We confronted the issue also in the BLOOM Nordic hub as we discussed sustainability with the local people in the workshops arranged both in Finland and in Sweden. Most of them agreed that young people and especially young women are very concerned about the state of the environment.
Also, when we invited young people to one of our workshops in Jyväskylä in Finland, and gave them a change to discuss about bioeconomy and sustainability and to get their concerns heard, only young women attended. It was obvious that they were concerned about environmental issues and wanted to act more sustainably but they felt oppressed in front of the huge global problems such as climate change and, on the other hand, in front of the dispersed and sometimes even controversial information that different medias offer.
Indeed, it is difficult for anyone to know how to really make sustainable decisions because sustainability issues are often very complex. For a process, product or service to be really sustainable, it has to be it in all of the areas of sustainability: not only ecologically but also socially, culturally and economically. On top of that, in order to define sustainability, we have to use equal metrics in order to make the results comparable. Unfortunately, the field is so new and the world is bursting with different kinds of ecolabels and standards, which all have their own ways of defining metrics so that it is nearly impossible to actually compare them in order to find the most sustainable solution. And this is what creates uncertainty and confusion among the consumers.
After organizing several workshops and discussing sustainability with specialists, we in the BLOOM Nordic hub learned that instead of trying to give exact answers the most important thing is to encourage the youth and the general public to think critically by giving them enough information and creating space for discussion. Thus, they have the ability to observe the impacts of their own daily decisions from different perspectives.
When communicating sustainability issues, it is important to share science-based information in neutral way. And when it comes to bioeconomy, we see that it is important to communicate it and its overall role for the future with a clear message.
By offering the evidence-based information, showcasing different ways to take action and by giving the young the possibility to be involved, we believe that it is possible restore young people’s confidence for the future.
We hope, that people and especially the young people find BLOOM and all the other similar projects so that they would get information about what can they do to move into more sustainable way of living and to get the possibility to take action – locally and globally!
We want to increase young people’s knowledge and interest in bioeconomy and all of the opportunities that it has to offer. We also want to highlight bioeconomy and forest sector issues in the climate debate. If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact…
Kirsi Knuuttila or Aino Voutilainen (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Written by Aino Voutilainen from JAMK University of Applied Sciences