sites/all/files/bag_photo_2.jpgOn the southern coast of the Ukraine, thousands gathered this past weekend for the countries largest music festival. You could feel the last breath of summer in the air, as everyone tried to soak up enough sun to last them through the coming winter. Yet there was more than music happening on that beach. A growing part of the festival each year is being claimed as the “eco-space”, dedicated to raising awareness about conservation and climate change. So while others lay out in the sun, Inna worked tirelessly, passing out paint and stencils to all those who wandered in, using art to raise awareness about climate change, and the movement she is helping to grow in the Ukraine to fight it.

The Koktebel Jazz festival is just a week before Inna has organized a Youth Powershift Conference in Kiev, as part of the Moving Planet Global Day of Action. This Saturday, Powershift Kiev will take part in a collective dance as their way of illustrating how the future generations will move beyond fossil fuels. And (as if a conference and a group dance isn't enough) this event is just one of 9 Moving Planet events planned for across the Ukraine. In Koktebel, volunteers painted a map of the Ukraine, marking out the various cities where different events will be taking place. On the map was written “Where will you be on September 24th?” The word spread quickly.

As part of one project Inna organized at the festival, people were invited to paint eco-bags (though they were reminded “its not the bag that matters, its what you put in it!”). Each was beautifully painted by the person who would use it continuously instead of disposable plastic bags. A few people used Moving Planet stencils (that can be found on this webpage), and brought their message to move beyond fossil fuels with them.

The amazing thing about the “eco-space” at this festival was that it was also the “art space”. Workshops on how to turn tetra-packs into wallets and sculptures were being taught next to group painting projects. The tent was filled with the creativity needed to help the world imagine what a sustainable future could look like! The Ukrainian youth climate movement is truly embracing the power of creativity to spread the message on climate change and engage new people in the movement. With their participatory projects, Inna and her crew were also helping to shape the developing culture of the festival. Their creative work reminds me of the saying by Toni Cade Bambara, “The goal of the revolutionary artist is to make revolution irresistible.”sites/all/files/ukraine_flag_0.jpg