Georgia
Georgia
Georgia
Georgia

One of our first articles for Funkenwerkstatt was about the Urban Gardening project in the city of Jena, so as you might already know, the core concept of Urban Gardening centers around growing plants in urban environments. While the Jena project addresses the sustainable urban production of consumable foods, the following article’s subject will be a different form of Urban Gardening called Guerilla Gardening.

During our Funkenwerkstatt journey, we made a stop in Georgia’s capital city, Tbilisi. There, we encountered the Guerilla Gardening movement. The word guerilla originates from the Spanish word guerra, which means war and refers to a form of irregular warfare, usually by a small group of people against a larger military force. In our context, Guerilla Gardening is a less aggressive or non-combative form of fighting the system.
One of the most pressing issues for the Guerilla Gardening movement is the fact that in Tbilisi, the average amount of green space per person is significantly smaller than what is actually required by European law.

Georgia

The movement´s principles revolve around protecting the environment by any means possible, also in regard to human and animal rights. Their main goal is to make the city environment more ecofriendly while involving more people to protect it. The founder of the movement, Nata Peradze, had the idea after living in Amsterdam. Upon her return, she realized the grave contrast between Amsterdam and Tbilisi and decided to help the citizens by planting trees while protecting and developing the environment. Some citizens joined her vision and the movement started.

The movement has no offices and no employees; it is rather a self-organized, volunteer-based network of people who care for the environmental issues and try to get the government’s attention on making changes in the law regarding the reliability of the promised goals concerning the eco-friendliness of the city. The movement is organized through a Facebook group in which every member can present their ideas. If the idea gets more than 7 likes, the group starts working on the project. The working process is based on equality and the capabilities of the members. Everybody who wants to can get involved with a particular project. The movement is characterized by a high activity in combatting against problems.

Georgia

In conclusion, it is clear that the Guerilla Gardening Tbilisi, while facing difficulties at the time being, in fact did contribute big time to the improvement of the eco-friendliness of the city, while making it clear to the people that change is indeed needed. In the light of recent events and developments in our society, especially regarding the worldwide environmental Fridays For Future movement, inspired by Greta Thunberg, with climate change becoming a topic that cannot be ignored so easily anymore, we hope, that in this light, the Guerilla Gardening movement in Tbilisi could become impactful again.

New buildings which are considered to be built.
New buildings which are considered to be built.

Maybe the decline of the movement was evident at the time we were in Tbilisi, but hopefully, today the people around the world are becoming more environmentally conscious, working together for a better future. While it may seem small, difficult, or hard, every contribution we make for our planet’s wellbeing is still significant, and for that, we are thankful to have such inspirational movements that help us recognize the issues at hand and change them for the better.

Moreover, new skyscrapers are built everywhere, while the number of old imported cars grows, thus adding to the pollution of the city. To make the people aware of these pressing issues, and in contrast to the aforementioned Urban Gardening project in Germany, the Tbilisi Guerilla Gardening movement is taking actions in politics, consequently starting a protest movement against the city’s new building projects.
To learn more about the movement, their goals, hopes, and actions, we met with Shalva Chugunadze, an IT specialist and civic activist, who is a volunteer of Guerilla
Gardening movement in Tbilisi. According to Chugunadze, at first, around 2011-2012, they started to plant trees around the city. Nonetheless, that didn’t stop the authorities
from cutting down big trees in order to build more buildings like skyscrapers, commercial centers, and more. Thus, Guerilla Gardening Tbilisi gradually turned into a civic movement against the environmental destruction of the city of Tbilisi, and the country of Georgia.

Georgia

In the past, for example, members voiced their concerns by climbing on a tree cutting machine to stop it; they organized a hunger strike to demonstrate against the secret cutting of trees; also, cauldron-drum demonstrations against the city mayor David Narmania, who gave permissions to cut trees. While in general, the people of Tbilisi are very accepting to the movement, there still is a lot of backlash from the authorities. The movement had to struggle with members being arrested for demonstrating or having to pay big fines for protesting. Nonetheless, with time, it seems that the message is reaching the people. A big achievement is also the fact that political parties started to include much more information about the protection of the environment in their programs. Having said that, Chugunadze also brought up some serious difficulties the movement is facing at the time being. Among other things, it is getting harder to start new projects, especially because the community got smaller over the time. Nonetheless, the remaining members focus on planning protest actions, planting trees around the city, scheduling exhibitions and funding the charges of other members they received for protesting.

Area at Vake-Park Tbilisi where they will rise up new buildings.
Area at Vake-Park Tbilisi where they will rise up new buildings.
Shalva Chugunadze is living in Tbilisi, Georgia and is a volunteer in the Guerrilla Gardening movement.
Shalva Chugunadze is living in Tbilisi, Georgia and is a volunteer in the Guerrilla Gardening movement.

Nata Peradze, the founder of Guerilla Gardening, shows us that even a single person is capable to start a societal change and raise the environmental consciousness of many people with just small things like planting trees. Demonstrating as itself is not enough to fight against our nowadays problems. What really matters is to start with actions. But how? If you are interested in sustainable lifestyles, start to change yours first, think about
what you are consuming. Talk with people about how they changed their consumption style to be more sustainable. Start to share your stuff which is not in everyday use. Start to join movements, associations and groups who are active and help them to develop their projects. Finally, start your own projects! For example, if you see green areas in urban surroundings which are not used, start to transform them into community gardens.

Nature, Culture

Guerilla Gardening in Tbilisi

In protest against Tbilisi’s new building projects, Guerilla Gardening has become a politically active movement within the city…

German                       English

Georgia
Georgia
Georgia
Georgia

One of our first articles for Funkenwerkstatt was about the Urban Gardening project in the city of Jena, so as you might already know, the core concept of Urban Gardening centers around growing plants in urban environments. While the Jena project addresses the sustainable urban production of consumable foods, the following article’s subject will be a different form of Urban Gardening called Guerilla Gardening.

During our Funkenwerkstatt journey, we made a stop in Georgia’s capital city, Tbilisi. There, we encountered the Guerilla Gardening movement. The word guerilla originates from the Spanish word guerra, which means war and refers to a form of irregular warfare, usually by a small group of people against a larger military force. In our context, Guerilla Gardening is a less aggressive or non-combative form of fighting the system.
One of the most pressing issues for the Guerilla Gardening movement is the fact that in Tbilisi, the average amount of green space per person is significantly smaller than what is actually required by European law.

Georgia

Moreover, new skyscrapers are built everywhere, while the number of old imported cars grows, thus adding to the pollution of the city. To make the people aware of these pressing issues, and in contrast to the aforementioned Urban Gardening project in Germany, the Tbilisi Guerilla Gardening movement is taking actions in politics, consequently starting a protest movement against the city’s new building projects. To learn more about the movement, their goals, hopes, and actions, we met with Shalva Chugunadze, an IT specialist and civic activist, who is a volunteer of Guerilla Gardening movement in Tbilisi. According to Chugunadze, at first, around 2011-2012, they started to plant trees around the city. Nonetheless, that didn’t stop the authorities from cutting down big trees in order to build more buildings like skyscrapers, commercial centers, and more. Thus, Guerilla Gardening Tbilisi gradually turned into a civic movement against the environmental destruction of the city of Tbilisi, and the country of Georgia.

The movement´s principles revolve around protecting the environment by any means possible, also in regard to human and animal rights. Their main goal is to make the city environment more ecofriendly while involving more people to protect it. The founder of the movement, Nata Peradze, had the idea after living in Amsterdam. Upon her return, she realized the grave contrast between Amsterdam and Tbilisi and decided to help the citizens by planting trees while protecting and developing the environment. Some citizens joined her vision and the movement started.

The movement has no offices and no employees; it is rather a self-organized, volunteer-based network of people who care for the environmental issues and try to get the government’s attention on making changes in the law regarding the reliability of the promised goals concerning the eco-friendliness of the city. The movement is organized through a Facebook group in which every member can present their ideas. If the idea gets more than 7 likes, the group starts working on the project. The working process is based on equality and the capabilities of the members. Everybody who wants to can get involved with a particular project. The movement is characterized by a high activity in combatting against problems.

Georgia

In the past, for example, members voiced their concerns by climbing on a tree cutting machine to stop it; they organized a hunger strike to demonstrate against the secret cutting of trees; also, cauldron-drum demonstrations against the city mayor David Narmania, who gave permissions to cut trees. While in general, the people of Tbilisi are very accepting to the movement, there still is a lot of backlash from the authorities. The movement had to struggle with members being arrested for demonstrating or having to pay big fines for protesting. Nonetheless, with time, it seems that the message is reaching the people. A big achievement is also the fact that political parties started to include much more information about the protection of the environment in their programs. Having said that, Chugunadze also brought up some serious difficulties the movement is facing at the time being. Among other things, it is getting harder to start new projects, especially because the community got smaller over the time. Nonetheless, the remaining members focus on planning protest actions, planting trees around the city, scheduling exhibitions and funding the charges of other members they received for protesting.

Georgia

In conclusion, it is clear that the Guerilla Gardening Tbilisi, while facing difficulties at the time being, in fact did contribute big time to the improvement of the eco-friendliness of the city, while making it clear to the people that change is indeed needed. In the light of recent events and developments in our society, especially regarding the worldwide environmental Fridays For Future movement, inspired by Greta Thunberg, with climate change becoming a topic that cannot be ignored so easily anymore, we hope, that in this light, the Guerilla Gardening movement in Tbilisi could become impactful again.

New buildings which are considered to be built.
New buildings which are considered to be built.

Maybe the decline of the movement was evident at the time we were in Tbilisi, but hopefully, today the people around the world are becoming more environmentally conscious, working together for a better future. While it may seem small, difficult, or hard, every contribution we make for our planet’s wellbeing is still significant, and for that, we are thankful to have such inspirational movements that help us recognize the issues at hand and change them for the better.

Shalva Chugunadze is living in Tbilisi, Georgia and is a volunteer in the Guerrilla Gardening movement.
Shalva Chugunadze is living in Tbilisi, Georgia and is a volunteer in the Guerrilla Gardening movement.

Nata Peradze, the founder of Guerilla Gardening, shows us that even a single person is capable to start a societal change and raise the environmental consciousness of many people with just small things like planting trees. Demonstrating as itself is not enough to fight against our nowadays problems. What really matters is to start with actions. But how? If you are interested in sustainable lifestyles, start to change yours first, think about
what you are consuming. Talk with people about how they changed their consumption style to be more sustainable. Start to share your stuff which is not in everyday use. Start to join movements, associations and groups who are active and help them to develop their projects. Finally, start your own projects! For example, if you see green areas in urban surroundings which are not used, start to transform them into community gardens.

Nature, Culture

Guerilla Gardening in Tbilisi

In protest against Tbilisi’s new building projects, Guerilla Gardening has become a politically active movement within the city…

German                       English