How can we walk the talk of sustainability on a daily basis in our working environments? How can we interpret the concept of sustainability within the academic sphere and widen its scope? How can we build more sustainable careers? This notepad reflects on the condition of early-career environmental historians in Europe and beyond, introduces visions for the field, and suggests concrete action in order to build a more inclusive academic environment.
In recent years the environmental humanities have evolved in new and exciting directions, due largely to the democratisation of information and new digital communication technologies. Social media channels, smartphones and the ease of online communication have also helped to advertise the ideas of emerging scholars in the growing field of environmental history. Inspired by the success of other academic societies in supporting their early-career members, such as the Network in Canadian History and Environment (NiCHE), the American Society for Environmental History (ASEH) Grad Caucus and New Scholars network, and the Tensions of Europe Network (ToE), the Board of the European Society for Environmental History (ESEH) decided to initiate its own Next Generation Action Team (NEXTGATe), which was established in June 2018. The first tenure of NEXTGATe (2018–2019) consists of six scholars: Roberta Biasillo (Rachel Carson Center, Germany); Elena Kochetkova (Higher School of Economics, St Petersburg, Russia); Tayler Meredith (University of Birmingham, UK); Simone Schleper (Leibniz Institute of European History, Germany) and Erin Spinney (University of Oxford, UK). NEXTGATe’s coordinator is Viktor Pál (Higher School of Economics, Russia), who serves as Assistant to the Board.
Review of the state of the art in Russian environmental history for the rubric Notepad of the European Society for Environmental History
The article examines the history of using wood and timber wastes and annual plants as well as in the Soviet Union from the 1950s to the1960s. In the middle of the twentieth century, century Soviet leadership, producers, and scientists expressed their anxiety about the lack of forests near pulp and paper plants, and started looking for alternative raw materials. Modernization during the same period witnessed a number of initiatives to use different sources for pulp production, ranging from wood and timber wastes to reed and annual plants. It included attempts to develop low-waste and non-waste industrial technologies. In most cases, however, this search did not transform the supply of raw materials. Instead, most factories continued manufacturing pulp and pulp-based products using wood, and thus kept cutting and exploring undisturbed forests, in particular those in Siberia. In this article, I investigate the attempted use of alternative resources in industrial operations and examine why employing these materials, was not successful in the Soviet Union in the 1950s-1960s. I am interested in the organizational and technological aspects of how forestry developed and used resources in the Soviet Union. I illustrate how technologies circulated not only within the country, but also between the USSR and Western countries. The article contends that new practices did not change wasteful wood-use practices, in large part because the industry continued to contend with infrastructural and organizational obstacles while attempting to introduce alternative resources