Browsing by Subject "Master's Programme in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability"

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  • Katila, Anni-Sofia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Meat consumption in the world is increasing, which has significant negative effects on the ongoing climate change. There is a need to make people change their diets towards more plant-based. One of the problems is that there is a negative atmosphere around veganism and vegans that prevents the change. In order to get people more plant-based, that negative atmosphere around veganism and vegans should be reduced. The aim of this study is to find out what kind of arguments are used against veganism and vegans, and what rhetorical strategies are used in these arguments. Previous studies have shown that there is still a strong belief that meat is a necessary part of the diet to keep one healthy. Studies also show, that the reason people do not change their diets can be attitudinal, for example that people think they are meant to eat meat, or practical, for example that there is not enough information available. The material for this study is from the Finnish online discussion forum Suomi24 and consists of messages that are against veganism and vegans. The Suomi24 data was retrieved from the KORP interface, where it was possible to search messages related to veganism. There is no information about the people behind the messages, because they are anonymous on the forum. The material was analysed with content analysis and strengthened with rhetorical analysis. Categorization was part of the analysis and categories were coded to the material in the Atlas.ti program. As a result, there were seven main categories and 28 sub-categories under two parent categories. The most common arguments against veganism and vegans were related to health, vegans as individuals and how vegans act. The most commonly used rhetorical strategies were factual argumentation, categorization, extreme expression and taking distance from one’s own interests. As a conclusion, to be able to increase plant-based food in people’s diets, more available information is needed, and positive encouragement without incrimination to build up an attractive atmosphere around veganism and vegans.
  • Korhonen, Henni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The focus of this thesis is on environmental agency in two different video games, The Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle and Final Fantasy VII Remake. The research questions aim to answer how the player can act as an environmental agent in these two games and what are the key differences between these games. The study is executed in a form of qualitative two-case case study with the help of close reading. With close reading eight different types of agencies that form the typology of this study, will be analysed in order to answer the research questions. The data for this thesis was collected by playing both games and taking notes by following close reading. The notes were then analysed with the different types of agencies. The results showed clear overlapping of the types of agencies, and it could be said that environmental agency can be used better in the game when the overlapping is happening. The agencies complemented each other and made the possible learning process in the game more fulfilling. The main difference between the game seems to be that The Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle as a life simulation game offers more diverse possibilities for environmental player agency. The studies about environmental games are mainly focused on serious games and not so much on commercial games. Video games hold great potential to engage people in environmental things especially with the help of player agency. It offers the player the ability to make meaningful choices and if they are structure well, the player can see the consequences of their agency which serves as an effective feedback which could lead to positive learning. In this case, the environmental agency in the game could be transformed into real-life environmental agency. As video games have become more immersive and their environments more realistic, it could be worth considering that separating virtual environment from the real-life one might not be necessary anymore. Therefore, games like The Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle and Final Fantasy VII Remake could serve as an example of how environmental agency within them could be harnessed into wider use.
  • Hanstén, Magnus (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    An increasing number of fisheries utilize rights-based management approaches for achieving economic, social and environmental sustainability. It is widely accepted that fisheries management is to a large extent about managing human behaviour, hence social acceptance is prerequisite for a successful management regime. Based on stakeholder interviews, this study analyses the opinions related to the recently implemented individual transferable quota (ITQ) system for the Finnish herring and sprat fisheries. Similarly, opinions were collected in 2007 by Kulmala et al. related to a possible implementation of ITQs, thus creating a unique opportunity to compile results from both a pre and post individual quota management implementation scenario. In 2007, it was suggested that fishers would largely support an ITQ system in Finland. Accordingly, this study implies that most of the Finnish stakeholders are content with the properties of the new system, however inequalities were perceived among fishers targeting fish for human consumption. In general, the system is expected to achieve its primary goal of improved economic efficiency within the fishery industry.
  • Azam, Gausul (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Dog activities (urination and defecation) can be a source of nitrogen accumulation in the snowpack of urban parks. Urban parks are commonly visited by urban residents and excessive buildup of nitrogen in snowpack can be a health concern. This accumulation of nitrogen in snowpack may wash away during spring with the runoff of melting snow, which can cause the eutrophication and deterioration of lake ecosystems. In this study, I investigated the concentration of some nitrogen-related compounds along with a few physical parameters in the snowpack of urban parks and compared these between areas with high dog activities and areas with no dog activities. I hypothesized that, nitrogen concentrations will be higher in areas with high dog activities, like snowpack beside paths than in areas with no dog activities. The study was performed in 10 parks of two cities in Finland; Helsinki and Lahti. In these parks, samples were collected from snowpack immediately next to walking paths (path edge), and in control areas 8 m away from these paths, where dogs were unlikely to visit. Samples were collected from February to April of 2019. The concentration nitrogen from snow samples of both parts of parks were compared. The study showed that, the concentration of most nitrogen species, e.g. Total Nitrogen (TN), ammonium (NH4+), Total Organic Nitrogen (TON), and electrical conductivity followed a similar pattern of having higher values in snow from path edges where dog activities were the highest. However, the concentration of NO3 – and pH values were both slightly lower in the path edge samples compared to control areas undisturbed by dogs, but differences were not statistically significant. Information from this study can be useful for understanding the connection between dog activities and nitrogen build up in snowpack of urban parks, and can also be helpful for designing urban parks by considering environmental and health effects of nitrogen accumulation in the snow from dog activities. My findings can also be useful to urban waterbody related studies, e.g. eutrophication, and the accumulation of nutrients in lakes.
  • Ryöppy, Selja (Helsingin yliopisto, 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 (Helsingin yliopisto, 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 (Helsingin yliopisto, 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.
  • Tammisto, Eveliina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    The climate crisis is such major environmental threat that it has negative impacts on both nature and people. Recently, the effects of climate change on people’s mental health have also been noticed. Children and adolescents are especially vulnerable group in terms of climate anxiety. The amount of climate anxiety among youth has been found to be increasing, yet the studies on it are still scarce. It is important to find out how much climate anxiety there is among youth and does it influence their behavior. The objective of this master’s thesis is to find out how much climate anxiety there is and is climate anxiety interconnected with the pro-environmental behavior among youth. Also, its aim is to find out whether attending the climate course affects the amount of climate anxiety. In addition, the study focuses on whether gender, home country and parental education level are interconnected with the amount of climate anxiety. This study was conducted as part of the D.Game project which includes a climate course for youth aged 12–18 years. Data for this research was collected through a survey during the climate course. The schools and students participating in the D.Game climate course and the climate anxiety survey were selected through an open recruitment during autumn of 2021. The data consists of 48 students who responded to the pre survey and of 13 students who responded to the post survey. The participants were 15–17 years old. On the contrary to other research, there is not much climate anxiety among youth. There is also a strong positive correlation between climate anxiety and pro-environmental behavior, which differs from other research. On the other hand, there were no significant differences in climate anxiety between the groups divided by divided by gender, home country and parental education level, which was expected result. Based on the data, the climate course did not have statistically significant effect on the amount of climate anxiety among youth. Also, there is need for further research. Larger sample could provide more valid results. The causality of the correlation between climate anxiety and pro-environmental behavior would be interesting to resolve. Whether attending to a climate course affects the amount of climate anxiety could be found out by development of climate courses and comparing different courses.
  • Kivilompolo, Sanna-Kaisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Aims of this study. Previous studies have shown cyanobacterial dominance and harmful cyanobacterial blooms to increase due to recent climate warming. The increase of aggressively blooming species and toxin-producing strains of cyanobacteria has been predicted to further increase in the future. However, information on the response of cyanobacteria communities to environmental forcing in the Arctic region – which is experiencing warming at over twice the rate compared to the global average – has been insufficient. Thus, it is crucial to study how algal and cyanobacterial communities have developed after industrialization to better understand and predict future trends of subarctic algal communities as well as changes within cyanobacteria communities experiencing environmental forcing. This study aims to provide information on the effect of recent climate warming and lake browning on algal communities in subarctic lakes, with a special focus on cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins. Materials and methods. Modern and historical primary producer group abundances of 23 subarctic lakes located on an ideal temperature and vegetation gradient were studied using sedimentary algal pigments as a proxy. The top-bottom method was used to study both changes within algal communities during the last ca. 150 years and the broader trends in algal communities of subarctic lakes. Pigment data was analyzed together with environmental data using ordination analyses (principal component analysis (PCA) and redundancy analysis (RDA)) as well as other statistical analyses in order to determine possible trends of change and to reveal the environmental variables that have the strongest impact on cyanobacterial abundance. Results and conclusions. Algal communities have changed during the last ca. 150 years and show a general trend of increased primary production as well as lake browning in the spruce, pine and birch (SPB) vegetation zone. Siliceous algae generally dominate modern algal communities, and relative abundances of cyanobacteria have declined throughout the vegetation gradient. Within the Barren (Ba)- and mountain birch woodland (MBW) vegetation zones, cyanobacteria communities show a marked decline in the abundance of assumed benthic species based on pigment data, and low abundances of planktic picocyanobacteria. However, due to climate warming and lake browning, abundances of cyanobacteria have increased in several sites within the SPB vegetation zone and are suspected to indicate an increase of harmful planktic species. The most significant environmental variables controlling the abundance of cyanobacteria were total phosphorus, temperature and the amount of organic matter. The results highlight the urgent need to mitigate climate warming in order to preserve the unique biota and characteristics of Arctic and subarctic lake ecosystems, and to prevent the possible harmful increase of cyanotoxins in these sensitive ecosystems.
  • Raubenheimer, Marie-Claire (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Oil spillages represent a serious environmental hazard for flora and fauna of marine and coastal ecosystems. Though marine oil spills have decreased since the 1970s, the increasing production of petroleum goods remains a potential source of pollution due to its use and transportation. When aquatic organisms, including fish, are exposed to toxic oil compounds, this can cause sublethal morphological changes and increase mortality. In this context, herring have been frequently studied, and results suggest that particularly herrings eggs and larvae are highly susceptible to oil toxicity. In this thesis, a Bayesian meta-analysis was conducted to investigate the effects of crude and fuel oil on the mortality of herring eggs from the genus Clupea. Observations from laboratory studies, collected during a literature review, served as input for the statistical analysis. To this end, Bayesian inference modeling was applied to generate posterior probability distributions for additional mortality caused by exposure to oil mixtures. Also, oil concentration, oil type, exposure time, and temperature were analyzed to study possible correlations with mortality impacts. The results of this study suggest that acute mortality of exposed herring eggs is similar to mortality observed for individuals exposed to only small concentrations or none at all. Of all evaluated oil types, medium grade crude oil caused the most significant change in instantaneous mortality with increasing oil concentration. Generally, distinct oil types had a greater influence on mortality outcomes than temperatures at the given concentrations. For the lowest temperatures, some correlations for increased mortality were found. Overall, the unexplained variability between the reviewed studies has a relatively small influence on mortality outcomes. In conclusion, the mortality of exposed herrings eggs is most likely delayed due to sublethal effects, rather than immediate, at the modeled concentrations. Altogether, uncertainty amongst the posterior probability distributions is high, indicating a wide possibility range for the monitored parameters' actual values. The reasons for elevated uncertainty likely stem from diverse experimental setups, biological differences between tested species, relatively small sample sizes, and model-related issues. Thus, future research could consider additional variables, information from observational studies and other fish species to reduce uncertainty in mortality outcomes.
  • Luomaniemi, Virve Kaarina (Helsingin yliopisto, 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.
  • Lahtela, Eero (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Municipal environmental authorities are required to conduct environmental monitoring. Unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs, may be helpful in environmental monitoring but their applicability as a tool for municipal environmental monitoring has not been studied. In this thesis it was studied, how municipalities have been utilizing UAVs. Additionally, UAVs applicability for environmental monitoring and inspection work was tested using a litter monitoring experiment as an example. In the first part of the study, a questionnaire was sent to municipal environmental authorities in Finland, to municipalities in Sweden and to those participating in Eurocities WG Waste group (n = 512), covering the used applications, their utilization frequencies and successfulness, reasons for failures and future plans. The results were analyzed using descriptive statistics. In the second part of the study, a UAV was utilized in a litter monitoring experiment on four sites in Helsinki. Litter by category and leaves were counted based on visual observations from UAV imagery. The accuracy of UAV imagery detection was assessed by comparing its and ground assessment (GA) results. On one site, a control group also carried out UAV imagery detections in order to assess the magnitude of bias or offset occurring when both the GA and the litter detection from UAV imagery are conducted by a single individual. The Wilcoxon signed rank and Cronbach’s α reliability tests were used for statistical analysis of the results. Response rate of the questionnaire was low, 3.7% (n = 19). The pool of used applications was extensive and covered a variety of monitoring and inspecting targets with emphasis on the presumably manually piloted applications. Utilization was very successful. The most important reasons for failures were poor weather followed by lack of information and expertise. UAVs were included in the future plans of most participants for municipal environmental monitoring purposes. The UAV imagery detection accuracies of litter and leaves compared to the GA results were high, 90.5% for litter and 87.5% for litter and leaves, and no statistically significant differences existed between the assessment results. Especially leaves proved challenging to detect from UAV imagery. The control group’s detection accuracies were 67.9% without and 49.0% with leaves, and with leaves the results differed with statistical significance (p = 0.028). The internal reliability of the control group was relatively high, α = 0.776 without and α = 0.805 with leaves. UAVs are deemed sufficiently accurate and versatile as monitoring and inspecting tools for municipal environmental authorities. They have the capability to complement ground assessments or, with certain prerequisites, even function as an independent monitoring method. Further application and detection method development and research on municipal UAV utilization are needed.
  • Repetti, Sonja I. (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    My master’s thesis aims to determine the effect of salinity on phytoplankton traits related to nutrient acquisition, and particularly how this interacts with resource availability. Salinity is an important driver structuring phytoplankton communities in the Baltic Sea. Salinity can also influence nutrient uptake by increasing metabolic rates required for osmotic adjustment. Thus, interaction between salinity and nutrient availability is expected to change community structure by altering phytoplankton traits determining resource competition. This is a particularly relevant area of study for the Baltic Sea due to predicted future freshening of the sea’s upper layer. We performed a microcosm experiment using artificial communities of 10 diverse phytoplankton species grown under different combinations of salinity (0, 5, 12 and 24), Nitrogen to Phosphorus molar ratio (N:P ratio = 2, 10, 16 and 80) and light (10 and 130 µmol photon m-2 s-1) conditions. A three-way interaction among these environmental parameters influenced phytoplankton traits associated with resource competition, as well as the presence and proportions of phytoplankton taxa. Light limitation inhibited community growth under all salinity conditions, but allowed diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum to dominate. Community growth rate was higher under high light, but also more variable between salinity conditions. The strongest negative effects of nutrient limitation (N, P, and both nutrients together), both on growth rate and taxonomic diversity, were observed in the highest salinity treatment. In the freshwater treatment with the highest proportion of green algae Monoraphidium sp., N-limitation did not inhibit phytoplankton community growth and P-limitation had a more profound negative effect on community performance. Decreasing salinity appeared to decrease community C:N and C:P ratios. This shift is in opposition to the increasing C:N and C:P predicted as a consequence of other climate change-related drivers. Our results emphasise the importance of a trade-off between salinity and resource limitation in functioning of phytoplankton communities and suggest that future freshening of the Baltic Sea is likely to modify phytoplankton community composition and performance.
  • Vikkula, Sami (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Oil spills in aquatic environments are devastating disasters with both biological and economic impacts. Fish populations are among the many subjects of these impacts. In literature, there are numerous assessments of oil spill impacts on fish populations. From all applied research methods, the focus of this thesis is on Bayesian methods. In prior research, several Bayesian models have been developed for assessing oil spill impacts on fish populations. These models, however, have focused on the assessment of impacts from past spills. They have not been used for predicting impacts of possible future oil spills. Furthermore, the models have not utilized data from laboratory studies. Some examples can be found of models assessing economic impacts of oil spills on fish populations however, none of them assess the economic impacts that follow from decreases in biomass. The aim of this thesis is to develop a Bayesian bioeconomic prediction model, which would be able to predict oil spill impacts on Baltic Sea main basin herring population, and the consequential economic impacts on fishermen. The idea is to predict the impacts of several hypothetical oil spill scenarios. As a result of this thesis, a bioeconomic prediction model was developed, which can predict both biological and economic impacts of oil spills on Baltic Sea main basin herring through additional oil induced mortality of herring eggs. The model can be applied to other fish populations in other regions as well. The model utilizes laboratory studies for assessing population level impacts. The model can be used for both assessing risks of the impacts of possible future oil spills, and for decision analysis after a spill has already occurred. Furthermore, the model can be used for assessing unknown aspects of past oil spills. The economic predictions can be used, for example, to estimate the compensations that could possibly be paid to fishermen. In the future, the prediction model should be developed further, especially regarding its stock-recruitment relationship assumptions. In addition, the model’s assumptions regarding the calculation of oil induced additional mortality and the economic impacts, should be expanded.
  • Ruippo, Lotta (Helsingin yliopisto, 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.
  • Kolari, Tiia (Helsingin yliopisto, 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.
  • Lahti, Arttu (Helsingin yliopisto, 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.
  • Holopainen, Sini (Helsingin yliopisto, 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.
  • Huttunen, Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Bumblebees are important pollinators globally and especially in Fennoscandia, yet they are declining. The amount of natural vegetation in cities is decreasing with urbanisation. Hence suitable habitats for urban bumblebees are diminishing. Brownfields can be important habitats for bumblebees in cities because they resemble natural habitats. I studied bumblebee communities in urban brownfields. My main aims were to evaluate how local and landscape scale environmental factors affect the suitability of a brownfield to be a habitat for bumblebees. I also evaluated whether certain bumblebee functional traits are filtered in the brownfields. I expected that especially local characteristics and primarily the amount of flowering plant cover and the size of a site would affect bumblebee richness and abundance. I also expected the bumblebee communities to be characterised by generalist feeders. I collected bumblebees using line tracking in 15 brownfield sites in the city of Lahti and sampled bumblebees six times during the summer of 2020. The share of ground cover types within each site was estimated, as well as the share of different habitat types within a 300 m buffer zone around the sites. The data were used to analyse which local and landscape characteristics affect bumblebee community composition, species richness, and abundance in a brownfield site. Trait analyses were used to test the relationship between bumblebee traits and environmental factors. I showed that bumblebee abundance and richness were affected by local site characteristics but not landscape-scale factors. However, community composition was associated with landscape characteristics, including forest and commercial or industrial areas. Unexpectedly, the size of a brownfield site did not affect community composition, richness, or abundance. Functional traits were filtered in brownfield sites, especially the prevalence of a short proboscis, which is linked to a generalist diet in these bees. Brownfield sites are rich in bumblebees. Brownfields are suitable habitats for bumblebees regardless of the scale of urbanisation, and even small sites can host a diversity of bumblebees. As the amount of natural habitat in urban areas is decreasing, brownfields should be considered important habitats for bumblebees and other pollinators in urban planning.
  • Lehtonen, Ilmari (Helsingin yliopisto, 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.