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Talking about sustainability in Russia

sustainability russia 17Every week AYA volunteer organization, located in Moscow, Russia, organizes an English speaking club with actual topics. This is part of my EVS and we are organizing the English evenings all summer long. Most evenings we discuss environmental issues, such as plastic pollution, climate change, solar power etc. AYA volunteer center aims to create more environmental awareness in Russia. So these evenings are a great opportunity to spread the word about environmentalism. Since I studied environmentalism at university, I absolutely adore these evenings.

By accident I met a Brazilian guy a few weeks ago whom just received his master degree in Sutainability. A great coincidence, so we decided to organize an evening together, with the theme: "What is sustainability?"

Every Russian stranger I spoke, and told about sustainability was amazed. No one had ever heard of the word, neither if I tried to explain what it was. Apparently there is no good translation to Russian. This might suggest that Russia is not very indulged in the subject. Nevertheless, there are a lot of people who are interested in environmentalism.

The Brazilian, Narayan, and I set up an evening to get people to understand what this "sustainability" definition beholds. We started explaining the reason why we need to talk about sustainability, hereafter everyone had to formulate their own definition. In the end, we gave a framework to implement sustainability in your own life, organization or company. It became a very inspiring evening. There were a lot of people attending and many left with a solid idea of the definition: sustainability. A very satisfactory result. Even one of the most skeptical attendee was totally convinced by the need of a more sustainable world.
sustaibility russia 2I have heard many Russians say things like: "Russians don't care about nature" and "This environmental talk will not work in Russia". Although these statements are really exaggerated, this reminds me of a quote I once read: "Public education remains one of the biggest concerns: people know, but they don't know much, and so they don't understand". This counts for many issues and people on our planet and states the vital importance of public education and... creating awareness.

Nadja den Besten
EVS volunteer at AYA