Our visit does not offer enough time to really get a hold on the city, but enough to get to know the animal rights activists, Prijatelji Zivotinja, who are informing the meat-loving Croats about vegetarianism, and visiting the vegetable and fruit market.
We have entered Romania an hour ago. With three days on the rail lying behind us, it is time for an update. Most of my questions from the beginning found their answers, only to result in new questions about the how and why of each information we received. Wherever we came so far, either Prague, Zagreb or Budapest, we received a heart-warming welcome from the local Green parties. Although we only spend few hours with them, it nevertheless gave me a first little insight into their work, their history and the topics on which they are working. Every stop had its specialty, its personality, its events.
There were the Czech Greens, Strana Zelených. Eva and Pavlina, the two enthusiastic officers had welcomed us on our first morning in Prague and than given us a city tour, via Wenzel-Square and Charles bridge. Their office was still filled with material from the former election campaign which lead several Greens back into regional councils. We learned about the air pollution and the erosion resulting out of the brown-coal mining in the north-western region of Ústi nad labem.
Later in the Sicily Cafe, Ondrej Mirovsky explained to us the government's energy strategy. It aims at responding to the ever-increasing energy demand and should lead to the Czech's energy independence. The measures? Increasing the share of nuclear power from 30 to 50% and building 14 new nuclear power plants. What a nightmare. Meanwhile, almost 60% of Czechs think that the benefits of nuclear power outweights the risks, despite Tchernobyl and Fukushima.
One day later we arrived in Zagreb, awaitened not only by Tome, Vlasta and Darko, Sanja and Senka, members of Zelena Lista - the Green list, but also by a Camera team of the Croatian press agency. Although only founded in 2005, the Croatian Greens obviously have best connecitons to the media and managed to gain almost 30 seats in district and municipal councils.
They are in the midst of the campaign for the next elections in 2013, hoping to gain further mandates. Their issues on the local level are the infrastructure in the districts, e.g. bike lanes, but also sports facilities to keep the youth-criminality down. Our visit does not offer enough time to really get a hold on the city, but enough to get to know the animal rights activists, Prijatelji Zivotinja, who are informing the meat-loving Croats about vegetarianism, and visiting the vegetable and fruit market. We also find time to discuss the Croatian energy system, mainly based on nuclear power, coal and gas. 30km upstream of sava-river, the Croatians share a nuclear power plant with the Slowenians in Krsko. The melt-down in Fukushima gave an occasion to campaign about the risks of nuclear power. But solar energy as an alternative lacks investments.
And then there was Budapest where we arrived and were directly absorbed into a birthday bash of Liptay Orsi from LMP (Lehet mas a politika). It was a merry crowd of the environmental activists, filling the flat: One of them told me about the Critical Mass, a bike manifestation happening at least once a year with thousands of bikers occupying the Körut (inner-city ring-road) to call for better biking-infrastructure in Budapest. The next day we visited the market on Hunyadi ter and continue to Millenaris park, a cultural hotspot for locally produced goods (during winter the WAMP, the design market is taking place here).
Behind the main hall, some locals have started to grow their own food in a community garden. My subjective impression is, that organic food is currently conquering Budapest. Although I might be biased as my best friend, Logan, is currently supporting the movement in Budapest. Unfortunately we were too late for the Ecopiaz (THE organic farmer's market in Hungary) on the Buda-side, and one day too early for the Szimpla-Piac in one of the famous ruin-pubs in Budapest.
We arrive in 45 minutes in Bucharest. I am looking forward to their stories.