News Society, 10/05/2018

Kharkivites Hold Mourning Ceremony for ‘Murdered’ Trees

On May 8, green activists, actors and artists carried out a symbolic “funeral performance” in Kharkiv Shevchenko Gardens to protest against the brutal logging behind the Kharkiv National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre building.

The artists, including professional musicians, organized a vivid  “Eco-concert,” showing scenes of “killing” trees and their “suffering.”

After that they walked down the streets in “a mourning ceremony to commemorate murder of the innocent victims” to the Shevchenko monument and proceeded to the ground behind the Opera theatre, where several dozen trees, including horse chestnuts, silver maples, lime trees, poplars and ash trees were cut down in April 2018 for building of a multi-level car park and a high-rise building.

The participants were carrying tree branches and posters, indicating the years of trees’ lives like it is usually written on gravestones.

The organizers say that unfortunately the logging behind the Opera House is planned to be continued this year and 89 trees in total will be cut down.

To make it legal, the authorities removed the territory for construction out of the garden area plan, so it stopped being protected as a green zone.

“We cannot have trees already cut down back again. But maybe we can prevent future logging in Kharkiv,” says Inna, one of the participants.

Many Kharkivites point out that the city has been rapidly losing its trees and green zones in recent years and blame the eco-disaster on current mayor Hennady Kernes.

Tree topping has been observed all over the city. This method of tree rejuvenating is used for sick or damaged trees. However, the topping of healthy trees might reduce their longevity or even cause their dieback. According to the head of Pechenihy environmental group Serhiy Shaparenko, Kharkiv, having got full height traffic, needs trees and they shouldn’t be pruned completely and turned into poles.

Text: Olena Sokolynska

Photo: Dmytro Bulakh, Nakipelo