition of the Directory contains a detailed list of approximately 800 active electronic mail users including in-depth profiles of over 250 groups. The cost of the directory is $20 (an extra $5 for international shipping) and this version will be done by June 1,1998.
To order, send a check payable to "Sacred Earth Network:" Directory Orders, SEN, 267 East Street, Petersham, MA O1366
(This information will also be available on our web site.)
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