Crossing borders | 20/12/2016

BIOS anticipates socio-ecological transformations

Antti Majava, Tere Vadén, Karoliina Lummaa, Paavo Järvensivu, Tero Toivanen, Jussi T. Eronen, Ville Lähde

Political and private deliberation and decision making have increasingly lost sight of material constraints, especially due to increases in energy production and global trade. It seemed that everything was available in abundance. However, in the coming years, climate change and other environmental crises will press material issues to the forefront. We need to understand intricately intertwined ecosystems and cultures. The cognitive and experiential challenge is enormous. The infrastructure and practices for energy production, food, housing, transport and so on will now be redone for many years ahead.

Not only citizens and decision-makers, but also scientists have had a hard time in creating an overall picture of all the central environmental and resource factors and their cultural, economic and political effects. The intertwinement of these factors and effects necessitates work that spans over many different scientific fields and areas of knowledge.

The core idea of the BIOS Research Unit established in autumn 2015 is precisely here: in multidisciplinary anticipation of deep socio-ecological transformations. We do research, but also allocate a lot of time for making the results communicable. In our pilot project, we developed together with Yle News and Current Affairs journalistic means to communicate complex environmental issues in a way that connects them concretely to daily lives.

During the next couple of years, we intend to establish BIOS as an institution that sustains research-based knowledge on socio-ecological scenarios over quartals and election cycles. We will build an open internet knowledge base and continue to apply multidisciplinary research together with organisations in media, education, research, art, both on the private and public sectors.

The four-year grant enables patient, focused work in times when the political atmosphere emphasizes cuts and fast-paced competition.

www.bios.fi

Text: Paavo Järvensivu, paavo.jarvensivu@bios.fi

BIOS received a four-year grant in 2016 to establish BIOS Research Unit.