Browsing by Subject "environmental politics"

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  • Humalisto, Niko; Valve, Helena; Åkerman, Maria (Taylor & Francis, 2021)
    Environmental Politics, 30:5, 833-853
    The circular economy (CE) is currently generating considerable expectations. The concept describes an aspired future but does not provide clear guidance for policy-making. As policy outcomes often rest on initiatives generated in a bottom-up fashion, our attention must be directed to the ways policies are made accessible and interesting to those who might take the initiative. We claim that on-line publicity plays a key role in this. Our findings from a hyperlink analysis focusing on a government funding call for nutrient recycling in Finland show how multiple versions of the policy topic unfold online, as emergent hyperlink clusters prioritize specific agents, material circuits, and policy visions over others. The topic becomes connected with activities and agendas to create path dependencies and to strengthen existing divisions rather than to advocate change. Thus, we argue that CE policy design must recognize the way policy is shaped through online publicity creation.
  • Must, Anneli (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    Background: The 1974 Helsinki Convention on Marine Protection of the Baltic Sea Area is one of the world’s most successful and comprehensive international environmental agreements. The purpose of this work is to explore how and why a new non-binding Helsinki Convention was renegotiated in 1992 during a period of great political upheaval in the Baltic Sea area and how politics, law, and environmental cooperation were intertwined in this process. Methods: This work strives to show evidence of 'leader-lagger' dynamics in motion evolving from different environmental and political traditions in littoral states that led to a non-binding convention result when one of the stated purposes of the renegotiation was to draw up more stringent rules. This work analyses how key leader countries used their powerful positions to dominate the renegotiations, instituting regime change in the Baltic Sea Region as well as the non-binding result. The main source materials used are the archives of the Finnish Foreign Ministry and the Baltic Marine Environmental Protection Commission, better known as HELCOM. Results: Evidence of leader countries exerting influence over lagger states in the renegotiation. Also, renegotiations brought forth a change of regime in regards to the HELCOM institution, as non-state actors enter and play a prominent role. Politics played a role in how law and environmental cooperation were institutionalized as a result of the renegotiation. Conclusion: Political context is important when analysing international agreements, without context it is difficult to comprehend why some decisions are taken in particular circumstances.
  • Pihkala, Panu Petteri (2016)
    This article explores the possibilities offered by theories of recognition and identity politics for a better understanding of religious – in this case, Christian – environmentalism. Insights related to recognition are gleaned from literature in ecological theology. Themes for further research and possibilities for practical adaptation are explored. It is argued that theories of recognition help to understand the dynamics related to processes where a certain group asks for more recognition of nature. Identity questions and developments in environmentalism are clarified by an understanding of what happens when partial recognition is granted. The role of mutuality as a basis for recognition is widened by Arto Laitinen’s proposal for recognition as “adequate regard” for something, i.e. for an ecosystem. The complex relations between humans and non-human nature are explored through such themes as reciprocity and the question of “voices” of nature. Creaturely difference and the role of seeing a “face” in nature are discussed in relation to recognition. The significance of place and environmental conditions for recognition are probed. Special attention is given to Andrew Dobson’s application of Nancy Frazer’s theory of transformative recognition to environmental matters, which offers new ways of understanding the role of non-human nature in politics, ethics and discussions on justice.
  • Valve, Helena; Lazarevic, David; Pitzén, Samuli (Pergamon, 2022)
    Environmental policies often leave room for case- or region-specific discretion. In this paper, we focus on the transformation of socio-material settings into objects of policy discretion. This move calls for manipulation—ontological work—enabling settings to be connected to policy aspirations. The settings become configured in terms of their professed policy-relevant dimensions. The outcomes affect how environmental liabilities become defined in policy processes. The paper develops a conceptual toolkit to analyse ontological work as it is performed by policy documents. We use the toolkit to analyse three types of policy documents defining how agricultural nutrient loading is to be reduced in the Finnish region of North Savo. The findings show that regulatory decisions and policy recommendations are, to a significant extent, outcomes of ontological work. Environmental liabilities are shaped by the ways ‘unstable junctures’ are brought into being. By these junctures we refer to the points in the configured policy landscapes where choices influential for water protection are, according to the documents, to be made. The documents also generate exclusions that narrow down what liability implies in the unstable junctures. Without a focus on the ontological work and emerging ordering effects, it would have been difficult to show how environmental liabilities became (un)defined in the policy documents. The approach is needed to understand how power is practiced in policy processes and how policy instruments come to have consequences.
  • Karlsson, Thomas Malte Molnár (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The way environmental issues are discursively constructed matters for how they are understood and what possibilities there are to solve them. This makes it relevant to investigate discourses around environmental issues and their proposed solutions. One such solution is ecological compensation, which has been widely implemented as a way to avoid environmental degradation and achieve no net loss of biodiversity. Compensation is also a contested mechanism, however, which has been shaped by the interplay of various discourses with diverging understandings of nature conservation. In this study, I investigate how ecological compensation is constructed by experts in Finland. Using the concept of storylines (Hajer 1995) I analyse 9 interviews conducted with experts involved in the discussion around ecological compensation, which is currently being implemented into Finnish legislation. Three storylines are identified which construct ecological compensation either as 1) a way to enable private actors to take environmental responsibility, 2) additional legislation to fill a “gap” in current conservation practices, or 3) a possibility to modify the relationship with nature by fostering local deliberations. This shows diverging understandings of ecological compensation among the experts and contestation over the way it should be implemented. What is at stake in the discussion are questions of how nature conservation should be understood, which makes ecological compensation pivotal for reconfiguring the field of nature conservation by shifting understandings of the roles and responsibilities involved. At the same time, consensus exists about the need to implement ecological compensation, which the experts all agree is the only possibility to stop biodiversity loss in Finland. This is traced to the interpretative flexibility of the ecological compensation concept which accommodates conflicting understandings and enables the experts to agree about the need for ecological compensation while contesting the “details” of how the implementation should take place. In that way, the implementation is supported despite contestation, and the discussion is focused on how – rather than whether – ecological compensation should be implemented.