HELSUS Brown Bag Lunch
HELSUS Brown Bag Lunches are relaxed and concise lunchtime events where participants bring their own lunch box and gather to a seminar with presentations over topical research themes. The 20-30 minutes talks will be followed by an open discussion for about 30-40 minutes. The topics are related to HELSUS research themes, or other relevant sustainability science topics. No advance registration is needed! The seminars are in a hybrid format, so it's possible to join either online or on-site.
General information

WHERE

On-site: HELSUS Hub Lounge room, Porthania, Yliopistonkatu 3, 00100 Helsinki. You find the HELSUS entrance at the 2nd floor of Porthania, next to the elevators. When entering HELSUS, the Hub Lounge room is straight ahead.

Zoom: Join the meeting here.

WHEN

Event dates for Autumn 2022. For more information, see below.

  • Friday 23.09.2022 at 11:00-12:00 
  • Friday 28.10.2022 at 11:00-12:00 
  • Friday 25.11.2022 at 11:00-12:00 
  • Friday 09.12.2022 at 11:00-12:00 

TO WHOM

HELSUS Members and all HELSUS friends!

Accessibility information of the venue: There is an elevator access to the 2nd floor of Porthania, with the one in the middle being wide enough also for electric wheelchairs. At the HELSUS entrance there are two steps with a ramp with a railing going up to the door. For more information please reach out to helsus@helsinki.fi 

Event dates: 23.09, 28.10, 25.11, 09.12.

23.09: The deterrence effect of criminal sanctions against environmental crime in Finland

Presenter: Chiara Lombardini

Abstract: Applying the rational choice model of crime, this study estimates the optimality of sanctions against environmental crimes with court data from 327 environmental criminal cases sentenced in the period 2013 - 2018 in Finland. The main result is that the fines determined by the court were lower than the optimal fine even when taking into account the constraint to the optimal fine posed by the offenders’ wealth. Moreover, the use of prison sentences was suboptimal as combined sanctioning was used, even when the fine could have been increased closer to its optimal level.

The average expected gain from an environmental crime was 81 453 euro using the best estimate of the probability of conviction of 0.071. Sensitivity analysis shows that the average expected gain goes to zero for a probability of being convicted of 0.47. When increasing the average fine to the estimated maximum optimal level allowed by the offenders’ wealth constraint, the average expected gain goes to zero for a probability of being convicted of 0.33. The study concludes by discussing the implications of these results for the enforcement of environmental law in Finland.

Bio: Chiara Lombardini is an environmental economist and University Lecturer in Economics at the Department of Economics and Management at Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki. She is a member of HELSUS , Helsinki Graduate School of Economics‘s Faculty, and Teachers’ Academy at the University of Helsinki and affiliated of the Research group in Food Economics and Business Managment For Sustainable Food Sytems and Green Alliance.

She is co-leader in packages 4 of the STN-research project Legumes for Sustainable Food System and Healthy Life, Leg4Lif , which focuses on the environmental, health and economic impacts of the production and consumption of legumes in Finland.

Her current research focuses on the role of social norms and of policy instruments in supporting the transition towards sustainable food systems and healthier and less environmentally damaging diets. She is also working on the economics of environmental crime. Chiara’s expertise is in behavioral economics, experimental economics, environmental economics, cost-benefit analysis and selected methods of statistical analysis (e.g. MFA, hierarchical clustering, logit regressions). She has also a strong interest in the pedagogy of teaching economics and a wide experience with flipped teaching.

She is open to collaborate in research and educational projects.

Discussant: Kai Kokko

28.10: Green grabbing and agricultural frontier in the Brazilian Cerrado biome 

Presenter: Sérgio Sauer

Abstract: The expansion of the agricultural frontier into the Amazon and the Cerrado biome has been done aiming to produce soy, corn and beef for exporting to the global market. The increase of commodities demands have attracted investments,  causing deforestation, changes in land use, gas emissions. consolidating unsustainable agricultural production systems. In recent years, especially after 2016, the dismantling of public policies - including the weakening of environmental control tools and bodies - and the creation of self-registration are favoring green grabbing and environmental destruction in Brazil. Will the 2022 national elections, and possible political changes, change this unsustainable scenario? 

Bio:  In 2022, I am a visiting researcher at the Global Development Studies of the University of Helsinki. I am a PhD in Sociology and professor of the University of Brasília (UnB), in the Centre for Sustainable Development (CDS). I am mainly researching about agrarian issues (changes in land use, expansion of agricultural frontiers) and their social and environmental impacts (social conflicts over land and natural resources, deforestation, gas emissions, and so on) in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado biomes. 

Discussant: Anja Nygren

Bio: Anja Nygren is Professor of Global Development Studies at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Her research interests include political ecology, hydrocarbon extractivism, water and vulnerability, and responsibility and justice. She has carried out long-term research in Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. She has published articles in many scientific journals, such as Journal of Agrarian Change, Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Critique of Anthropology, Development and Change, Journal of Latin America Studies, Geoforum, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Journal of Hydrology, Journal of Peasant Studies, Society & Natural Resources, and World Development.

25.11: Food, innovation and entrepreneurship. South Ostrobothnia as a case study 

Presenter: Silvia Gaiani

Abstract: In recent times, South Ostrobothnia, a predominantly rural, landlocked region located in the south west of Finland, has been able to build its identity as the Food Province of Finland and as the best Finnish business environment. In 2018, 34% of its local enterprises were engaged in agriculture, forestry, or fishing, contributing to 10,5 % of the whole country’s increment value. In 2020, 20 % of the Finnish foodstuff industry was located in the region.

Statistics show that although the number of food businesses as proportion of population is high, the regional companies are smaller than average - 94.64% of all businesses are micro-enterprises -, and they have to face numerous challenges including limited supporting services, low level of local networks, expensive production costs and slight turnover.

So, has the region been able to affirm itself as an innovative region despite a number of evident hurdles? In my presentation, I intend to provide insights on the South Ostrobothnian peculiar food innovation model, which can be described as a combination of 1. a closed innovation approach, as the innovation process takes place mostly within the companies and know-how, technology, processes and intellectual property remain under companies’ control 2. a strength-based approach, which is grounded in the enhancement of individual, organizational and regional strengths, and 3. efficient regional policies.

Bio: Silvia Gaiani is a Senior Researcher at Ruralia Institute, University of Helsinki, where she is leading a research on Entrepreneurship and Innovation towards Sustainable Food Systems and is PI in a number of national and international projects around the topic of food system sustainability.

Before joining Ruralia Institute, she has worked as consultant for Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) at its headquarters in Rome, Italy and for the World Meteorological Organization of the United Nations (WMO) in Geneva, Switzerland - where she has contributed to reports, projects writing and workshops organization.

Her research and consultancy activities focus on food loss and waste, the sustainability of the food supply chain, rural development.

From 2005 to 2016 Silvia has worked as Research Fellow at the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna (Italy) and she has also conducted researches for the Institute of Biometeorology of the Italian Research Council and for different NGOs.

Silvia has given lectures and conducted research at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies of the University of Kyoto, Japan, at the Department of Mass Communication of the University of Lucknow (India), at the University of British Columbia, (Canada), at the University of Alborg (Denmark) and at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Discussant: John Sumelius

Bio: John Sumelius is Professor in Production Economics and Farm Management at university of Helsinki. His expertise covers quite a broad range of issues relating to both farm level, the agricultural sector and the food supply chain. His more specific expertise includes production economics, farm management, agri-environmental issues, food security and agricultural development in the developing world, economic analysis of farms and rural industries, productivity, efficiency and rural livelihoods. He has coordinated the ERA-LEARN LEAP-Agri project PASUSI “Participatory Pathways to Sustainable Intensification - Innovation platforms to integrate leguminous crops and inoculants into small-scale agriculture and local value chains” focusing upon Ghana 2018-2022.

He has participated in several Horizon2020, EU- FP research project relating to an African context like HealthyFoodAfrica 2020-2021 and MATS – Making Agricultural Trade Sustainable 2021-2024. He has supervised 13 doctoral theses (seven relating to Africa and two to Bangladesh) and more than 40 MSc theses. He is a Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and of the Finnish Society of Science and Letters.

09.12: The Anthropocene: Atmospheres, assemblages, multispecies childhoods. 

Presenter: Riikka Hohti

Abstract: It is not difficult to agree on the fact that we are currently witnessing a time of multiple crises and increased uncertainty. In this connection, I want to think about children and young people and the debated epoch called the Anthropocene. Named after the recognition of human entanglement with geological forces, the Anthropocene, despite its problems, puts forth a need to address the environmental crisis as an ontological crisis and as a crisis of emotion and imagination.  

The questions that structure this talk are: How is it to live as a child in this specific moment? How do the changing nature-human-animal relations become felt and visible in contemporary childhoods? What kinds of multispecies formations might emerge in the “ruins” of an anthropocentric Western world? How to begin to notice them and how to include them in research and practice?  

Recently, there has been increasing interest in so called environmental emotions, and expressions such as climate anxiety have become part of everyday vocabulary. There is also more and more research focusing on youth environmental movements and activism. This illustrates how children are currently positioned in affectively charged and ambiguous roles in society. Children and young people are simultaneously seen as those in need of protection or saving, and as the ones who will save us. To explore the dynamics in which material environmental changes, affects, and political movements such as climate activism entangle, I propose an approach based on assemblages and multispecies attentiveness. Additionally, I think about how the concept of affective atmospheres can be put to work to examine situated gatherings of emotion, bodies, time and place, and how this allows a more than human approach to the complexities of the Anthropocene.  

Bio: Riikka Hohti has written about multispecies childhoods, atmospheres, materiality and temporality. She has developed participatory and post-qualitative methodologies at the intersections of childhood studies, human-animal studies, and education. She is a postdoctoral researcher in the AniMate research group (University of Oulu), and leads the project Children of the Anthropocene – Environmental atmospheres and multispecies collaborations (2022-2025, Kone Foundation, University of Helsinki). Her doctoral thesis was awarded a prize for outstanding dissertation, and her co-authored article with Tuure Tammi was nominated the article of the year 2019 in the Finnish educational and societal journal Kasvatus & Aika. She is co-author of the book Lasten ja eläinten suhteet

Discussant: Silvia Gaiani

 

Bio: Silvia Gaiani is a Senior Researcher at Ruralia Institute, University of Helsinki, where she is leading a research on Entrepreneurship and Innovation towards Sustainable Food Systems and is PI in a number of national and international projects around the topic of food system sustainability.

Before joining Ruralia Institute, she has worked as consultant for Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) at its headquarters in Rome, Italy and for the World Meteorological Organization of the United Nations (WMO) in Geneva, Switzerland - where she has contributed to reports, projects writing and workshops organization.

Her research and consultancy activities focus on food loss and waste, the sustainability of the food supply chain, rural development.

From 2005 to 2016 Silvia has worked as Research Fellow at the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna (Italy) and she has also conducted researches for the Institute of Biometeorology of the Italian Research Council and for different NGOs.

Silvia has given lectures and conducted research at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies of the University of Kyoto, Japan, at the Department of Mass Communication of the University of Lucknow (India), at the University of British Columbia, (Canada), at the University of Alborg (Denmark) and at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The event dates are 28.01., 11.02., 18.03., 22.04. and 27.05.

Past: 28.1. Cul­tiv­at­ing Aes­thetic Sens­ib­il­ity for Sustainability 

Presenter: Noora-Helena Korpelainen 

Friday 28.01.2022 at 11:00-12:00 UTC +2

Fostering sustainability is intertwined with our aesthetic practices by which we aim for better well-being. With aesthetic practices, I refer to such activities as enjoying, making, and discussing works of art but also such aesthetically relevant activities we pursue in diverse environments, for example, national parks, city centers, and our own or shared back gardens. Further, especially in the philosophical dispute of everyday aesthetics, aesthetic practices also refer to our relationship with everyday objects and activities, for example, daily clothing and meals, decoration, commuting, arranging parties, and doing laundry. It is especially through our everyday activities that I find it interesting to discuss aesthetics and sustainability transformations together.

In this presentation, I discuss philosopher Yuriko Saito’s (2017) idea about the aesthetics of sustainability, which denotes a new kind of aesthetic sensibility informed by and featuring both environmental and cultural sustainability. Saito’s idea is based on our aesthetic relationship with everyday experiences and emphasizes a shift, especially in European and broadly speaking Western aesthetic sensibilities. I argue that the aesthetics of sustainability manifests as a sustainability transformation, that is, an ongoing societal change towards sustainable well-being of both humans and non-human nature, and that this change is powered by the continuous cultivation of aesthetic sensibility.

In the recently published article, I defend the aesthetics of sustainability, on the one hand, by considering the immanence of change as a sense of contemporary everydayness and, on the other hand, by regarding mindfulness as a practice. In the presentation, I briefly discuss these arguments, which are grounded in understanding the soundness and relevance of everyday aesthetics for the development of our aesthetic sensibilities. In addition, I present three converging approaches – as they are distinguished in the recent discussion in philosophical aesthetics – to the role of cultivating aesthetic sensibility in fostering sustainability transformations.  

Article to be discussed: Korpelainen, N-H. (2021). Cultivating Aesthetic Sensibility for Sustainability. ESPES. The Slovak Journal of Aesthetics vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 165–182. https://espes.ff.unipo.sk/index.php/ESPES/article/view/226/246

Bio: Noora-Helena Korpelainen, MA in Aesthetics (University of Helsinki), is a PhD student in the Doctoral Programme in Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences (DENVI) at the University of Helsinki and a member of HELSUS. Her research aims at understanding the notion of cultivating aesthetic sensibility in the age of global environmental change. Korpelainen is a co-editor in the forthcoming Finnish anthology on global environmental change and aesthetics (Ympäristömuutos ja Estetiikka) published by the Finnish Society for Aesthetics, for which Korpelainen functioned as a secretary in 2019–2021.

Past: 11.2. Wo­men, Gender and Oil Ex­ploit­a­tion

Presenter: Maryse Helbert

Friday 11.2.2022 at 11:00-12:00 UTC +2 

The presentation by Dr. Maryse Helbert from the University of Groningen in the faculty of Arts in The Netherlands will be based on her recently published book ‘Women, Gender and oil Exploitation’. It examines and conceptualizes the gender implications of oil extraction. It uses two main conceptual framework: The imperial mode of living and ecofeminist and is illustrated by three case studies in the global south: Nigeria, Venezuela and the Tchad Cameroon Pipeline. It has two main purposes. The first is to rectify the admitted absence of analysis and debates about the unequal distribution of risks and benefits of oil projects along gender lines. Second, this book aimed to fulfil an urgent need to further studies on ‘how different principles of domination – particularly those of gender and ethnicity – intersect in particular conjunctures and social positions. The study informs the design of social and environmental conditions that guarantee a fair and sustainable society beyond carbon dependency.

It will show that the socio-ecological articulations of the implementation of oil project have created zones of sacrifice. There are zones of sacrifice as they bear the socio ecological costs of the world thirst for oil. These costs are unevenly distributed along the axes of class, gender, ethnicity and race as the model of development associated with the oil project is androcentric and ethnocentric.

During the seminar, Dr. Maryse Helbert will present the most prominent findings of the research that can contribute to ease the socio-ecological costs of a mining project.

Bio: Dr. Maryse Helbert is a lecturer at the University of Groningen in the faculty of Arts in The Netherlands. Prior to that she was awarded two post-doctoral positions: the first one was in the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich, Germany. The Second was at the International Institute for Social Studies in the University of Erasmus Rotterdam, the Netherlands where she has completed externally funded research in the area of gender, lithium extraction and the just transition, funded by European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Maryse completed her Ph.D. at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She has been teaching in many capacities in different university in Australia and in The Netherlands.

Her latest publication, in 2022, is a book called: ”Women, Gender and Oil Exploitation”

Past: 18.3. Environ­mental Sustainability, In­fra­struc­ture and the Mar­ginal People in In­dian Sundar­bans

Presenter: Dayabati Roy

Friday 18.3.2022 at 11:00-12:00 UTC +2 

A Chronicle of Embankments Extraction, Disruption, and Vulnerability in Indian Sundarbans

Most of the embankments that were built in the Sundarbans with an aim of revenue extraction from agriculture by the British colonial government since around two and half century ago have now been developed enthusiastically with a promise of fixing the recurrent environmental problems therein. These embankments which were built to prevent saline water from entering the human captured wetlands have continually been causing major environmental disruptions by way of, on the one hand, impeding the process of silt disposition on the margins of islands, and on the other, elevating the riverbed to above the islands level. These two resultant phenomena have made the nature as well as the marginal people vulnerable to differentiated harms. Upon drawing the ethnography conducted in villages of Indian Sundarbans during the period between 2018 and 2021, this paper examines how the relationships between humans and non-humans get organized and reorganized in enduring ways due to the issues related to embankments. It also looks into whether the current enchantments of embankments would produce any disconnections between the humans and non-humans as well as risks of harms. Moreover, it explores whether the embankments in the islands is benefitting a section of people while vulnerabilising others. This paper discusses at the end how the embankment re(turn) in Indian Sundarbans produces new socio-natural relations and how the promises of fixing environmental problems fail again and again and thereby harming the nature.

Bio: Dayabati Roy is a senior researcher currently working on an Academy of Finland funded project. Her research focuses on climate change and environmental degradation, unemployment and poverty, land dispossession and social exclusion in India. Dayabati Roy is the author of Rural Politics in India: Political Stratification and

Governance in West Bengal (Cambridge University Press 2013) and Employment, Poverty and Rights in India (Routledge 2018). She received her PhD as an ICSSR Doctoral Fellow from Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, India and worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Past: 22.4. Situation Rooms As Boundary Objects In Managing Climate Change risks In Urban Environments – How To Integrate Expert Knowledge Into Decision-making?

Presenter: Tuuli Parviainen

Friday 22.4. at 11:00-12:00 UTC +3 

Abstract: 

Due to the human-induced climate crisis, urban areas are increasingly faced with weather-related hazards such as floods, storms, and heat waves. As such hazards are expected to become more frequent and intense in the future, there is a need to improve and support the strategic crisis management and preparedness planning in cities. This also requires new ways of integrating science into decision-making when preparing for and adapting to climate change in urban areas. Indeed, the need for new types of experimentations that promote knowledge co-production, help to cope with uncertainty, and aid in formulating strategic choices for future crisis management is increasingly recognized in the case of complex risks.

This study is part of the LONGRISK research project (Academy of Finland, 2020-2023) that develops decision support for strategic crisis management in Finnish cities by organizing situation room exercises in Helsinki, Tampere, and Kotka. The situation rooms are simulation exercises where the participants (city experts and decision-makers) need to find new ways to modify the strategic long-term goals of the city as to support the adaptation to chronic climate change- induced crisis in the future. Here, the situation rooms are studied as boundary objects that support experimentation and learning between city experts and decision-makers. Boundary objects (typically graphs, concepts, models, scenarios, or maps) help to share knowledge between different actors and across different boundaries (e.g. the domains of science and policy). As the objects are characterized by interpretive flexibility, i.e. they have no fixed meaning, they allow for multi-actor collaboration without the need for a consensus.

In this presentation, I provide a theoretical framework to connect strategic crisis management and preparedness planning with literature on boundary objects. By presenting some preliminary results, I argue that the situation rooms as boundary objects may help in transformative learning, i.e. moving the focus away from “easy” technological solutions to formulating new policy alternatives for long-term crisis management and preparedness planning. I also discuss some future challenges, e.g. how such ad-hoc experimentations can become institutionalized practices for future crisis management.

Bio: Tuuli Parviainen, PhD in Environmental Sciences (University of Helsinki), is a postdoctoral researcher in the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Helsinki. She is part of the Past Present Sustainability research unit (PAES) and a member of HELSUS. Her ongoing work as part of LONGRISK-project (Academy of Finland, 2020-2023) focuses on the strategic management of long-term and chronic multi-hazard risks in urban areas. In her doctoral thesis, Tuuli explored the use of probabilistic risk models for oil spill risk assessment and management, and how such models could act as boundary objects that help to integrate a wide range of knowledge types into decision-making processes.

27.5. A multi-level perspective on Potential transition pathways towards cellular agriculture: Finnish and German political stakeholders’ perceptions of cultured meat

Presenter: Jana Moritz 

Friday 27.5. at 11:00-12:00 UTC +3

Abstract: 

The climate crisis is omnipresent and pressuring the current system to change the status quo to become more sustainable. The world population is predicted to grow up to ten billion people by the year 2050 and it will be a challenge to feed them all. One part of the current system are the livestock-based agricultural practices and their negative externalities as deforestation, animal ethics or health issues. One new technology that promises to reduce these negative externalities is cellular agriculture, where through tissue engineering animal products are produced without using the animals. One of the most-known products is cultured meat, a product grown in a bioreactor through cell cultivation. Cultured meat is one example of a radical niche innovation that could provide solutions for advancing animal welfare and transform the current way of doing livestock agriculture. The present study aims to analyse the perceptions of 25 political stakeholders from Finland and Germany about cultured meat.

This presentation discusses the multi-level perspective (MLP) of cultured meat. The MLP is a theoretical framework that the analysis draws from to understand cultured meat as a niche innovation and to show potential transition pathways it could go in Finland and Germany. The results show that both Finnish and German stakeholders see advantages and disadvantages in the development of cultured meat. The Finnish stakeholders tend to perceive a transition from the current system towards cellular agriculture easier than the German stakeholders do.

Bio: 

Jana Moritz is a PhD student at the University of Helsinki doing the doctoral programme political, societal and regional changes (PYAM). She is a grant-funded researcher (Kone foundation) at the Ruralia Institute and part of the research team “future sustainable food systems (F ²)”. Jana is in her third year of the PhD and her ongoing research focuses on cellular agriculture and specifically cultured meat as a solution towards a more sustainable future.

Event dates: 24.09., 15.10., 12.11. and 10.12.

Past: 24.09. De­col­on­iz­ing the value dis­courses of nature

Presenter: Corinna Casi

Friday 24.09.2021 at 11:00-12:00 via Zoom

In a more and more populated world, non-human species are at risk. They are threatened by extinction, habitat loss and the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic made more evident the importance of sustainable solutions and values to cope with the environmental crises.

This paper discusses the topic of the value of nature (or environmental values) central subject in the philosophical field of environmental ethics. Different types of environmental value are identified: the economic or monetary value praised mainly by economists, and a set of “non-economic values” – moral, aesthetic, ecological, historical, relational and Indigenous values - identified by philosophers, natural scientists and Indigenous scholars.

I address the need of shedding light on non-economic values of nature, in respect of its economic aspect, which has been given more importance due to their practical applicability, e.g. in environmental policies. Nevertheless, despite the minor visibility given to the non-economic values of nature, I argue that they should be taken in more consideration offering a wider variety of information that foster more sustainable environmental solutions.

Key research questions are: Does nature has other values which are different than its mere monetary value? What are and why it is important to focus also on the non-economic values of nature? What does it mean to decolonize the value distribution of nature?

The novelty of the article is represented by unveiling the colonial attitude of value distribution, when talking about value of nature. The article shows that the uneven significance and relevance of different values of nature, referring to the higher importance of the economic aspect vis-à-vis with the devaluation of non-economic aspects of nature, is a sign of the colonial attitude undermining part of environmental discourses.

Decolonizing environmental values distribution means, in this perspective, rebalancing the different values of nature, allowing the non-economic aspects to offer their due.

Bio: Corinna Casi, MA in philosophy (University of Bologna, Italy) is a Doctoral candidate in Environmental Ethics at the University of Helsinki and a member of HELSUS. Her Doctoral research focuses on non-economic environmental values such as ecological, aesthetic and moral values as well as Indigenous views of nature. She is also a Doctoral researcher in the ValueBioMat interdisciplinary project (STN, Academy of Finland) on bioplastics, affiliated with the University of Lapland, Rovaniemi.

In 2020, her article about the decolonizing Food security discourses in Sami Indigenous communities was published as a contribution in the book Food Security in the High North, published by Routledge Research in Polar Regions.

She was awarded the Vonne Lund Prize for her article “Sami Food Practices and Traditional Ecological Knowledge” by the European Society for Agricultural and Food Ethics for the innovative work of a young researcher at the EurSafe Congress 2019.

Past: 15.10. Biod­iversity in Life Cycle Analysis, Eco­sys­tem Services of High Nature Value Farm­ing Sys­tems

Presenter: Miriam Torres-Miralles

Friday 15.10.2021 at 11:00-12:00 via Zoom

United Nations report (2012) suggested that the human population will increase from 9 to 11 billion by 2050 so as food demand. Western dietary patterns have demonstrated to be unsustainable because of over-consumption of resource-demanding food products derived from animals (Röös et al., 2017). Animal source foods (ASF) – meat, dairy and eggs – have adverse environmental impacts, ranging from the resource use of the land area and water to GHG emissions and biodiversity loss within and outside agricultural areas (Sabaté and Soret, 2014). However, not all production systems result in the same environmental impact. Particularly, extensive pastoral systems can contribute to other environmental benefits such as maintenance of biodiversity or cultural heritage among others (Ripoll-bosch et al. 2013). Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a commonly used method for estimating environmental impacts of livestock production. However, many studies comparing environmental impacts of different beef production systems are incomplete as they exclude biodiversity impacts and soil carbon stock changes.

The aim of the study is to assess the environmental impact of ruminant production on semi-natural grasslands or so-called High Nature Value (HNV) farms at the European level.  HNV farms are multi-functional systems that, on top of producing quality food and conserving biodiversity, habitats and landscapes, supply a range of public goods and services, i.e. act as carbon sinks and minimise nutrient looses. HNV farms have the potential to reduce arable land needs for livestock fodder. The question remains until what extent HNV farming systems can provide sufficient quantity and quality food to address the current demand.

Bio: Miriam Torres-Miralles, MSc in agroecology (University of Barcelona) is a doctoral candidate in the Doctoral Programme of Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences (DENVI) at the University of Helsinki and a member of HELSUS. Her research focuses on low trade-off farming systems that support beneficial environmental aspects (such as biodiversity) while maintaining production, so-called High Nature Value faming systems. She has previously work as a sustainable consultant and auditor for companies and public institutions. Her current aim is to seek realistic solutions for sustainable food production that support healthy diets in Europe.

Past: 12.11. So­cially Man­u­fac­tured Cli­mate Change Deni­al­ism as a Res­ist­ance to So­cial Change

Presenter: Olli Herranen

Friday 12.11. at 11-12 via Zoom

Abstract: According to my working hypothesis, the climate-change denialism and parallel phenomena, like anti-feminism, and authoritarian and anti-science attitudes, are a result of a clash of conflicting political-economic interests and a mundane normative order. They both resist the social change required for tackling the climate change. In my presentation, I present a case from the United States and suggest how it links the prevailing values with ways in which the world is perceived in people’s everyday activities and how these are used in the ideological struggle over the premises of their common sense, i.e., what is perceived as normal and natural.

In my project, I am especially interested in what I call ‘effective climate-change denialism’. This includes, for example, negative and dismissive reactions to mitigation policies and movements: denigration of climate activism (‘Greta Thunberg is a schoolgirl, so what does she know?’), a ‘business-as-usual’ attitude (‘more economic growth, not less!’), and denying the need for local action (‘it doesn’t matter what a small country does’). These more mundane, unorganised, and spontaneous, but still very effective forms of denialism are a key consequence of the decades-long systematic seeding of doubt over human-made climate change. I seek to use international examples of climate-change denialism to reflect the empirical findings from Finland and apply a novel theoretical framework to explain these findings.

Bio: Olli Herranen (PhD, sociology) is specialized in social theory, economic sociology, and the EU related economic and governing issues. His postdoctoral project “Effective Climate-Change Denialism in Finland and Sweden” (2021–2024, funded by Kone Foundation) identifies the climate denialism actors and the social(-media) networks involved – alongside their logics – in Finland, with comparison of findings from Sweden. His forthcoming publications include a monograph The Invisible Order: A Relational Approach to Social Institutions (2022, Palgrave Macmillan) and a jointly authored monograph Suomen kolmas tasavalta ja eurooppalainen valtioaateli (‘The Third Republic of Finland and the European State Nobility’, 2022, Gaudeamus).

Past: 10.12. The Case for a Global Green­house Gas Tax

Presenter: Heikki Patomäki

Friday 10.12. at 11-12 via Zoom

While the UNFCCC COP process monitors progress in dealing with climate change, it is widely acknowledged that there is an urgent need to rapidly reduce emissions. The starting point of our discussion is that carbon pricing has been a major pillar of policy for decades. We argue first that carbon taxes should be preferred to carbon trading, and second that there is a need for the organisation and coordination of this taxation at a global level. Moreover, there is also a case to be made for a market-disruptive rather than market-conforming approach to carbon taxes. We first flesh out some of the deficiencies of carbon trading and related approaches by considering the examples of the EU ETS and also variant synthetic markets, such as the Clean Development Mechanism. We then turn briefly to the Paris Agreement’s Article 6, which is the main part of the Agreement dealing with relevant issues. After this, we illustrate some of the most important ways in which carbon taxes can overcome the shortcomings and contradictions of carbon trading. However, too provincial a carbon tax targeted unilaterally against outsiders, such as the EU’s carbon border adjustment mechanism, is also fraught with contradictions. Thus, we assert that a global greenhouse gas tax (GGGT) is a rational global Keynesian solution to the aporia. Finally, we illuminate the benefits of the GGGT and attempt to address how it could be feasibly implemented both technically and in terms of political organization.

Bio: Heikki Patomäki is a professor of world politics in Helsinki. He has was originally trained as an economist and has published extensively in various scholarly fields ranging from Big History and philosophy of social sciences to European, global and futures studies. The logic of critical realist social-scientific explanation, and a related theory of human emancipation, is the main thread connecting these areas. His most recent books are Disintegrative Tendencies in Global Political Economy (Routledge 2018); The Three Fields of Global Political Economy (Routledge, forthcoming); and, with Jamie Morgan, Timeless Economics (to be submitted to a publisher in December 2021). Previously Patomäki has worked as a full professor at the University of Nottingham Trent (1998-2003) and RMIT University (2007-10) in Melbourne, Australia. He has also been a Visiting Professor at the Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan (2012). Patomäki is a member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters and lifelong member of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge.

4.6. Sens­ory and art­ful sustainability science

presenter: Harald Heinrichs

Fri 4.6. at 11.00-12.00 Join webinar on zoom

The more recent discourses and practices at the intersection of sustainability and (visual) arts have its roots inartistic subfields emerged in the second half of the 20th century. Particularly landscape art and ecological art as well as interventionist, performative art forms are influential in that regard. Connecting to these artistic practices the role of art for sustainable development has been discussed in the scientific community over the past decade in the context of cultural sustainability. Therein the aesthetic and imaginative power of artistic creativity for reflecting and intervening into (un) sustainability has been explored. Next to this understanding of sustainability and arts the approaches of arts-based research for sustainable development and sensory sustainability science have emerged. These perspectives are about employing artistic practices and strategies as well as methods of sensory ethnography in scientific inquiries in order to generate aesthetic-sensory insights.

In the presentation Harald will give an overview of conceptual and methodological foundations and showcase some practical examples of employing this approach in teaching and research. The presentation concludes with a reflection on potentials and challenges of sensory and artful sustainability science 

Bio: Prof. Dr. Harald Heinrichs, sociologist, Leuphana University Lüneburg works in research, teaching and transfer in the field of sustainability, politics and society. One focal area is artful and sensory sustainability science. Recent publications on this topic are: Heinrichs, H. (2021): Aesthetic Expertise for Sustainable Development: Envisioning Artful Scientific Policy Advice. In: World2021, 2(1), 92-104; Heinrichs, H. (2019): Strengthening Sensory Sustainability Science –Theoretical and Methodological Considerations. In: Sustainability2019, 11(3), 769; Heinrichs, H. (2018): Sustainability Science with Ozzy Osbourne, Julia Roberts and Ai Weiwei: The Potential of Arts-Based Research for Sustainable Development. In: GAIA –Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, Volume 27, Nr. 1,2018,pp. 132-137(6 

 

 

Past sem­inars spring 2021

PAST: 5.3. In­dus­tri­al­iz­ing sen­tient land­scapes: indigenous vis­ions of min­ing and sustainability in North­west­ern Rus­sia

presenter: Anna Varfolomeeva

Fri 5.3. at 11.00-12.00

Indigenous peoples' relations with nature and industry are often discussed as oppositions between traditional lifestyle and resource extraction. However, there are examples when indigenous residents develop strong bonds with mining and view it as a factor influencing their region's sustainability.

This presentation discusses the case study of indigenous Veps in the Republic of Karelia (Northwestern Russia) who embrace stone extraction as a vital part of their identity. Since the 18th-19th centuries, Veps have been extracting two rare ornamental stones: gabbro-diabase and raspberry quartzite. They experienced a switch from small-scale artisanal mining to extensive Soviet-time industrial development and privatization of state enterprises in the post-Soviet period. The presentation analyzes how the emotional attachments of Veps stoneworkers towards their resources influence their relations with place. The rapid industrialization of Veps territories produced new narratives stressing the sacrality of labor and deep bonds between the stone and its producers. In Veps' perspectives, local connections with nature and industry are often intertwined. Mining is seen as deeply rooted in the landscape's richness, while at the same time, it influences the present and future of Veps villages.

Bio: Anna Varfolomeeva is a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Arts and HELSUS, University of Helsinki. Her postdoctoral project focuses on indigenous conceptualizations of sustainability in industrial settings. Anna defended her PhD in 2019 at the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University. She has published on indigenous relations with extractive industries and the symbolism of mining and infrastructure in Northwestern Russia and Siberia

PAST: 26.3. Our Ex­tract­ive Age: Ex­plor­ing Extractivisms 

presenting group: Christopher Chagnon, Francesco Durante, Sophia E. Hagolani-Albov, Saana Hokkanen, Markus Kröger and Will LaFleur

Fri 26.3. at 11.00-12.00 

Extractivism characterizes the modern era. Since the 2000s extractivisms have intensified, becoming ever-more global, propelled by land and resource rushes. Whether we realize or not, extractivisms deeply shape our experience of everyday life. We conceptualize extractivism here as, “a particular way of thinking and the properties and practices organized towards the goal of maximizing benefit through extraction, which brings in its wake violence and destruction.” On the academic front, the use of the concept of extractivism has expanded from mining to new arenas like agriculture, forestry, finance, and even the digital. Our presentation will provide a brief introduction to the complex web of extractivisms, where data and the digital intersect with natural resource extractivisms and provoke resistances to these processes and underlying ideological and historically-situated logics.

This presentation is drawn from our co-authored work in chapters 1 and 9 from the forthcoming Routledge book Our Extractive Age: Expressions of Violence and Resistance, which will be published in May 2021. 

Bios:

Christopher Chagnon is a PhD candidate in Global Development Studies in the Political, Societal, and Regional Change Doctoral Programme (PSRC), Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki.    

Francesco Durante is a PhD candidate in the Political, Societal, and Regional Change Doctoral Programme (PSRC) in affiliation with the Aleksanteri Institute and Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki.

Sophia E. Hagolani-Albov is a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies (DENVI), University of Helsinki.

Saana Hokkanen is a Graduate student in Global Development Studies, University of Helsinki.

Markus Kröger is an Associate Professor of Global Development Studies, University of Helsinki and Academy of Finland.    

Will LaFleur is a PhD candidate in Global Development Studies in the Political, Societal, and Regional Change Doctoral Programme (PSRC), Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki.

23.4. Language en­dan­ger­ment and well-be­ing: Ques­tions for a sustainable lin­guist­ics

Presenter: Stef Spronck; Discussant: Elisa Pascucci

The world’s linguistic diversity is disappearing at an alarming rate (an often cited num-ber estimates that about every two weeks one of the about 6000-7000 languages ceases to be spoken). This is mostly due to the gradual assimilation and death of marginalised communities. Endangered language communities that are able to maintain or even increase their number of speakers, score substantially better on a range of well-being indicators than communities that do not (Angelo et al. 2019). Linguistics, and particularly Documentary and Descriptive Linguistics (Himmelmann 1998), has a direct stake in preserving and propagating the world’s language diversity. However, as linguistic fieldworkers, we often find ourselves remarkably illequipped to meet the practical expectations of communities to assist language maintenance (Wilkins 1992, Thieberger 2002). With the Covid-19 pandemic pushing new models of remote fieldwork, it is also opportune to evaluate current fieldwork practices.

In this talk Stef Spronck reflects on how problems of sustainability and language endangerment are intertwined, as well as on the sustainability and impact on Indigenous communities of the discipline of linguistics itself. The talk outlines the first stage of a pilot project by the same title, made possible with a HELSUS seed funding grant (2021).

Bio: Stef Spronck (PhD Australian National University, 2016) is a postdoctoral researcher in General Linguistics at the University of Helsinki. He has worked with Indigenous communities in Australia on the documentation and description of Aboriginal languages since 2008.

14.5. More lo­gist­ics, less aid: Hu­man­it­arian-busi­ness part­ner­ships and sustainability in the refugee camp

Presenter: Elisa Pascucci; Discussant: Stef Spronck

Fri 14.5. at 11.00-12.00 

The presentation, based on article published in the journal World Development in 2021, discusses logistics – the science and practice of managing complex operations and moving goods – as an essential yet overlooked dimension of the alignment of global business and global aid in the UN 2030 Agenda era. Focusing on refugee aid, it draws on qualitative fieldwork with practitioners in the field of humanitarian logistics, active in the partnership environment of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in five countries (Greece, Jordan, Lebanon, Rwanda and Sweden).

The analysis shows how aid workers see profit and non-profit partnerships for humanitarian logistics as a priority in the context of the so-called humanitarian-development nexus. In particular, logistics is considered essential to bring refugee aid in line with emerging standards of sustainability. The study puts forward a twofold argument. First, it shows how sustainability policies prioritize logistical solutions that are based on the integration of the displaced in local and transnational markets, rather than on the delivery of material goods and infrastructures. Second, in a slight departure from existing literature on humanitarian logistics, it argues that the agency of the humanitarian sector, and not just that of the corporate world, is central in the promotion of humanitarian logistics partnerships. The conclusions discuss the ethical and political implications of a humanitarianism increasingly oriented towards supply-chain rationales, in which more sustainable logistics often equates less material aid.

Bio: Elisa Pascucci (PhD Geography, University of Sussex) is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, where she is affiliated to the EuroStorie centre and to the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Sciences. Her research focuses on the role of infrastructures, logistics and labour in humanitarian aid, and explores the subjectivities and forms of political agency that develop within humanitarian spaces. Her work has been published in journals such as Antipode, Area, Environment and Planning A and International Political Sociology. Together with Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert, she has co-edited the volume Citizen Humanitarianism at European Borders (Routledge).

HELSUS Brown Bag Lunches Au­tumn 2020

Event dates: 18.9., 9.10., 30.10., 20.11. and 11.12.

18.9. Creating a Sust­Food Data­base for Fin­land: con­sid­er­a­tions for di­ets with lower environ­mental im­pacts com­bin­ing eco­nomic, so­cio-cultural, and nu­tri­tional as­pects, presenter Rachel Mazac

We will walk through the background and considerations for optimizing diets with lower environmental impacts combining economic, socio-cultural, and nutritional aspects. Discussions to follow will be on what further considerations are needed and the benefits and drawbacks of novel/future foods in sustainable food systems.

Bio: Rachel Mazac, is a doctoral student working with the Future Sustainable Food Systems research group at the University of Helsinki. She models sustainable diets and future food systems through an interdisciplinary approach considering the environmental, socio-cultural, and economic dimensions of sustainability. She graduated with a M.Sc. in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems from the Public Health and Urban Nutrition research group in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Prior to her M.Sc. studies, she worked for Spark-Y: Youth Action Labs, educating and empowering youth through sustainability and urban agriculture. Rachel is now a member of the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS) and leads their monthly Sustainability Discussion Group.

9.10. Un­der­stand­ing Cir­cu­lar Eco­nomy in Every­day Life: Trade, Sort & Re­cycle? Per­cep­tions of High School Stu­dents from Finnish Con­text, presenter An­gelina Kor­sun­ova

Abstract: It is generally accepted that governments, municipalities, business and citizens alike have a role to play in transitioning towards circular economy (CE). Yet most academic and policy discussions of CE revolve around technological solutions and business models. Although CE also means significant changes to ways of living, these aspects of CE are barely addressed. The citizen role is traditionally assumed to be the consumers or users of the newly developed solutions, while also following guidelines for sorting and recycling. Little is known on why citizens would want to be part of the CE, and how they envision being part of it. Our study addresses this gap by exploring perceptions of young adults in Finland on how CE reflects into their everyday life. Our dataset consists of 249 responses from high school students in Finland to open-ended questions regarding CE. Our preliminary analysis highlights that CE is strongly associated with recycling, waste sorting and re-selling/buying second-hand, which is in line with conventional roles of efficient recyclers and consumers. Although CE harbors wider potential for more active citizen roles related to repair, maintenance and upcycling, these aspects are often overlooked in favour of more familiar lifestyles. Authors: Angelina Korsunova, Susanna Horn and Annukka Vainio. 

Bios:

Angelina Korsunova is a post-doctoral researcher in the Research Group on Behavioural Change Toward Sustainability at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, and member of HELSUS, University of Helsinki. Angelina’s current research focuses on the human dimension of circular economy - social and cultural aspects of CE, and improving citizen well-being in transitioning towards sustainability. Angelina is an active member of the Climate University network, interested in further developing education for sustainability.

Susanna Horn (DSc in Econ) is a senior research scientist in the Center for Sustainable Consumption and Production at the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). She is currently working in projects related to life cycle approaches and circular economy from different perspectives, such as various value chains, ecodesign, climate change impacts and climate regulations. Susanna is actively participating in several theme groups preparing the strategic programme promoting circular economy in Finland.

Annukka Vainio is an associate professor and head of the Research Group on Behavioural Change Toward Sustainability at Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, member of HELSUS at University of Helsinki. A social psychologist by education, Annukka is serving as a Member of the Finnish Climate Panel.

30.10. Sense(s) of soil – in­vis­ible work and mul­tiple ways of know­ing in prac­tices of re­gen­er­at­ive food (re)pro­duc­tion, presenter Galina Kal­lio

In the era of ecological crisis, we can see an increasing number of people re-organizing economies that fit within ecological boundaries, promote social equity and provide meaningful livelihoods. However, up to date dominant economic theories and efforts to include topics of sustainability into organization and management theories (OMT) have failed to acknowledge other-than-human beings and the wider web of life in the existing conceptualizations. In my current research, I explore empirically and theoretically how economic organizing is an accomplishment of complex and entwined interdependencies between humans and other living organisms. By building on theories of diverse economies and environmental humanities, I examine diverse sense(s) of soil in regenerative food (re)production. In my ongoing ethnographic study, I have followed how people by producing food form relationships to their soils and work with other living organisms and technology, and how people earn a livelihood by focusing on regeneration. In this presentation, I present my preliminary analysis on how multiple ways of knowing and relating to soils and other-than-human beings emerge and unfold in the practices of regenerative food (re)production. I also bring the concept of invisible work into discussion to capture the nature and the type of work being done by humans, other-than-human beings, and technology that is not commonly visible beyond the farms, doesn’t have monetary value and is non-existent in the public and political discourses. 

Galina Kallio is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki. She holds a Dr. Sc. (Econ & Bus. Adm.) from Aalto School of Business, and a Fulbright Scholarship from the University of California, Berkeley. She works on the topics of alternative forms of organizing, diverse economies, regenerative agriculture and human-soil relations. She is fascinated about exploring the intersections between science and art and seeks methodologies accounting for the study, analysis and representation of the non-symbolic, affectual, aesthetical and ethical ways of knowing. She works at the crossing of academia and activism by conducting research and by participating actively in local CSA’s and in societal discussions to support a bio-centric paradigm shift.

20.11. Com­mut­ing, en­vir­on­ment and health: un­der­stand­ing environ­mental ex­pos­ure dur­ing travel and its im­pacts on our health and well­being, presenter Age Poom

Ensuring equal access to healthy and pleasant travel environments is one of the grand challenges in urban sustainability. Low congestion levels, street-level greenery and attractive travel infrastructure prosper active travel, prevent traffic emissions and bring health benefits. At the same time, traffic pollution is one of the dominant urban environmental health threats that is associated with increased stress, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and premature mortality. Equal opportunities to avoid health risks and access healthy, safe and enjoyable travel environment help to reduce the determinants of socio-spatial health inequities. In short, well accessible and healthy low-carbon travel environments are one of the cornerstones of urban liveability.

However, the knowledge on population level environmental exposures during travel, and the understanding on their content, dynamics and cumulative effects are extremely limited. In my presentation, I introduce the results of my systematic review on studies that explore environmental exposure during travel. I explore how the current exposure research addresses the dynamic interactions between travel environment and human mobility, and which connections are made to health and wellbeing, sustainable transportation, and fair and liveable cities. Specifically, I identify what data, methods and measures are used in the exposure assessment, and which spatiotemporal and content biases exist in the current body of scholarly research.

Finally, I relate travel time environmental exposure assessment to exposure-optimized routing concept and the Green Paths routing tool recently developed by our research group. Route planning that takes into consideration the quality of travel environment empowers individuals to make exposure-aware route choices in their daily mobility. Exposure-optimized routing also enables to identify spatial access to healthy travel environments and assess environmental inequities at the level of populations

Age Poom is a postdoctoral researcher interested in human-environmental interactions, urban geography and sustainability science. Currently, she studies the interlinkages of human mobility and environmental exposure in the research project UIA HOPE – Healthy Outdoor Premises for Everyone, and contributes to the development of the Green Paths routing tool. Age holds a PhD degree in human geography from the University of Tartu where she worked as a university lecturer in environmental management. She has participated in several international projects on human mobility, urban geography and spatial planning. Age is an editorial team member of the SAGE peer-reviewed journal Big Data & Society.

11.12. In­tro­du­cing Con­ser­va­tion Cul­tur­om­ics, presenter Ri­cardo Cor­reia

The ongoing loss of biological diversity is primarily the result of unsustainable human behaviour, so the long-term success of biodiversity conservation efforts depends on a thorough understanding of human-nature interactions. Such interactions are ubiquitous but vary greatly in time and space and are difficult to monitor efficiently at large spatial scales. However, we live the Information Age where many aspects of our daily lives, including interactions with nature, are continuously being recorded. The emerging field of conservation culturomics aims to take advantage of digital data and methods to study human-nature interactions, providing new tools for studying conservation-related topics at relevant temporal and spatial scales and improve the sustainability of our interactions with nature.

In this presentation, I will introduce conservation culturomics and highlight how this emerging research area can contribute to the study human-nature interactions. I will present recent work on developing a conservation culturomics research framework, outline the main characteristics of relevant data and methods, and their use for different purposes. I also highlight challenges associated with culturomics research, including issues of interdisciplinarity, ethics, data biases and validation, and actions needed to increase the impact of conservation culturomics research. Finally, I will present the results of a recent analysis of global search interest in conservation related topics and propose how this information can be used to guide actions aiming to improve public understanding of, and engagement with biodiversity conservation.

Bio: Ricardo Correia is a conservation scientist working at the Helsinki Lab for Interdisciplinary Conservation Science (HELICS) and was until recently a post-doctoral researcher with funding from HELSUS. His research aims to explore how the digital revolution can contribute towards conservation science and practice. He is particularly interested in understanding how new digital data sources (e.g. social media platforms, search engines) and analytical methods (e.g. machine learning, natural language processing) can be used to generate novel insights on the relationship between humans and nature to inform conservation action and policy.

HELSUS Brown Bag Lunches Spring 2020

17.01. Eco­nomic, so­cial, and polit­ical geo­graphy in the con­text of Sustainable Urban De­vel­op­ment?, presenter Mikko Weck­roth

Watch the recorded seminar on Unitube

As an interdisciplinary inquiry, sustainability sciences are characterized by complex and to some extent overlapping concepts. This complexity is increasingly apparent when focusing on specific research areas, which inevitably involve a wide range of methodological variation e.g.  “Sustainable Urban Systems / Development”. In this presentation, I try to analyze and disentangle some of this conceptual complexity by utilizing concepts, ideas and theories used in political, social, and economic geography.

The research on sustainable cities and urbanism is dominated by techno-economic rationality and supply-side solutions. In contrast, human geographers have tendency to argue that socio-spatial as well as political context matters when trying to understand the agency, action, and decision-making of individuals.  Therefore, insights from political and behavioral economic geography can complement economic perspectives while trying to understand socio-spatial human behavior in several areas relevant for sustainability sciences (e.g. voting behavior, consumption choices, housing markets and location choices). In this presentation, I will present and discuss certain geographical but also mental divisions and dimensions within societies that affect these key issues in sustainability sciences.

Within this context, I shall address the following questions: What is the socioeconomic and political geography of climate change attitudes and efficacy? What can be learn from interpreting the carbon neutral agendas of cities from the political geography perspective and especially as acts of city-regionalism? What is the role of human wellbeing and values in the transformation into sustainability? And ultimately, instead being fixated on “sustainable cities”, should we be discussing on a broader concept of “sustainable spatial form of a society”?

In this presentation, I shall also present my past and present research on the geographies of wellbeing, human values, and development and try to reflect these results to different definitions on Sustainable Urban Development and Systems.

Bio: Mikko Weckroth is a postdoctoral researcher in the Sustainable Urban Systems research group at the University of Helsinki. He has an academic background in regional studies and human geography and he has previously worked as a university lecturer in human geography and as a postdoctoral researcher in a H2020 project IMAJINE addressing the territorial inequalities and advancing spatial justice within the European Union. In his current work Mikko is conducting research on socioeconomic geography of climate change attitudes along with his perennial interest to understand the role of subjective wellbeing and human values shaping the spatial form of societies.

31.01. In­dic­at­ors of wet­land sustainability: meth­od­o­lo­gical ap­proaches and field-based ex­per­i­ences, presenter Sara Fraixedas

Wetland ecosystems are home to some of the richest biodiversity on the planet, providing ecosystem services of crucial importance to both local and global communities. Yet, wetlands are listed among the most threatened ecosystems in the world. Numerous efforts are therefore being undertaken to support conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. The success of these conservation initiatives is often monitored through the use of biodiversity indicators. Because of their sensitivity to environmental changes, birds are increasingly used as indicators to assess the status and trends of wetland ecosystems. In this talk, I will first provide empirical evidence of the use of bird indicators to assess the conservation and management of wetlands based on case studies from Spain, France and Finland. Second, I will discuss a participatory monitoring scheme with local Indigenous communities from Lake Turkana (Northern Kenya), an Important Bird Area located along one of the main migration routes of Palearctic wintering birds in Africa. This compilation of case studies is conceived as an integrative approach to advance the use of bird indicators for assessing wetland conservation in an era of rapid social-ecological changes.

Bio: Sara Fraixedas is a HELSUS postdoctoral fellow and part of the Global Change and Conservation group. Her research project entitled “Towards wetland sustainability: operationalizing socio-ecological indicators in Europe” aims to provide decision-makers with a complete set of socio-ecological indicators in order to inform a European-level strategic plan to address wetland sustainability. The present work will serve to broaden the scope of policy options available to address the current drivers of wetland loss and degradation in Europe. By feeding the results of this project into science-policy interfaces, the impact of the project will be directly channelled into producing policy-relevant science and stimulating transformative change towards wetland sustainability in Europe.

14.02. Nav­ig­at­ing the science policy in­ter­face:  forestry re­searcher per­spect­ives, presenter Maria Ojanen

Improved science-policy linkages are needed to address sustainability challenges. Multiple efforts have been pursued to enhance knowledge exchange between scientists and society over years. The subsequent science policy literature suggests that effective science-policy engagement requires evidence that is perceived as credible, relevant and legitimate. However, given that many sustainability challenges are so called “wicked problems”, marked by multiple interests, values and contestation over the solutions, there is a  myriad of perceptions and needs over what constitutes such evidence. How do scientists navigate this complexity?  

In this presentation, I will discuss how forest scientists deal with this complexity and contestation in science policy interfaces, characterized by several actors and competing interests regarding how forests should be managed - and for whose benefit. I use the concepts of credibility, relevance and legitimacy (Cash et al. 2003) to explore the challenges and tensions experienced by scientists in science-policy interfaces as well as their strategies of responding to them. Based on the analysis of in-depth interview data, I will highlight how expertise and scientific knowledge is contested and ignored in knowledge exchange processes. I will also discuss how the source of research funding and the funders’ requirement for societal impact can adversely affect the quality of scientific knowledge.  The results indicate that challenges are best met with a wide range of strategies, including partnering and using strategic planning tools. I conclude by drawing lessons that can inform and strengthen future science-policy engagements. 

Bio: Maria Ojanen is a PhD student in the International Forest Policy Group at the Department of Forest Sciences. Her research focuses on evidence informed decision making, especially regarding how evidence is generated and how science and scientists influence policy making processes related to natural resource policies. 

28.02. Learning sustainability com­pet­en­cies, presenter Kalle Juuti

Adolescents are concerned with global warming, diminishing biodiversity and the lack of global and intergenerational equity. Recently, many climate demonstrations and activities have been organised internationally by youths who are eager to create a sustainable future and demand modern lifestyle changes. The presentation focuses on the question how school subjects could help students learn to make changes and how action competence could be tackled in teacher education. First I will introduce the sustainability competencies (System thinking, Normative thinking, Anticipatory competence, strategic / action competence and interpersonal competence). Further, I will introduces circular economy and invention processes as a pedagogical approach to apply and learn powerful disciplinary knowledge in building a more sustainable future. 

Bio: Kalle Juuti is an associate professor (Digital learning at schools) at the faculty of Educational sciences. He has been working within teacher education about two decade. Lately, his research topics has been teachers’ professional learning, project-based learning, digital tools in teaching and learning, interest and emotions in learning, learning powerful disciplinary knowledge, and students’ invention as a pedagogical approach to learn sustainability competencies. He has engaged in educational design research as a methodological approach. He has a physics, mathematics and drama teacher qualification.

CAN­CELLED: 13.03. Be­com­ing Earth: Re­think­ing and (re-)con­nect­ing with the Earth, Sámi lands and re­la­tions, presenter Hanna Gut­torm

This presentation will be an autoethnographic inquiry and storytelling on and from multiple perspectives on a multiple world, or a pluriverse, following eg. de la Cadena and Escobar. The presentation will dwell around the question: What on Earth is it, or could it be, to be an Earthling, a Sámi/Indigenous, a habitant of this planet, in the era of super-complexity, in the need of turning the gaze towards the more-than-human(ist)? The presentation will not be concentrating on producing that much new knowledge on any ‘reality’, but more on finding paths to different actions and mindsets. These possible paths will be outlined and dreamed with inspiration of Sámi concepts and stories concerning life/nature/environment, as well as other Indigenous ontologies.

Bio: PhD Hanna Guttorm is a postdoctoral fellow at HELSUS, with a doctoral degree in education. She is widely interested in life and its’ possibilities on our planet. She is especially inspired on Indigenous ontologies and post theories with those she investigates, how we should do and write research in order to make a change towards more ecological, social and cultural sustainability and solidarity possible.

 

CAN­CELLED: 03.04. In­ter­na­tional Mar­ine Mam­mal Law, Nikolas Sell­heim

Dr Nikolas Sellheim presents his new book International Marine Mammal Law.

 

CAN­CELLED: 24.04. Re-think­ing sustainability trans­form­a­tion of North­ern sparsely pop­u­lated areas, presenters Daria Grit­senko and Nadezhda Stepan­ova

Extreme environmental conditions, sparsely distributed human populations, and diverse local economies characterize the Russian Arctic and Far East. As global changes in the environment and the economic priorities of nations accelerate and globalized societies emerge, there is a neesd for multidisciplinary research into how the Arctic and Far East can be developed sustainably. Yet, when it comes to sustainability indicators, it is clear that little consideration thus far has been given to sparsely populated and remote territories. Rather, the majority of indicators have been developed and tested using empirical research gathered from cities and densely populated rural localities. As a result, there is no develop scientific technique that can be used to monitor the development of sparsely populated territories and inform policy choices that account for local specificity. We are working on a conceptual model for linking sustainability to the unique characteristics of the sparsely populated regions of the Arctic and Far East. We provide an empirical illustration based on regional-level data from the Russian sparsely populated territories. We conclude by suggesting indicators that could be best suited to promoting balanced regional development that accounts for the environment, economy, and social needs of sparsely populated territories.

Bio: Daria Gritsenko has PhD in public policy, she is Assistant professor of Russian Big Data Methodology in administration, economic and political governance in the Aleksanteri Institute HU; holds a membership at the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS); the founder and coordinator of the Digital Russia Studies network. Expert in environmental sustainability, large infrastructure governance in the Russian Arctic, the policy-making activities of private actors. Investigated the effects of Russian energy policy on local sustainability in the Arctic in a number of international Academy projects. PI in the project “Sustainable development in sparsely populated regions: The case of the Russian Arctic and Far East”.

Bio: PhD Nadezhda Stepanova is a postdoctoral fellow at HELSUS, with a doctoral degree in Regional Economy. She is interested in the Arctic sustainability as well as the strategic planning and spatial development in Russian North.