Snowchange Oral History: 2012

In 2012 representatives of the Turvaurgin community presented the climate change, solar electrification, traditional knowledge and nomadic lifestyle issues in a major international event “Climate Change Mitigation with Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities” held in Cairns, Australia in March–April 2012. This international UN–related event was jointly organized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( and United Nations University. The Snowchange work in Kolyma received major media attention too, for example in National Geographic.

TestingTurvaurgin Solar Panel Expert Maria Krivashapkina and reindeer herders review and assemble the recently arrived equipment in the village of Kolymskaya, Lower Kolyma, Republic of Sakha-Yakutia, Russia. Photo credit: Community of Turvaurgin, 2012. Used with permission.

After the IPCCC-UNU event, the Kolyma delegation spent time with the Australian Aboriginal people, hosted by Mr. Victor Steffensen from the Traditional Knowledge Revitalisation Pathways. This connection had developed initially in 2008 in the Snowchange Aoteoroa Gathering in December 2008.

In Spring 2012 the solar panels were installed in a pilot-style into a Turvaurgin nomadic brigade as well as the remote fishing bases along the Kolyma river and the Chaigurginoo remote fishing base of Turvaurgin.

SunsetIn August 2012 Snowchange Cooperative delegates travelled 1500 kilometers with the open boat on Kolyma River and East Siberia Sea to review the situation with the panels. Photo credit: Tero Mustonen, Snowchange Co-op, 2013. Used with permission.

In August 2012 Chris Madine from the UK, the international monitoring person for the solar panel project, and Tero Mustonen from Snowchange travelled 1,500 kilometers along the Kolyma river and the East Chukchi Sea to review the implementation of the solar panels in the nomadic brigades and in Chaigurginoo. Results were compiled into an English-language report available from the Snowchange Cooperative. Initial savings were up to 60% in terms of diesel reductions in the Chaigurginoo fishery base.

MealExpedition members taking a break after a 12-hour travel. Present: Yelena Antipina (left), Vyacheslav Shadrin, Pyotr Kaurgin and Chris Madine. Photo credit: Tero Mustonen, Snowchange Co-op, 2013. Used with permission.

In Autumn 2012 sad news was received from the nomadic community of “Nutendl.” The beloved Elder and knowledge holder of the Yukaghir and Chukchi peoples, Mrs. Akulina Kemlil passed away. Also Vyacheslav Kemlil, originally from Nutendli, initiated a new nomadic community in the lower Kolyma area.