Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands

"Your Museum is just wonderful - thank you for being in our City!"

So proclaimed two schoolgirls who visited the UNESCO-sponsored exhibition on "Chef-d'oeuvres from the Rubbish Heap" (October-November 2001) in the City of Polarny, northwest Russia. The exhibition obviously struck a chord with people of all ages as this and many other messages of praise were written in the visitors' book throughout the exhibition.

Schoolchildren (10-16 years old) were candidly open in their remarks: "Thank you very much for this interesting exhibition", "I like all these handicrafts very much", "It is very interesting in your Museum, and ticket prices are very reasonable!", "Nothing is thrown out and life will be better!", "… next year we ourselves will certainly take part in the exhibition!", and "I told you that I will come again to the Museum! And here I am … and I will come again!"

Young artists moralized "We came here with rubbish, yet we are going out with rewards!", while their parents and teachers responded earnestly "Once again I feel deeply satisfied after visiting your Museum… The fantasy of the authors of the "Chef-d'oeuvres" exhibition is quite amazing! Thank you!", and also "After visiting this exhibition I feel surprised at how well and fruitfully the Museum works. You teach our children to be moral: to like nature and people around them, all the virtues of goodness…"

The success of this exhibition, which extols the virtues of sustainable living by making practical use out of rubbish, is testimony to the philosophy of 'wise practices for coastal management'. For the Museum operators and the UNESCO Coastal Regions and Small Islands (CSI) platform, these visitors' comments are a fine result. Of course, the fact that the exhibition has raised public awareness on environmental issues - one of the CSI goals - is also a valuable outcome.

 

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