Lilian Pungas: Online Contribution to Oil Shale and Dacha-Gardening in Estonia on 26 November 2020

“Eco-sufficient activities under high-voltage lines and alongside of oil shale mines in Estonia”

Our research colleague Lilian Pungas speaks about oil shale extraction and dacha-gardening in Eastern Estonia.

When? Thursday, 26 November 2020, 1.15 pm.
Moderation: Christina Plank (IPW | Universität Wien)
Where? Online


Estonia is the only member state within the EU, that is for decades consistently mining out oil shale and, thereby, has one of the highest per capita carbon footprint in Europe. Oil shale – for Estonia that means security of supply and a reduction of risks resulting from a dependency on the big neighbour Russia. Paradoxically, oil shale is extracted in Eastern Estonia, where the majority of the Russian-speaking population lives. This group was already in the 1990s disproportionatly suffering from unemployment and poverty. Now, they fear the closing of some mines because of rising carbon-pricing.

In the 1990s, the Russian-speaking population faced their existential fears by cultivating their own food in the so-called ‘dachas’. Till this day, dachas play an enormously important role and illustrates an example, how one can live sustainable and eco-suffiently despite of the manifold contradicitions in the region.

In interviews with the local population additional topics were touched upon: the impacts of the Corona-pandemic on the activities in the dachas, gender issues in the gardening, human-nature relations as well as alienation and eudaimonia.

The contribution of Lilian Pungas is part of the IPW Lectures, an international lecture series by the Department of Political Science, University of Vienna.