Browsing by Subject "environment"

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  • Liehunen, Lumi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Tutkielmassa tarkastellaan ympäristödiskursseja maatalouspoliittisessa massakampanjassa, joka toteutettiin Mao Zedongin aikaisessa Kiinassa 1960- ja 1970-luvuilla. Kyseisen kampanjan tarkoituksena oli saada koko Kiina ottamaan mallia Dazhai-nimisestä kylästä, jonka Kiinan kommunistinen puolue katsoi edustavan esimerkillistä maanviljelyskulttuuria kaikilla mittareilla mitattuna. Ympäristödiskurssien lisäksi tässä tutkielmassa haetaan vastausta siihen, miten ihmisen ja luonnon välinen suhde esitettiin Dazhai-kampanjan yhteydessä. Näin tarkoituksena on tuottaa lisäymmärrystä Kiinan ympäristötuhoihin Maon hallinnon aikana. Tämän tutkimuksen tarkastelun kohteena olevat asiat sijoittuvat Kiinan kulttuurivallankumouksen aikakauteen. Tutkielman teoreettinen ja metodinen puoli nojautuu kriittiseen diskurssianalyysiin. Analyysin teossa on lisäksi käytetty apukeinona Norman Fairclough’n kolmijakoista analyysimallia. Aineisto koostuu yhteensä 21:sta lehtiartikkelista, jotka on julkaistu vuosien 1965 ja 1976 välillä lehdessä nimeltä China Pictorial. Tutkimusaineisto on kokonaisuudessaan kiinankielinen. Aineiston perusteella on havaittavissa neljä erilaista ympäristöön liittyvää diskurssia, joiden kautta Dazhai-kampanjasta kirjoitetaan. Diskurssit on nimetty ”luonto vallankumouksen jatkumona”–, ”luonnon muuttaminen kamppailun kautta”–, ”luonto välinearvona”– ja ”luonto sotilaallisena kohteena”–diskursseiksi. Näistä diskursseista ensimmäisessä näkyy ajatus siitä, että muiden yhteiskunnan osa-alueiden lisäksi myös luonto tulee mullistaa ja saattaa Kiinan kommunistisen puolueen hallintaan. Toisessa diskurssissa luonto nähdään asiana, jota on mahdollista muuttaa äärimmäisyyteen asti tahdonvoiman ja fyysisen kamppailun tuloksena. Kolmas diskurssi näkee luonnon sen tuoman hyödyn näkökulmasta, sekä heikentää perinteisiä kiinalaisia luontokäsityksiä. Neljännessä diskurssissa luonto on kohde, joka on voitettava, jota kohden pitää hyökätä ja jota vastaan pitää aloittaa sota. Näiden neljän diskurssin kautta havaittava ihmisen ja luonnon välinen suhde on vahvasti antroposentrinen sekä tiukasti poliittiseen ideologiaan kietoutuva.
  • 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.
  • Malyutin, Kirill (Helsingfors universitet, 2015)
    The main objective was to identify and analyze the tourism management perspective to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at the luxury Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (FCLL) Hotel and Resort in the Banff National Park (NP). It is viable for a company to conduct responsible business operations, especially in protected areas, because of a great influence of Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (ENGO’s) and high customer awareness of environmental issues. Definitely, large chains of luxury hotels and resorts, such as the Fairmont, are greatly dependent on their reputation and engagement with the communities’ well-being and handling the environmental issues in the area of business operations. The thesis is divided into several parts, i.e. introduction, theoretical background, methodology and previous research, results of the research, and conclusions and discussions. Undoubtedly, all of the above mentioned parts are essential in order to get a complete picture of the thesis topic and its achieved objectives. As a matter of fact, the current Master’s thesis comprises various industries with hospitality, tourism, and forestry. In order to gain the stated objectives, a deep analysis of the literature related to the topic and online sources was conducted, as well as email interviews with some representatives, i.e. certain managers, of the FCLL. Obviously, not all of the respondents were able to answer in time or to answer at all due to various reasons; however, the received replies were enough to make their contribution to the current thesis. The questions were especially designed to fit the respondents and to get a better insight into the FCLL’s business activities in the Banff NP. As the results showed, the FCLL has a good reputation due to its dedication and achievements, regardless of the plans to build a conference center and previous negative impact on the environment in the area. FCLL is trying its best to become a good “citizen” by following its CSR practices and engaging stakeholders. The FCLL’s major focus is to diminish negative impacts from its business operations in the park, i.e. on its various environmental programs, engaging not only personnel of the company, but communities and customers. These results were used as a basis of a SWOT analysis to have a clearer and visible representation of the FCLL’s current position, taking all the issues into consideration. In conclusion, this research shows that the luxury Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel and Resort in the Banff National Park has a good image and reputation due to its various environmental programs, dedication to its responsible business operations, and engagement of the involved stakeholders; therefore, it is clear the company has a great potential based on its achievements and willingness to make its positive contribution.
  • Johansson, Ulrica; Lindberg, Lene; Ohlund, Inger; Hernell, Olle; Lonnerdal, Bo; Lunden, Saara; Sandell, Mari; Lind, Torbjorn (2021)
    Early life is critical for developing healthy eating patterns. This study aimed to investigate the effects of a Nordic, protein-reduced complementary diet (ND) compared to a diet following the current Swedish dietary guidelines on eating patterns and food acceptance. At 4-6 months (mo) of age infants were randomized to a Nordic group (NG, n = 41) or a Conventional group (CG, n = 40), and followed until 18 mo of age. Daily intake of fruits and vegetables (mean +/- sd) at 12 mo was significantly higher in the NG compared to the CG: 341 +/- 108 g/day vs. 220 +/- 76 g/day (p <0.001), respectively. From 12 to 18 mo, fruit and vegetable intake decreased, but the NG still consumed 32% more compared to the CG: 254 +/- 99 g/day vs. 193 +/- 67 g/day (p = 0.004). To assess food acceptance, both groups were tested with home exposure meals at 12 and 18 mo. No group differences in acceptance were found. We find that a ND with parental education initiates healthy eating patterns during infancy, but that the exposure meal used in the present study was insufficient to detect major differences in food acceptance. This is most likely explained by the preparation of the meal. Nordic produce offers high environmental sustainability and favorable taste composition to establish healthy food preferences during this sensitive period of early life.
  • Vardoulaki, Eleni; Vazza, Franco; Jimenez-Andrade, Eric F.; Gozaliasl, Ghassem; Finoguenov, Alexis; Wittor, Denis (2021)
    A fascinating topic in radio astronomy is how to associate the complexity of observed radio structures with their environment in order to understand their interplay and the reason for the plethora of radio structures found in surveys. In this project, we explore the distortion of the radiostructure of Fana roff-Riley (FR)-type radio sources in the VLA-COSMOS Large Project at3 GHzand relate it to their large-scale environment. We quantify the distortion by using the angle formed between the jets/lobes of two-sided FRs, namely bent angle (BA). Our sample includes108 objects in the redshift range0.08 < z < 3, which we cross-correlate to a wide range of large-scale environments(X-ray galaxy groups, density fields, and cosmic web probes) in the COSMOS field. The median BA of FRs in COSMOS atzmed similar to 0.9 is 167.5+11.5-37.5degrees. We do not find significant correlations between BA and large-scale environments within COSMOS covering scales from a few kpc to several hundred Mpc, nor between BA and host properties. Finally, we compare our observational datato magnetohydrodynamical (MHD) adaptive-mesh simulations ENZO-MHD of two FR sources atz= 0.5and atz= 1. Although the scatter in BA of the observed data is large, we see an agreement between observations and simulations in the bent angles of FRs, following a mild redshift evolution with BA. We conclude that, for a given object, the dominant mechanism affecting the radio structuresof FRs could be the evolution of the ambient medium, where higher densities of the intergalacticmedium at lower redshifts as probed by our study allow more space for jet interactions
  • Virtanen, Suvi; Kaprio, Jaakko; Viken, Richard; Rose, Richard J.; Latvala, Antti (2019)
    Aims To estimate birth cohort effects on alcohol consumption and abstinence in Finland and to test differences between birth cohorts in genetic and environmental sources of variation in Finnish adult alcohol use. Design The Older Finnish Twin Cohort longitudinal survey study 1975-2011. Setting Finland. Participants A total of 26 121 same-sex twins aged 18-95 years (full twin pairs at baseline n = 11 608). Measurements Outcome variables were the quantity of alcohol consumption (g/month) and abstinence (drinking zero g/month). Predictor variables were 10-year birth cohort categories and socio-demographic covariates. In quantitative genetic models, two larger cohorts (born 1901-20 and 1945-57) were compared. Findings Multi-level models in both sexes indicated higher levels of alcohol consumption in more recent birth cohorts and lower levels in earlier cohorts, compared with twins born 1921-30 (all P < 0.003). Similarly, compared with twins born 1921-30, abstaining was more common in earlier and less common in more recent cohorts (all P < 0.05), with the exception of men born 1911-20. Birth cohort differences in the genetic and environmental variance components in alcohol consumption were found: heritability was 21% [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0-56%] in the earlier-born cohort of women [mean age 62.8, standard deviation (SD) = 5.3] and 51% (95% CI = 36-56%) in a more recent cohort (mean age 60.2, SD = 3.7) at the age of 54-74. For men, heritability was 39% (95% CI = 27-45%) in both cohorts. In alcohol abstinence, environmental influences shared between co-twins explained a large proportion of variation in the earlier-born cohort (43%, 95% CI = 23-63%), whereas non-shared environmental (54%, 95% CI = 39-72%) and additive genetic influences (40%, 95% CI = 13-61%) were more important among more recent cohorts of men and women. Conclusion The contribution of genetic and environmental variability to variability in alcohol consumption in the Finnish population appears to vary by birth cohort.
  • Fonseca Silva, Paulo de Tarso (Helsingfors universitet, 2017)
    This masters' thesis explored the use of the body, tools, and the environment in craftwork from an embodied cognitive perspective. More specifically the activity studied was wooden boatbuilding. Activity theory was used to map the elements and the dynamics of the wooden boatbuilding activity in relation to the object of work (a wooden gunboat). The research interests (related to body, tools and environment) were positioned among the different elements of the wooden boatbuilding activity (tools, subject, object, outcome, rules, community and division of labor) by following an activity theoretical structure. Previous research has shown that the abilities of the body are quite often overshadowed by the abilities of brain alone, even though cognition is embodied due to its dependency on the characteristics of the agent's physical body. The objective of this research was to seek further understanding on the position of the body and its role in an activity of craft with the use of tools and environment. By having an embodied cognitive perspective, the research looked at the types of materials from the environment that were applied for work, and how material artefacts have contributed to the body's performance during craft. In addition, the research took into account the characteristics of the work environment that enabled the body of craftsmen to work more efficiently. Specifically, the thesis captured a two-day data collection of videos and interviews in the dockyard of Suomenlinna Fortress, based on the method of ethnography. The data collection gathered material for the analysis of the craftwork on a wooden gunboat model, during a process of craft called caulking. For the analysis, the work of five subjects (wooden boat builders) was observed closely. The method applied for analysis of data was thematic analysis, which required a selective process of data, based on relevant or reoccurring themes identified throughout video files. The most representative themes of the activity were framed in sets of images for further interpretation, and in that way enabling the validation of themes and their relevance to the research questions. As a result, the themes identified in the activity of wooden boatbuilding were (1) the abilities of the body, (2) the limitations of the body, (3) the body and the process of sensing, (4) the affordance of tools, (5) tools as mediators, and (6) the affordances or the environment. All these themes were building blocks for conceptualising the role of the body in the craft of wooden boatbuilding, the role of tools in the craft of wooden boatbuilding, and how the environment is used in the craft of wooden boatbuilding. This research concluded that, while activity theory allowed a holistic understanding of a craft activity, such as wooden boatbuilding, embodied cognition was vital for conceptualising the role of the body as a starting point in relation to all elements of the activity, including tools and environment. In addition of certifying the usefulness of this combination (embodied cognition and activity theory), perhaps the most relevant finding of this research was the so-called APDCS (area of potential development of craft skills), which could contextualise the integration among body, tools and environment in the craft of wooden boatbuilding through the development of various tasks.
  • Kopra, Sanna-Kaisa (Routledge, 2018)
    As American leadership over climate change declines, China has begun to identify itself as a great power by formulating ambitious climate policies. Based on the premise that great powers have unique responsibilities, this book explores how China’s rise to great power status transforms notions of great power responsibility in general and international climate politics in particular. The author looks empirically at the Chinese party-state’s conceptions of state responsibility, discusses the influence of those notions on China’s role in international climate politics, and considers both how China will act out its climate responsibility in the future and the broader implications of these actions. Alongside the argument that the international norm of climate responsibility is an emerging attribute of great power responsibility, Kopra develops a normative framework of great power responsibility to shed new light on the transformations China’s rise will yield and the kind of great power China will prove to be. The book will be of interest to students and scholars of international relations, China studies, foreign policy studies, international organizations, international ethics and environmental politics.
  • Lappalainen, Anu (Helsingfors universitet, 2002)
    Madagascar is one of the megadiversity countries of the world and its highly endemic flora and fauna is under threat from a rapidly growing population. Over the past few years many conservation projects have combined development goals with conservation, thus supporting the conservation goal by attempting to ease human pressure on the protected area. The objective of this study is to investigate the views and opinions of local people with regard to Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. This study examines the changes the park has brought to peoples’ lives, general attitudes towards the environment and conservation as well as opinions about the park management. The main information presented in this study was obtained from 121 interviews completed in six villages. Three of them are situated close to the park and they have received intentional development interventions from the authorities. Another three lie further away and have no official connections with the park. The study will investigate how distance and interventions affect peoples views and opinions. The information obtained represents independent opinions from a random sample of the resident population. All the schools of each village were visited and over 400 pupils responded to a questionnaire about the environment. In addition to this the NGO's, local authorities, health centres, churches and a family planning clinic, were consulted in order to gain a thorough picture of the communities views. People in the villages closest to the park have obtained employment through tourism and research. Other positive effects include assistance with new farming methods, the introduction of alternative livelihoods and environmental education. Villagers further away from the park mentioned the slowing down of environmental degradation as the major achievement of the park. The major negative effect is restrictions on usage of the natural resources people depend on. Adequate alternatives are not available and direct compensation for economic losses has not been offered. This study presents people’s suggestions on improving education, management of the park, livelihoods and environment. More efficient development projects that geographically reach further would help the park to achieve its development goals and through that the conservation objectives. The results of this study emphasise the importance of education, which increases people’s awareness of the environmental processes. This enables them to understand the consequences of human activities and gives them an awareness of the consequences of continuing unsustainable use of resources. Decreasing poverty near protected areas is also essential in order to reduce pressure on the environment. A third important issue is the slowing down of population growth. Successful combination of conservation and development requires constant reassessment and responses to changing situations. The survival of Madagascar’s rain forests is a global concern so responsibility and costs must be borne globally, too.
  • Garn, Holger; Bahn, Sabine; Baune, Bernhard T.; Binder, Elisabeth B.; Bisgaard, Hans; Chatila, Talal A.; Chavakis, Triantafyllos; Culmsee, Carsten; Dannlowski, Udo; Gay, Steffen; Gern, James; Haahtela, Tari; Kircher, Tilo; Mueller-Ladner, Ulf; Neurath, Markus F.; Preissner, Klaus T.; Reinhardt, Christoph; Rook, Graham; Russell, Shannon; Schmeck, Bernd; Stappenbeck, Thaddeus; Steinhoff, Ulrich; van Os, Jim; Weiss, Scott; Zemlin, Michael; Renz, Harald (2016)
    Recent research indicates that chronic inflammatory diseases, including allergies and autoimmune and neuropsychiatric diseases, share common pathways of cellular and molecular dysregulation. It was the aim of the International von-Behring-Rontgen Symposium (October 16-18, 2014, in Marburg, Germany) to discuss recent developments in this field. These include a concept of biodiversity; the contribution of urbanization, lifestyle factors, and nutrition (eg, vitamin D); and new mechanisms of metabolic and immune dysregulation, such as extracellular and intracellular RNAs and cellular and mitochondrial stress. Epigenetic mechanisms contribute further to altered gene expression and therefore to the development of chronic inflammation. These novel findings provide the foundation for further development of preventive and therapeutic strategies.
  • Assouguem, Amine; Kara, Mohammed; Mechchate, Hamza; Korkmaz, Yesim Bulak; Benmessaoud, Safaa; Ramzi, Amal; Abdullah, Khaled R.; Noman, Omar Mohammed; Farah, Abdellah; Lazraq, Abderahim (2022)
    In North Africa, Tetranychus urticae Koch, 1836 represents one of the most destructive generalists among mite herbivores. Unfortunately, it is a source of important annual casualties in crop production. It is a phytophagous mite that can feed on hundreds of host plants and produces significant damage. The control of T. urticae in North Africa has been principally based on acaricide sprays. However, new alternative methods have shown effective results, such as artificial ultraviolet-B, natural enemies, and the introduction of new genetic methods. This review aims to present a synthesis of information surrounding control methods of T. urticae in North Africa. We highlight the principal findings of previous studies. Then, we discuss current control methods and propose new innovative research and sustainable approaches to controlling this pest. The control method can potentially extrapolate in North African regions due to its positive ecological results. Further, studies proved the use of natural enemies, myco-metabolites, bacteria metabolites, and the introduction of a genetic method in an integrated long-term sustainable program that can successfully defeat the populations of T. urticae. We also discuss high-priority research guidelines to investigate new sustainable management strategies. Setting up an integrated long-term ecological monitoring program in different Northwest African countries and incorporating new technologies into monitoring programs is an urgent need to fight this devastating pest.
  • Pihkala, Panu (2018)
    This article addresses the problem of eco-anxiety by integrating results from numerous fields of inquiry. Although climate change may cause direct psychological and existential impacts, vast numbers of people already experience indirect impacts in the form of depression, socio-ethical paralysis, and loss of well-being. This is not always evident, because people have developed psychological and social defenses in response, including socially constructed silence. I argue that this situation causes the need to frame climate change narratives as emphasizing hope in the midst of tragedy. Framing the situation simply as a threat or a possibility does not work. Religious communities and the use of methods which include spirituality have an important role in enabling people to process their deep emotions and existential questions. I draw also from my experiences from Finland in enabling cooperation between natural scientists and theologians in order to address climate issues.
  • Tregenza, Tom; Niemela, Petri T.; Rodriguez-Munoz, Rolando; Hopwood, Paul E. (2022)
    The role of female choice in sexual selection is well established, including the recognition that females choose their mates based on multiple cues. These cues may include intrinsic aspects of a male's phenotype as well as aspects of the environment associated with the male. The role of the spatial location of a potential mate has been well studied in territorial vertebrates. However, despite their role as laboratory models for studies of sexual selection, the potential for insects to choose their mates on the basis of location has scarcely been studied. We studied a natural population of individually tagged crickets (Gryllus campestris) in a meadow in Northern Spain. Adults typically move between burrows every few days, allowing us to examine how pairing success of males can be predicted by the burrow they occupy, independent of their own characteristics. We observed the entirety of ten independent breeding seasons to provide replication and to determine whether the relative importance of these factors is stable across years. We find that both male ID and the ID his burrow affect the likelihood that he is paired with a female, but the burrow has a consistently greater influence. Furthermore, the two factors interact: the relative attractiveness of an individual male depends on which burrow he occupies. Our finding demonstrates a close interaction between naturally and sexually selected traits. It also demonstrates that mate choice studies may benefit from considering not only obvious secondary sexual traits, but also more cryptic traits such as microhabitat choice. We show that female insects choosing to cohabit with a male place more importance on where he lives than on who he is, but the combination of the two is more important still. We know that female birds often choose a male based on the quality of his territory; our 10 years of observing crickets moving around a Spanish meadow to share burrows with members of the opposite sex, reveals insects can do the same.
  • Grönholm, Sam; Jalonen, Pauliina (Finnish Environment Institute, 2009)
    Reports of the Finnish Environment Institute 5/2009
  • Meltzer, Helle Margrete; Brantsæter, Anne Lise; Trolle, Ellen; Eneroth, Hanna; Fogelholm, Mikael; Ydersbond, Trond Arild; Birgisdottir, Bryndis Eva (2019)
    "The Nordic diet" is an umbrella term that encompasses any interpretation that combines Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDGs) with local Nordic foods. The five Nordic countries have collaborated on Nordic Nutrition Recommendations for forty years, including FBDGs, so their national guidelines are similar. The countries also share similar public health issues, including widespread nonconformity to the guidelines, although in different ways. The aim of this concept paper is to discuss environmental sustainability aspects of the Nordic diet, describe the status of and make suggestions for the inclusion of sustainability in future work on the Nordic diet. We exploit the sustainability-health synergy. A food intake more in line with the current FBDGs, which emphasises more plant-based and less animal-based foods, is necessary for high environmental sustainability. In turn, sustainability is an important motivator for health-promoting dietary shifts. Policy development requires long-term efforts. Since the Nordic diet can be considered a further development and improvement of old, traditional diets, there is huge potential to formulate a Nordic diet that benefits both human and planetary health. It is time for concerted engagement and actions-a new Nordic nutrition transition.
  • Aapio, Fanny (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Food literacy is a noteworthy topic to be studied due to food’s considerable environmental and health effects. When food literacy and its characteristics are known, food literacy can be used as a tool to improve people’s health and the condition of the environment. Thus, this thesis aims to reveal the extent of food literacy among Finnish upper secondary school students. In this context, food literacy emphasises food-related environmental and health knowledge. Environmental knowledge is understanding of the global environmental impact of food. Health knowledge, on the other hand, is the familiarity with the relationship between excessive meat consumption and Finnish common diseases along with beliefs regarding diets and food products as a source of protein. This thesis also aims to identify to what extent does the food literacy differ based on gender, study year and living area. This study was performed as a quantitative sample survey and the data was collected using an online Typeform -questionnaire. The questionnaire reached respondents from many different Finnish localities, mainly from cities. The final data consisted of 1320 individuals and it was analysed using IMB SPSS Statistics 24 software. The following methods were used to analyse data: frequency analysis, an Independent Samples t Test, a One-way ANOVA, and a Post-hoc LSD test. Gender, study year and living area were used as grouping variables to examine the differences between groups. The results show that the students named school as the main source of food literacy. Moreover, the results indicate that awareness regarding food production, dietary health and proteins increase significantly from the first to the third study year. The students acknowledged food production causing environmental problems and that the share of food in the consumer’s climatic impact is considerable. Nevertheless, the students underestimated the climatic impact of cheese and they were unaware of the more specific characteristics of food’s environmental impacts. They also had food-related environmental misconceptions considering packaging, transportation and meat consumption. Moreover, approximately half or more of the students were aware of the connection between excessive meat consumption and the increased risk of distinct common diseases. Most of the students acknowledged a versatile vegetarian diet as being a healthy choice. The study also reveals that female students had notably higher dietary health knowledge than male students. This Master’s thesis study mainly supports the findings of previous studies on food-related knowledge. The results elucidate the extent, characteristics, gaps and misconceptions of students’ food literacy. These findings may be utilized to improve school education on food literacy, alter misconceptions and fill the gaps of knowledge in pursuit of improving the health of people and the condition of the environment.
  • Meri, Maija (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This study addresses the ways in which environmental challenges and power relations are manifested through tourism in the easternmost province of Panama, Darién. Historically, the area of Darién has remained relatively isolated from the rest of the country and tourism in the area is of small-scale. However, the high biodiversity and natural resources have drawn increasing attention, thus resulting in tensions and competing interests between different stakeholders. Local perceptions of tourism bring insight about how people make sense of and engage with touristic activities, and how geopolitical and ecological discourses contribute to environmental inequalities. The theoretical background draws from geopolitical ecology, which states the role and impact of the environment in the shaping of political space and power relations. The research is based on 37 thematic interviews and participant observation carried out during a one-month ethnographic fieldwork in Darién. The findings indicate that tourism has contributed to exposing the environmental challenges in Darién, but also caused controversy over the use of resources for tourism. Tourism brings forward power relations and demonstrates that different players are in an uneven position. The results show that tourism in Darién has been influenced by its remoteness and the nowadays largely misleading assumption of its unstable security situation. Darién faces a broad range of environmental problems, resulting mainly from the State´s weak presence and poor environmental policies. However, tourism has been locally able to enhance environmental awareness and interest towards conservation. Different tourism actors have unequal possibilities in making use of natural resources depending largely on their wealth and social networks. Further geopolitical interests appear through territorial issues and questions concerning land ownership. The findings indicate that by looking at tourism, many underlying tensions related to existing social inequalities, power relations and distribution of ecological benefits can be revealed.
  • Lääne, Ain; Kraav, Eva; Galina, Titova (the University of Kalmar, 2005)