reporting on armenian deforestation

In the early winter months of 2012 I travelled to the South Caucasus country of Armenia on a self-funded freelance assignment, writing about the region’s huge and ongoing deforestation issues. Prior to his departure I had read quite up extensively on the relatively well-known problem of rural deforestation in the country, but it was quite an unexpected discovery to find that the encroaching process of tree-felling for profit also penetrated deep into Armenia’s city spaces.

It was in the capital Yerevan that I met and followed a group of environmental activists who—outraged by the piecemeal selling off of their urban parks to make room for money-spinning cafés, restaurants and boutiques—took over and occupied a construction site of yet another soon-to-be-built café, this time in a centrally-located green area called Mashtots Park.

For the next three weeks I remained with the protestors in this sub-zero shell of the unfinished café documenting the lives of the full-time idealists: their exhibitions and playful winter-warming games, negotiations with police and city officials, their eviction, and ultimately their reoccupation of this selfish monument of singleminded monetary advancement.