Events and Newsletters -
Summer 2002 - Issue 18
Environmental Partnerships in the Altai
by Susan Cutting
Map of Tuva
SEN's Northern Eurasia Environmental Assistance Project (NEEAP) came to successful completion in 2001. In the spring, we took time to switch gears and set the stage for our new Russian Environmental Partnership Project (REPP). The aim of this project is to deepen our alliances with Russian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and to focus our efforts geographically. We are now working "hands on" with our partner organizations in Southern Siberia to: 1) promote sustainable energy; 2) strengthen protection for mountain territories and wildlife; 3) empower indigenous peoples; and 4) strengthen cross-cultural collaboration. We have zeroed in on the Altai mountain region for our efforts in the next two years, and plunged into cooperative projects with "21st Century Altai,” "Siberian Interregional Center Zapovedniki," (SICZ) and the indigenous Kumandin group, "Istok."
Altai Mountainsphoto by Vyacheslav Trigubovich
In Chemal, with “21st Century Altai,” we are establishing an alternative energy demonstration site at a mountain tourism base-camp called "Milky Way" (near the site of the proposed, and infamous, Katun hydroelectric dam). In June, Alyson Ewald brought solar energy guru, Cecil Sheib to help install a solar system there and train local folks in solar equipment installation and use (see article on page 4). We are also helping “21st Century Altai” build a visitors center in town to get the word out about alternative energy to local people. We also continue to support their heroic lobbying efforts for sustainable energy in the region. Plans on the horizon: to set up a wind generator on the "Milky Way" site and publicity, publicity, publicity!
Anti-poaching teamphoto by Vyacheslav Trigubovich
We've also teamed up with the “Siberian Interregional Center Zapovedniki” to establish a home base and educational center for their wilderness conservation efforts in Ust Ulagan (see Newsletter #16 on website). This remote Altai town is nestled between the biodiversity "gem" Altaiskiy zapovednik, and invaluable habitat for the snow leopard that remains, as yet, unprotected. SICZ's anti-poaching teams, ranger trainings, efforts to establish a new protected area and other wilderness preservation work hinge on this very place, and the lives and future of its residents. SEN, in collaboration with U.S.-based “Global Classroom” and SICZ, constructed a state-of-the-art composting toilet for the site in July. We will also be contributing alternative energy equipment and construction materials for this new center.
Snow leopardphoto by Vyacheslav Trigubovich
Last but not least, we are delighted to continue our collaboration with members of the Siberian indigenous peoples' network, “Light of the Ancient Lands” (LAL) (see SEN Newsletter #16). In April, our partner organization in Moscow, Ecotok, assisted LAL in holding a seminar on the legal aspects of protecting sacred sites. SEN will be sponsoring a second seminar in the Altai region in collaboration with LAL member Gulvaira Shermatova, director of the Kumandin group "Istok." Keep in touch, there's more to come!