HELSUS Brown Bag Lunches autumn 2019

 

CAN­CELLED: 13.12. The evol­u­tion of local in­volve­ment in in­ter­na­tional con­ser­va­tion law, presenter Nikolas Sell­heim

The role of local populations in international environmental law-making and implementation has found increasing recognition in international fora, even though lack of local involvement has been identified in the UN gaps report. This presentation traces the history of recognition of local populations and takes three case studies to demonstrate the differences in textual and practical recognition of local populations. This recognition is particularly relevant in light of the recently adopted UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants (UNROP), which this study briefly introduces in regard to its participatory rights. It is furthermore discussed how the UNROP might influence three existing regimes and the role local populations might play in them in the future.

Nikolas Sellheim is a postdoctoral researcher at HELSUS, focusing on the role of local populations in international conservation law with a particular focus on the marine mammal hunt. He is co-Editor-in-Chief of Polar Record, the journal of the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. His new book International Marine Mammal Law will be published by Springer in 2020.

13.9. Un­der­stand­ing hu­man-nature in­ter­ac­tions from so­cial me­dia, presenter Anna Haus­mann

People´s life and well-being depend on biodiversity. Interacting with nature provides essential physical and psychological benefits from material (e.g. food, energy, water purification, diseases control) and non-material (e.g. cultural, recreational, educational, spiritual) ecosystem services. However, we are living in the Anthropocene, an era where human activities are causing an unprecedented loss of species worldwide. Understanding human-nature interactions is therefore crucial in identifying sustainable solutions that can help address the biodiversity crisis, while promoting people´s well-being. However, collecting such information is costly, time consuming and difficult to implement (e.g. at global scale), while available resources are scarce.

We also live in the Information Age, where an increasing volume of data is constantly being generated by users on digital networks. This brings new opportunities to study human-nature interactions rapidly, cost-efficiently and at unprecedented spatio-temporal scales. Digital conservation is a new sub-field of conservation science where Big Data harvested from the Internet is being analyzed to help reverse the biodiversity crisis. My research focuses on exploring how data shared on social media platforms can be used to understand people´s preferences, activities, and perceptions of nature and nature-based experiences when visiting protected areas, as well as potential threats to biodiversity. My presentation will provide an overview of the opportunities and challenges of using social media to understand human-nature interactions, and how it can be used to inform protected area management and conservation decision-making from local to global scale.

27.9. The role of val­ues in sustainability trans­form­a­tions, presenter An­dra Hor­cea-Milcu

Sustainability science increasingly acknowledges that the new forms of collaborative generation of knowledge need to engage with normative and value-related issues, as sustainability is a normative concept.Co-production approaches for sustainability transformation seem to allow growing space to the importance of assigned, relational, and held values. Although there is a relative agreement in the transdisciplinary sustainability research on factoring in the importance of values for sustainability transformation, these framings remain silent about the ways values actually underpin and ‘work’ in collaborative settings for sustainability transformation. Specifically, the linkages between values and knowledge are often overlooked in these processes.

The importance of values opens the co-creational research modes of sustainability science to numerous inquiries such as: i) What are the values held by the various stakeholder groups in relation to complex sustainability challenges such as biodiversity conservation?; ii) How do values underpin knowledge co-production processes?; iii) How to deliberately foster transformation through co-creation processes (acting as levers) intervening at the level of values (acting as leverage points)?

This presentation aims to open perspectives on values as both a driver and outcome of co-production of knowledge for sustainability transformation. I will critically reflect on recent contributions for re-thinking the relationship between values and knowledge for sustainability transformation. I will then suggest potential ways to account for the under-considered value dimensions of co-production such as mapping individuals’ values landscapes as a baseline for the process of knowledge co-production.

Andra-Ioana Horcea-Milcu is a postdoctoral researcher in the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science. With a background in exploring social-ecological systems and experience in place-based transdisciplinary research, she is interested in leveraging the transformative potential of knowledge co-creation in real-world contexts. Her main focus is on the role of held and assigned values in underpinning such knowledge. Through her boundary work, she aspires to contribute to managing the science/society/policy interface, and to reframing sustainability in terms of core human values.

11.10. Val­ues in In­teg­rated As­sess­ment Mod­el­ling, presenter Hen­rik Thorén

Questions pertaining to the assessment of the social and economic implications of climate change as well as what an ‘optimal’ mitigation pathway might look like are typically addressed in contemporary climate impact research by deploying different kinds of integrated models such as so-called integrated assessment models (IAMs). These models, and the overarching approach that is based on using them, flows from the idea that coupling sub-models (modules) that represent different sub-systems traditionally associated with different disciplines provide us with otherwise unattainable insights into how the larger interconnected system works.

But the models have been controversial and critics worry that uncertainties are magnified, rather than ameliorated, in the coupling process and obscured by model complexity. This, it is argued, renders the models prone to questionable value influences.

In this talk I will give an introduction to these models and the way that they are used at the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research based on interviews I have carried out there. The overarching purpose is to provide a better understanding of the possibilities and limits of these models, the arguments that have been marshalled against their use, and the appropriate role of values in climate impact modelling.

Henrik Thorén is a postdoctoral researcher at HELSUS, with a doctoral degree in theoretical philosophy. Thorén's research project "Values in Model Integration for Sustainability: Principles, Practices, and Problems" tackles pressing environmental problems by recruiting the knowledge and expertise from researchers from a wide range of disciplines belonging to both natural and social sciences, with a goal of finding pathways towards more sustainable resource use.

25.10. Re­de­fin­ing urban aes­thet­ics with the concept of Aes­thetic Sustainability, presenter Sanna Le­htinen

Contemporary urban environments comprise both lasting and fairly stable elements as well as those that change continuously: change is an inevitable part of urban life. Different aspects of city life evolve with a different tempo: urban nature has its cycles, inhabitants their rhythms and building materials and styles different lifespans, for example. However, the experienced quality of various types of urban environments has not traditionally been at the forefront of understanding how cities evolve through time. This becomes an especially important issue, when future imaginaries are projected onto existing urban structures and when decisions about the details of urban futures are made.

This talk aims at bringing environmental and urban aesthetics into the discussion about the possible directions of urban futures. The focus is on introducing the notion of aesthetic sustainability as a tool to understand better how urban futures unfold experientially and aesthetic values of urban environments develop with time. The concept has background in design theory, more specifically relating to sustainable usage and product design, but it has not so far been used in order to study large scale urban living environments. The concept can prove to be a valuable supporting tool in urban sustainability transformations based on how it captures the experiential side of the physical and temporal dimensions of cities.

Sanna Lehtinen is a postdoctoral researcher at HELSUS with a focus on developing the concept of aesthetic sustainability to support urban sustainability transformations. Her research interests revolve around philosophical and applied environmental aesthetics, the experiential sphere of urban life, urban futures, and philosophy of technology.

8.11. Or­ganic an­imal farms and farm­land bird abund­ance in Boreal re­gion, presenter Iryna Herzon

Agriculture is a primary driver of biodiversity loss worldwide, and several expensive public schemes are being implemented around the world to improve farming landscapes as a habitat for wildlife. The largest in terms of cover and expense is the agri-environment-climate schemes (AES) of the European Union. AES compensate farmers for reducing land-use intensity and maintaining or introducing biodiversity-rich habitats. Benefits of AES vary by measure, region and taxonomic group considered.

We assess the country-wide impact of several AES measures on bird abundance using citizen science data on birds and detailed information on AES take up from across Finland. The results demonstrated a significantly positive impact of just one AES - that of organic animal husbandry on abundance of all farmland associated birds. This effect was particularly strong for insectivorous species, species that are associated to farmyards and long-distance migrants. No other AES correlated with bird diversity.

These findings highlight the potential positive impact that some compensatory measures may have on wildlife. But also indicate that most AES may have insufficient cover or introduce a relatively minor management change to the normal land use practices. Traditional animal husbandry is based on grazing of animals and restriction on external inputs, similarly to what is stipulated under organic production contract. It may represent an effective management tool for restoring or maintaining threatened species and ecosystems in rural areas of the EU, while providing high-quality protein in quantities compatible with sustainable diets. Further experimental research should disentangle which of the organic practices is most beneficial, grazing of animals, presence of pastures or avoidance of agrochemicals.

Dr. Iryna Herzon is a university lecturer in agroecology. She works in the field of sustainable agriculture, with the emphasis on ecology and social acceptability of conservation on in farmland. Most of her work is multidisciplinary, bridging disciplines across ecology, agronomy, social sciences, and economics.

22.11. Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence for sustainable smart cities, presenter Laura Ruot­salainen

Autonomous traffic on ground and in air is anticipated to improve safety and quality of life in cities as well as to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Although many cities have already started testing the use of autonomous vehicles in transportation, massive research and development efforts are needed until we are ready for autonomous traffic. Artificial intelligence provides means for forming accurate and reliable spatiotemporal data and for using it in development of sustainable smart cities.

Laura Ruotsalainen is an Associate Professor of Spatiotemporal Data Analysis for Sustainability Science at the Department of Computer Science. Her research looks at spatiotemporal data to develop methods for creating accurate and reliable navigation data for the benefit of sustainability science, especially for the development of sustainable smart cities.

HELSUS Brown Bag Lunches spring 2019

The ef­fect of urban plan­ning on cit­ies’ breath­ab­il­ity – urban cli­mate per­spect­ive, presenter Leena Järvi

Cities act as hotspots for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, increased air temperatures and air pollutant concentrations. All these have major effects on global and local climate including human health and well-being. However, with successful urban planning the exchange of GHG, heat and air pollutants between the urban surface and the atmosphere can be optimised thus improving the conditions of life. In Helsinki, the local urban climate including the surface-exchanges of  GHG, heat and air pollutants have been directly measured for several years over different urban land covers (semi-urban and dense city-centre) allowing to examine the spatial and temporal changes of the emissions and the urban activities they are originating. Traffic is the major controller for carbon dioxide and air pollutant emissions and concentrations whereas the built-up land cover fraction is mainly responsible for increased heat emissions and furthermore air temperatures. Following the observations we can track people’s activity and how different interventions can affect the breathability of the city. At the same time with measurements, a wide-range of meteorological modelling capabilities allow to examine the most optimal urban planning choices in order to minimise the unwanted emissions and those hotspots that most affect human well-being. Examples on how we can reduce carbon dioxide and heat emissions and how we can increase ventilation and air quality in street canyons will be given.

The role of law in ad­apt­ive environ­mental governance? Presenter Niko Soin­inen

For a number of years now, the top challenge for environmental governance has been to figure out what kind of policy mix would be best equipped to deal with complex environmental challenges, such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, and water quality. As Hardin famously illustrated, common pool resources attract short-sighted behavior often leading to a collapse of the resource and ecosystem services provided by it. Moreover, the management of common pool resources is riddled with social-ecological complexities and scientific uncertainties.

Adaptive governance theories have emerged to tackle this challenge. Adaptive governance means “a range of interactions between actors, networks, organizations, and institutions emerging in pursuit of a desired state for social-ecological systems.” (Chaffin, Gosnell & Cosens 2014) One typical feature of adaptive governance is to facilitate institutional designs that support experimentation and learning among public managers and private operators in solving complex environmental problems. This sounds exciting but requires rethinking the role of law in governance. Using EU-Finnish water law as an example, the presentation discusses some of the most pressing failures of current water legislation and engages with some practical applications of the adaptive governance theory as potential solutions to these problems.

Au­thor­it­arian En­vir­on­ment­al­ism: Pro­pa­ganda or Real­ity, presenter Viktor Pál

Since the early 2000s, authoritarianism has risen as an increasingly powerful global phenomenon. This shift has environmental implications: authoritarian leaders seek to recast the relationship between society and the government in various aspects of public life, including environmental policy. When historians of technology or the environment have investigated the environmental consequences of authoritarian regimes, they have frequently argued that authoritarian regimes have been unable to produce positive environmental results or adjust successfully to global structural change, if they have shown any concern for the environment at all. Put another way, the scholarly consensus holds that authoritarian regimes on both the left and the right generally have demonstrated an anti-environmentalist bias, and when opposed by environmentalist social movements, have succeeded in silencing those voices.

The edited volume “Environmental Politics and Policy under Authoritarian Regimes: Myth and Reality” (co-edited by Stephen Brain and Viktor Pál,  New York: Routledge, 2018) explores the theme of environmental politics and authoritarian regimes on both the right and the left. The authors argue that in instances when environmentalist policies offer the possibility of bolstering a country’s domestic (nationalist) appeal or its international prestige, authoritarian regimes can endorse and have endorsed environmental protective measures. The collection of essays analyzes environmentalist initiatives pursued by authoritarian regimes, and provides explanations for both the successes and failures of such regimes, looking at a range of case studies from a number of countries, including Brazil, China, Poland, and Zimbabwe. The volume contributes to the scholarly debate about the social and political preconditions necessary for effective environmental protection.

Environ­mental and Sustainability Education in Finnish schools: current situ­ation and some fu­ture pro­spects, presenter Sirpa Tani

Sustainability education has its roots in the tradition of environmental education and environmental awakening of the 1960s. The UN defined goals for the environmental education for the first time in 1975. In 1985, environmental education was included in the Finnish core curriculum as one of the basic aims of education. In the 2004 curriculum, the concept of environmental education was replaced by the aim of ‘responsibility for the environment, well-being and a sustainable future’. The main idea was to include environmental and sustainability education to all school subjects as one of the crosscutting themes, not as a separate entity that would be taught detached from the other contents of the courses. In the current curriculum from 2014, ‘sustainability’ is included in the underlying values of education as well as in the transversal competences, which should be implemented in the aims and contents of all the school subjects. In this presentation, a preliminary analysis of the status of environmental and sustainability approaches in the curriculum will be presented and some of the main challenges of their implementation in teaching will be discussed.

Urban ag­ri­cul­ture boom in Cuba: To­wards food sov­er­eignty, presenter Reyn­aldo Jiménez Guethón
Urban agriculture has boomed in Cuba after the collapse of the communist bloc in 1989, which cut Cuba off from food imports, fertilizers and fuel. Urban gardening was a new local and autochthonous response to acute food shortage and malnutrition caused by the severe economic crisis. Currently, urban agriculture is considered fundamental for food sovereignty, which has become a key goal in Cuba's agrarian policy, since it constitutes an alternative to a food system that used to rely on foreign imports of both food and expensive technology. Urban agriculture is considered to be an effective solution to increase the availability of agricultural products to the population. The diversification of crops for family self-sufficiency and the efficient use of soils are priorities for Urban, Suburban and Family Agriculture. Various technological innovations, organic farming methods, and ecological knowledge are being applied in urban agriculture. It is also an important source of employment and income generation.

The Myth of Privat­ising Nature, presenter Frank­lin Obeng-Odoom

The proposition that nature must be privatised in order to save it was central to the analytical framework of mainstream economics until the rise of the Bloomington School of institutional economics. Led by Elinor Ostrom, its advocates and critics alike claim that it successfully created a scientific revolution by displacing the dominant notion of a ‘tragedy of the commons’, a breakthrough that led to the award of a Nobel Prize in economics. In practice, it is questionable whether Elinor Ostrom fundamentally challenged the conventional wisdom. Instead, she enhanced it, and, hence, her Nobel Prize consummated the Conventional Wisdom. Progressive thinkers have tried to go beyond this stasis, but have only succeeded in creating a ‘Western Consensus’. Analytically problematic, this alternative misunderstands the dynamic relationships between fundamental cause and effect. Its insidious colonial value system makes it ethically bankrupt, while its political strategy is weak because its vision and approach to analysis are fundamentally misaligned. Neither the Conventional Wisdom nor the Western Consensus can provide a framework for sustainability, whether understood as social, economic, or ecological.

Sustainability and chal­lenges of in­ter­gen­er­a­tional justice, presenter Simo Kyllönen

Sustainability as a long-term issue invites us to think it in terms of justice between generations. Famously concepts, such as sustainable development, have been defined by referring to a notion of intergenerational justice: the needs of the present generation should be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Still, the idea of intergenerational justice is contested and philosophically challenged, since it seems to evade some of our core ideas and concepts of justice. For instance, most of our existing concepts of justice require at least a hypothetical kind of reciprocity between the “members” of justice. Typically it is also though that when someone does injustice, she does it to some particular person(s). But in the relation between present and future people there seems be no reciprocity at all. Rather the relation is radically asymmetric one, in which future generations are entirely dependent on the goodwill of the earlier ones. Indeed, the future people are dependent on earlier ones for their sheer existence. The earlier people have also power to affect who particular persons in the future will come to exist. In this presentation, I will give an overview about the challenges of intergenerational justice and suggest a plausible way to address them. My suggestion defends a so-called sufficientarian idea of justice, according to which, the main idea of justice is neither to maximise the aggregate (intergenerational) wellbeing nor to equalise it, but rather to guarantee that people now and in the future have enough what they ought to have for a decent life. Finally it is argued that as far as sustainability invites any concept of intergenerational justice, the sufficientarian one is the most defensible.

Re-think­ing Sustainable De­vel­op­ment as a Global Concept, presenter Charles Gore

Sustainable development means many different things to different people and this paper focuses on one dimension of this chaotic diversity, namely, whether it is conceptualized as a national concept or a global concept.  Using the analytical framework which I have developed to consider how the idea of poverty went global in the 1970s, I examine the historical trajectory of the concept of sustainable development. The paper argues that sustainable development was originally conceptualized as a global concept but over time, it has been reconceptualised as a national challenge which should be pursued in all countries. The latter perspective now dominates policy thinking. An epistemic shift from thinking sustainable development as a national concept to thinking it as a global concept is an essential element of a transition to a sustainable world. Such a re-thinking sustainable development as a global concept does not have to start from scratch but can be done by recovering the original global conceptualization of sustainable development and re-invigorating it with the new understandings of global physical, economic and social processes which we now have.

Re­flec­tions on in­di­geneity, re­si­li­ence and con­tem­por­ary co­lo­ni­al­ism, presenter Heidi Sinev­aara-Niskanen

Rapid and unpredictable global changes have engendered a political ethos of resilience. In the midst of calls for preparedness, international politics has re-discovered the (allegedly) innate qualities of indigenous peoples that enable them to adapt to and accommodate change. The peoples’ exemplary resilience has been deemed empowering, not only for themselves, but for the planet as a whole.

My presentation engages in a critical discussion on indigeneity, colonialism and resilience and is based on the joint research with researcher Marjo Lindroth, University of Lapland (Lindroth and Sinevaara-Niskanen, 2016; 2018; forthcoming). As we argue, the seemingly well-meaning and benign political celebration of resilient indigeneity continues marginalization and othering, practices that are often considered to belong to the colonial past. With reference to contemporary political initiatives of the United Nations and the Arctic Council, we illustrate the ways in which the political focus on and desire for indigenous resilience continue the age-old expectation that indigenous peoples will adapt, endure and persevere. Resilience enables colonial practices to persist; it is yet another façade allowing those in power to continue to order time and to ignore the relevance of the past and current injuries indigenous peoples have endured.

HELSUS Brown Bag Lunches 2018

 

March 16th ABOUT ARC­TIC DREAMS AND REAL­IT­IES

Reetta Toivanen (PhD 2000 at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) has been just recently nominated as the professor of sustainability sciences (indigenous sustainabilities). She is the consortium leader of ALL-YOUTH research funded by the Strategic research council at the Academy of Finland and the vice-director of the Academy of Finland’s Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives (EuroStorie). She is docent in social and cultural anthropology at the Universities of Helsinki and Eastern Finland and a non-resident research fellow at the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI). Outside of academia, she is the president of the Finnish Human Rights League and member of European Commission against Racism and Intolerance in respect of Finland. Her recent books include Towards Openly Multilingual Policies and Practices Assessing Minority Language Maintenance Across Europe, Multilingual Matters 2016 (written together with J. Laakson, S. Spiliopoulou-Åkermarkin & A. Sarhimaa,  and Linguistic Genocide or Superdiversity? Multilingual Matters 2016, (edited together with J. Saarikivi).

April 20th 2018 The New Dynamics of De­for­est­a­tion in Brazil

In the second seminar Associate Professor Markus Kröger presents the current dynamics of deforestation, forest degradation, and sustainability of forest and forestry policies in different parts of Brazil. The focus is at presenting the findings from fresh field research in 2017-2018 on the different causes of rising deforestation in different regions. 

The example of the iconic Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve in Acre illustrates the power of cattle-ranching as the key driver of deforestation, even inside conservation areas. The politics of the rapidly expanding "sustainable logging cooperatives" - which have serious impacts on forest degradation, and do not typically deliver their promises - in the multiple-use conservation areas of the Santarém region in Pará are discussed to illustrate how the powerful illegal loggers still operate and take over many developmental schemes.

Finally, the role of Finnish and Brazilian forestry industry in continuing deforestation and expansion of eucalyptus plantations through practices that include illegal land grabbing and violence in Bahia are discussed based on field research in the area since 2004. The politics that aim to create sustainable forest policies, and offer alternatives, are also discussed.

Markus Kröger is an Associate Professor and Docent in Development Studies at the University of Helsinki, the focus area of the tenure track position being the study of the political economy of development and natural resource extraction. Most of his research has focused on investment politics around large-scale projects in the forestry and metal industries, including the study of state-corporate-civil society relations, particularly in South America and India. He is the author of Contentious Agency and Natural Resource Politics (2013), and has published several papers on the sustainability of forest and forestry policies in different countries.

September 25th 2018 CO­OPER­AT­IVES AND SUSTAINABILITY - A LEGAL PER­SPECT­IVE

Discussion on corporate social responsibility (CSR) has focused primarily on corporations, which are undeniably the most significant non-state market actors. There are, however, several other business forms, which also deserve attention and especially cooperatives have shown great potential as platforms for sustainable business operations.

The purpose of the cooperative is to promote the aggregate welfare of its members as consumers, providers and/or workers and simultaneously to carry concern for the community within which it operates. Therefore, one can argue that cooperatives, unlike corporations, truly support sustainable development and researchers should pay much more attention towards them.

The purpose of LL.D., Docent Ville Pönkä’s presentation is to introduce the cooperative form from a lawyer’s perspective and to describe how they differ from corporations. In addition he focuses on the question of how cooperatives facilitate sustainable development – in theory and practice. Pönkä’s presentation is based on his book chapter titled “The Cooperative as a Driver for Change”, which will be published later this year in the “Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability”.

LL.D., Docent of Civil Law and Commercial Law Ville Pönkä is a Senior Lecturer and a MDP Director at the UH’s Faculty of Law. Pönkä’s main fields of research include company law, cooperative law, contract law and arbitration. Pönkä has also a strong focus on sustainable development and currently he is studying the cooperative business form as a “driver for change”. Pönkä is a member of several international scholarly communities such as the European Corporate Governance Institute, the European Consortium for Political Research, the Nordic Company Law Network, the UK Society for Co-operative Studies – and the HELSUS.

September 25th 2018 Sustainable food systems – the potential of future food production technologies

Food systems are facing the challenge of sustaining the production of nutritious food to the growing population under the changing environmental conditions. Novel food production technologies, such as vertical farming and cell-culturing based protein production (i.e. cellular agriculture) have gained wide interest in the past years as potential solutions for improving the sustainability of food systems. The concept of cellular agriculture covers technologies that produce agricultural products by using tissue engineering and cell cultivation processes. The applications of cellular agriculture that are currently under development include cultured meat (i.e. in vitro meat or lab-grown meat), yeast-derived milk (YDM) and eggs, animal-free gelatine, cultured plant cells and protein produced by microbes. This talk presents the environmental challenges that food systems are facing, introduces novel food production technologies and discusses their potential to improve the sustainability of food systems in the future.

Dr. Hanna Tuomisto is a HELSUS Associate Professor in the field of Sustainable Food Systems, at the Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Helsinki. Her research interests include the interaction between environmental changes and food systems, and especially how novel food technologies could contribute to the sustainability of food systems in the future. Hanna holds a master degree in agroecology from the University of Helsinki and a PhD degree from the University of Oxford. She gained postdoctoral researcher experience by working at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Before the appointment to the current post, she worked as a senior researcher at the Ruralia Institute, University of Helsinki.

October 5th 2018 3 x Nudging: Nudging individuals and companies into sustainable behavior

Ellen Eftestol-Wilhelmsson: Nudging as a regulatory tool

Law and regulation is a strong tool for behavioral change, including the wanted behavioral change needed to combat climate change. Whereas an increased amount of businesses are changing their behavior behavior and include environmental and ethical issues into their day to day decisions, and even base their business idea on these values, many businesses are not doing what is needed in order to reach climate goals. I my presentation I reflect on how law and regulation could be utilized to push industry to make the right, environmental friendly decisions. I particularly focus on private law, which so far has been  considered a "neutral" tool available for the parties to fulfill their business transactions, and how environmental information should be integrated in the private law toolbox.

Ellen Eftestol-Wilhelmsson is Professor of Civil- and Commercial law at the Universities of Helsinki and Oslo and Head of the InterTran Reserach Group for Sustainable Business and Law, University of Helsinki.

Michiru Nagatsu: Nudging sustainable behavior: some philosophical problems and a solution

Since it’s birth in 2008 (Thaler and Sunstein), the idea of nudges as a policy instrument to steer people into more rational behavior has become popular in academia and policy circles. However, critics have pointed out difficult methodological, conceptual and ethical problems of nudge paternalism. In this talk, I will sketch a framework in which nudges are construed on a par with economic incentives, and thus are as legitimate as the latter. This framework, building on an ecological view of rationality, will solve some of the problems of nudge paternalism and help policy makers to integrate nudges with incentives, a more well-established policy tool. I will close by discussing some implications for green nudges.

Michiru Nagatsu is a HELSUS associate professor (methodologies of inter- and transdisciplinary sustainability sciences) at Practical Philosophy, Faculty of Social Sciences. Michiru is also an Academy Researcher with the project "Model-building Across Disciplinary Boundaries: Economics, Ecology, and Psychology" (2016-2021). His interests include using philosophy of emotions, philosophy of economics, and behavioral economics for better policy for pro-social behavior, as well as liveable urban design.

Eva Heiskanen: Nudge as a policy tool for sustainable consumption?

Behavioural economics and the concepts of ‘nudges’ and ‘better choice architectures’ have raised significant enthusiasm in policy circles. Greater behavioural insight can certainly improve existing policy making, but there are also expectations that ‘nudges’ can be used as new and powerful policy tools to promote sustainable consumption. In my talk, I critically consider the potential of nudges for sustainable consumption policy, given the scale of the challenge to decarbonize and dematerialize Western consumption. From a very practical policy-implementation perspective, I consider to what extent and how the issues of scalability, contextuality and administrative burden inherent to using nudges might be solved in order to employ nudges effectively and in proportion to the scale of the sustainability challenge.

Eva Heiskanen is Professor at the University of Helsinki Consumer Society Research Centre and a member of the Expert Panel on Sustainable Development.

October 19th 2018 Needs-based conceptualization of sustainable wellbeing

Tuuli Hirvilammi will explain in her talk why needs matter in sustainability transition and how sustainable wellbeing can be conceptualized. She will also briefly present her plans for a transdisciplinary study on sustainable need satisfiers.

Tuuli Hirvilammi is an expert in sustainable wellbeing research with background in public policy. After defending her PhD at the University of Helsinki in 2015, she has worked as postdoctoral researcher at the University of Jyväskylä. She has published on sustainable wellbeing, ecosocial policies and post-growth economy.

October 26th 2018 Women of the Arctic: Learning how to bridge policy, research, and lived experience

With the 2018 IPCC report now released and the #MeToo movement pushing forward, issues relating to the ‘Arctic’ and ‘gender’ continue to maintain unprecedented traction in mainstream discourse. At the same time, global conferences and summits with dedicated spaces for discussion on the Arctic — from environmental to change to resource extraction — and gender-related issues seem to be blossoming. Still, initiatives focusing specifically on the role of Arctic women — the successes they achieve and the challenges they face — remain few and far between. With the aim of changing this discourse, a group of scholars,Tahnee Prior from the University of Waterloo, Gosia Smieszek of the University of Lapland, Reetta Toivanen of HELSUS, and Outi Snellman of the University of the Arctic, brought together women from across the Arctic at the 2018 UArctic Congress, held at the University of Helsinki, on September 6th and 7th.

Our event, “Women of the Arctic: Bridging Policy, Research, and Lived Experience” sought to carve out a non-academic space for women and girls who work on or live in the Arctic to explore the roles and contributions of women to northern policy-making, research, exploration, art, activism, and daily life. During this brown bag lunch talk, I will build on existing academic efforts in Arctic studies to showcase how events like “Women of the Arctic” and “Toward an Arctic Women’s Summit”, our follow-up event at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland, have created spaces for women from across all Arctic states — indigenous and non-indigenous, working in the public and private sector — to discuss concrete issues relating to policy-making and leadership, polar science and exploration, access to justice, gender equality, intergenerational trauma, and gender-based violence. I will also share how we are collaborating with artists and creative communications collective, What Took You So Long, to maintain a long-term focus on issues relating to women and gender in the Arctic.

Tahnee Prior is a Ph.D. Candidate in Global Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo, and currently, a visiting researcher at HELSUS. She holds a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. Her doctoral work in global environmental governance examines the role of legal systems in maintaining or preventing our ability to adapt to rapidly changing and complex environments, like the Arctic.

 

November 30th 2018 Comparing Climate Change Policy Networks: A cross-national study of domestic climate politics

The 2015 Paris Climate Accord obliges signatories to set out how they intend to meet their own nationally determined emissions reduction targets. National policies and domestic political actors are therefore now firmly front and centre in how the global community has agreed to address climate change. Consequently, understanding domestic climate politics and the differences between countries’ policymaking processes is more important than ever.

Despite this, comparative studies that attempt to explain cross-country similarities and differences are very rare. The 20+ country comparative research project Comparing Climate Change Policy Networks (see compon.org) is providing much-needed scientific research on the critical topic of the social and political bases of domestic responses to climate change. It investigates (1) Why have some countries adopted more ambitious policies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions than others?, and (2) What is the role of domestic interorganisational policy networks in shaping national policy pathways and choices? The project’s research questions are addressed by analyzing the policy beliefs of domestic political actors, the activities of these acrors and the relationships among them, the influence of science and those who produce scientific research, the role of collaborative institutions and policy forums, and the political opportunity structures within and across countries.

Paul Wagner is a post-doc level HELSUS fellow. His research involves the application of network methods to the study of climate politics and the policymaking process. Wagner works on the Comparing Climate Change Policy Networks project – an international comparative research project seeking to explain the variation in national responses to climate change.

November 14th 2018 Facts, beliefs and definitions: About representations of invasive alien species in science and policy

Alien species (also referred to as neobiota, foreign, exotic, introduced, non-indigenous, or non-native species) are generally described as species occurring outside their natural range as a result of the intentional or accidental introduction by humans. When such a species not only ‘arrives’ and ‘survives’ but also ‘thrives’ (i.e. increases in numbers and outcompetes native species) they are called invasive alien species (IAS). The metaphors for describing the introduction, impacts, and management of alien species are numerous and often quite outspoken (e.g. invasional meltdown and explosive growth). While these metaphors may be employed to create a sense of urgency in view of the serious damage which IAS may inflict on ecosystems, they are also linked to certain value choices about what matters in nature protection and management. As such, they represent one particular outlook while others may be overlooked. For example, how introduced and invasive species are considered by the general public when valuing natural environments remains poorly understood. In this talk, Laura will (1) recount some insights from her PhD research on risk assessment and risk management of alien species, and (2) propose an interdisciplinary approach to investigate citizens’ and policy perspectives of IAS in the face of global change.

Laura Verbrugge is a postdoctoral researcher at HELSUS and the University of Twente (The Netherlands). She is a member of the Management Committee of the COST Action CA17122 on Citizen Science and Invasive Alien Species (IAS) and the International Association for Open Knowledge on IAS (INVASIVESNET).

About Arctic Dreams and Realities

HELSUS Brown Bag Lunch seminar series for spring 2018 is starting on Fri March 16th, at 11.30-12.30 o’clock in HELSUS Hub, Porthania 2nd floor!

The series begins with the presentation of the new HELSUS professor on Indigenous Sustainabilities, Reetta Toivanen, whose talk is titled ”About Arctic dreams and realities”. 

Join us for lively discussions and an opportunity to meet colleagues!

PRESENTER BIO

Reetta Toivanen (PhD 2000 at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) has been just recently nominated as the professor of sustainability sciences (indigenous sustainabilities). She is the consortium leader of ALL-YOUTH research funded by the Strategic research council at the Academy of Finland and the vice-director of the Academy of Finland’s Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives (EuroStorie). She is docent in social and cultural anthropology at the Universities of Helsinki and Eastern Finland and a non-resident research fellow at the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI). Outside of academia, she is the president of the Finnish Human Rights League and member of European Commission against Racism and Intolerance in respect of Finland. Her recent books include Towards Openly Multilingual Policies and Practices Assessing Minority Language Maintenance Across Europe, Multilingual Matters 2016 (written together with J. Laakson, S. Spiliopoulou-Åkermarkin & A. Sarhimaa,  and Linguistic Genocide or Superdiversity? Multilingual Matters 2016, (edited together with J. Saarikivi).

The new dynamics of deforestation in Brazil

In the second seminar Associate Professor Markus Kröger presents the current dynamics of deforestation, forest degradation, and sustainability of forest and forestry policies in different parts of Brazil. The focus is at presenting the findings from fresh field research in 2017-2018 on the different causes of rising deforestation in different regions. 

The example of the iconic Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve in Acre illustrates the power of cattle-ranching as the key driver of deforestation, even inside conservation areas. The politics of the rapidly expanding "sustainable logging cooperatives" - which have serious impacts on forest degradation, and do not typically deliver their promises - in the multiple-use conservation areas of the Santarém region in Pará are discussed to illustrate how the powerful illegal loggers still operate and take over many developmental schemes.

Finally, the role of Finnish and Brazilian forestry industry in continuing deforestation and expansion of eucalyptus plantations through practices that include illegal land grabbing and violence in Bahia are discussed based on field research in the area since 2004. The politics that aim to create sustainable forest policies, and offer alternatives, are also discussed.

PRESENTER BIO

Markus Kröger is an Associate Professor and Docent in Development Studies at the University of Helsinki, the focus area of the tenure track position being the study of the political economy of development and natural resource extraction. Most of his research has focused on investment politics around large-scale projects in the forestry and metal industries, including the study of state-corporate-civil society relations, particularly in South America and India. He is the author of Contentious Agency and Natural Resource Politics (2013), and has published several papers on the sustainability of forest and forestry policies in different countries.

Cooperatives and Sustainability - A Legal Perspective

Discussion on corporate social responsibility (CSR) has focused primarily on corporations, which are undeniably the most significant non-state market actors. There are, however, several other business forms, which also deserve attention and especially cooperatives have shown great potential as platforms for sustainable business operations.

The purpose of the cooperative is to promote the aggregate welfare of its members as consumers, providers and/or workers and simultaneously to carry concern for the community within which it operates. Therefore, one can argue that cooperatives, unlike corporations, truly support sustainable development and researchers should pay much more attention towards them.

The purpose of LL.D., Docent Ville Pönkä’s presentation is to introduce the cooperative form from a lawyer’s perspective and to describe how they differ from corporations. In addition he focuses on the question of how cooperatives facilitate sustainable development – in theory and practice. Pönkä’s presentation is based on his book chapter titled “The Cooperative as a Driver for Change”, which will be published later this year in the “Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability”.

PRESENTER BIO

LL.D., Docent of Civil Law and Commercial Law Ville Pönkä is a Senior Lecturer and a MDP Director at the UH’s Faculty of Law. Pönkä’s main fields of research include company law, cooperative law, contract law and arbitration. Pönkä has also a strong focus on sustainable development and currently he is studying the cooperative business form as a “driver for change”. Pönkä is a member of several international scholarly communities such as the European Corporate Governance Institute, the European Consortium for Political Research, the Nordic Company Law Network, the UK Society for Co-operative Studies – and the HELSUS.

Sustainable food systems – the potential of future food production technologies

Food systems are facing the challenge of sustaining the production of nutritious food to the growing population under the changing environmental conditions. Novel food production technologies, such as vertical farming and cell-culturing based protein production (i.e. cellular agriculture) have gained wide interest in the past years as potential solutions for improving the sustainability of food systems. The concept of cellular agriculture covers technologies that produce agricultural products by using tissue engineering and cell cultivation processes. The applications of cellular agriculture that are currently under development include cultured meat (i.e. in vitro meat or lab-grown meat), yeast-derived milk (YDM) and eggs, animal-free gelatine, cultured plant cells and protein produced by microbes. This talk presents the environmental challenges that food systems are facing, introduces novel food production technologies and discusses their potential to improve the sustainability of food systems in the future.

Dr Hanna Tuomisto is a HELSUS Associate Professor in the field of Sustainable Food Systems, at the Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Helsinki. Her research interests include the interaction between environmental changes and food systems, and especially how novel food technologies could contribute to the sustainability of food systems in the future. Hanna holds a master degree in agroecology from the University of Helsinki and a PhD degree from the University of Oxford. She gained postdoctoral researcher experience by working at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Before the appointment to the current post, she worked as a senior researcher at the Ruralia Institute, University of Helsinki.

3 x Nudging: Nudging individuals and companies into sustainable behavior

Ellen Eftestol-Wilhelmsson: Nudging as a regulatory tool

Law and regulation is a strong tool for behavioral change, including the wanted behavioral change needed to combat climate change. Whereas an increased amount of businesses are changing their behavior behavior and include environmental and ethical issues into their day to day decisions, and even base their business idea on these values, many businesses are not doing what is needed in order to reach climate goals. I my presentation I reflect on how law and regulation could be utilized to push industry to make the right, environmental friendly decisions. I particularly focus on private law, which so far has been  considered a "neutral" tool available for the parties to fulfill their business transactions, and how environmental information should be integrated in the private law toolbox.

Ellen Eftestol-Wilhelmsson is Professor of Civil- and Commercial law at the Universities of Helsinki and Oslo and Head of the InterTran Reserach Group for Sustainable Business and Law, University of Helsinki.

 

Michiru Nagatsu: Nudging sustainable behavior: some philosophical problems and a solution

Since it’s birth in 2008 (Thaler and Sunstein), the idea of nudges as a policy instrument to steer people into more rational behavior has become popular in academia and policy circles. However, critics have pointed out difficult methodological, conceptual and ethical problems of nudge paternalism. In this talk, I will sketch a framework in which nudges are construed on a par with economic incentives, and thus are as legitimate as the latter. This framework, building on an ecological view of rationality, will solve some of the problems of nudge paternalism and help policy makers to integrate nudges with incentives, a more well-established policy tool. I will close by discussing some implications for green nudges.

Michiru Nagatsu is a HELSUS associate professor (methodologies of inter- and transdisciplinary sustainability sciences) at Practical Philosophy, Faculty of Social Sciences. Michiru is also an Academy Researcher with the project "Model-building Across Disciplinary Boundaries: Economics, Ecology, and Psychology" (2016-2021). His interests include using philosophy of emotions, philosophy of economics, and behavioral economics for better policy for pro-social behavior, as well as liveable urban design.

 

Eva Heiskanen: Nudge as a policy tool for sustainable consumption?

Behavioural economics and the concepts of ‘nudges’ and ‘better choice architectures’ have raised significant enthusiasm in policy circles. Greater behavioural insight can certainly improve existing policy making, but there are also expectations that ‘nudges’ can be used as new and powerful policy tools to promote sustainable consumption. In my talk, I critically consider the potential of nudges for sustainable consumption policy, given the scale of the challenge to decarbonize and dematerialize Western consumption. From a very practical policy-implementation perspective, I consider to what extent and how the issues of scalability, contextuality and administrative burden inherent to using nudges might be solved in order to employ nudges effectively and in proportion to the scale of the sustainability challenge.

Eva Heiskanen is Professor at the University of Helsinki Consumer Society Research Centre and a member of the Expert Panel on Sustainable Development.

Needs-based conceptualization of sustainable wellbeing

Tuuli Hirvilammi will explain in her talk why needs matter in sustainability transition and how sustainable wellbeing can be conceptualized. She will also briefly present her plans for a transdisciplinary study on sustainable need satisfiers.

Tuuli Hirvilammi is an expert in sustainable wellbeing research with background in public policy. After defending her PhD at the University of Helsinki in 2015, she has worked as postdoctoral researcher at the University of Jyväskylä. She has published on sustainable wellbeing, ecosocial policies and post-growth economy.

 

Women of the Arctic: Learning how to bridge policy, research, and lived experience

With the 2018 IPCC report now released and the #MeToo movement pushing forward, issues relating to the ‘Arctic’ and ‘gender’ continue to maintain unprecedented traction in mainstream discourse. At the same time, global conferences and summits with dedicated spaces for discussion on the Arctic — from environmental to change to resource extraction — and gender-related issues seem to be blossoming. Still, initiatives focusing specifically on the role of Arctic women — the successes they achieve and the challenges they face — remain few and far between. With the aim of changing this discourse, a group of scholars,Tahnee Prior from the University of Waterloo, Gosia Smieszek of the University of Lapland, Reetta Toivanen of HELSUS, and Outi Snellman of the University of the Arctic, brought together women from across the Arctic at the 2018 UArctic Congress, held at the University of Helsinki, on September 6th and 7th.

Our event, “Women of the Arctic: Bridging Policy, Research, and Lived Experience” sought to carve out a non-academic space for women and girls who work on or live in the Arctic to explore the roles and contributions of women to northern policy-making, research, exploration, art, activism, and daily life. During this brown bag lunch talk, I will build on existing academic efforts in Arctic studies to showcase how events like “Women of the Arctic” and “Toward an Arctic Women’s Summit”, our follow-up event at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland, have created spaces for women from across all Arctic states — indigenous and non-indigenous, working in the public and private sector — to discuss concrete issues relating to policy-making and leadership, polar science and exploration, access to justice, gender equality, intergenerational trauma, and gender-based violence. I will also share how we are collaborating with artists and creative communications collective, What Took You So Long, to maintain a long-term focus on issues relating to women and gender in the Arctic.

Tahnee Prior is a Ph.D. Candidate in Global Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo, and currently, a visiting researcher at HELSUS. She holds a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. Her doctoral work in global environmental governance examines the role of legal systems in maintaining or preventing our ability to adapt to rapidly changing and complex environments, like the Arctic.

Comparing Climate Change Policy Networks: A cross-national study of domestic climate politics

The 2015 Paris Climate Accord obliges signatories to set out how they intend to meet their own nationally determined emissions reduction targets. National policies and domestic political actors are therefore now firmly front and centre in how the global community has agreed to address climate change. Consequently, understanding domestic climate politics and the differences between countries’ policymaking processes is more important than ever.

Despite this, comparative studies that attempt to explain cross-country similarities and differences are very rare. The 20+ country comparative research project Comparing Climate Change Policy Networks (see compon.org) is providing much-needed scientific research on the critical topic of the social and political bases of domestic responses to climate change. It investigates (1) Why have some countries adopted more ambitious policies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions than others?, and (2) What is the role of domestic interorganisational policy networks in shaping national policy pathways and choices? The project’s research questions are addressed by analyzing the policy beliefs of domestic political actors, the activities of these acrors and the relationships among them, the influence of science and those who produce scientific research, the role of collaborative institutions and policy forums, and the political opportunity structures within and across countries.

Paul Wagner is a post-doc level HELSUS fellow. His research involves the application of network methods to the study of climate politics and the policymaking process. Wagner works on the Comparing Climate Change Policy Networks project – an international comparative research project seeking to explain the variation in national responses to climate change.

Facts, beliefs and definitions: About representations of invasive alien species in science and policy

Alien species (also referred to as neobiota, foreign, exotic, introduced, non-indigenous, or non-native species) are generally described as species occurring outside their natural range as a result of the intentional or accidental introduction by humans. When such a species not only ‘arrives’ and ‘survives’ but also ‘thrives’ (i.e. increases in numbers and outcompetes native species) they are called invasive alien species (IAS). The metaphors for describing the introduction, impacts, and management of alien species are numerous and often quite outspoken (e.g. invasional meltdown and explosive growth). While these metaphors may be employed to create a sense of urgency in view of the serious damage which IAS may inflict on ecosystems, they are also linked to certain value choices about what matters in nature protection and management. As such, they represent one particular outlook while others may be overlooked. For example, how introduced and invasive species are considered by the general public when valuing natural environments remains poorly understood. In this talk, Laura will (1) recount some insights from her PhD research on risk assessment and risk management of alien species, and (2) propose an interdisciplinary approach to investigate citizens’ and policy perspectives of IAS in the face of global change.

Laura Verbrugge is a postdoctoral researcher at HELSUS and the University of Twente (The Netherlands). She is a member of the Management Committee of the COST Action CA17122 on Citizen Science and Invasive Alien Species (IAS) and the International Association for Open Knowledge on IAS (INVASIVESNET).