ECOLOGY AND ECONOMY
Today, many scientists focus their efforts on addressing global ecological problems. Russia implements a number of ecological projects. Branches related to industrial ecology are in especially active development. Elena Tikhomirova, Doctor of Biological Sciences, immunologist, and ecologist shared more about this at the SOCIAL INNOVATIONS #INFOCUS International Conference. The conference took place in the UN office in Geneva and brought together participants from 26 countries.
Ms. Tikhomirova studied biology at the biochemistry department and then worked at the All-Russian Antiplague Research Institute ‘Microbe’ for 20 years. Today, being a head of ecology department she devotes herself to teaching and bringing up the rising generation of specialists.
She believes every ecologist should know a number of subjects in addition to biology. Deeply immersed in the field, Elena Tikhomirova discovered such interesting scientific spheres as industrial ecology, applied ecology, environmental management, environmental audit, and monitoring. Studying them without knowing chemistry and understanding different technological processes is impossible.
Industrial production harms environment and accordingly people’s health. That is why Ms. Tikhomirova finds the courses of ecology and environmental impact assessment of projects necessary elements of the engineering education at universities. She believes one should consider both innovative character and influence on the environment of engineer’s inventions. “Our task is to bring up the new generation of engineers who would consciously approach their activities. They must focus not on money-making but on people’s health”, says Ms. Tikhomirova.
The higher education institution she works in implements a number of innovation projects, some supported on a federal level. For example, there was an ecological project developing technologies on elimination of soil pollution by chemicals and rehabilitation of polluted areas. It was implemented as part of the federal biological and chemical safety programme. A large-scale project on elimination of environmental harm is to be fulfilled in the near future. According to Elena Tikhomirova, many companies understand their responsibility and strive to lower harm to the environment they bring in the process of production. Such major organisations and companies as Gazprom, Rosneft, Rosnano, and other ones have rich positive experience in the implementation of ecological projects.
According to the speaker, the department she heads puts much effort to provision of Russia with good quality drinking water. “Russia has many rivers and reservoirs. However, the Saratov Transvolga region, which is as large as the territory of a third of European countries, has few surface water bodies. The region’s underground water isn’t suitable for drinking due to soil salinity and heavy metals in soil. To address this problem, we implement a project in the field of modern technologies that would provide population with good quality drinking water. Our institute is developing innovative filters that can purify underground water”, said Elena Tikhomirova. They are used by the LISSKON enterprise which produces water purification stations. As stated by Ms. Tikhomirova, there are 360 stations set up in the Saratov Transvolga region. However, this programme is relevant for other regions of Russia as well.
According to our interlocutor, ecological movement in Russia is developing actively. Today the leading scientists in the field of ecology supervise a number of schools preparing highly-qualified specialists. The largest ones are located in Belgorod, Samara, Novosibirsk, and Irkutsk. Every school has its specialisation in one of the fields mentioned: protection of nature against physical hazards, elimination of slag waste areas, recycling, etc. The speaker believes ecological branch of Russia’s science will make a big leap forward over the next few years.
Elena Tikhomirova is a recognised specialist in Russia and abroad. She is a Chairperson of the Public Council under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Saratov region, a coordination board member of the all-Russian public organisation ‘Social and Environmental Control of Russia’, and an expert of the European Association of Ecology Experts. She takes part in the expertise of various European projects, assessing them in terms of modern international environmental requirements.
The speaker believes the main source of inspiration and motivation for a woman is love. In fact, this is not only love for close people, but also love of favourite business, life, and creativity. “Seeing how your plans materialize and how your projects develop, makes you as happy as seeing your own child grown up and successful in life”, she finished.
Viktoria Yezhova, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov