Tsyganok became the "Honored Environmentalist of Ukraine": a controversy broke out in the network

Tsyganok became the "Honored Environmentalist of Ukraine": a controversy broke out in the network

Katerina Belousova

Part of the eco-community was outraged by the award, while others supported this decision

In 2024, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy awarded the honorary title of Honored Environmentalist of Ukraine to Lyudmyla Tsyhanok, President of the Association of Environmental Professionals (PAEW). However, 65 civil society organizations and members of the environmental community, led by the head of the All-Ukrainian Environmental League, Tetyana Tymochko, appealed to Zelenskiy to reverse the decision. In their opinion, she received the award undeservedly, as she is not directly involved in the protection of biodiversity, restoration and conservation of natural resources. However, as of February 19, 198 members of the eco-community signed the appeal in support of Tsyganok.

Read more about the details of the scandal in EcoPolitic' article.

In the appeal to cancel the award, it was emphasized that the honorary title is awarded for significant achievements in strengthening Ukrainian statehood, courage and dedication shown in the defense of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, significant personal contribution to the development of various spheres of public life, and conscientious performance of professional duties. Previously, the title "Honored Environmentalist of Ukraine" was awarded to employees of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources and previous departments, institutions and nature protection facilities, scientists, environmental inspectors, etc.

"It seems that the President of Ukraine could be misled and not provide complete information about the nominee. As of now, a significant contribution to the preservation of rare and disappearing species of flora and fauna is not very visible in the public sphere", – wrote the director of the public organization "Ecology – Law – Human" Olena Kravchenko.

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"The public union "Association of Environmental Professionals", headed by Ms. Lyudmila, based on the analysis of its activities, represents the interests of business entities and polluting enterprises, whose interests often conflict with the interests of nature protection. Ms. Tsyganok repeatedly came into conflict with the environmental protection community in "in connection with efforts to intimidate eco-activists, inciting enmity between business and the public," the appeal reads.

But users drew attention to the fact that, even if Gypsy does not meet the criteria for an honorary award, it is necessary to criticize those who proposed and approved her candidacy.

Also in the appeal called for the creation of a commission with an open and transparent procedure for the selection and submission of persons for the honorary title of "Honored Environmentalist of Ukraine".

The appeal sparked a lively discussion on the network, where a number of users expressed support for such a position, including from the community of biology teachers, foresters, scientists, etc. However, other members of the eco-community criticized this position.

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PAEW reacted to the scandal and emphasized in a collective appeal that in 2024, for the first time, this distinction was not received by an employee of state institutions, but by a practitioner. Tsyganok was able to unite more than 7,000 environmental specialists (ecologists, lawyers, ESG managers) from all corners of Ukraine around real projects of green restoration and eco-transformation. And its initiatives provide an opportunity for any association or citizen to join environmental protection measures, legislative initiative, training, exchange of experience.

In addition, Tsyganok is a member of the Operational Headquarters for Fixing Crimes Against the Environment, a member of the Scientific Expert Council of the State Environmental Inspection, public councils under the Ministry of Environment and State Energy Efficiency. It also interacts with the specialized environmental prosecutor's office (SEP), which allows to activate communities for the preservation of soil, water, and biodiversity, as well as to prevent possible violations of environmental legislation. She also contributed to the preservation of the "ecologist" profession, held a number of educational events, etc.

As you know, real changes, in particular in the field of the environment, require new legislative norms, quality reforms and their implementation. It is worth noting that environmental protection involves a very wide range of actions. For example, the green transition is the main basis of the fight against climate change, which is already destroying the ecosystems of Ukraine and the world, and reducing pollution saves the lives of both people and other living creatures. However, economic development in today's realities one way or another requires the use of natural resources and creates a burden on nature.

During the discussion on the network, users emphasized the lack of unity in the eco-community, which could significantly improve interaction with the Ministry of Environment and other authorities, as well as contribute to European integration reforms. Users emphasized that often members of the eco-movement focus on details, which leads to enmity and prevents them from uniting for the sake of real and comprehensive protection of the environment.

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"Unification within a complex distributed and variously functional system can only be on the basis of common, deeply realized values ​​for the sake of a Single Goal. In Ukraine, for many years there has been no understanding of the fundamental functional differences of "nature protection" and the deep state-building mission of the wider field of ecopolitics, commented Nadiya Redkina, a member of the KMDA sector. – A holistic worldview and systemic thinking, with recognition of the right to diversity – seems to be the basis of ecoculture, and the science of survival and development."

"The real goal of PAEW is to clean what has been "said" for decades – without illusions, white gloves and gowns, – said Tsyganok. – As a result: we carry out eco-transformation of business and communities."

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