Why We're Going
Why Western Ukraine? We are going to shoot a documentary about the area focused on the economic and ecological entanglements the area is engaged in as Putin conducts his war in the midst of active nuclear power plants, two of which are located in Rivne and Khmelnytskyi. The notorious Chernobyl plant is no longer active and is under Russian control, as is Europe’s largest nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia, which attracted worldwide attention recently as it was being shelled by Russian troops. This is what spurred Richards to want to take some video gear to Ukraine and document the situation at these plants, at least the ones he could get close to relatively safely. Those in the west are not currently in battle zones though things can change quickly so we’ll be closely monitoring the situation.
TheoEco’s focus as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization is on the potential environmental catastrophe that local human economic activities--like the need for electricity and control thereof in wartime--might inflict on its ecology. Additionally, the theological underpinnings of the conflict are always in the background, and Richards will be digging into these as well. And to that end he will be looking to network with the Christian community as he goes. His first contact with a member of a Ukraninan denomination was with the Very Rev. Archpriest Yaroslav Nalysnyk, MD, DMin., at Christ the King Ukranian Catholic Church in Boston. He's expecting a deep and fascinating dive into the Ukraninian Christian world on his travels and hopes to juxtapose that tradition with that of Russia's, which appears to be at the heart of Putin’s--and much of Russia’s--belief system as it relates to the war.
TheoEco has a very specific point of view on all this, however, which is why it is producing this documentary. TheoEco was set up in 2015 in the immediate aftermath of the Nepal earthquakes of that year. An outcome of Richards' three years at the Yale Divinity School, it is principally concerned with the intersection of economics with our ecology. When Richards saw the nuclear power plant on fire, he knew the catastrophic potential was big. And it seemed like a worthwhile, and doable project if he just got on a plane, took a train to Lviv, and started walking. We want to see firsthand and hopefully interview authorities that can reassure the world of the steps being taken to safeguard and defend these facilities.