Committee on Environmental Sustainability

The ASEEES Committee on Environmental Sustainability was established in April 2020 to examine, assess, and improve our impact on and engagement with global environmental challenges within the broader context of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

There is broad scientific consensus that climate change and other human-driven environmental issues are among the defining challenges of our day, with global impacts that affect both our home nations and the countries which members of ASEEES study. The Ad Hoc Committee on Environmental Sustainability was founded in April 2020 to examine, assess, and improve our impact on and engagement with global environmental challenges within the broader context of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

The ultimate aim of the committee is to provide resources and recommendations to ASEEES and its members on how to be more environmentally conscious as they pursue their teaching, research, and professional work, whether at their home institution or from afar. 

In addition to promoting scholarship, teaching, and public engagement on environmental challenges and their impacts in the region, we seek to raise awareness about our individual and collective practices and to identify areas where we could lessen our environmental impact. To that end, while we confirm our commitment to and the importance of in-person meetings, fieldwork, and travel to the region for our personal and professional lives, we find it equally important—and indeed our intellectual and ethical responsibility—to do so in a sustainable and mindful way. 

To achieve these goals, we intend to undertake the following:

  • Assess and examine how our current practices both as individual members and as a collective membership contribute to current environmental challenges, such as climate change, through our professional and scholarly travel, event planning, and financial investment, and provide recommendations for ways to make all aspects of our engagement more sustainable. 
  • Raise awareness of environmental issues and impacts in the regions we study (Central Asia, Caucasus, Russia, and Eastern Europe) and how those intersect with our professional, scholarly, and pedagogical lives.
  • Recognize, support, and encourage excellence in scholarship, pedagogy, and public engagement in environmental and sustainability studies in the region, particularly among younger generations of scholars and professionals.
  • Create an online space to share resources, research, syllabi, and teaching materials on the subject with ASEEES members.
  • Sponsor a panel or roundtable at the annual ASEEES convention to provide a space to continue to raise awareness and foster intellectual discussion about these issues.
  • José Vergara, Swarthmore U, 2020-2022 Committee Chair
  • Jane Costlow, Bates College, 2020-2022
  • Elizabeth Plantan, Stetson U, 2020-2022