How can sustainability science help in foreseeing and preventing crises? Learning from the war in Ukraine

Aggressive Russian invasion into Ukraine is widely discussed from various perspectives in the media. Yet, not much attention has been given to the viewpoints of sustainability science that has comprehesive tools to explore cross-cutting connections between the war, sustainability and globalization.

HELSUS is organising a multidisciplinary panel discussion at Think Corner Stage on 3.6.2022 at 13-15 on how can sustainability science help in foreseeing and preventing crises? Learning from the war in Ukraine.

The panel discussion addresses connections between globalization, dependencies, sustainability and the war in Ukraine by engaging the voices of sustainability science. The aim of the panel is to create a comprehensive outlook on how sustainability science could forsee future crisis similar to the one in Ukraine by recognising historical trajectories that have led to the escaltion of the crisis in Ukraine.

The crisis has revealed instances of fakes and injustice while it also may make us question global relations; are they powerful enough in maintaining peace? Global dependencies are reflected in, among many other things, food security, security of supply and energy transition that touches the everyday life of people. How does sustainability science recognise these?

Sustainability science can recognise the connectivity between globalization, security and the crisis that we are facing and utilize the knowledge in enhancing global sustainability and peace. Sustainability science also provides insights that help us prevent and prepare for future crises. 

The panelist come from diverse backgrounds and bring their individual views and expertise into the discussion. With this multidisciplinary panel, we bring out the voices of sustainability science in respect of the crisis in Ukraine.

The panel discussion will be streamed and can be watched here:…;

Recap of the panel discussion

HELSUS discussion panel on How can sustainability science help foreseeing and preventing crises? Learning from the war in Ukraine brought together researchers and experts from different scientifical backgrounds and other universities. The multidisciplinary discussion was not only rich in the content and perspectives but also thought provoking and emotional as the aggressive war touches our everyday lives.

Read below valuable insights brought forward by the inspiring panelists. 

  • Nataliya Teramae articulated the view that the current situation is the price the world is paying for underestimating the role of Ukraine in world security policy.

  •  Olena Maslyukivska pointed to difficult issues of truthfulness and said that sustainability science has to find a way and make sure to tell the truth about the world – environmental truth, historical truth, cultural truth – and also be brave in telling it.

  • Marianna Muravyeva pointed out that the current situation has really revealed those who were committed to building greener economies and those who were just prepared to do it on paper. She called for a new post-Cold War paradigm that would enable us to learn how to take care of the environment, especially since many of the issues in food security are based on exploitation and inequal structures. She also considered sustainability science to have a huge potential in providing for the complex recovery in Ukraine and in the region.

  • Juha Helenius highlighted that one part of sustainability science is co-creation and facilitating a dialogue between scientists and other parts of society. He also noted that this is easy to say in a free European society. 

  •  Finally, Hanna Tuomisto emphasized that sustainability scientists are warning – and have been doing so for a long time – about many crises, including climate change, but that it always seems to take a shock for any action to be taken. The conclusion was that we need to find even better ways to utilize science.

The full quotes behind the highlights as well as pictures of the event can be found on the HELSUS Twitter page

Marianna Muravyeva

Marianna Muravyeva is a Professor of Russian Law and Administration at the University of Helsinki. Her research is interdisciplinary bringing together history, social sciences and law to examine long-term trends and patterns in social development with a special focus on digitalization, normativity, gender and violence. Her most recent publications include “Law and Digitalization,” in Gritsenko, D., Wijermars, M. & Kopotev, M. (eds.), Handbook of Digital Russian Studies (Palgrave, 2020), pp. 77-92, co-authored with Alexander Gurkov; “Is There Rule-of-Law in Russia: Revisiting the Concept and Practice,” Review of Central and East European Law 44 (3) (2019): 269-274; “Conservative Jurisprudence and the Russian State,” Europe-Asia Studies 69, no. 8 (2017): 1145-1152; and special reports Feminism, Power, and Nuclear Weapons: A Critical Eye on the P5 (Manchester: Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy, 2020) and Balanced participation of women and men in decision-making in the Russian Federation (EU: Council of Europe, 2020)

Olena Maslyukivska

Dr. Olena Maslyukivska is a Visiting Researcher at the University of Vaasa, Finland and an Associate Professor at National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine. She has over 20 years of professional experience in research, management and capacity development related to environmental economics, governance and sustainability. Olena has extensive experience executing consultancy projects commissioned by international organizations in Ukraine and internationally, as well as delivering and leading development projects in such sectors as environmental policy, green economy, climate change mitigation and adaption.  From the beginning of the Russian aggression in Ukraine Olena has been actively involved in assessing environmental consequences and economic costs of the war. 

Nataliya Teramae

Nataliya Teramae is a journalist and lecturer in Ukrainian Studies at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki. She holds an MA in Journalism from National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine. Her research deals with modern Ukrainian culture and historical relations between Ukraine and Finland. She has recently published a number of articles both in Finland and Ukraine and has just finished a manuscript ‘Oleksandr Bohomazov in Finland. A century Later’ to be published in 2022. Since 2014 she has been an active board member of the Ukrainian Association in Finland responsible for running various cultural projects. In 2017 she started the annual Ukrainian Film Days festival successfully hosting a number of internationally acclaimed actors and directors. From the beginning of russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Nataliya has been involved with assisting refugees and raising money for Ukraine on a daily basis and has also been a highly sought after commentator and public speaker. 

Hanna Tuomisto

Hanna Tuomisto is an associate professor in sustainable food systems at the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS) and Department of Agricultural Sciences at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry in the University of Helsinki, and she is also affiliated to the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). She leads the Future Sustainable Food Systems -research group at the University of Helsinki. Tuomisto’s research interests are focused on the development of sustainability assessment methods and estimating the potential of different approaches to improve the sustainability of food systems. 

Juha Helenius

Juha Helenius is Professor at Ruralia Institute at the university of Helsinki. His research interests are in agroecology: research and teaching, societal interaction.