Environmental Activity of Young People from Northern Regions to Favour Sustainable Development

The Youth Day of the International Arctic Forum 2019 opened with a session focused on the most relevant topic: solving environmental problems in the northern regions and involving young people in environmental activity.  

In his speech, Ildar Neverov – Chairman of the Committee for Ecology at Delovaya Rossiya (Business Russia) and one of the most reputable business ombudsmen for waste management in the Arctic – named two of the “most sensitive issues” that are in the way of northern regions’ environmental well-being: problems with municipal solid waste (MSW) and cumulative environmental effects. He shared his experience in recycling and noted that “this niche that has a commercial factor is vacant and any young person can occupy it.”        

Sergei Ivanov, Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport, took part in discussing environmental activity of young people from northern regions. He pointed out that “it makes no sense to talk Arctic without environment.” According to Mr. Ivanov, over the last 20 years the Ministry of Defense, the Russian Geographical Society and volunteers helped resolve many issues related to the Arctic grounds cleaning, yet “there’s enough work for several generations ahead.” He called for young people and volunteers to get involved in cleaning the Arctic.      

Ilya Dunichkin, Candidate of Technical Sciences, Associate Professor of the Department of Urban Development at the National Research Moscow State University of Civil Engineering, made a presentation that touched upon the issue of bringing young specialists in the Arctic-related research. He attested the University’s commitment to remote cooperation with young scholars residing in northern regions.    

Kirill Chistyakov, Director of the Institute of Earth Sciences at St. Petersburg State University brought up personnel training. He informed the audience that the University initiates dozens of Arctic-related research projects including environmental ones. Those projects are financed by national and international grants, which allows young scholars to focus on the Arctic and its problems. The University’s educational programmes include the Polar and Marine Sciences (POMOR) Master’s Programme (collaborative project between Russia and Germany) certified until 2025. It offers classes in English and involves both Russian and international students. Mr. Chistyakov mentioned manpower shortage in such areas as hydrometeorology and environmental protection and confirmed the Institute was prepared to enroll students from other Arctic universities (applications accepted via Internet).        

Sergey Solovyev, President of the Velikoy Severnoy Tropoy Foundation, stated that “young people and the Arctic are synonyms: young people need the Arctic, and the Arctic needs young people.” He expressed his concern that younger generations leave northern regions and noted that the government played a great role in resolving this problem.  

Evgeny Rozhkovsky, Chairman of Green Arctic, spoke about this interregional social and environmental organization and its activity. Their goal is to create a free habitat, and volunteers would be their main driver. With due respect for environmental protection and maintaining a biological balance, he appealed to young people to get involved in resolving environmental problems and join the ‘Arctic Volunteers’.