Oceans Project Georgia were very happy to receive an invitation and call from Europe House last week, to invite us to a special ceremony to mark the end of their campaign to promote the concept of volunteer action here in Georgia. In general volunteer work is not something done in Georgia, probably because Georgians pretty much help each other out anyway. But since the summer break, our Oceans Ambassadors have been very busy volunteering and collecting plastic bags and rubbish from rivers and areas of natural beauty from Kazbegi, to Kakheti, to Tbilisi. All of which was filmed by a group of young film makers who started up a group called ‘Pioneer Films’, and yesterday evening marked the end of the campaign and the showing of some of their film work, in front of an audience of EU delegates from Brussels who had helped to fund the project.
It was a great event for Oceans Project Georgia, because we had more volunteers than spaces offered for the actions and our guys were super keen and very passionate about cleaning up Georgia, and many of them came to the ceremony last night, which was a really proud moment for me especially when different people came up and intriduced themselves and had heard of me and Oceans Project. The kids think I am famous in Georgia, which amused me (and them ) a lot! Though I wish I had been a little more prepared and dressed up, as we even got a special thank you at the end of the ceremony and I did go a little red in the face and ears when everyone was looking at me, and a thank you speech was given to us in Georgian, French, and English!!! But we all had a lovely time, even though one glass of Georgian wine did make me feel very tipsy far quicker than I had planned. Georgian wine is just very different from other wine!!!
We also had great fun in Tbilisi trying to convince Georgians not to use plastic bags, and giving them a material bag free of charge. At first people were very confused by us and no one wanted our material bags, then all of a sudden they all wanted one…..isn’t that always the way! It was funny actually, to hear people talking about plastic bags and wondering how they could go about their everyday lives without one, yet people seem to forget that for thousands of years we did quite well, thank you very much, without them. How did we become so dependent on plastic in our lives???
Thinking about plastic bags, really made me think a lot about my ocean row yesterday and about the work of Emily Penn and the 5 Gyres Project and how we plan to get some of our Oceans Ambassadors out sailing in the Pacific and researching with them next year if we can raise the funds. I’m excited too, that we can use the International Award to promote volunteer action and the environment, whilst also benefitting and rewarding the kids, and I’m still getting my head around the potential for the International Award here in Georgia, and the fact that we are the first to run it. I’m even thinking of changing my PhD to incorporate it longer term, if we can just find the funds we need. I was also excited to come home to find a lovely write up about us on the CENN newsletter, which was distributed to some 16,000 readers!
Video about 5 Gyres
Sir David Attenborough Talks about Plastic in our Oceans
Video of one of our Clean Up Days in Kazbegi: Pioneer Films
Few photos from our anti-plastic bag campaign in Tbilisi yesterday……enjoy!
And now for some pictures from the evening ceremony……