Russian environmental and political activist Evgenia Chirikova gave an inspiring talk about major environmental campaigns she was involved in.
Since 2007 Evgenia has campaigned tirelessly against the construction of an $8 billion highway – approved by the Russian government – that would bisect the federally protected Khimki Forest in the northern suburbs of Moscow. She formed the Defend Khimki Forest group and launched a grassroots campaign to oppose the project. Her activism led the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank to abandon the project. Evgenia has been fearless in identifying the corruption of top Russian officials and the extent to which this corruption underlies construction projects like the one slated to bulldoze large parts of the Khimki Forest.
Evegenia was also heavily involved in the 2011-2012 protests following the disputed parliamentary elections, which demanded fair elections and political liberties. In 2012, she won the Goldman Environmental Prize, which each year is awarded to six grassroots environmentalists from around the world. The prize will be used to set up a nationwide campaign called Our Land to fight causes in which public conservation lands are threatened by development projects. Meanwhile, she is involved in yet another campaign to “Defend Khopra” and protect the local habitat and indigenous Cossacks population from a potential ecological catastrophe as a result of the planned development of nickel deposits near the city of Voronezh.
More about the Defend Khimki Forest
‘Putinomics’ the biggest threat to Russia’s environmental movement by Evgenia Chirikova, April 2012