This project began in November of 2022 with the first iteration of the University of Helsinki Open University online course GPC-001 Sustainable Consumption. MA researchers at the University of Helsinki and Aalto University made the project possible by completing tasks essential to both the course development and the book’s publication. Creative Sustainability Design (Aalto University) graduates Shreya Sood and Ruta Jumite wrote sections of the text and conducted research integrated into the curricula under the supervision of Dr. Amadae. This research project Food Futures ATARCA received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 964678, and was hosted by Aalto University.
The Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki sponsored the development of the online course. MA researchers Maija Harju and Juuso Kortelainen helped to create the Digicampus course and develop curricula content, which is currently available for enrollment. GPC research assistant Marianna Laine helped to write sections of the textbook, and GPC research assistant Sonja Sorri worked with Juuso Kortelainen to complete the book’s final editing and production processes. Diana Wear provided professional editing, and Jooeun Park provided graphic design.
The textbook is available for downloading on the ATARCA website.
The vision underlying Sustainable Consumption was to create a rich visually immersive experience that would teach the basic principles of contemporary market failures leading to the atmospheric tragedy of the commons. The book provides a framework, building on Nobel Laureate economist Elinor Ostrom’s approach of polycentric governance, to help resolve tough resource dilemmas. These challenges include individuals’ sense of negligible impact in contributing to a common global solution, as well as their anxiety that not enough people will commit to reducing carbon emissions sufficient to maintain the 1.5°C lifestyle consistent with the 2016 Paris Agreement. Working with Aalto University student Lu Chen, the team made a video to provide an introduction to the themes of the course.
The Sustainable Consumption course integrates the interactive Food Futures App that serves several functions. The App offers users with quantitative information on the sustainability impact of UniCafe meals. It provides a means to record and keep a history of individual meal choices. It enables users to visualize their carbon emissions per meal, and over weekly and monthly periods, in comparison with the CO2 footprint consistent with the 1.5°C lifestyle. As well, the App validates sustainable choices with blockchain tokens that one day could be used to help verify carbon handprints for institutions or individuals.