Interview with the member of civil initiative “Let’s Keep Trchkan Waterfall” Apres Zohrabyan.
The victory that you achieved for the preservation of Trchkan waterfall was exceptional in the Armenian reality, since many other civil initiatives remain without consequences and results. What was the key to success?
I don’t really think that any civil initiative remains without consequences. Even if the initiative doesn’t achieve some solution, it still plays its role in formulation and mobilization of civil society, which will later solve other problems.
What concerns the movement for Trchkan waterfall, one of the keys to success was that the various methods of moral and legal pressure were used in the right time in the right place- we had protests, boycotts, collection of signatures, interviews, spreading information through social networks, legally correctly formulated questions and information for the corresponding state bodies. Also it became possible to unite active youth concerned for environmental issues, which added more energy for the movement.
How did the movement “Let’s Keep Trchkan Waterfall” started?
The movement started with dozens of people who after learning about the crime against nature, decided not to state that “the country is not a good one” but started to act for preventing the crime, showing that the country becomes a good one when each person starts to act.
What did you expect at the beginning and do the results satisfy you?
There can or cannot be optimism during the movement, but the enthusiasm is more important than the expectations. Enthusiasm even in times of worst expectations should not be decreased. At the moment the processes around the waterfall are satisfying, however, vigilance should be present all the time.
What are the future plans of the youth united around the waterfall’s issue? What problems are they going to work on?
We don’t yet have any plans. But one thing is for sure, we will be vigilant and consistent in case of Trchkan waterfall in order to prevent further negative developments.
Do you have any plans for the prevention of violations in the mining sphere?
Whether there will be a collective project or not, time will show. But most of the participants of “Let’s Keep Trchkan Waterfall” are personally involved in other environmental movements including in ones aimed at mining issues.
What according to you initiated such activism of environmental movements, ecologists and NGOs?
The increase of RA environmental problems and unregulated situation in that sphere initiated this activism. On the other hand this activism is connected with generally rise of civic activism in Armenia.
Are you personally involved in other environmental movements?
At the moment I am involved only in the ''Trchkan'' initiative, which is a new eco-initiative resulted from the movement for the waterfall. The target of the initiative will be the environmental problems of Armenia and particularly the problems caused by mining.
Which problem in the environmental sphere do you consider the most urgent?
I think the problem of purity of the basin of the Lake Sevan is the most urgent. The installation of the processing equipment in the Sotk gold mine is a real danger for the lake.
Interview by Mary Alexanyan