About Ecologia


Several years into the 21st century, the formerly socialist countries are still experiencing a profound social, political and economic transition. Communities with closing nuclear power plants, nuclear weapons facilities, and other nuclear issues face especially difficult environmental and socio-economic challenges. To help local governments and citizens find productive solutions to these difficulties, ECOLOGIA and its international partners launched the "Sustainable Development / Local Agenda 21 in Nuclear Regions" project in 1999. ECOLOGIA enables nuclear communities in Russia and Lithuania to take advantage of the opportunities while reducing the difficulties of this transition by creating and implementing local sustainable development plans.

ECOLOGIA also trains citizen groups in effective public participation methods. This educated citizen participation leads to more informed decision making about a broad range of socio-economic and environmental issues. It also strengthens democracy on the local level.



  • Enable communities dependent on nuclear industries to create and implement local sustainable development plans using the principles of the international Agenda 21 agreement on sustainable development, created at the 1992 Earth Summit
  • Increase public participation in decision-making at the local level
  • Strengthen environmental protection, improve human health, and foster equitable, sustainable economic development


  • Develop an international network of non-governmental organizations and local/regional governments in the former Soviet Union who are implementing sustainable development planning
  • Increase inter-regional cooperation and the replication of successful models
  • Use international sustainable development principles to take advantage of opportunities and avoid the risks associated with socio-economic transitions


Lithuanian Town Creates New Future in Face of Closure of Major Industry
ECOLOGIA is assisting a Lithuanian town making the transition from economic dependence on a closing nuclear power plant to a sustainable, non-nuclear economy. The Ignalina nuclear power plant, the largest Chernobyl-type (RBMK) plant in the world, is being closed because of pressure from the European Union, which is worried about its safety.

The Ignalina facility is the main industry in the small Lithuanian town of Visaginas, where the plant workers live. Because the town's economy is dependent on the plant, residents are afraid that closure will lead to the collapse of Visaginas. The majority of the town's inhabitants and the plant's workers are Russian-speaking and do not speak Lithuanian. This makes it more difficult for them to find jobs in other parts of Lithuania and increases local opposition to the plant's closure.

ECOLOGIA is working with the Visaginas community to create and implement a local sustainable development plan. This helps the town's citizens to have control over and plan for a non-nuclear future.

ECOLOGIA's Russian-speaking staff from Lithuania, Russia and the USA work closely with the Russian-speaking Visaginas community.

To learn more about ECOLOGIA's work in Lithuania, click here.

Closed Russian Nuclear Weapons City Integrates into Surrounding Community
The city of Seversk in Western Siberia is a closed city which hosts Russia's largest nuclear weapons development and processing facility, including a complex of aging nuclear plants that produce both weapons-grade plutonium and power. The nearby city of Tomsk and the surrounding Tomsk district historically have had little or no contact with Seversk, despite shared economic and environmental concerns. ECOLOGIA is working with local and regional government officials, business groups, and citizens' organizations to integrate the closed nuclear city into its surrounding area. Using a participatory sustainable development planning process enables this region's transition to be as environmentally sound and balanced as possible. In addition, integrating Seversk into the surrounding region lays the groundwork for integrating this closed nuclear city into today's Russia.

Public participation in regional energy planning in Southern Russia
Southern Russia is already host to a large number of nuclear power plants, and the Russian government is building new reactors in the region to meet the country's anticipated energy needs. Due to these federal energy plans, Southern Russia has seen a significant change in energy policy and development in recent years. The first nuclear reactor to be commissioned in Russia since Chernobyl is the Rostov nuclear power plant, commissioned in 2001. Construction of additional nuclear reactors at that same site are in progress. In the Saratov region, an additional two nuclear reactors are planned for what is already one of the largest nuclear power plants in Europe. These new reactors are scheduled to test MOX fuel technologies.

ECOLOGIA supports the creation of regional energy strategies and the use of Agenda 21 in order to form sustainable development plans in Southern Russia. In particular, ECOLOGIA supports broad public participation in decision-making about the inter-related economic, social, and environmental spheres. ECOLOGIA has worked in conjunction with ISAR-Moscow, to focus on training non-governmental organizations in Southern Russia to more effectively participate in decision-making about energy issues in their region.

To learn more about ECOLOGIA's work in Russia, click here.


ECOLOGIA draws upon local, grassroots staff in each country who use a culturally sensitive approach to environmental problem solving.  ECOLOGIA combines this local knowledge with the broad expertise and perspective of an international organization to work effectively on nuclear issues.


ECOLOGIA, which was founded in 1989, works to build global connections to create civil society and support local environmental initiatives. ECOLOGIA's staff in Vilnius (Lithuania), Moscow (Russia), and Middlebury, Vermont (USA) all contribute to the Sustainable Development / Local Agenda 21 projects.


The Nuclear Communities in Transition project has been funded by the W. Alton Jones Foundation, the John Merck Fund, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, the Colombe Foundation, the Ploughshares Fund, and the Open Society Foundation of Lithuania.

Last updated: March 2004          Please make comments & report problems to the Webmaster