“From what I have seen so far, most movements trying to engage youth in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and sustainable development are mainly educational and mostly about disseminating information about the SDGs. They are more focused on inspiring youth to learn more but often they lack tangible suggestions for action, like what a young person should do with all this information or how they can use it in their career and in the future. In ReGeneration 2030 we are trying to make it more concrete and aiming to develop some specific instruments, that would make a difference and I think that is what differentiates ReGeneration 2030 from many other youth movements.”
Tatiana Lanshina is the Chair of the Steering Committee of ReGeneration 2030 since December 2018, but this is only one of the many ways that she is engaging with the area of sustainability. Her passion revolves around renewable energy and this is also where her interest in sustainability got sparked more than 10 years ago.
“When I was a second year student, I joined a competition for students, where we had to write some kind of scientific research on a topic that we were interested in. I was thinking about many different topics, but I chose renewable energy and it changed my life. I got very inspired by this idea, how you can use renewable resources instead of gas and oil. I like the variety of ways of thinking and innovation happening in this field.”
About six years ago she got the opportunity to research and study renewable energy and sustainable development as a researcher at the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, where she is now a senior researcher. This was a dream come true for her. Her background in economics helps her look at the field of sustainability and renewable energy from a different perspective and she does most of her research on how the SDGs and sustainability are being promoted and put into policy. From this knowledge she prepares recommendations for Russia.
Her approach to youth engagement in the SDGs goes much beyond inspiration. She wishes that youth would strive to make their careers in the field of sustainability or even start their own social enterprises. Sustainability is gaining more and more attention and becoming an interesting field for more young people to engage in, but she feels that Russia is lacking behind in this regard.
“In Russia, many young people know very little about sustainability, especially when you go beyond Moscow and St. Petersburg. Even in the largest cities, tendencies are still complex. On the one hand, there are more and more young people in Moscow who want to be engaged in the areas of sustainable development, who are trying to build their careers in this sphere, who are seeking to change the companies they work for, but on the other hand, the majority of young people, even in Moscow, still dream to be employed at the government or at a large oil, gas or mining company, because of salaries and social benefits. So many people do not want to take risks such as going to some new and emerging industry or establishing their own business. Many young people do not want to take risks at all.”
Tatiana would like to help open and change the minds of young people in Russia and show that making a difference and making a profit at the same time is possible. She is looking to find some creative instrument to achieve this goal and make social entrepreneurship and activism more attractive to youth. She believes it could start a chain reaction of change.
Together with two others she has started an NGO called “Goal Number Seven” (GNS), referring to SDG 7, concerning affordable and clean energy. She hopes they can create a form of community around this goal and help people start their own enterprises and campaigns aiming to contribute to this goal.
In May and June 2019, GNS acted as a co-organiser of the ECOCUP Green Talks festival devoted to renewable energy. The keynote speakers of the festival were successful entrepreneurs and activists under 30 years old from Russia, Great Britain and Australia. The next event is planned for November 2019.
Tatiana enjoys working and volunteering in different organisations. It gives her new insights that she cannot get in her research work. She enjoys seeing what is happening in “real life” and understanding what young people are really thinking about. Her involvement in the ReGeneration 2030 movement, together with other young people from Nordic and Baltic Sea Countries, gives her new and interesting perspectives on the SDGs and how we might engage more youth in achieving them. She believes the movement has great potential to make large-scale change happen.
“I think the potential might be huge, especially if we can find practical solutions for young people. We are also discussing establishing local ReGeneration 2030 hubs, in each of the countries, maybe appointing local ambassadors to localise the ideas of ReGeneration 2030. But from my point of view, the most important thing is to develop practical tools that would not only inspire young people, but give them some real power.”
Tatiana is already thinking about ways to address this challenge and she thinks that ReGeneration 2030 could become a key player in helping young people take steps forward. Tatiana is not doubting the potential of the movement and is excited about what is to come. Last year at the first Summit in the Åland Islands, the ReGeneration 2030 manifesto was created, and at this year’s Summit in August this manifesto was further developed and made more tangible.
“The manifesto is powerful because it was created for youth and by youth. That is also why it makes sense to promote it and find ways to put it into action, which is the work we have in front of us. We have to find some real instruments for youth to engage, and that is what is really special about ReGeneration 2030.”
Author: Stinne Friis Vognæs