Programme

The SSD2021 Conference is organized online. We invite all interested in sustainability science to join us during these two days. You can also participate in individual sessions.

The conference is free of charge. We only expect you to register here.

All times are East European Summer Time (EEST, UTC +3). We reserve the right to changes.

Monday, May 17th - Pre-conference

   10.00 – 12.00

Pre-conference: Networking and mentoring of University of Helsinki & Aalto University doctoral students, online.

Invitation and registration to the pre-conference is open until February 26th 2021. Please see the invitation letter below for instructions for applications.

Session leaders Maija Taka & Johan Munck af Rosenschöld

Tuesday, May 18th

8.45 – 9.00

Conference platform opens – landing quarter

9.00 – 11.15

Key­note present­a­tions and panel dis­cus­sion, Tuesday

11.15 – 12.15

Break

12.15 – 14.00

Parallel sessions #1, #5 and #9 

14.00 – 14.15 Break

14.15 – 16.00

Parallel sessions #2, #7A and #10 

18.30 – 19.45

Natura UrbanaScreening of documentary film 

Cinema Orion, Eerikinkatu 15, Helsinki. COVID-19 permitting.

Wednesday, May 19th

8.45 – 9.00

Conference platform opens – landing quarter

9.00 – 11.15

Key­note present­a­tions and panel dis­cus­sion, Wednesday

11.15 – 12.15 Break

12.15 – 14.00

Parallel sessions #3, #7B and #11 

14.00 – 14.15 Break

14.15 – 16.00

Parallel sessions #4, #8 and #12 

16.00 – 16.30

 

Closing of the conference and informal online discussion

Tuesday, May 18th 2020 at 9.00-11.15 (EEST, UTC+3)

Destruction & creativity at the face of grand challenges

Opening

  • Opening by Jari Niemelä, President of University of Helsinki, Professor of Urban Ecology

Keynotes

  • Keynote by Professor of Sustainability Management Minna Halme, Director of Aalto University Sustainability Hub: "How to destruct unsustainable structures by creating new solutions"
  • Keynote by Professor of Ecology and Evolution and Associate Faculty in Sociology Luis M. Bettencourt, University of Chicago: "Localizing Sustainable Development: How the creative transformation of cities can lead the way."

Commentary

Panel with the presenters, moderated by Professor of Sustainability Transformations and Ecosystem Services Christopher Raymond, University of Helsinki

Wednesday, May 19th 2021 at 9.00-11.15 (EEST, UTC+3)

How can we boost sustainable transformation?

Opening

Keynotes

  • Keynote by Professor of Forest Sciences Anne Toppinen, Director of HELSUS, Academic Director of Sustainability Science Days 2021: "What is the role of sustainability science in solving grand challenges?"
  • Keynote by Professor in Sustainable Business Nancy Bocken, Maastricht University, Lund University and LUT, Finland: "Boosting circular economy – Sustainable business models, innovation and experimentation"
  • Keynote by Professor Marc Wolfram, The Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development, Chair of Spatial Development and Transformation at Technische Universität Dresden: "Catalyzing transformations: Missions, places and the role of transformative capacity"

Q&A

Moderated by vice-president Ossi Naukkarinen (Aalto University)

Tuesday, May 18th 2021 at 12.15 - 14.00 (EEST, UTC+3)

Session conveners

Associate professor Markus Kröger, Doctoral Student Sophia Hagolani-Albov, Postdoctoral Researcher Ossi Ollinaho (University of Helsinki)

Assistant Professor Annukka Santasalo-Aarnio (Aalto University)

Description

The session is robust exploration of renewables, recycling, and new tech developments that could help to address the current forms of destructive and unsustainable extraction of raw materials.

The topic of extractivism is gaining more importance as a new key concept that helps to understand, at a deeper level, the causes of destructive resource extractive projects and overall political economic models built on this extractivist paradigm. There is a growing debate around how to find alternatives to destructive extractive processes, and how to identify and implement alternative ways to provide raw materials and create sustainable livelihoods and production processes. This session will focus on unsustainable extraction practices and the technological and political solutions that stand as alternatives in the face of extractivism. We invite presentations that explore renewables, recycling, new tech developments, and how these measures could be adopted to ameliorate the problems of extractivism. We want to explore the political, economic, and socio-environmental factors that could impede or support the adoption of these potential alternatives.

The session will create opportunities for dialogue and development of common vocabularies across disciplines. The conveners of this session come from diverse backgrounds including the social sciences, business, and engineering. We welcome a collaborative approach to a robust exploration of renewables, recycling, and new tech developments that could help to address the current destructive and unsustainable forms of extraction of raw materials—including, but not limited to, mining, agriculture, forestry. We strive to pave the way for future collaboration and looking at these issues from inter-, trans-, and multidisciplinary perspectives

Speakers and their presentation titles

  • Circular textile economy: social and environmental synergies or tradeoffs? Anna HärriHelena Dahlbo, and Jarkko Levänen
  • Critical factors for enhancing the circular economy in waste management, Hanna Salmenperä, Kati Pitkänen, Petrus Kautto and Laura Saikku
  • Reusing mine tailings as cemented paste backfill material (CPB), Soili Solismaa and Tommi Kauppila
  • Saving the Environment by Being Green with Fintech: exploring the contradictions between environmentalism and reality in the case of Ant Forest, Zeng Zhen
  • Exploring Kiertovalu, Tommi Sappinen
  • Why is agroforestry not expanding but industrial monocultures are expanding in Brazil?, Markus Kröger and Ossi Ollinaho

Commentator Ulla Heinonen, Gaia Consulting Oy.

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Tuesday, May 18th 2021 at 14.15-16 (EEST, UTC+3)

Session conveners 

Postdoctoral Researcher Ashraful Alam (Aalto University), Postdoctoral Researcher Eliisa Kylkilahti (University of Helsinki).

Description

The wider adoption of wood-based and hybrid building solutions in urban contexts will likely require changes in the operation and interactions of the several actors and institutions involved in construction, ranging from construction companies, wood element suppliers to urban planners, local and regional decision-makers and end-users. In this session, researchers from various disciplines will discuss and debate the possibilities for, and challenges related to the wider adoption of wood-based and hybrid building solutions. The focus is emphasized on the issues of and solution to carbon-neutral and circular cities in urban contexts. With the session, we hope to add to our understanding on the climate and other sustainability aspects of building up cities with wood, and how they link up with the efforts of the cities, including the dynamics involved in it. Especially studies analyzing or assessing the impacts of using wood in urban construction and their implications for climate and sustainability goals are discussed.

Speakers and their presentation titles

  • Beliefs, attitudes and personal responsibility. The perceptions of civil servants across Finland, Florencia Franzini (University of Helsinki)
  • Sustainability criteria in land use planning and urban building – Useless metrics or helpful tools? Katja Lähtinen (Natural Resources Institute Finland)
  • What about wood? – “Non-wood” construction Experts’ perceptions on environmental regulation, business environment and potential trends toward 2030 in multistory housing development, Aleksi Aaltonen, Elias Hurmekoski & Jaana Korhonen (University of Helsinki)
  • Reuse and recycling of wood from buildings, Nasiri Bahareh (Aalto University)
  • Healthy circular economies in the building industry – the case of plasterboard, Delphine Rumo (Aalto University)
  • Towards sustainable construction sector via socially inclusive consumer-driven business models, Eliisa Kylkilahti, Minna Autio & Anne Toppinen (University of Helsinki)

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Wednesday, May 19th 2021 at 12.15-14.00 (EEST, UTC+3)

Session convener 

Professor Ari Jokilaakso (Aalto University)

Description

The session is an opportunity for the researchers from different fields of materials engineering and processing to present their recent studies on improving the sustainability of metals production, with a particular emphasis on metals recovery, reuse and recycling as well as optimization of existing processes. It also serves as an overview of what is already going on for improving sustainability in metals processing.

The target of the Finnish government is to make Finland a global leader in the circular economy by 2025 and carbon neutral by 2035. One of the focus areas in the road map, drafted under the direction of the Finnish Innovation Fund, Sitra in co-operation with the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the business sector and other key stakeholders, are technical loops. The goal of the technical loops focus area is sustainable use of non-renewable natural resources, lengthening the product life cycles via maintenance measures, and determining how the waste produced during material processing and product manufacturing as well as the materials in the products at the end of their life can be returned to the loop with maximum efficiency.

One of the goals for Finland is to be a model country in solving the challenge of material scarcity. The main way to do that is to minimize the need for virgin raw materials and maximize the length of the material and product loops as well as utilizing reuse opportunities. For the metallurgical industry, a key focus point in current research is to design processes that can utilize existing waste flows, such as electronic waste or iron-containing residues, and thus minimize waste. An excellent example of this is the BatCircle projects, led by Aalto University’s Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering. Equally important near future solution is to find ways to maximally utilize existing metallurgical processes to use the above mentioned secondary raw materials for recovering valuable metals.

Speakers and their presentation titles

  • Opening: Sustainable metals – an oxymoron? Ari Jokilaakso (Aalto University)
  • Separating mineral valuables in a greener way, Ted Nuorivaara and Rodrigo Serna-Guerrero (Aalto University)
  • Investigating metals in circulation, Anna Dańczak, Lassi Klemettinen, Pekka Taskinen, Daniel Lindberg, Ari Jokilaakso (Aalto University)
  • Finland-based circular ecosystem of battery metals (BATCircle), Jere Partinen, Mari Lundström (Aalto University)
  • How does Finnish origin copper production technology compare to global competition in sustainability? Christina Alexander, Hannu Johto, Matti Peltomäki (Outotec)
  • Sustainability and circular economy in stainless steelmaking, Juha Erkkilä (Outokumpu Oyj)
  • How to assess environmental-economic impact of modern gold processing? Susanna Horn, Matti Talikka, Antti Remes, Madeleine Scheidema (Outotec (Finland) Oy)
  • Commentator observations and discussion, Nani Pajunen (Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA)

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Wednesday, May 19th 2021 at 14.15-16.00 (EEST, UTC+3)

Session conveners

Associate Professor Rosa Ballardini (University of Lapland), Professor Jan Holmström (Aalto University)

Description

Interactive and multi-disciplinary discussions on the disruptions needed in the business, legislative and policy frameworks to transition towards a more sustainable innovation ecosystem for (3D printable) bio-based plastic products. 

One of our major global challenges in materials science relates to the transformation from fossil-based polymeric materials to sustainable, renewable and carbon-binding ones, to enable resource efficient production and foster re- and up-cycling of plastics. Raising technologies like 3D printing might bring great benefits in this process. Enabling this transformation requires looking at all the steps of the value chain, for the production of materials, to the use of materials in final products, all the way to the recycling and disposal of products. Notably, a key question in this exercise relates to depicting the characteristics that a business, legislative and policy framework should have in order to foster this transformation. In a market economy, this requires examining the complexities of the exiting business and policy structures, as they are often hindering rather than facilitating disruptive changes like the one envisioned by a (3D-printable) bio-based plastic innovation ecosystem. Business disruptions might be needed in order to develop novel decentralized sustainable business models that support a smooth transition towards distributed, local manufacturing of bio-based polymeric products. Legal and policy disruptions might be necessary to provide with the right incentives to create economic benefits, while also prioritizing ethical values like strong sustainability. 

Presentation titles and speakers

  • Opening words, Professor Jan Holmström (Aalto University) and Associate Professor Rosa Maria Ballardini (University of Lapland).
  • Non-economic value of nature: moral, aesthetics and ecological value, Doctoral candidate and Researcher Corinna Casi (University of Helsinki and University of Lapland).
  • Transition to bioplastics: technological, economic and regulatory challenges and emerging transitional pathways, Post-doctoral researcher Jaakko Siltaloppi (Aalto University).
  • Sustainability in competition law: alternatives to a consumer welfare standard?, Post-doctoral researcher Juha Vesala (University of Lapland).
  • Brand-driven Transition to Bio-based Plastics Supply Chain, Doctoral candidate Alireza Jaribion (Aalto University).
  • Use of the VTT Proper Tune materials modelling concept for the fast development of sustainable bio-based plastic composites, Senior Scientist Stefania Fortino (VTT).
  • Co-creation segment, chaired by Research Scientist Henri Wiman (VTT).

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Tuesday, May 18th 2021 at 12.15 - 14.00 (EEST, UTC+3)

Session conveners

Professor Mikko Jalas (Aalto University) and University Lecturer Pasi Heikkurinen (University of Helsinki)

Description

The welfare state is claimed to indicate sustainability, but also economic growth and resource-hungry patterns of everyday life. This session explores the potential and limitations of transformation towards an eco-welfare state.

The welfare state underlies many contemporary patters of everyday life. Housing, urban space, mobility, work, and food, for instance, have been largely shaped by the state (Scott, 1998). Such ramifications of the welfare state are problematic from the point of view of sustainability if they imply continuous economic growth. The welfare state is also a key structure for governance of social life, managing natural resources and redistributing them, and for forging an ethic of sustainability. Internationally, the Nordic welfare states are claimed to serve as examples of sustainability, while they paradoxically have the highest amount of per capita consumption in the world. Being located at crossroads and faced with significant dilemmas, the notion of ecowelfare state has become a far-reaching discursive object within sustainability debates (Gough 2017; Koch and Fritz 2014).

The session is organized in cooperation with the Towards Eco-Welfare State: Orchestrating for Systemic (ORSI) research project (http://www.ecowelfare.fi/) and Sustainable Change Research Network (SUCH) (suchresearch.net).

Speakers and their presentation titles

  • The Virtuous Circle of Sustainable Welfare as a Transformative Policy Idea, Tuuli Hirvilammi
  • Knowledge production and eco-social rationalities: the Finnish social security reform as a case, Paula Saikkonen
  • Fairness in a resource-scarce society - How to regulate prime time access to congested infrastructures in electricity and transport sectors, Mikko Jalas and Sini Numminen
  • Ecowelfare States on Trajectory to Anthropolitics? Toni Ruuska, Kristoffer Wilén and Pasi Heikkurinen 
  • Commentary Tere Vadén (BIOS research unit)

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Tuesday, May 18th 2021 at 14.15-16 (EEST, UTC+3)

Session conveners 

Dr. Michael Lettenmeier (Aalto University), Prof. Mari Niva (University of Helsinki), and Dr. Senja Laakso (University of Helsinki)

Description

How to accelerate fundamental, systemic changes in consumption and production towards sustainability? How to disrupt present practices and reconfigure more sustainable ones?

There is a widely shared understanding that innovative ways to achieve “1.5-degree lifestyles” are needed to mitigate climate change in time. Transitions to sustainability require fundamental changes to societal processes, particularly to the ways products and services are produced and consumed, and how these systems of production and consumption are governed. There is a pressing need to disrupt, or even “creatively destruct”, prevailing systems and practices based on overexploitation of resources and producing environmentally detrimental outcomes, while creating sufficiently fast emerging, sustainable alternatives that do not endanger the wellbeing of present and future generations.

Two distinct theoretical approaches have become especially prominent in this field: socio-technical transitions, particularly multi-level perspective (e.g. Schot & Geels 2008), and social practice theory (e.g. Shove & Walker 2010). Moreover, there is a growing body of research aiming to identify crossovers and intersections between these two approaches (e.g. Hargreaves et al. 2012; McMeekin & Southerton 2012). These approaches are also utilised in a number of initiatives and empirical enquiries that aim to understand and support sustainability changes in both systems and practices. What is shared in these approaches is that they also recognise contemporary environmental and sustainability challenges as demanding fundamental systems change that cannot be achieved through incremental tinkering with patterns of consumption or production.

Speakers and their presentation titles

  • Saraswat, C. & Daniell, K. (Australian National University): Innovation capabilities in water governance for accelerating sustainability transitions in water regimes: Evidence from South Asia
  • Ahonen, V. (University of Helsinki): Organizations and flight emissions - trends and recommendations for the Universities of Finland
  • Happonen, J. (University of Helsinki): Effects of an online footprinting tool on its’ users: helping citizens to better understand their role in sustainability transition?
  • Tiilikainen, S. (Aalto University) & Arminen, I. (University of Helsinki): Accelerating sustainability transitions for all: Peer-to-peer fostering of environmentally sustainable food consumption with online videos
  • Turunen, L. (Aalto University) & Halme, M. (University of Helsinki): Three Shades of Green: Developing an Actionable Instrument for Sustainability Communication

Wednesday, May 19th 2021

Session conveners 

Dr. Michael Lettenmeier (Aalto University), Prof. Mari Niva (University of Helsinki), and Dr. Senja Laakso (University of Helsinki).

Description

How to accelerate fundamental, systemic changes in consumption and production towards sustainability? How to disrupt present practices and reconfigure more sustainable ones?

There is a widely shared understanding that innovative ways to achieve “1.5-degree lifestyles” are needed to mitigate climate change in time. Transitions to sustainability require fundamental changes to societal processes, particularly to the ways products and services are produced and consumed, and how these systems of production and consumption are governed. There is a pressing need to disrupt, or even “creatively destruct”, prevailing systems and practices based on overexploitation of resources and producing environmentally detrimental outcomes, while creating sufficiently fast emerging, sustainable alternatives that do not endanger the wellbeing of present and future generations.

Two distinct theoretical approaches have become especially prominent in this field: socio-technical transitions, particularly multi-level perspective (e.g. Schot & Geels 2008), and social practice theory (e.g. Shove & Walker 2010). Moreover, there is a growing body of research aiming to identify crossovers and intersections between these two approaches (e.g. Hargreaves et al. 2012; McMeekin & Southerton 2012). These approaches are also utilised in a number of initiatives and empirical enquiries that aim to understand and support sustainability changes in both systems and practices. What is shared in these approaches is that they also recognise contemporary environmental and sustainability challenges as demanding fundamental systems change that cannot be achieved through incremental tinkering with patterns of consumption or production.

Speakers and their presentation titles

  • Mazac, R. (University of Helsinki): The Post-Anthropocene Diet: Ontologically navigating future diets for sustainable food systems
  • Kanerva, M. (University of Bremen): Making the case for sustainable meat consumption corridors
  • Arnould, E. (Aalto University): Ontography and sustainable eco-conomic relationships
  • Lonkila, A., Kaljonen, M. (Finnish Environment Institute): Regime-niche relations as ontological struggles over cultural and material meanings: transition potential of Finnish meat alternatives
  • Moritz, J., Tuomisto, H., Ryynänen, T. (University of Helsinki): Transformative Innovation Policies: Political Stakeholders’ Perceptions of Cellular Agriculture

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Wednesday, May 19th 2021 at 14.15-16.00 (EEST, UTC+3)

Session conveners

Matti O. Hannikainen (University of Helsinki), Riikka Mäkikoskela, Taneli Tuovinen (Aalto University)

Description

The session aims to gather researchers to discuss how to understand and enhance a radical shift to circular economy. The quest is not simple and it needs a new interdisciplinary approach combining sociocultural, political, historic, engineering, economic and ecological spheres.

The contemporary societies need a fundamental shift to circular economy. While this has been acknowledged for few decades by now, societies continue to produce more waste globally today than ever before. This session not only examines the relationship between the waste inevitably produced and cultures of waste, but also the crucial differences between various wasted materials. Moreover, the session discusses future models for a circular economy, where the waste is no more being wasted. The presentations approach the topic from historical, sociocultural and future perspectives.

Speakers and their presentation titles

  • Pivotal Role of Engineering in Transitioning from the Culture of Waste to Sustainable Circular Economy, Israel Dunmade (Mount Royal University)
  • Making of Cultural Change in the Context of Circular Economy and Art, Riikka Mäkikoskela and Taneli Tuovinen (Aalto University)
  • Circular economy narratives, Marileena Mäkelä (University of Jyväskylä and School of Resource Wisdom), Tiina Onkila , Milla Sarja (University of Jyväskylä), Mira Valkjärvi, Katariina Koistinen, Satu Teerikangas (Turku School of Economics, University of Turku)
  • Circular economy and higher education institutions: how to get sustainability, Leyla-Angelica Sandoval-Hamón and Ruiz Peñalver (Autonomus University of Madrid)
  • Wasteful Cities – Policies on Garbage Dumps in Helsinki and Espoo, Matti O. Hannikainen (University of Helsinki)
  • Commentary by Helena Dahlbo (Finnish Environment Institute SYKE)

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Tuesday, May 18th 2021 at 12.15 - 14.00 (EEST, UTC+3)

Session conveners

Assistant Professor Dorothée Cambou (University of Helsinki) and Associate Professor Marjut Jyrkinen (University of Helsinki)

Description

The session invites scholars to submit abstracts discussing the topics of gender equality and the rights of indigenous peoples through the lens of case studies underlining the challenges, paradoxical and controversial aspects of sustainable development, together with initiatives that may propose a counter narrative fostering just sustainabilities for all.

One of the main pleas of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Agenda is that no one shall be left behind. In that regard, several SDGs address the importance of gender equality and the rights of indigenous peoples. Yet, persistent challenges remain to ensure the inclusion of women and indigenous peoples in the process of sustainable development. Whereas indigenous peoples have contributed since immemorial time to maintain their livelihoods, manage resources sustainably and act as guardians or custodians of the lands for the next generation, their rights are poorly acknowledged in the sustainable transition. In addition, although gender is specifically focused in SDG 5, there is an urgent need to mainstream gender aspects throughout the sustainability goal, policies and practices as poverty, development and sustainability are inextricably linked to gender and human rights. A great paradox is therefore that sustainable development measures do not adequately include women or adversely impact indigenous peoples, thereby making the transition fundamentally unjust. In this regard, the session calls for attention how the traditional, prevailing and persistent attitudes and perceptions among states and business – those based on male privilege and subordination of women and indigenous people – impact on building up more inclusive and sustainable transition.

Speakers and their presentation titles

  • A Just transition or just transition? The impacts of wind energy projects on the rights of the Sámi reindeer herders, Dorothée Cambou (University of Helsinki)
  • Storytelling development in Sápmi or in the Arctic – The Arctic Railway as an example about conflicting development strategies and reversed sustainabilities, Tiina Jääskeläinen (Hanken School of Economics)
  • Gender Inequality, Indigenous Rights and Sustainable Development: Comparing Canada, China and Chad, Paul Larson (University of Manitoba)
  • Who will bear the brunt of the Conservation Acts? Environmental Sustainability and the Marginal People in Indian Sundarbans, Dayabati Roy (University of Helsinki)

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Tuesday, May 18th 2021 at 14.15-16 (EEST, UTC+3)

Session conveners 

Adjunct Professor, University Researcher Kaisa Matchoss (University of Helsinki & Center for Consumer Society Research) and Postdoctoral researcher Meri Jalonen (Aalto University).

Description

Exploring the social aspects and human agency of the energy transition. How to enhance just creative destruction?

Energy transitions are by their very nature socio-technical, which places human agency and societal change at the center of the transition. However, the socio-technical transitions approach is often argued to be too technology centric. The theme of the conference ’destruction & creativity’ is central to the necessary radical changes in our unsustainable lifestyles, businesses and governance. However, what does this mean from the perspective of diverse actor groups? How to enhance just creative destruction?

This session invites theoretical and empirical transition studies that take the human agency and social processes of socio-technical transitions under investigation. Topics can include (but are not restricted to) technology developers and designers, energy users and prosumers, community energy initiatives, questions of energy justice and beneficiaries of transitions, regional and local energy transitions, public policy, technology proponents and antagonists, and other social processes of transitions. Such examples of social aspects of transition are important in shaping, translating and giving meanings to novel technologies and solutions but also in challenging mature technologies and shared conventions, beliefs and norms.

Speakers and their presentation titles

  • Assessing the competition-driven rationale of markets in energy transitions: the ‘marketization' of RES policy support for wind energy in Germany, Cristian Pons-Seres de Brauwer
  • Sketching an inclusive roadmap to a peat-free energy system, Hanna Lempinen

  • How to talk about energy saving to energy-poor? Experiences from home advisory work of a European project Assist2gether, Sini Numminen

  • Urban transportation in India: diffusion of e-rickshaw and it’s potential, Venkata Bandi

  • Commentary by Jussi Nikula (WWF).

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Wednesday, May 19th 2021 at 12.15-14.00 (EEST, UTC+3)

Description

Sustainability transitions are ongoing in several sectors globally (in energy, food and urban contexts but also in economies, nature systems and overall welfare). Although there are such a transformative processes ongoing, there are also several topics that are not spoken. Discussing and addressing several taboos in ongoing sustainability transitions is a key for the development to continue. If these are not raised into the discussions, it can cause cumulative tensions, which can manifest itself in a form of increasing dissatisfaction and even resistance towards sustainability transitions. This, we cannot afford.

We will focus on taboos related to economic growth and other taboo issues selected through an interactive discussion during the session. Session is organized by Finland’s Expert Panel for Sustainable Development.

Organisers

Jari Lyytimäki, Katriina Soini & Eeva-Lotta Apajalahti

Coordinators of the Expert Panel for Sustainable Development

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Wednesday, May 19th 2021 at 14.15-16.00 (EEST, UTC+3)

Session conveners

Dr. Jukka-Pekka Heikkilä (Aalto University) and PhD Reseacher Niclas Sandström (University of Helsinki)

Description

By presenting and discussing views on the potential of participatory extreme context, we wish to co-explore and learn a way towards a common path where more focus and dedication is given to the creation of novel sustainable solutions regarding SDG #9 and #11. "Participation is shapeshifting the way we see power and engagement. Out of extreme grows the most magnificent innovation."        

Recent times have seen shifts to more unstable institutional environments, raising new challenges for SDG #9 promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation and for SDG #11 making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Natural disasters, ever increasing pollution, war, political controversy, the very nature of fragility of our planet becomes ever more apparent, more extreme.

What is extreme? We define extreme by following Hällgren et al. (2018) “where one or more extreme events are occurring or are likely to occur that may result in an extensive physical, psychological, or material consequences to physical or psycho-social proximity to organisation members”. Extreme is often associated with misery. However, in this session we argue extreme can yield hidden unexplored potential, particularly within the domain of participatory environment where individuals do not act as consumers but also contributors, co-creators (Jenkins, 2012; Timms & Heimans, 2018). Following this, well-cited research has demonstrated that dramatic, positive changes can occur in individuals as a direct result of experiences in extreme environments and call this post-traumatic growth, a personal transformation (Peterson et al, 2008). A sense of contribution (Eccles, 2008) can be created through meaningful participation, a claim we wish to prove true also in the proposed session.

By building on this, a positive transformative human potential related to participatory extreme environments, we wish to present two cases in relation to SDG#9 and SDG11 to foster the discussion for co-creating social innovations, together with science and practice, within the domain of Sustainable Science Days topics at Aalto University and University of Helsinki. For SDG #9, the case is WTSUP!, a co-created education platform, aimed to foster women's empowerment and volunteerism culture, located in extreme environment of crisis-torn Lebanon (YLE, 2019). The aim for the cross-cultural platform is to promote industrialization and foster innovation where for 2020 WTSUP! event in Beirut, the overarching theme is sustainability. For SDG #11, for more inclusive and sustainable urban planning, we present a participatory culture laboratory of Burning Man, especially the temporary 70,000 participant Black Rock City, BRC (American Planning Association, 2016 & BRCMUP, 2016). The potential of this case lies particularly within the temporary nature, city with less bureaucracy and power play (Stanford News, 2018). The radical nature of BRC may therefore provide insights into organizational processes of adaptation and prioritization, resilience, that could support cities in their tasks to become more sustainable. Ultimately, through these two novel topics, we wish to answer the surging scientific interest on extreme contexts, open a scholarly venue to study the previously unknown. On the practical front, by presenting and discussing views on the potential of participatory extreme context, that may support individual transformation, we wish to co-explore and learn a way towards a common path where more focus and dedication is given to the creation of novel sustainable solutions regarding SDG #9 and #11 (Sandström, Nevgi & Nenonen, 2019; Sandström & Nenonen, 2018). "Participation is shapeshifting the way we see power and engagement. Out of extreme grows the most magnificent innovation. "

Speakers and their presentation titles

  • The design of SDG – embedded education modules for extreme environments: case WTSUP! 2020, Jukka-Pekka Heikkilä (Aalto University), Niclas Sandström (University of Helsinki) and Emma Sandström (Aalto University).
  • The Role of the Youth in Achieving the SDGs: Young People Pathways to Build Sustainable and Liveable Cities, Elie Kallab (UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network - Youth) and Ana Ynestrillas.
  • Perspectives on radical experimenting in urban planning and sustainability: Case Black Rock City / Burning Man Nevada, Jukka-Pekka Heikkilä and Emma Sandström (Aalto University)

Interactivity: Before the presentations, the participants will engage anonymous submission of ideas or concerns, followed by a pairwise comparison that creates an immediate benefit to all. Then, the outcome can be negotiated with the group at once, thus guiding the core discussions regarding the spearheading themes as actionable outcomes.

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