New views on Sustainable Development

– At the crossroads between academia and civil society

Saint Petersburg, April 15 -16th 2016

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REALS Russian events have mostly gathered partners and associates in rural territories, in small towns, in villages, ecovillages and at farms. But these particular days in Russia gathered project partners, students, researchers, ecovillagers, permaculture designers, politicians, natural builders, social entrepreneurs and many more close to the centre of Saint Petersburg. Students at St Petersburg State University and The Institute of Earth Sciences invited a diversity of stakeholders to take part in the conference  “Theory and practice of Sustainable Development – A modern view” during two full, creative and interactive days.

Student participation has been and is an important factor in REALS, both for the management and implementation of the project activites, such as those organised in rural villages in the Arkhangelsk region in Russia, but also for the importance of a continous renewed perspective on what sustainable development actually can be. That kind of “renewing” quality is often to be found in participatory educational settings, such as the Saint Petersburg State University´s student led LATeam – a youth ecology organization which gathers active students, postgraduates, graduates and professors related to the univeristy.

The program for the days was mainly designed and hosted by students from LATeam, but in close cooperation with the Russian Ecovillage and Eco-initaitive Network (REALS partner REEN). This co-organisation anchored the event strongly both within civil society grassroot organisations as well as in academia. With approx 200 participants, it became a forum for much more than auditory lectures. The interest of new connections, interaction and just the joy of seeing new and old friends was evident, and synergies emerged in the fields between different themes and people. One example of this is the theme of permaculture, where representants from different sectors and countries gathered around this theme and shared experiences and points of view on what permaculture is and how it can benefit places and regions.

Laysan Mirzagitova (REEN) gave one of the concluding voices for the meeting, by emphasizing the need of another similar conference 2017, with the aim to empower and mainstreaming the engagement for- and awareness of Sustainable Development – “In a new way”.

You find more photos and documentation from the conference here