We continue publishing interviews with public figures on climate change processes. Our interviewee is Honoured Culture Figure of Armenia, founder of Yerevan State Chamber Theater, its Art Director and General Director, playwright Ara Yernjakyan.
Mr. Yernjakyan, which environmental problems are you most worried about?
- I am a human being and I am concerned with all environmental problems. It’s certainly difficult to overcome natural disasters, but there are environmental problems we can solve. For example, tree logging which acquires wide-scale nature.
When you hear about environmental problems, you start realizing how unprotected you are. We mercilessly develop our soils and pollute environment thereby creating hazards for us, and most importantly, for our generation. Maybe we won’t feel impact of waste burial sites ourselves, but further generation will start cursing us and say, “What have you done? Why have you built these waste burial sites that exist for millenniums?” This means, we bear responsibility for them for a millennium.
What are your concerns worldwide?
We eye witnessed how Europe, as a matter of fact, was flooded. We may have done something wrong and now we are punished. We must change ourselves, and then nature will be more disposed to us. None of animals, be it a crocodile or a wolf, treat nature like people. The lion leaves some part of its trophy for smaller animals to be satiated as well. One people can never get satiated. I mean the common problem of coexistence with nature. I think nature surely notices all this and punishes all us. Maybe the Great Flood has already started today, just we give it another name. We should think over building an Ark to save the planet.
Are you inspired by nature and environment in your creative activities?
A beautiful sunset or sunrise is already a source of inspiration. But unfortunately current disasters have huge impact leaving negative sensations. In our performances (on the stage) we also depict nature, both trees and felling and even flood. As far as possible we try to show and make out audience understand that nothing occurs without leaving a trace. We say if people in our city start acting more wisely, the evil will disappear. It’s the top priority of our theatre and art in general.
You have a monument to cut down trees in the garden of your theater.
Everything that had happened impacted us very badly. I can understand we had to survive anyway, to keep us warm and to prepare something to eat in those terrible years. That’s why we have established that little monument to cut down trees.
But at present felling has drastically increased. What’s your attitude towards this?
If to be honest, I didn’t know about it, but what you said is very sad. Without trees Yerevan and Armenia will turn into a desert, whereas we are not ready to survive in a desert. I hope we won’t let it happen. I’m optimistic and think we mustn’t repeat our mistakes.
Politicians, scholars etc speak about climate changes and predict disasters. Do you feel these changes and how they are noticeable for you?
We are really experiencing very hard time, but nothing happens besides talks. The whole world must seek to find a solution. We must treat each version wisely, discuss and make it out what is going on and how we should overcome.
Unlike other countries, weather in Armenia is favorable. Can we say that climate is behaving kindly towards us?
You know there is some danger behind that. When we watch flood in Spain or Mexico on TV, all this seems us so far, as if nothing matters. But we forget how small our planet is where a spacecraft can round the whole planet for 45 minutes. That is we live in a microenvironment and everything going on in Spain may happen in Armenia even tomorrow. It’s not right to look down and say we live in Armenia and we don’t have any problems.
How can art and culture contribute to the preservation of environment?
For some time we lost out ties with the youth. Our top priority is to bring up a citizen in the complete sense of this word. I again come back to our ties with the space. If society is kind and warmth is created in the city not only with the help of fireplaces, but comes from our hearts, we will have fine weather in our city and in the whole world.
To what extent are you willing to change your lifestyle in order to preserve nature?
I think what I’m doing, to some extent, influences on nature preservation. I am willing to do much more, if a new problem arises.
January 12, 2011