Anastasia Paramonova and Ekaterina Chepusova, SETAC Russian Language Branch Members

The SETAC Russian Language Branch (RLB) actively cooperates with various organizations and scientific communities with ecological profiles both inside the country and abroad. At the moment, our closest links are with the Lomonosov Moscow State University humic groupMendeleev Russian Chemical Society, Interregional Microbiological Society, Dokuchaev Soil Science Society  and All-Russian Hydrobiological Society.

Another line of activity of the SETAC RLB is the direct participation in joint activities of the Young Environmental Scientists from SETAC RLB. So, this spring, a meeting was held with representatives of the international project Europe on Track on sustainable development and climate change.

This summer, SETAC RLB members took part in organizing a large-scale trip across Russia with the summer university Transsiberian DREAM – a project of the local Association des États Généraux des Étudiants de l’Europe (AEGEE) Moskva center. AEGEE is the biggest interdisciplinary student organization in Europe with a network ranging across 161 cities and 40 countries.

Every year, the active youth of Russia together with foreigners make a trip along the Trans-Siberian Railway (from Moscow to Vladivostok), including a stop at one of the most unique places in the world – Baikal. Here’s what they had to say about their experience:

Arriving at Baikal, we first observed a traditional ritual – we greeted Baikal as grandfather and then started to enjoy this magical place. We camped out, cooked food on an open fire, collected and sorted garbage, had workshops, swam and experienced in the banya (traditional Russian steam bath). One day we visited the mysterious shaman island of Olkhon. Of course, the best part of our stop at Baikal were songs and conversations by the fire under the star filled night. And we will all have an indelible memory watching the sunrise on a hill near the camp with the foreigners, who by this time felt like they were native to this land. Climbing to the top of the hill, I wanted to get more air into the lungs and shout: “Mom, I’m on Lake Baikal!”

Paramonova Anastasia, member of SETAC RLB, Moscow

Attention is paid to the study of cultural and natural features of the country. This year, the main theme was focused on sustainable development and ecology.

Sessions and workshops were held for foreign participants on this topic. The whole team observed a system of separate collection of garbage.

We were astonished that having overcome 9,288 kilometers, having spent so much time on the road, all without exception were very cheerful and ready for new adventures. As a future expert in the field of ecology, I was pleasantly surprised that the participants sorted the rubbish throughout the route. We realized it when we saw guys carrying large bags of plastic and glass bottles to the hotel.

Ekaterina Chepusova, member of SETAC RLB in the Far East of Russian Federation

We provided participants with biodegradable and reusable utensils. We also calculated how many trees we needed to plant after we traveled 9,288 km on a train to offset our carbon footprint. We reduced our ecological footprint by joining the project to plant 100 trees. In Vladivostok, we also managed to study the biodiversity of local flora and fauna by visiting the largest oceanarium in the Far East.

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