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New Best Practices: Soviet Union and the Balkans ecoregions



Green Steps

Short summary:

Two new regional best practices show the impact of ecoregions on peace and good governance. Ignorance towards bioregional entities almost always leads to conflict and oppression. In our new best practices on the Balkans region and the former Soviet Union, we show the eco-and bioregions are the structure for a post-national world order.

We are used to a map of the world that shows it divided into countries and states, but there is another way to look at our planet. Ecoregions are geographically distinct areas with similar environmental and climatic conditions, each hosting unique ecosystems and biodiversity. Two new best practices in our ARK library are about the ecosystems of the former Soviet Union (USSR) and the Balkans region. 

From the Arctic tundra of Siberia to the lush forests of Belarus and the arid steppes of Kazakhstan, the former Soviet Union was a mosaic of ecoregions. By understanding the ecoregions of the USSR, participants gain insights into the complex relationship between environmental and geopolitical events.

The collapse of the Soviet Union can be explained both politically and biogeographically: While today's Russia consists at its core of only two large ecoregions, all former republics of the Soviet Union are biogeographically different territories, resulting in an ethnic and cultural diversity that leads to conflicts when these territories are centrally controlled from Moscow. The dissolution of the Soviet Union can therefore be interpreted as a step towards to a biogeographically structured world order.

A connection between ecological diversity and historical conflicts is also made evident in the Best Practice about the Balkans region. The area is marked by a complex history of political tensions and repeated wars. Through this best practice, participants explore how ecoregions have shaped the cultural, social, and economic dynamics of the Balkans.

These two Best Practices introduce participants to the historical, political, economic and environmental aspects of the USSR and Balkans. They help participants to understand the connection between humans and their environment, both in the former Soviet Union and the Balkans region. This activity introduces biogeography as a hands-on subject and provides the participant with a post-national worldview. In the process, participants better understand the nature that surrounds us, address environmental issues, improve conservation efforts and take one more step towards the Overview Effect.

If you want to try our new Best Practices with your class in a formal school setting or an informal environmental class, then set up a learning community and get going!

Further reading:
§ Ecoregions of the Balkans
§ Ecoregions of the Soviet Union
§ BFG Guardian Workshop 3: Eco- and Bioregions
§ Film on Overview Effect

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