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Browsing by study line "Globaali kestävyys"

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  • Korkman, Nadia (2023)
    Previous research has shown that beef have higher environmental impacts of land use (LU) and global warming potential (GWP) than the legumes, though the production type of beef makes a difference in its environmental impacts. Beef as a protein source produced within High Nature Value (HNV) farming systems has not yet been compared to other protein sources in terms of nutritional and environmental impact. HNV farmland is defined as farmland areas in Europe “where agriculture is a major land use and where that agriculture supports or is associated with, either a high species and habitat diversity or the presence of species of European conservation concern or both” (Andersen et al. 2003). Though beef has higher environmental impacts, it can provide an important nutrient source, especially if the bioavailability (BA) of protein is taken into account. It is known that legumes have lower BA for protein than beef, which means that the beef protein and some nutrients are made more available for the human body. It remains unknown to what degree this could affect the required mass of foods consumed to meet nutrition requirements, which could in turn effect the environmental impacts of food consumption. The aim is to assess if HNV beef and plant-based protein-rich alternatives differ in environmental impacts when BA of proteins is considered. The objectives are i) to compare HNV beef in relation to its nutritional content and environmental impact to three alternative protein sources (red kidney beans, chickpeas, and fava beans) and ii) to assess the difference in environmental impacts when BA of these protein sources is and is not considered. The results showed that taking into account protein BA affects the available nutritional value of the protein and the environmental impacts of HNV beef and the other protein sources. The impacts of GWP and LU are highest for HNV and conventional beef even when the impacts were corrected for BA. This means that the inclusion of beef produced on HNV farmland in a sustainable diet is more environmentally impactful than protein intake from legumes when considering the chosen environmental categories. Future studies should include environmental impacts such as water use, carbon sequestration, biodiversity and also different socio-cultural metrics in order to justly assess HNV farming system and HNV products.
  • Ryöppy, Selja (2022)
    A systemic change in the current modes of production and consumption, a so-called sustainability transition, is required to overcome large-scale society-transforming phenomena such as the climate change. This in turn demands changes in socio-technical systems, i.e., the networks of actors, institutions, technologies, material artefacts, and knowledge creation. In this thesis, the Finnish construction and housing sector is used as a case study, and an example of one socio-technical system. By focusing on the socio aspect of the socio-technical, I analyse how actors who are involved in the current system may inhibit or enable a sustainability transition. I seek to answer the following questions: what the relevant definitions of and foci for climate-wise action are among stakeholders in the sector in Finland; how actor-related barriers manifest themselves; and which actors could enable or speed up the transition. This thesis builds on sustainability transition theories, especially multi-level perspective and strategic niche management, to better understand actor roles and relationships. Based on a literature review, I define three actor-related barriers to transition (misaligned vision and focus, small network, and pro-regime actor resistance) and one potential enabler (intermediaries). These are then applied to the Finnish context. In this thesis, I employed stakeholder analysis as the methodology, interviewing a pre-defined set of 21 stakeholders. The results were analysed using content and social network analyses. The results suggest that although the understanding of climate-wise construction and housing is gaining a more holistic perspective, the three barriers all still manifest in the sector in Finland: all the stakeholders are engaged in energy-related topics, but hold differing foci on household choices, low-carbon materials and circularity; the network amongst actors seems relatively dense and inclusive, but improvement points emerge with closer examination; although results suggest that development has happened in the recent years, industries and incumbents are still considered too slow-moving. The importance of intermediation is also recognised by many but defining and picking potential intermediaries out of the crowd is a complex task. Overall, the sector may be moving forward in the transition, but the stakeholders create and uphold both barriers and opportunities in the process.
  • Aula, Onerva (2022)
    This study aims to understand how cities adapt to environmentally induced hazards, like floods. Extreme floods are interesting firstly, because climate change is predicted to increase flooding in several places globally in the future, and secondly, because even a small risk could be realised in the right conditions. The methods are a case study of flood adaptation in Helsinki, qualitative content analysis, interviews, and a scenario. Land use planning is chosen as the context of the case study, because densification challenges flood preparedness. The material consists of the zoning plan of Helsinki, its flood risk management related appendixes and interviews with city experts. The qualitative content analysis aims to answer the first research question: How does land use planning consider extreme floods in Helsinki? The scenario, in turn, aims to answer the second research question: In what ways might an extreme flood challenge the current land use planning in Helsinki? The interviews are mainly used to support the other methods. The results lead to one main argument, for which I present several justifications. The argument is that the flood risk management and land use planning in Helsinki, the urban structure of which is densifying, do not sufficiently consider the risk related to extreme floods, even though climate change is increasing the likelihood of such. In the end, I present some policy recommendations to change this.
  • Hynynen, Outi (2022)
    A common understanding of partnership goals is widely acknowledged to be one of the most crucial factors of a partnership project’s success. This thesis examines a partnership between the city of Espoo and five company partners and looks for processes and conditions that support a common understanding of the project goals. The aim is to support future sustainability-partnerships by giving managers concrete tools for facilitating goal-alignment by answering the research question “how did the partners accept and adapt to a common sustainability goal?” The data consists of interviews conducted with the project employees from both the city and the private entities, the project contract and web communications published by the partners. The data was analyzed using theme categories derived from the literature, seeking to first find the answer of whether the official partnership goal was adopted an accepted by the partners, and then comparing those observations to the experiences that partners had had working in the collaboration. It seems that the project goal was adopted and accepted in this case, and based on the findings five key mechanisms for how that was achieved and what future managers can therefore consider were recognized: 1) the organizational goals of the partner organizations were sufficiently compatible with the partnership goal, 2) the partnership goal was broad enough to leave room for later adjustments, 3) the partners were further divided into smaller sub-tasks with supporting sub-goals, 4) there was a lot of mandatory group-work and 5) all of the above-mentioned features were taken into account already in the design-phase of the partnership, and programmed into the day-to-day activities of the collaboration.
  • Gustafson, Karl (2024)
    Although scientific knowledge is centered around academic institutions of the Global North, publications claiming to be “global” have surged recently. This thesis used a rigorous systematic literature review to identify articles with “global” in the title or author keywords, then analyzed the exact locations from where their dataset originates. Furthermore, it examined circulation metrics of each assessed article, as determined by their journal’s impact factor, to investigate if there are any discrepancies among an article’s impact factor and its global representativeness. Finally, it compared the impact factor of these “global” papers to similar non-global articles to get an idea if “global” papers are published in more reputable journals than their non-global counterparts. The results of this thesis show there is an overrepresentation of “global” environmental science data from Eastern Asia, Northern America, Western Europe, Southern Europe and Northern Europe, and an underrepresentation of environmental science data from Southern America, Eastern Europe and Northern Asia, Eastern Africa, Western Africa, Northern Africa, Middle Africa, and Central Asia. Moreover, all journals, regardless of their prestige, publish articles with these globally unrepresentative results. Yet, articles with “global” in the title or keywords circulate in journals with higher impact factors than non-global papers. My results signal that data from only a few regions dilute “global” environmental studies, while marginalizing many parts of the world. Therefore, “global” environmental science research needs a stricter threshold of globality.
  • Martikainen, Sanni (2020)
    The production and consumption of foodstuffs has a strong impact on climate change, and vice versa. Agriculture and the food industry are responsible for over 25% of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, food choices are a significant way in which individuals can influence greenhouse gas emissions. By comprehensively changing one’s food consuming habits to align with the principles of sustainability, an individual can decrease the climate impact of their total consumption by approximately ten percent. Sustainable habits, such as food consumption, are part of wider social and cultural processes. Therefore, in research relating to food consumption, it is important to consider both the background of the research participants and the community and society in which they live. Through food choices, an individual expresses their identity, status, and belonging in the community. Eating is a social event that is affected by the values and attitudes of the surrounding community and society. These things strongly influence an individual’s food choices, but on the other hand, individuals can also reshape the attitudes and values of their community through their choices. In order to advance sustainable food decisions on a societal level, it is important to examine what factors influence people’s consuming and eating habits. There has been a considerable amount of research done on sustainable foods, but the research focus has not often been on aware consumers. Studying aware consumers provides information about which factors hinder the making of sustainable decisions when the obstacle is not a lack of awareness. As more is known about the reasons behind people’s food choices, it becomes possible to consider new methods for getting people to make more sustainable choices. The students of the Environmental Change and Global Sustainability program at the University of Helsinki are interesting subjects of research, because they presumably are aware of and interested in the impacts of their food choices. Therefore, in studying them it is possible to focus on other factors determining their food choices, rather than obstacles related to a lack of awareness. In addition, Helsinki as a study location offers good possibilities for making sustainable choices, because there is a diverse supply of sustainable foods in the urban centre. In this master’s thesis, I aim to answer the question: What kinds of perceptions of a sustainable diet do the students of the University of Helsinki program of Environmental Change and Global Sustainability have and what kinds of obstacles do they face when making sustainable food choices? My study is a qualitative case study. I gathered the research material by conducting semi-structured theme interviews with eight students. I analyzed the material by employing thematic analysis methods. My study indicates that the students found it most difficult to follow a totally plant-based diet, even though they consider it to be a sustainable choice. Choosing plant-based food was challenging for them especially in certain social situations. These included situations in which the students felt pressured into eating animal-based food, or situations in which they wanted to please another person by eating the animal-based food they were offering. In such situations, the students were inclined to make choices that differ from those they make in their everyday lives. In social situations that involve food and eating, people have a human need to indicate a sense of community and respect towards people important to them. The students I studied have a lot of knowledge and awareness of the sustainability impacts of their food choices. However, my study indicates that in some situations the need for social cohesion is more important than the need to make a sustainable food choice. The social meaning of eating is important to take into account when considering how to get people to make more sustainable food choices.
  • Huttunen, Marika (2023)
    Climate change impacts can substantially vary between regions, which requires regional decision-making on how to best moderate the adverse effects and seek potential benefits. However, actors can experience multiple barriers during climate change adaptation decision-making, which need to be overcome to enable more efficient and successful regional adaptation processes. This thesis aims to increase the knowledge on how actors can approach overcoming barriers to adaptation in a regional and cross-sectoral climate change adaptation decision-making process. A qualitative case study is conducted, which focuses on inspecting a regional climate change adaptation pilot project in the Finnish region of Pirkanmaa. Various regional and local actors participated to and collaborated on the project. The study constitutes of 11 expert interviews that are subjected to directed qualitative content analysis. The thesis utilises an analytical framework which leans on institutional theory and incorporates concepts from actor-centred institutionalism and empirical literature on barriers to and opportunities for adaptation, adaptive capacity, and adaptation decision-making processes. With the use of this framework, this thesis answers the research question of: What are the perceptions, preferences, and capabilities of the involved key actors regarding the regional climate change adaptation decision-making process in Pirkanmaa, Finland? This thesis discovers that the actors perceive mainly informational and institutional barriers to impede the decision-making process, in particular the understanding phase. Nevertheless, many of the barriers can be tackled during the process with both informational and institutional opportunities, in addition to social opportunities through the improvement of networks. The actors also have several preferences with regard to how the barriers should be overcome. Such preferences include clarifying the actors’ roles and responsibilities at the start of the understanding phase of decision-making, as well as ideas yet to be tested, such as unifying regional utilisation of adaptation-related data. The study does not manage to provide conclusive answers on the initial capabilities of the actors. Still, clear indications could be detected pertaining to the increase in elements of adaptive capacity, such as information, institutions, and skills, following from the numerous opportunities that the actors experienced. The explorative and descriptive results of this thesis bring new perspectives and an empirical contribution into the field of overcoming barriers to adaptation by focusing on climate change adaptation decision-making at the Finnish regional level. These findings can be used as a basis for upcoming research, but they can also be applied by various actors in designing current and upcoming climate change adaptation decision-making processes.
  • Luomaniemi, Virve Kaarina (2020)
    Behavior change can be seen as one cornerstone in transiting to more sustainable energy cultures. Various implemented behavioral intervention experiments have been popular and successful in creating behavioral change during and/or right after the intervention period, however follow-up research examining the persistence of changed behavior has been limited. The empirical material of this thesis builds on a set of data collected in a European research project ENERGISE. The analysis utilizes the data collected from two Finnish living lab experiments performed in 2018, focusing the examination on the closing interviews conducted by the research team and the participants’ self-reported practices in the follow-up survey three months after the intervention. The analysis examines the formation of new practices in relation to their persistence in everyday life. Answers to open questions presented in the follow-up survey are also examined in the analysis, to fuller the representation of events. The sample of the research is not enough to make comprehensive statistical generalizations, instead it gives interesting insight on the durability of the effects of one energy intervention. The research questions guiding this thesis are: How did household practices change when households participated in an intervention? How persistent are the observed changes in practices post-intervention? What contributes to the persistence of treatment effects? This examination observed persistence of behavioral change post-intervention. This examination suggests that these encouraging results may be supported by a number of different factors; the broad perspective of energy practices that the intervention designed on practice theory provided and the making of household routines visible to participants to question and experiment with. In addition, the intervention techniques used as making commitments, goal setting, social comparison elements and providing energy feedback, which corroborate with prior intervention follow-up studies that have noted the importance of a carefully thought intervention design with these techniques, to support creating permanent behavioral change. Intervention designs should also in-clude a longer-term evaluation and further study investigating the factors contributing to creating permanent change should be implemented.
  • Arola, Terhi (2023)
    Ecosystem accounting is a new framework for integrating the value of nature into decision-making. Previous measures of natural capital accounting have not been able to achieve policy relevancy and have only limited use cases. It is important to look into the usability of ecosystem accounting, to ensure that it is implemented in a way that supports decision-making. The goal of my research is to provide a categorization of barriers and enablers of use, as well as provide some insight into how to make ecosystem accounting usable for decision-making. There is only limited literature on ecosystem accounting, so I conducted a scoping literature review on barriers and enablers of use of natural capital accounting to look into the issues and opportunities in making ecosystem accounting usable. I complemented this literature review with interviews of ecosystem accounting experts from Norway and Germany. Both countries have started the implementation journey and thus provide a view into the active development phase. My main results are the categorization of barriers and enablers of use of ecosystem accounting, as well as main messages for creating usable accounts. I categorized the barriers and enablers into 12 categories under three themes of political, structural and relevancy related barriers and enablers. The categories can be used when planning implementation to identify potential issues and to plan accounts to be as usable as possible. I have three main messages for compiling usable ecosystem accounts. First, sufficient resources are essential in gathering comprehensive accounts. Second, compiling the accounts rely on cooperation of multiple institutions, thus there is a need to agree on forms of coordination. Third, the categories of barriers and enablers are interconnected, and thus there are positive feedback loops that can support making ecosystem accounts usable for policymaking.
  • Ruippo, Lotta (2020)
    Innovation in food packaging interlinks many sustainability challenges ranging from food loss and waste through the value chains, to resource extraction and growing amounts of plastic waste globally. Food packaging innovations arising from regulation often focus on material waste and ignore other facets of sustainability such as food loss and waste. Simultaneously, conventional notions of innovations are focused on firm growth and competitiveness. This study investigates the perceptions of sustainability in food packaging among expert actors in Finland. Moreover, it examines how notions of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) are reflected in the research and development processes in the field. Here, RRI is understood as a framework for examining the role of socio-ethical considerations in research and development. The study aimed to find out which packaging attributes are considered sustainable, what motivations actors in the field have, what type of obstacles exist to innovation in the field, and which actor groups are perceived to be responsible for accelerating the food packaging transition towards sustainability. Semi-structured expert interviews were conducted with 14 participants, and the interview data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis (QCA). The results show that perceptions of sustainability in food packaging vary across the field. However, reducing food waste and loss was considered the most important facet of sustainability in food packaging. Actors in the field are motivated by personal reasons and the anticipated profitability of sustainable innovations. However, innovations in the field are slowed down because of regulatory issues, food safety requirements, unpredictable future changes, and technological lock-ins. Finally, the results of this study indicate that actors in the sector believe the Finnish government and brand owners in the food and beverage industries should be responsible for driving innovation towards improved sustainability. However, the qualitative approach taken here limits the generalizability of the results. The results suggest an ongoing narrative shift in innovation towards greater inclusion of social and ethical considerations in the research and development process.
  • Siltanen, Milla Ursula (2024)
    Luonnon monimuotoisuus on vähentynyt dramaattisesti ihmisten toimien seurauksena, mikä on herättänyt tarpeen ymmärtää paremmin ihmisen ja biodiversiteetin välistä vuorovaikutusta. Tutkimusnäyttö luonnon terveys- ja hyvinvointivaikutuksista on vahvaa, mutta biodiversiteetin roolia näiden vaikutusten taustalla ymmärretään edelleen melko huonosti. Tämä maisterintutkielma tarkastelee koetun biodiversiteetin ja hyvinvoinnin välistä yhteyttä ja pyrkii selvittämään: 1) miten kaupunkimetsän kävijät havainnoivat luonnon monimuotoisuuden eri osa-alueita ja 2) miten luonnon monimuotoisuuden eri osa-alueet vaikuttavat kävijöiden koettuun hyvinvointiin? Luonnon monimuotoisuuden eri osa-alueet viittaavat biodiversiteetin havaittaviin ominaisuuksiin. Tässä tutkielmassa sovelletut biodiversiteetin osa-alueet ovat lajien kohtaaminen, määrä ja monipuolisuus, lajien väliset suhteet, ekologiset prosessit, luonnon äänet, värit, muodot, tekstuurit, hajut/tuoksut sekä vuodenaikojen muutokset. Tutkielman aineisto kerättiin Lahden terveysmetsän kävijöiltä (n=12) kahden retken aikana. Molemmilla retkillä kierrettiin oppaan johdolla 3,4 kilometrin mittainen luontopolku. Tutkielma toteutettiin monimenetelmätutkimuksena, johon kuului teemahaastatteluja sekä BIO-WELL kyselymittaristo. Laadullinen aineisto oli tutkielmassa pääosassa. Terveysmetsän kävijät kiinnittivät vaivattomasti huomiota ääniin, väreihin ja vahvoihin tuoksuihin, kun taas prosessien, tekstuurien ja muotojen huomioiminen vaati enemmän keskittymistä. Tulosten mukaan moniaistinen kokemus luonnon monimuotoisuudesta on keskeistä metsän elvyttävyydelle ja potentiaalille vähentää stressiä. Prosessit, vuodenaikojen muutokset ja tekstuurit ovat taas tärkeitä henkisen hyvinvoinnin kokemukselle. Monimuotoinen luonto voi parantaa hyvinvointia kokonaisvaltaisesti, joten monimuotoisuutta vaalimalla sekä turvaamalla pääsy monimuotoiseen luontoon voidaan tukea sekä biodiversiteetin suojelua että kaupunkilaisten hyvinvointia. Hajujen ja tuoksujen vaikutuksia psyykkiseen hyvinvointiin sekä biodiversiteetin vaikutuksia sosiaaliseen hyvinvointiin olisi syytä tutkia tarkemmin, sillä näitä on toistaiseksi tutkittu melko vähän.
  • Lahti, Arttu (2022)
    The need to develop and expand urban areas is increasing in most countries, but urbanization also increases the threat for global biodiversity. Some cities have acknowledged this challenge and formed strategies and action plans for biodiversity preservation. How can we ensure that such strategies are realized in city planning? Negotiations are a crucial part of urban planning, and therefore can be a leverage point of intervention to effectively implement strategies to pro-tect biodiversity. However, little is known about the dynamics of the actual negotiation process in city planning. I applied a game theoretic approach to study how information availability influences the suc-cess and efficiency of negotiations. A role-playing game was used to simulate a negotiation on specific measures to preserve biodiversity in a residential building project. Eleven urban devel-opment specialists played the game with different sets of information. In addition to the direct outcomes of the negotiation, I analysed the post hoc discussion and arguments used to gain in-sights into perceptions of biodiversity-related negotiations in urban planning. Results indicate that information availability can increase the efficiency of negotiations. Partici-pants favour principled and integrative negotiation, but incomplete information seems to push them to take a more positional stance. The post hoc discussion also reveals some issues rele-vant to the design of urban planning process for biodiversity. The overall results suggest that a simple game-theoretic framework, implemented in (a) game-like simulation with quasi-experimental control and (b) qualitative analysis of discussions, holds potential for both under-standing (i) how decision makers frame and resolve the negotiation with conflicting interests and (ii) how to design efficient administrative processes taking into account not only the partic-ipants’ preferences but also wider public interests, such as biodiversity preservation.
  • Kolari, Tiia (2022)
    Biodiversity is essential for human wellbeing and activities as it supports a diverse set of ecosystem services. Currently, biodiversity is rapidly declining. Biodiversity loss is the second significant global risk after climate change. To reduce environmental stress, there is a need to find sustainable alternatives to unsustainable raw materials and consumables. The chemical industry has an important role in developing environmentally friendly solutions such as bio- based products and solutions, which require utilization of biomass. However, extraction of bio- based raw materials creates more pressure on biodiversity and contributes to biodiversity loss. It is essential that companies who extract natural resources are transparent about their actions concerning biodiversity. By adequately sharing information in corporate reports, companies can enhance their legitimacy. This thesis contributes to scientific discussion on biodiversity reporting which is researched to a limited extent. Material of the thesis was collected from corporate reports and interviews with globally operating chemical companies. By using qualitative content analysis, this thesis describes how chemical companies report on biodiversity as part of their corporate reporting to maintain their legitimacy and how biodiversity is perceived within the chemical industry. Biodiversity is a complex concept and intangible system, which cannot be sufficiently measured yet. This may help to explain why biodiversity reporting within the chemical industry is varying and inconsistent. There is a need to improve companies’ understanding on biodiversity to enhance biodiversity reporting. Adequate reporting can help to understand complex natural processes, enhance environmental protection, and reduce the problem of greenwashing.
  • Hagman, Alli (2023)
    The aim of this study was to identify which bird impact types are considered significant in practice in Finnish environmental assessment reports regarding wind power. Increasing numbers of wind turbines can impact birds directly and indirectly, which could contribute to the loss of bird diversity. Amid climate change mitigation attempts, biodiversity loss should not be overlooked. Environmental impact assessment is an example of a policy tool for identifying and reducing the negative environmental effects of a project, including bird impacts. All wind power-related EIA reports with significant bird impacts were collected from the joint website of Finland’s environmental administration and analyzed with the help of qualitative content analysis. The 18 cases were divided according to the types of impacts found in the literature. Although all four impact types including collisions, displacement due to disturbance, barrier effect, and habitat change were considered significant in the EIAs, collisions were the most frequent. Very little comparable data about the significance of different impact types were found. However, collisions were the most researched impact type, which could have also contributed to the evaluation of its significance. The results corresponded to previous literature for the most part as Accipitriformes (diurnal birds of prey excluding falcons), according to several studies, are more vulnerable to the impacts of wind turbines. They were estimated to face significant impacts more often compared to other bird orders present in the materials. The reasonings between the cases were quite similar, despite the ambiguity of the significance assessment. In the cases where the reason for significance was stated, the level of protection of the species was the most common. The results also support the argument about how the impact type, the object of the impact, and the significance of an impact vary depending on the locations. The findings of this thesis suggest that scientific data is used at least partially in significance assessments. The results are useful in future research, developing EIA practices, and enhancing bird protection. Looking at significant impacts is relevant also in the future as the assessment of significance is not uncomplicated.
  • Holopainen, Sini (2022)
    During the time of ecological crisis, it is important to find new approaches on how to produce welfare within planetary and ecological boundaries. Besides focusing on technical and societal changes I state in this thesis that there is a need for focus on human’s spiritual side to solve wide sustainability issues. Immaterial welfare is highlighted with people who are practicing spirituality, in this case meditation with Buddhist background. Enhancing immaterial welfare is important in the world in which overconsumption is dwindling biodiversity and planetary resources. In this master’s thesis I discuss how acknowledging peoples’ inner worlds is an essential part of holistic sustainability transition towards sustainable welfare and society. According to previous research spiritual practices such as meditation and mindfulness can support sustainable behaviour in many ways. People practicing meditation with Buddhist background try to live in a way that reduces their own suffering and suffering of living beings around them. When living in a mindful state it may be easier to make daily choices that are aligning with one’s values. Those who practice meditation may feel stronger connection to nature which can foster ecological behaviour. In this thesis I conducted nine interviews with nine meditation practitioners who are regularly practicing meditation with Buddhist background. I focused on their lifestyle that takes environmental aspects into account and how do they perceive that the meditation practice helps them to live in sustainable way. Central questions in the interviews included connectedness to nature, values and adapting and reacting to ecological crisis. I analysed the interviews using content-guiding theory analysis reflecting previous research. Meditation itself does not transform one to become more environmentally friendly but it can for example help to live by own values. Buddhist philosophy and spiritual lessons based in Buddhism play important roles in the meditation practices of the people I interviewed. Those lessons can motivate them to act respectfully towards all kinds of living beings and reduce their suffering. The people in this study live out environmentally friendly lifestyle in multiple ways. The interviewees highlighted many immaterial factors in their wellbeing from relationships to being in silence. In addition, spiritual practice can support them with difficult emotions that can arise from the news about the environment and climate. Altogether the sustainability science could benefit from considering human’s spiritual sides and the lost connection to self and the surrounding world.
  • Lehtonen, Ilmari (2020)
    In this paper, I examine the discussions around the concept of carbon sinks. From those discussion of Finnish forestry, I identify frames based on a media material of 108 news articles combining the methodologies of frame analysis and content analysis. I aim to contextualize the carbon sink discussions of the latter half of 2010s and examine how the natural science-based term is used to support varying policy agendas. Building from background literature on the media as a societal actor and a context around Finnish forest discussions and mismatches between science and forest policy, I reflect on the ways that Finnish media frames and contextualizes carbon sink-related forest discussions. Eventually, I identify three dominant and eight secondary frames that describe the ways of using and the transforming of carbon sink as a term in detail. The dominant frames divide the discussion into two clashing ways to communicate carbon sink issues and a third middle ground way of understanding and using the term. The middle ground frame identifies the conflict between the clashing frames and suggests reaching to an understanding as a priority goal in terms of optimal climate change policy. I discuss the results in terms of the frames' policy implications. In addition, I ask how they signal potential developments in forest and climate policy and discourse. The analysis shows that the clearest disagreements in the carbon sink conflicts raise from how forestry restricting policies are seen to affect carbon sink levels and how prominent a role should forest industry have in meeting national and international climate policy targets. The study confirms that carbon sink as a term transforms into altering forms to support distinct, even controversial policy goals because of both definitional and calculative uncertainties.
  • Toivonen, Hannele (2023)
    The heating season 2022–2023 was exceptional in Finland due to the electricity crisis. Electricity saving became a hot topic in public discussion, and households reduced their electricity consumption significantly. This study focuses on the changes that happened in detached house dwellers’ everyday routines: how detached house dwellers’ electricity consumption-related practices changed, and why they changed during the electricity crisis. Understanding how changes happen in electricity consumption-related practices is especially important in the ongoing era of the energy transition. The study is situated within social scientific energy research and the theoretical framework is based on the theories of practice. The study draws on six in-depth interviews of Finnish detached house dwellers living in the Helsinki metropolitan area or the Uusimaa region. The interviews focused on changes in detached house dwellers’ electricity consumption-related practices during the electricity crisis. The results of the study indicate that some practices are more flexible than others. The interviewed households controlled and replaced the material elements of some practices, especially heating devices of indoor spaces and household water. A new practice of monitoring electricity prices was adopted by households with spot-price electricity contracts, who also time-shifted some of their practices based on the price. The interviewed households focused especially on reducing electricity consumption which they considered ‘extra’ consumption. Some of the households also challenged some comfort-related norms and conventional ways of conducting certain practices. Electricity price was stated as the primary reason to change electricity consumption-related practices. Some of the interviewees also mentioned recommendations for saving electricity impacting their practices. It is interpreted that new meanings of scarcity were attached to electricity during the crisis. Electricity became a more visible element of practices, which led the interviewed households to reflect on their electricity consumption on a general level
  • Sarasma, Juho Johannes (2021)
    Mobility, the somewhat regular and recurring physical movement of people from place to place, is a very important part of a broader transition to sustainability. In Finland the transport sector accounts for 20 % of total greenhouse gas emissions and while emissions have been steadily declining, the pace is not sufficient to meet current emission cut targets. When looking at household generated greenhouse gas emissions, mobility is the single largest contributor. Previous research has focused a lot on technological advancements and individuals’ choices as causes and solutions to sustainable mobility. These approaches have been criticized for underemphasizing the importance of social conditions. Practice theories have been presented as an alternative way of understanding mobility behaviors, challenging the mainstream individualistic explanations. Practices are routinized human behaviors that are made of several elements of materials, meanings, and competences. This thesis adopts a practice theoretical view in analyzing people’s mobility before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim is to learn what practice theory can teach us about sustainable mobility, and how the pandemic has affected people’s mobility in Finland. Nine semi-structured interviews were conducted, asking the participants about their mobility practices before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, forming a comprehensive picture of their daily lives from a mobility point of view. The results were analyzed using qualitative theory-based content analysis. The results indicated that people’s mobility is a complex system which was largely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Various elements either enabling or hindering the use of different transport modes were identified, as were important connections between different mobility practices. Practice theory has been often used to research one mobility practice at a time and the broader look of this study, focusing on multiple mobility practices, is potentially the most important contribution this thesis makes to previous mobility research. While not providing direct answers to how people’s mobility could be made more sustainable, this thesis makes an important contribution to practice theoretical mobility research which in a Finnish context is very scarce.
  • Heikkinen, Panu (2021)
    This thesis is a case study that examines the reasons for the lack of citizen participation in the planning process of Kalasataman keskus, and, more generally, in the planning of megaprojects. The main observation of this thesis is that there are several reasons for this. Based on the interviews of main characters taking part in the planning of Kalasataman keskus and the planning documents of Kalasataman keskus (as well as the previous research on the topic) the reasons for lack of citizen participation were: the location of planning area with few inhabitants, the large size of the planning project, technical difficulty of the planning project, the weight on the commercial aspects of the planning, and the view of the planners (relying on experts in the planning). When these results were viewed together with the previous research, it was noted that, as the previous research suggests, the traditional practices of urban planning hinder citizen participation in planning. (For example, seeing that urban planning relies on the technical knowledge of experts.) Moreover, based on the findings of the thesis as well as the previous research, it is possible to see that when the tradition, which emphasizes expert knowledge, is paired with a planning project where the city has a commercial partner, the structures and procedures of planning tend to exclude citizens’ views from the planning process. Partly based on such findings, the thesis suggests that, if the intention is to strengthen citizen participation in, especially large, planning projects, the city should aim to strengthen, for example, local community organizations.
  • Råberg, Mirka (2022)
    Circular economy (CE) is often offered as a solution to mitigate climate change and more efficient resource use. However, the socio-cultural side of transformation to CE is widely overlooked in the academic literature (Kirchherr et al., 2018) and in the context of CE, consumer-citizens are often framed as “consumers”, “users” and in terms of “acceptance” of new products and modes of provision (Hobson & Lynch, 2016). In fact, taking part in CE can be quite laborious and the notion of consumption work highlights the time, skills and access needed to participate in circular consumption (Hobson et al., 2021). Existing research on CE skills are scarce, outdated and focused on only one practice at a time. The research gap of citizens’ CE skills has been identified by several researchers (e.g. Hobson et al., 2021; Wieser, 2019) and this thesis aims to fulfil the gap by adopting a qualitative approach. The data on which this research is based on, consists of semi-structured interviews with 20 Finnish citizens who have been active in implementing zero waste lifestyles and responsible consumption principles that are relevant for CE. By exploring their everyday practices related to CE, I identify six skill categories that the active citizens utilise to take part in CE. Particularly (1) manual skills were identified by the interviewees as central to performing circular activities. They include skills such as sewing and technical skills that enable repair and repurposing materials. The interviewees possess (2) divergent thinking skills and abilities to think creatively, for example about the ways you can use a certain item. They are also skilful in questioning consumption related social norms. (3) Research and communication skills are central for active citizens as they are trying to figure out the most sustainable options and inspire others with humour and positivity to take part in the circular economy. The interviewees describe often utilising (4) organising and prioritising skills that revolve around time management. They need to make decisions and prioritise certain actions that preferably are quite influential in terms of their carbon footprint. Moreover, when buying products second hand they should start looking for the items early and with rental options, the need should be anticipated and planned. Another identified set of skills are (5) household skills. They include maintenance skills of household goods and clothes, cooking skills to avoid food waste by using creativity and planning as well as recycling skills on sorting different fractions. The respondents also described (6) skills brought by experience. Knowledge on different second hand marketplaces and the skills to recognise good quality on materials and items enable circular practices. One of the main contributions of this thesis is consolidation of various sets of citizen skills relevant for the CE into a single framework. The findings further illustrate that consumer-citizens are doing a multitude of CE activities that require consumption work and certain skills. The findings provide information on how citizens engage and coordinate CE practices on the household level by prioritising and planning, a topic on which research has been lacking (Hobson et al., 2021). The skills of “thinking outside the box” are also a new set of skills that emerged from the interviews and it has a clear connection to the “unlearning” of noncircular consumption practices (Wieser, 2019). The identified skills could be taught more through formal and informal education channels, but it should be considered, how infrastructure, companies and services can ease people’s participation in CE. Findings of the thesis offer insight on the domestic reality of CE and how it could be improved in the Finnish context.