Written by Radostina Slavkova - Za Zemiata/Friends of the Earth Bulgaria
What happens to waste that is thrown away in the Rhodope mountains? A waste dragon! During the first Young FoEE summer camp held in Bulgaria participants from different parts of Europe showed their support for Za Zemiata / Friends of the Earth Bulgaria campaign to reduce waste pollution in nature. The "Reduce your garbage" cleaning projects in the mountains of Bulgaria is an action Za Zemiata / Friends of the Earth Bulgaria has been doing for more than 15 years now, and this year's annual cleaning will happen just one week after the end of the summer camp.
We are happy that we had the opportunity to take a hiking trip in the west Rhodope mountains, near our camping site on lake Beglika. During the walk we collected two sacks of plastic bags, bottles, and cans. Afterwards we designed an artistic waste dragon with the help of the session run by the Creative Campaigning group. But don't panic, the dragon didn't live long - we stabbed it with our forks and knives.
With our action of stabbing the waste dragon just before we left the beautiful camping district and Bulgaria we wanted to raise awareness of the issue of waste reduction and food waste. We showed a good example of how people from different countries and backgrounds can unite for food production change. That's how change happens in practice. Firstly we change ourselves and our food habits, then work together for a change in the whole food system. Think global, act local.
All week we had discussed various issues around the topic of Food and Agriculture, both at the national and the European level. We talked a lot about the damage that industrial meat production delivers, what the alternatives are and how the current non-environmentally effective food production system can be changed. We experienced one of the possible alternatives ourselves - by eating only seasonal vegan and vegetarian food, locally produced during the week-long camp. The consumption of eco-friendly food and products also produces garbage, but the amounts are smaller and the effects on the human health and the environment are not so dangerous.