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Cleaning up Latvia’s coastline

The Baltic is one of the most polluted seas in the world. There’s litter strewn along many of the beaches on Latvia’s Baltic coast, and waste from industry and agriculture seep into the water.

But despite the pollution problem, local environmentalist Uldis Mors is determined to remind people of the beauty of the 500 kilometer shore. The 25-year-old has organized a special group expedition along the stretch of coast as part of a campaign called “Mana jūra,” or “My Sea” in English.

He’s hoping the trek will raise awareness about the fragile ecosystem, and persuade participants the shore is worth protecting.

Listen to the report by Gederts Gelzis in Riga, Latvia:

Uldis wants to show people the beauty of the Baltic Sea coast (Photo: G. Gelzis)

Uldis wants to show people the beauty of the Baltic Sea coast (Photo: G. Gelzis)

Date

Wednesday 13.08.2014 | 07:41

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Laughter is the best medicine

Anete Baskevica, 22, dresses up as a clown – but not to perform at the circus. Instead she heads to a local children’s hospital where she volunteers her time with kids who are ill. Laughter, she says, is the very best medicine of all. She’s part of a Latvian organization of clowns who have just launched their hospital visits this month (July). They all wear different costumes, but have one very important thing in common: a big red nose.

Listen to Gederts Gelzis report from Riga, Latvia:

Laughter is the best medicine

Doctor clowns 'Musins'

Anete’s character name is ‘Musins’ (Photo: G. Gelzis)

Anete gets help with her costume

Anete gets help with her costume (Photo: G. Gelzis)

The clown doctors practice acting during a workshop in Riga

The clown doctors practice acting during a workshop in Riga (Photo: G. Gelzis)

Find more pictures on Anete’s blog.

Date

Tuesday 09.07.2013 | 11:39

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Latvian IT expert gives the people a voice in politics

Kristofs, 23, from Riga wanted to get his fellow citizens more involved in politics. He launched a unique website that allows for digital petitions – and it’s been an immediate success.

Latvian IT expert gives the people a voice in politics

Kristofs Blaus

Kristofs Blaus

From DW reporter Gederts Gelzis in Riga:

For us Latvians, politics is usually something that seems to be very distant. We are more or less like outsiders and, God forbid, if you’re involved into politics in some way or another, you will likely hear: “There’s no dirtier business than that!” And if somebody happens to be connected with politics, then they will be men and women at least in their late thirties, forties or older.

That’s why I was really surprised when I met Kristofs Blaus at his rather small, but light, cosy and somewhat trendy office near the port of Riga – a 15-minute walk from the old town. I didn’t find a serious, middle-aged man wearing a pin-striped suit and holding a leather suitcase standing in front of me. There was a young 23-year-old in a casual outfit and with an unusual hairstyle.

He kind of embodies the great difference between the older generation of Latvians, which experienced the Soviet era and those kids who grew up in the country during the last two decades. He speaks English fluently; he’s an Internet-dweller and speaks his mind openly. And that’s not all – he really seems to care about his debt-ridden country’s future and is willing to do something about it.

I guess that many of his peers think similarly and that’s why his website Manabalss.lv isn’t just a project which happens to be in the right place at the right time. It’s that the tide is slowly turning on what the young Latvians think about participation in political events and during the interview I felt that Kristofs is a clear example of it.

Of course, Kristofs is just one of the 700,000 inhabitants of Riga and the word “politics” is on everyone’s lips ahead of the general election on September 17. But as long as Kristofs doesn’t give up his enthusiasm for developing the website, I believe that there will be more and more Latvians willing to bring about some positive change in their country.

Here is Kristofs’ website manabalss.lv.

And here is his personal blog.

Date

Tuesday 06.09.2011 | 14:50

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