The cyber environmentalists from Mongolia, participants of the Nomad Green project has been on the job, sharing more and more revealing posts about the impact of the country's environmental deterioration. And they invited more people to the party as the Rising Voices grantee concluded five more workshops – three in Ulaanbaatar, one in Dalanzadgad (South Gobi province), and one in Zamiin Uud (near China border). You can see the detailed schedule here.
Portnoy Zheng, informs via an email:
One thing that I will underline in these workshops is the COP15 UN Climate Change Conference. Mongolia, like many other less developed (less destroyed in another way) countries, is suffering much more disasters (less rainfall, graver desertification) due to climate change, and the voices of Mongolian people are seldom heard by their Government, not to mention the world leaders.
Recently Mongolia Gov signed a contract with Canadiana and Australian mining companies to exploit the copper mine in Oyu Toigoi which is said to bring more money per year than the current GDP of Mongolia, while green activists are against the contract because they understand that Mongolian Government has no power or willingness to monitor these mining companies. Mining, along with over-grazing and climate change, are destroying the steppe and the life of many forever.
We have interviewed Ms. Otgonsuren Jargaliin (Otgoo), the project coordinator of Nomad Green. From 1997 to 2006 she worked as a journalist in daily newspapers in Mongolia and she also worked in TV-9. From 2007 until August 2009 she was the project director of FSP at SOS in Mongolia. She started intensive participation in environmental activism since 2006.
1) Please tell us about the latest workshops conducted by Nomad Green. What were the challenges you faced?
The latest workshops were held in South Gobi, one of the biggest province, situated at the very south part of Mongolia. When we got to Dalanzadgad, a province of south Gobi we found that a few men were infected by H1N1 flu in that region, and one of them died. So all kinds of public activities including workshop was closed. That was main problem for organizing the workshop there. Irrespective of many obstacles we accomplished our tasks successfully. We organized two workshops in Dalanzadgad and around 30 persons participated.
The third workshop was held in Zamiin –Uud, another province of Gobi. Here the same trouble traveled with us. Zamiin-Uud is smaller than the first one, so it was difficult to recruit many participants. Here we had only 15 participants.
On the other hand the internet connection is a issue of concern in the provinces. You know, internet is the new thing, especially for people who lives in countryside. Also to facilitate the internet infrastructures in a big territory such as Mongolia is not easy.
In Dalanzadgad and Zamiin –Uud we found suitable venues where there were 5-7 computer connected to internet.
2) Tell us about the participants. Were they enthusiastic?
I would say, yes, however computer and internet was not available for everyone. They have many ideas to protect their own country and they wanted to involve in the environmental activism. They want to say and write a lot of issues concerning environment. Some of them who were very enthusiastic in every activities, does not have internet or computer at home. They have not learned to work with it which sometime creates problem.
3) Can the participants practice elsewhere what they have learned?
If you mean about participants of province, I am afraid that they have little chance to practice themselves. While we are working there we found one solution to connect with them. However, I am not so sure that is reasonable option for them. They will send their articles thought post office or post mail to our office. After receiving we will post them on Nomadgreen website. After completing the workshop in Gobi some people kept calling me and shared ideas. They were willing to be touch with us. Also some people who works at administration office of the province promised to help them to send their articles to us by e-mail. I hope that we will develop our cooperation step by step in future.
4) We have seen a lot of posts (in Mongolian) being translated into English. Are you getting responses from international audiences?
Sometimes, but not so much. I saw some comment from Germany, Africa, and Russia and China and I thought that this is the response from international audiences. Otherwise, I have not yet received any direct communication.
I think that our website is relatively new. It will take time to be known to more people.
5) How is the reporting of issues on the Map initiative going on?
Reporting on the Map is not so active, you know. In order to progress with the Map initiative we need a dedicated person who can take responsibility to show the position on the map, if needed. Otherwise, citizen journalists can not use the map, I think.
6) Are your participants aware of the Global climate change platforms (e.g. the upcoming COP15 UN conference in Copenhagen)?
Our participants know about the Global climate change issues, of course. If there was someone who never know about Global climate change, we let them knew about it through our workshops. So they have now concrete understanding about climate change and also I hope that they know why they are involving in this project and what they should to do in this changed situation.
7) Is there any communication/publicity (except the website) effort to let the world know about the climate related perils in Mongolia (and your activism)?
We have not enough communication/ publicity efforts to let the world know about Mongolian issues. Although in Mongolia there are many NGOs devoted to protect the environment and work against climate change. But they didn't have much chance to let them be heard. The main reason is they have no financial support for their publicity. Another reason is NGO’s in Mongolia are not yet strengthened at this time, so they do not enough experiences to make communication with international organizations.
On the other hand citizen not so active in environmental activism.
7) What are your future plans?
We have many ideas to extend our activity and we would like to be known to the world. But it may be sound like the list of dream to you, so I want to mention a few of them only.
a. We are planning to translate all articles into German.
b. We are searching the client who can sponsor our website further.
c. We want to produce video program about Global climate change and environmental problem in Mongolia which would be very useful for citizen. This will be done at the studio at Nomadgreen. But right now MR. Boum (adviser of Nomadgreen) and me are talking about it only.