Historical perspectives to sustainability challenges

HELSUS member Viktor Pál is working at the department of cultures in the faculty of arts. In his research, the relationship between humans and the environment is traced in the historical eastern-bloc context.

Usually, the birth of environmental histories is seen in the western context, but it is central to note that environmentalism provoked in other parts of the world as well. Pál has personal experience from the 1980s Hungary where kids were, according to him, “literally brainwashed to be environmentalists”.  

Pál says that it is important to note that not all environment-related problems are only relevant in the 21st century. History as a perspective to sustainability discussions, which usually revolves around the present and the future, would give perspective to current issues. When taking the past into consideration in sustainability discussions important angles can be retrieved from experiences and systems that have existed before.   

In the end, Pál notes that it is important to recognise that the current system is unique from a historical perspective and that history gives some solutions to consider regarding sustainability challenges.

See more on HELSUS pages about various perspectives on sustainability.