Vin­tage Sovi­et Poster

THE RED BOOK PRO­TECTS NATURE Sovi­et ecol­o­gy presents us with an extra­or­di­nary set of his­tor­i­cal ironies. On the one hand, the USSR in the 1930s and 40s vio­lent­ly purged many of its lead­ing eco­log­i­cal thinkers and seri­ous­ly degrad­ed its envi­ron­ment in the quest for rapid indus­tri­al expan­sion. The end result has often been described as a kind of eco­cide,” sym­bol­ized by the Cher­nobyl nuclear acci­dent, the assault on Lake Baikal, and the dry­ing up of the Aral Sea, as well as extreme­ly high lev­els of air and water pol­lu­tion. On the oth­er hand, the Sovi­et Union devel­oped some of the world’s most dialec­ti­cal con­tri­bu­tions to ecol­o­gy, rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing sci­ence in fields such as cli­ma­tol­ogy, while also intro­duc­ing pio­neer­ing forms of con­ser­va­tion. Aside from its famous zapoved­ni­ki, or nature reserves for sci­en­tif­ic research, it sought to pre­serve and even to expand its forests. As envi­ron­men­tal his­to­ri­an Stephen Brain observes, it estab­lished lev­els of [for­est] pro­tec­tion unpar­al­leled any­where in the world.” Begin­ning in the 1960s the Sovi­et Union increas­ing­ly insti­tut­ed envi­ron­men­tal reforms, and in the 1980s was the site of what has been called an eco­log­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion.” One avail­able framed £155


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