On Tuesday, Oct. 22, the papers in Estonia wrote about a coalition party's treatment of the LGBT+ minority, how big and small changes alike are necessary in the fight against climate change, the canceling of a benefit concert in connection with Tallinn Zoo, and the country's latest unexpected archaeological find.
Coalition party bullying minority
Recent statements and actions organized by the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) against the LGBT+ community constitute bullying by a political party belonging to the current state government, regional paper Pärnu Postimees writes in an editorial (link in Estonian).
The LGBT+ community in Pärnu has done nothing to warrant such bullying, which in fact goes beyond just EKRE's Pärnu County chapter — politicians involved have included Arne Mäe, an adviser to the EKRE parliamentary group in the Riigikogu, Daniel Mereäär, chapter of the party's Saare County chapter, and Helle Kullerkupp, arguably the ringleader of recent episodes, belongs to EKRE's party board.
Recent events have already threatened the sense of safety and security of the targets thereof, but the coalition party intends to continue its bullying as well, as evidenced by party members asking Minister of the Interior and EKRE chairman Mart Helme to fight within the government for state funding to be cut off to the nonprofit Estonian LGBT Association, and plans to protest in front of a youth center in Tartu where the association will be hosting an event.
Whether or not bullies of minorities are fit to serve on Pärnu City Council is up to Pärnu city residents; whether or not a party systematically targeting a minority should have a place in the Estonian government is up to Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre).
The staff of Pärnu Postimees, however, believes that no worldview is justification for such bullying, and that what is currently going on is a sign that while the current target of the party's bullying is the LGBT+ community, another societal group likewise undeserving of such treatment could be next.
In fight for climate, small changes can influence big ones
The fact that climate problems exist should surprise no one anymore, but nonetheless, while the results of a recent survey indicate that the majority of respondents are prepared to take concrete steps in the fight against climate issues such as reducing their consumption of fast fashion or imported food, they are not nearly as keen to increase their own expenses, whether by means of choosing green energy or increased taxes, despite the latter "sacrifices" being significantly more effective overall, daily Postimees writes in an editorial (link in Estonian).
Vague promises of trying to consume less are much more convenient and still allow one to demonstrate that they care about the environment, especially in a situation where climate-related problems have yet to visibly affect people's daily lives in Estonia on a daily basis, but in addition to those who simply don't want to spend more, there are plenty of people living in the country whose hand is forced for financial reasons when it comes to making decisions as a consumer.
Consumers' price sensitivity won't make climate issues go away, however, and the fight against environmental issues demands concrete actions and concessions on both the state and personal level, starting with not littering with cigarette butts, using a reusable shopping bag instead of plastic ones, or skipping the use of disposable plastic straws — choices that aren't limited only to the rich.
While smaller measures are also important, large industry is notoriously the world's biggest polluter, which is why people must also demand that large companies take climate into account, and not just on the domestic level, but globally; among other things, consumers can use their spending habits to send the global market a signal regarding what to produce and how.
A million Estonians no longer using plastic straws alone may not have much of a global impact, but Estonia is not alone, and small measures combined can add to a significant impact, not just on the market, but also on its regulators — lawmakers.
Tallinn Zoo tiger enclosure benefit concert canceled
"Tiger's Road," a concert scheduled to take place at Tallinn's Alexela Concert Hall on Monday, Oct. 28 for the benefit of the future Tiger Valley habitat at Tallinn Zoo, was canceled following lower than expected ticket sales, writes online news portal Delfi (link in Estonian).
Veronika Padar, board member of the organizing nonprofit Friends of the Tallinn Zoo (TLSS), commented that perhaps the Monday following schools' fall break just wasn't a good time, but thanked all of the artists, musicians and hosts who were willing to chip in for free in support of the construction of the zoo's new tiger habitat, including big names such as Ivo Linna, Heidy Tamme, Sissi, Uku Suviste, Ott Leppland, Hanna-Liina Võsa and the Estonian Dream Big Band.
One positive effect of the advertising for the event, which reached TV, radio, print and social media, is that it has increased the public's overall awareness of various campaigns underway to raise money for the construction of Tiger Valley.
Padar was unable to say when exactly construction would begin, but expressed hope that Tiger Valley would be completed within two years, after which Pootsman the Siberian tiger, who is currently at Zlin-Lesna Zoo in the Czech Republic, where he has fathered a litter of three cubs, can return home to Estonia.
Medieval artifacts unearthed by road construction
Road workers building a new bike road between the villages of Mäeküla and Sargevere in Järva County's Paide Parish unexpectedly ended up unearthing medieval artifacts while digging, regional paper Järva Teataja writes (link in Estonian).
Among artifacts already to be unearthed are silver coins, shards of pottery, rings, bones and foundations of buildings dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries, hinting strongly that the site was home to a settlement of simple people.
While it wasn't a surprise that there had been a medieval settlement in the area, the latest discovery broadened the known reach of the settlement. As a result, and due to a miscommunication between experts and the construction company, digging began without an expert archaeological assessment of the site being completed first.
Digging up the artifacts will be more complicated now that digging by the construction company had already begun, but according to a regional National Heritage Board official, archaeologists will do what they can to retrieve whatever possible.
Editor: Aili Vahtla