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  • The Problem of Environmental Protection in Ukraine

  • Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

  • Outstanding People of Ukraine

  • Some Outstanding Ukrainian Scientists

  • Ivan Franko

  • Taras Shevchenko

  • Kyiv

  • The Climate of Ukraine

  • The Constitution of Ukraine

  • The Structure of Ukrainian Government

  • Ukraine and English-speaking Countries

  • Ukraine

  • Ukrainian Places of Interest

  • Ukrainian Traditions

  • Ukrainian Youth Nowadays

  • The Problem of Environmental Protection in Ukraine

    The protection of nature has become one of the most burn­ing problems of the 21st century. The Earth provides people with mineral resources, rivers, forests, fields — everything that makes the foundation of industrial and agricultural pro­duction. Why does all this want protection? Because people often do things which pollute land and waters greatly. It’s very dangerous because it damages health of the people.

    There are a lot of industrial enterprises in our country, that’s why we can’t ignore the problem of the protection of our environment. Our plants and factories put their waste materials into water and atmosphere and pollute the environ­ment. There are many kinds of transport in our big cities, that’s why we must pay attention to the protection of our nature and the health of people.

    The accident at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant in April 1986 caused radioactive contamination of a vast area around the plant. More than 100 000 Ukrainian citizens were evacu­ated from the city of Chornobyl and other areas around the reactor site.

    The other problem is an earthquakes. We know some terri­ble earthquakes in Armenia. Our scientists try to forecast earthquakes, then we can protect ourselves from them.

    Not only people but the nature is ill too. Millions of years ago animals lived on land, there were lots of trees on the Earth. But now trees as well as the animal world are in danger. They are killed by polluted air and acid rains. Tons of smoke and gas are emitted into the air. But unfortunately very little is being done to save them. If the trees die, we shall die too, because they supply us with oxygen to breathe.

    Environmental protection is a great concern of the Ukraini­an Government. The Ministry of Environment Protection was founded in Ukraine. Their tasks are to control the state of en­vironment and sources of pollution, to protect the water resour­ces of Ukraine, to extend the network of nature reserves and to maintain with international ecological organizations.

    The Ukrainian Green Party is very active today. «Zeleny Svit» is the Ukrainian ecological newspaper. It calls on people to protect the nature and to use it in a more careful and econo­mical manner for the benefit of the present and future genera­tions.

    Our Earth is our home. I think people must take care of our Motherland.
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    Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

    Ukraine has wide relations with Canada, the USA, Great Britain and many other countries of the world. Recently a great number of various joint ventures and economic, cultural and political projects have appeared in Ukraine.

    Our specialists in different scientific fields improve their qualification abroad. We also have programmes of students’

    and schoolchildren’s exchange. English, Canadian and American children visit Ukrainian families go to Ukrainian schools, while Ukrainian children stay at their host families abroad.

    These exchange programmes help us to understand each other better, to study culture and traditions of other countries. A lot of Ukrainians have emigrated to Great Britain. That’s why in 1947 the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain was founded. This association has some Help Funds that sponsor different important actions. The association gives help to the Ukrainian students who study in British Universities. The same associations and societies, exist in many other countries. I’d like to say that many people who are Ukrainian by origin live in Canada. Many of the Ukrainians living now in Canada and other English-speaking countries don’t lose connections with Ukraine. A lot of public organizations, educational establish­ments, religious organizations make considerable contribution to the development of our culture, literature and art. By the by, Canada was the first among the western states that recog­nized the state independence of Ukraine.

    From year to year the number of spheres of our relations with the countries abroad grow.
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    Outstanding People of Ukraine

    In the history of humanity there have always been people whose actions and ideas produced a great impact on the lives of other people. They have made a great contribution to the science, culture, social life of this country. That’s why they are called outstanding.

    The names of Taras Shevchenko, Lessya Ukrainka, Ivan Franko, Marko Vovchok and Hrygoriy Skovoroda won universal recognition. There’s hardly a country in the world which doesn’t have Taras Shevchenko’s poems translated into its language. Gentle melodies and deep emotions of Lessya Ukrainka’s verses are dear to poetry-lovers throughout the world.

    Ukraine has also given the world many outstanding scientists. Such names as Vernandskyi, Zabo-lotnyi, Bogomolets, Sklifosovskyi, Paton, Filatov are well-known all over the world. Nowadays modern Ukrainian scientists achieved great successes in the field of mathematics, physics, biology and medicine.

    Great contribution to the world’s historical science was made by such prominent Ukrainian historians as Mykola Hrushevskyi, Mykhailo Drago-manov, Dmytro Yavornitskyi, Mykola Kostomarov.

    The Ukrainian national composer school is connected with the name of Mykola Lysenko. Ivan Lysenko’s operas «Taras Bulba», «Natalka Poltavka», «Eneida» are still staged at the world’s opera-houses.

    The Ukrainian fine art is represented by the names of Kostandi, Murashko, Borovikovskyi, Pymonenko. The Ukrainian culture always developed human traditions of the mankind.
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    Some Outstanding Ukrainian Scientists

    I can’t say that I have concerned myself much with science and scientists in our country. But being an educated person I can’t help reading or watching on TV about the most outstanding discoveries in different branches of science.

    Great progress has been achieved by our scientists in nu­clear physics, chemistry, biology, etc. They have made a great contribution to the world science for the benefit of their coun­try. Such names as V. Vernadsky, B. Paton, M. Sklifosofsky and a lot of others are very much familiar to us. There is another name worth mentioning. It’s Academician Korolyov. Serhiy Pavlovich Korolyov is the famous scientist and de­signer of space-rocket systems. He was born in the city of Zhytomir in the family of a teacher. Many people regard him as a representative of the Russian people. However, S. Koro­lyov is a Ukrainian.

    He is known to be an outstanding creator of the practical space engineering. From 1927 he worked in the aircraft in­dustry. In 1930, without giving up his job, he graduated from the Moscow Bauman Higher Technical School and left a flying school in Zhytomir the same year. After he had met Tsiolkovsky and studied his ideas, Korolyov became a rocket enthusiast. He was one of the founders of modern space-rocketry engineering. Korolyov trained many scientists and engineers who are now leading the work in research institutes and designing bureaus which specialize in the sphere of space- rocketry engineering.

    In 1933 the first experimental rockets were made and tes­ted. Korolyov took part in the work. Beginning with 1957 the first Earth sattelities in the world were put into orbit with the help of the systems he had designed. The spaceship in which man first flew into space, was made under his guid­ance. Serhiy Korolyov is one of the most outstanding Ukrai­nians whose name will go down in history of the world civili­zation.
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    Ivan Franko

    One of the innovators of all genres of literature was Ivan Franko. He raised the post-Shevchenko Ukrainian poetry of the late 19th and early 20th century to new heights. He did the same in prose. We always remember the volume of poetry « Heights and Depths*, the novel «Boryslav is laughing*, the drama «Stolen Happiness*, etc. He devoted much attention to translations from foreign languages. His merits as a thinker and scholar were great in many fields: the history and theory of literature, folklore, political economy, history, ethnography.

    Ivan Franko is an talented figure not only for the Ukrai­nian nation but for all humanity. He was the greatest of Ukrainian classical authors. He was born on August 27,1856.

    His father was a blacksmith. Ivan was a gifted child with extraordinary capacity for study. At school Ivan Franko learned Russian, German and Polish. He read Pushkin, Tur-genev, Schiller, Goethe and Mitskevich in original.

    In 1875 Ivan Franko entered Lvov University. In one of his articles of that time he wrote that the main thing is life therefore literature and life must be linked together.

    In his stories, poems and plays he wrote about real people, men and women whom he knew.

    Ivan Franko worked under the most difficult conditions. He was imprisoned three times. But faith in a happy future for the people heartened Ivan Franko even in the most trying periods of his life.

    He died on the 28th of May, 1916, in Lvov.

    Today the memory of the great Ukrainian classic is ho­noured by his countrymen throughout our land.

    His works are read and translated all over the world. They have been published in 19 languages and in editions totalling nine million copies.

    The nature of Franko’s works can be understood by quot­ing his own words: «I consider it’s my duty to dedicate my life’s work to the common people. I learned two Rules of life at a very early age: the first, a sense of duty to the people, the second, the necessity for constant work*.
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    Taras Shevchenko

    Taras Shevchenko opened a new epoch in the development of the Ukrainian literature and in the social and cultural life of the whole Ukrainian people. A brilliant people’s poet and artist Shevchenko became a true innovator and lifted Ukraini-

    an literature onto |the broad highway of realism. His very first book «Kobzar», a collection of poems (1840), and the poem «Haidamaky» (1841) were of great significance. He also wrote dramatic works («Nikita Gaidai*), novels in Rus­sian.

    Taras Shevchenko was born into a serf’s family on March 9, 1814. He lost his mother at the age of nine. There were five children in his family. Though his father was a shepherd he could read and write and it was possible for him to teach his children. Taras’s childhood was very hard. At home there were always quarrels, fights between the children and also between his father and his stepmother.

    In his story «Princess» he wrote about his awful life in his childhood, about his quarrels with the stepmother’s son Stepan, about Stepan beating him.

    When Taras was 11 his father died. His stepmother made him a shepherd. Then the boy was taken by his uncle (his father’s brother) into his family. And he began working for him. But it was very difficult for him to live in his family

    too. He took a decision to leave him and fled in terror. For a long time he could not adjust to life.

    Starvation became a real possibility for him. But the boy had a talent for drawing. And his lifetime dream was draw­ing. He painted everywhere and always. He drew with chalk and a piece of coal. He drew on the walls, gates and doors. And soon Pavel Engelhard, a young gentleman, helped Taras to find a job as a pupil-painter. The master of this art studio was Ivan Rustam in the town of Vilno in Poland. Here he became acquainted with Russian and Polish culture. In Vilno Taras learned to speak Polish. He used to meet many famous people. One of them was Adam Mitskevich.

    Taras began taking lessons of drawing from later fa­mous painter Vasil Shyriaiev. It was he who made Taras a real painter.

    Soon several artists took notice of him. They collected the money necessary to buy his freedom. Due to the efforts of these painters Shevchenko was even admitted to the Petersburg Aca­demy of Arts. He used to study under Bryullov who considered him to be his favourite student. However Shevchenko took his

    own line in art. Aserf himself he was closely connected with th< enslaved people, with their thoughts and aspirations.

    He devoted his talent and his art to the struggle for thf liberation of the working people. A deep understanding oi Ukraine enabled him to create pictures of acute social conflict. In 1839 he was awarded a silver medal fox his pictures.

    In 1842Taras Shevchenko painted the picture «Katherine». Just as in the poem, in the picture Shevchenko expressed his own strong protest against the tragic conditions of the seTf woman of that time.

    He was famous for his illustrations to books by Pushkin, Gogol, Lermontov and Shakespeare.

    Shevchenko was not only an artist, hut first he was a great poet. His literary activity began to he lively since 1838. From this time he began writing more and more.

    Taras Shevchenko wrote very many poems, some of which became songs.

    He had many famous friends in St. Petersburg at that time. Here he got acquainted with Yershov — the author of the well-known story «Koniok-Gorbunok>, V. Dal — the au­thor of the defining dictionary, Benediktov — the poet-ro-manist, Venetsianov — the painter.

    He wrote poems about brave men that fought for freedom. In his poems he called upon the people to rise up and fight against their oppressors. His «Kobzar» (1840) became the book most read by common people.

    In 1847 Shevchenko was arrested because of his verses being written against tsar autocracy. Nicholas I sentenced him to enforced military service. He was sent to Kazakhstan for ten long years. The tsar forbade him writing and paint­ing. But he continued to write many works in secret.

    Taras Shevchenko wrote and painted much and his fame grew. However, his health was greatly undermined due to the conditions of his life, which was full of hardships, and he died in 1861.
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    Kyiv is the capital of Ukraine. It has a long history. And this makes Kyiv stand out among other cities. In 1982 its 1.500th anniversary was celebrated in the country. It was called “The Mother of All Russian Cities”. Kyiv bears the name of prince Kyi.

    Kyiv is the seat of the Supreme Court and Cabinet of Ministers. It’s population is about 3 million. Kyiv occupies an area of 790 square kilometres. The city lies on both banks of the Dnipro.

    Kyiv is the largest centre of national culture. A lot of concert-halls, fifteen museums, palaces of culture, film stu­dios, the circus make Kyiv a large cultural centre in Ukraine. The Kyiv Shevchenko Opera and Ballet House, the Kyiv Fran-ko Drama Theatre are well-known all over the world. Museum of Books and Book Printing, museums devoted to dramatic and film art, memorial museums devoted to outstanding per­sonalities are situated in Kyiv.

    Kyiv is also one of the biggest scientific centres. The Ukrai­nian Academy of Sciences and many research institutes are famous for its discoveries. More than 10000 students study at the Shevchenko National University. There are over 20 higher educational establishments in Kyiv.

    Kyiv is famous for its beauty, for its wonderful broad avenues, lots of chestnut trees and flowers all over the city. A remarkable feature of our time is that people travel a lot. Those who are fond of visiting historical and cultural places usually dwell their choice on ancient cities. The older the city is the more places of interest it has. That’s why Kyiv is quite an interesting place from this view point. Tourists are at­tracted by numerous places of interest in Kyiv. They are Kyivo-Pecherska Lavra, St. Sophia’s Cathedral, the Golden

    Gate, the monuments to T. G. Shevchenko, the great poet of Ukraine, to Bohdan Khmelnytsky and Prince Volodymyr.

    Kyiv has a well-developed industry. Its factories and plants produce sea and river transport vessels, air liners, computers, motorcycles, consumer goods.
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    The Climate of Ukraine

    The climate of Ukraine is moderate. Summer is hot and dry with occasional rains and thunderstorms. Winter is rather mild without severe frosts but with snowfalls everywhere. The rivers and lakes freeze in winter. Ukraine is rather a big country, that’s why its climate is different in various regions of it. Of course, the hottest region is in the South. In the central part of the country the climate is moderate and conti­nental. The climate on the territory along the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov is warmer. The Crimean and the Carpathian mountains protect the country from winds. The coldest part is that in the North and in the North-east.

    And now let’s characterize every season of the year in our country in general. Autumn is warm at the beginning but later it gets colder, it often rains. Winter sets in December with its cold and heavy snowfalls and winds. The average temperature is about 15—20 degrees below zero. But it often happens that winters are mild and rainy and this is the most unpleasant time.

    In spring the weather is changeable. It may be cold and windy, sunny and rainy on one and the same day. In summer the weather is usually warm, sometimes hot and dry. The temperature is about 25—30 degrees above zero. The warmest months are July and August.

    They say the climate in Ukraine like anywhere else, is get­ting milder with every coming year. In the last few years all the scientists agree that something very serious is happening to the climate and weather of Ukraine and the whole world. It depends on many reasons.
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    The Constitution of Ukraine

    The Constitution of Ukraine was proclaimed and confirmed on June 28 1996, by Verkhovna Rada. According to it Ukraine is the sovereign, independent, democratic and legal state. Ukraine is a Unitarian state with single citizenship.

    The state language of Ukraine is Ukrainian. The state sym­bols of our country are the National Emblem, the National Flag and the National Anthem of Ukraine. The National Emblem is a golden Tryzub on a blue Shield. The National Flag is a cloth with two equal horizontal stripes, the upper coloured blue and the lower golden yellow.

    The land, air space, mineral resources, water and other resources are objects of the property right of the Ukrainian people. Ukraine is the republic. The people are the only source of power which is exercised directly and through the bodies of state power and legal self-governments. The Constitution of Ukraine establishes the country’s political system, freedoms and duties of citizens and is the basis for its laws.
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    The Structure of Ukrainian Government

    Ukrainian powers of government are divided into three branches: the legislative, which consists oi the Verkhovna Rada, the executive, headed by the President, and the judicial, which is led by the Supreme Court. The President is the head of Ukraine. He is elected for a term of five years with no more than two full terms.

    The Verkhovna Rada’s main function is making laws. Law drafting work is performed by its Committees. The Verkhovna Rada adopts the State Budget for the period from January 1 till December 31 and controls the execution of it. The monetary unit of our country is the Hryvnia.

    The Cabinet of Ministers is the highest body of the execu­tive power. It carries out the fulfillment of the Constitution, as well as the acts of the President, develops and fulfills national programs on the economic, technological and cultur­al development of Ukraine. The only body of the legislative power in Ukraine is the Parliament. There are 450 people’s deputies. They are elected for a term of four years on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot.
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    Ukraine and English-speaking Countries

    Now Ukraine is a sovereign state. Ukraine is one of the members of the United Nations Organization and participates in the work of many international organizations. We have wide relations with Canada, the USA and Great Britain. Foreign Embassies of these countries work in Kyiv.

    Scientific cooperation is also very important. Cooperations in culture, education and sport are very important too. We exchange students and teachers with Canada and the USA. The Ukrai­nian orchestras, pop and opera singers, ballet dancers are warmly received. A lot of tourists from English-speaking countries visit Ukraine every year.

    We have some joint political projects with the United States of America and Canada. Such big plants of ours as Cherkasy joint-stock company «Azot», Gorlovka chemical plant «Stirol» sell their products at international market. I’d like to say that many people who are Ukrainian by origin live in Canada. Many of the Ukrainians living now in Canada and other English-speaking countries don’t lose connections with Ukraine. A lot of public organizations, educational establish­ments, religious organizations make considerable contribution to the development of our culture, literature and art. By the by, Canada was the first among the western states that recog­nized the state independence of Ukraine.
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    Ukraine is a sovereign state with its own territory and its bodies of state power and government. It also has national emblem: state flag and anthem. Ukraine proclaimed its inde­pendence on August 24, 1991, and confirmed this status on December 1st of the same year.

    The country is situated in the south-eastern part of Cen­tral Europe. It covers the area of 604,000 square kilometres. The territory of Ukraine consists of the Autonomy Republic of Crimea and 24 regions. Ukraine is inhabited by people belonging to more than 110 ethnic groups. The population of Ukraine is nearly 50 million people. It borders on Poland, Slovakia and Hungary in the west and on Romania and Mold­ova in the southwest. Its northern neighbour is Byelarus and the eastern one is Russia.

    The territory of Ukraine is mostly flat and mountains make up only 5% of its territory (there are the Carpathian mountains in the west and the Crimean mountains in the south). The climate of Ukraine is moderate.

    The main rivers of Ukraine are the Dnipro, the Dnister, the Buh and Donets and others. The Dnipro is the main river in the country. It’s one of the longest rivers in the world. Ukraine is washed by the Black Sea and the sea of Azov and has such important ports as Odesa, Mariupol, Mykojaiv, Kherson.

    The geographical position of Ukraine is favourable, be­cause the country lies on the crossroad of the ways from Asia to Europe. Like any other country in the world Ukraine has big cities; among them are Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine; Kharkiv, which used to be the capital of Ukraine and now it’s an important industrial and cultural centre; Donetsk is a coal-mining and chemical centre; Odesa is a big sea-port; Lviv is a large scientific and cultural centre and a lot of others. Due to favourable climatic conditions, Ukraine is tra­ditionally an agricultural country. Wheat and corns, all kinds of fruit are grown here.

    The country is rich in national resources, such as iron ore, coal, gas. It produces planes and ships, lorries and buses, TV and radio-sets and other goods.
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    Ukrainian Places of Interest

    Ukraine is a country with the rich past. It is rich for historical monuments and different places of interest. Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, is one of the oldest cities in the Eastern Europe. That’s why it is not surprising that a lot of intere­sting monuments are situated there. For example, the well-known to all Slavonic world St. Sophia’s Cathedral and Kyivo-Pecherska Lavra.

    But Ukraine is not only Kyiv. There is also Western Ukraine with the Carpathians with their legends and with their unique nature and culture. One may visit the famous symbol of the Crimea — the castle «Swallow’s nest* or the residence of Russian tsars in Livadia.

    It is also possible to visit the last house of Chekhov, now the museum in Jalta. There Chekhov lived and wrote his last works. It is possible to go through Gogol places in Poltava region, see Dickanka, Sorochintsy.

    One may also go to Zaporizhzhia, to the island of Khortytsya. There the Ukrainian cossack’s organization was born. One can go to Odesa and walk along the boulevards, where Pushkin walked a long time ago and touch the trees, which Pushkin touched. Near the small town of the Kaniv the mo­nument to the Ukrainian national genius Taras Shevchenko is situated. The museum, where the books, drawing and manu­scripts of Shevchenko are kept, is situated in the village not far from Kaniv. Even the house, where he was born, is pre­served. It is very interesting to look at it.

    One may come to Poltava, visit the museum of the famous Poltava battle, the field where Petro the Great defeated the Swedes.

    There is a lot to see in Ukraine and to be proud of. And I am glad to live in such a country, with all these beautiful monuments.
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    Ukrainian Traditions

    As each country in the world Ukraine is rich in its nation­al traditions. Some of them are common in the world and some of them are uncommon.

    First of all we celebrate our Independence Day on the 24th of August. To my mind, this holiday is young because my country as an independent one is very young too. It’s only sixteen years old. But in future, I think, it will be a big holiday.

    I’d like to tell you about some old traditions in my coun­try. They are Easter and Christmas. My people began to cele­brate these holidays since the baptizing of Kyivska Rus in 988 by Prince Volodymyr.

    We celebrate Easter in spring, according to the Julian calendar that’s why it doesn’t coinside with the western world. This holiday is always in April or at the beginning of May. Easter symbolizes the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every­body makes cakes so called pasha and dyed eggs. Easter cakes are sold at every bakery, but home-made ones are always much tastier. All the provision must be baptized in the church early in the morning.

    Another holiday is Christmas. We mark it on the 7th of January. In Europe and in the USA it’s celebrated in December. On Christmas people celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

    There are some dates and events in the life of our country that are memorable to every Ukrainian citizen. The most me­morable date is the Victory Day which is kept on the 9th of May. On this day the anniversary of the victory over fascism in Second World War is celebrated.

    There is one more holiday which is loved by children and adults. This is New Year’s Eve. People decorate New year trees with toys and lights and all the people are given presents. On the New Year night people don’t sleep, They visit their friends or just stay at home and watch TV.

    These are national holidays, people don’t work on these days. As for me, I like to celebrate these days!
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    Ukrainian Youth Nowadays

    Nowadays much attention is paid to our youth. The desire of our young people to become qualified specialists in future motivates them to enter higher educational establishments. Higher education for young people nowadays is the method of developing their talents and abilities, their creative poten­tial. That’s why beside their studies they are also engaged in different clubs and organizations. A lot of young people go in for sports. That is why schools and institutes have sport clubs and teams. Our young people are especially interested in football, basketball, hockey, etc. There also exists a great variety of different clubs in this country. Future belongs to the youth. Many young people are engaged in political parties and organizations such as «the greens», the Union of Ukrai­nian Youth and others.

    Almost every school or institute has its own team of joy­ful and smart (KVN). This game is rather popular among our young people and it helps them to bring out their bright­est talents and to create team spirit. Young people learn to share the moments of luck and failure, to work together. Beside studies young people are also engaged in scientific and research work. Nowadays this sphere is not paid too much attention. There also exists the Ukrainian branch of youth organization Greenpeace in Ukraine. This organization protests against environmental pollution, against murder of all animals. Young people learn to love their land and the world that surrounds them.
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