After The Fall Of Empires
At this time in America when politicians seek to destroy the EPA and the regulations that attempt to preserve our natural environment in favor of wildly escalating corporate greed and willful ignorance, I often find myself considering what the consequences might be. In Armenia I had a chance to see what may result after governmental and economic collapse. A cautionary tale about the fall of empires? These photographs may help you to imagine.
Traveling through Armenia, the beautiful landscapes of this mountainous republic in the Caucasus strike the eye with intense drama. Long within Russia’s sphere of influence, Armenia, along with the other countries of the region, achieved independence after the end of the Soviet Union. Along with freedom came the paroxysms of an emerging democracy and economy. The end of the Soviet system meant the overnight disappearance of institutions of government and economic collapse. One casualty was environmental protection. From the architecturally unique bus stations crumbling for lack of maintenance funds, to the abandoned factories whose raw materials disappeared along with Communism, the unfinished resorts for Russian tourists abandoned along Lake Sevan, to the mountaintop research stations slowly decaying, Armenia, like other former Soviet countries, has great need for environmental preservation and little funds. In this poor country, I met resourceful and concerned people trying to make a difference. It's hard for them to understand, and hard for me to understand, how in the wealthy United States we would willing throw all these protections for our own beautiful land away.