The artical on the Medium.com website
From the jungle to the tundra, diamonds are found in some of the most remote locations on earth. This article is part of a series around Earth Day that uncovers the important ways that diamond producers are working to protect the wildlife and wilderness where they work.
By Polina Anisimova, Head of ALROSA Environmental Center
Working in the diamond industry teaches you a lot about beauty and firmness. These two seemingly different concepts very well describe the conditions of Yakutia, where diamond mines are operated. Beautiful nature hides the treasure in deep, hard-to-reach interior. Yakutia is a Far East region, the largest in Russia. If we divide Yakutia’s area by population, there will be 0.31 of human per 1 square kilometer.
Climate in Yakutia is very harsh; transport accessibility in several regions is limited depending on a season, but every visitor will quickly find that there’s a lot to take in. Forests, rivers, mountains and valleys color a sublime landscape. Very hospitable people live here. The Yakuts have formed a unique, traditional culture of dialogue between nature and human, nature and society. They have created many features to respect their native land. They consider the nature is living; every object on earth — ground, water, air, sun — has its own spirits and inner power.
Over the years, ALROSA invested heavily to ensure that its operations leave a limited environmental footprint. We have carefully considered the ways that we can give back to a place that has given us so much — our reindeer collar program and fish biodiversity initiative, which target vulnerable wildlife. Creation and development of the Yakutia Diamonds Live natural park, where different animals live and receive care, is focused on the recruitment and tactile participation of residents in wildlife.
While many people know that Russia’s wilderness is big and beautiful, few have ever gotten to witness its diversity and wealth firsthand. For that reason, ALROSA began sponsoring and held for the first time the “Give Nature Eternity” photo contest — allowing contestants to use the art of photography to illustrate the natural diversity of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), the unique animal world within it, and the culture of indigenous peoples who call it home.
This contest, which was coincide with year of environment in Russia, has allowed raise public awareness about the issues of preserving natural beauty and ensuring a careful attitude towards it, to raise the interest of modern society to the origins of Yakutia’s indigenous population. Through the photo submissions, we’ve been able to share a wide range of photography that emphasizes the value of life in nature for a human, the unique beauty, power and richness of northern territories.
The competition features four categories: Animals of the Sakha Republic, Nature and the World Around Us, Scene Shots, and Lifestyle of Indigenous Peoples.
Earth Day has always presented the global community with an opportunity to think deeply about nature and all it provides us. Good stewardship and corporate culture has long been a central tenet of our work at ALROSA, and through the “Give Nature Eternity” project we are hopeful that we’ll be able to promote that sense of appreciation to audiences far and wide.
Six winners of the contest were selected at the end of last year, they were awarded certificates for the purchase of electronic and photographic equipment, through which they will be able to further develop their talent. We invite everyone to visit the website of this contest (ecofoto.alrosa.ru) to learn more about Yakutia and share its beauty with friends and families.
This is not the only creative contest that we have come up with to draw attention to the issue of environmental protection. The photo competition was held for adults, but in 2017, we also held two competitions for children. For the youngest who attend kindergartens we organized a contest “I am a small part of a big World”, and for schoolchildren — a creative competition — a “Green Sakha with love for Nature” exhibition.
By organizing these competitions, we tried to involve children in studying the nature of their native land, develop feelings of belonging to environmental problems, to cultivate a caring attitude to everything living, to form the beginnings of ecological culture. And we are glad that a very large number of children took part in competitions and shared our aspirations with us.
In the following years, we will definitely continue this practice.
About Polina Anisimova
Polina Anisimova, Head of Alrosa’s Environmental Center, was driven to pursue an education in ecology by two burning questions: “how can we protect the earth?” and “who are protecting the earth from?” Those two fundamental questions launched Polina into a 15-year career in ecology, leading her to her current position as Alrosa’s Head of Environmental Center. Throughout the entirety of her career, Polina’s belief that man is not the king of nature, but rather its tenant, has not wavered and continues to inspire the work she does today.