Climate Anxiety

The phenomenon of climate anxiety is nowadays much discussed in media (in Finnish: ilmastoahdistus, in Swedish: klimatångest). It is often characterized as related especially to younger people, and indeed many youth have recently spoken openly about their climate change anxiety. However, research has revealed that while the phenomenon is especially prevalent among certain groups of people, such as environmentalists and young adults, many different kinds of people feel various forms of climate anxiety. Often, climate anxiety manifests as worry or distress, but it can also feel very devastating: for example, people can feel that their future has been taken away from them.

There is evidence about climate anxiety from around the world and research is ongoing about the various forms and developments of this phenomenon. In a rare, nation-wide survey in Finland in summer 2019, 25% of the population recognized some kind of climate anxiety in themselves. Of the youngest age group in that survey, 15- to 30-year olds, the percentage was 33%. Stronger anxiety symptoms were reported by roughly 10% of the respondents.

In the Climate University course family, climate anxiety and climate emotions are discussed especially in two courses: SystemsChange.now and ClimateComms.now. The author of this blog, interdisciplinary eco-anxiety researcher Panu Pihkala, Ph.D., wrote materials for both of these courses.

Below, 10 major aspects of climate anxiety are discussed. At the end of the blog, a short bibliography of climate anxiety research is provided.

 

  1. Climate anxiety is part of the wider phenomenon of eco-anxiety. Eco-anxiety (sometimes written ecoanxiety) can result either from the awareness of the global ecological crisis or from a local ecological problem. Climate anxiety is that part of eco-anxiety which is significantly related to climate change. However, because the climate crisis is linked with numerous other social and ecological issues, the lines between climate anxiety and other eco-anxiety are often difficult to see.

 

  1. Climate anxiety is real: many forms of it have been found in research. It is sometimes claimed that only neurotic people feel climate anxiety, but research shows otherwise: there are many factors which influence the feelings of people. Exposure to climate disruption, for example, is a major factor, as well as young age.

 

  1. What is commonly called “climate anxiety” is actually a scale of various reactions and emotions. Anxiety is a relatively good shorthand term for these feelings, but it is very important to recognize that there are many other feelings and psychological states involved. These include fear, worry, stress, feelings of helplessness, grief, guilt, frustration, anger, and even trauma or depression.

 

  1. Climate anxiety is not primarily a disease; instead, it is an understandable reaction to the severity of the climate crisis. Some manifestations of climate anxiety are paralyzing and it would be important to help people to avoid them, but the overall phenomenon of climate anxiety (or, worry, or distress) should be valued as a caring response to the crisis.

 

  1. Since the word anxiety is used in various connotations, it is important to analyze what various people mean with “climate anxiety”. For some people, including many health professionals, “anxiety” brings into mind anxiety disorders. On the other hand, there is much research about anxiety as an emotion, which helps a person to encounter troubling uncertainty. Then there is a long-standing discussion about existential anxiety, which is caused by the fundamental, difficult questions of life, such as death, guilt, or feelings of meaninglessness. The wide phenomenon of climate anxiety has been found to include all of the above, depending on the case.

 

  1. People have often been silent about their feelings of climate anxiety or even denied them. As psychologists and many other scholars emphasize, it is difficult to encounter the climate crisis. Many psychosocial dynamics, such as socially constructed silence, have been present in relation to climate change and climate emotions. There is both recognized and unrecognized climate anxiety. People need safe spaces and emotional support to be able to encounter their difficult emotions. The phenomenon of climate anxiety is much older than the public discussion about it.

 

  1. The phenomenon of climate anxiety is interlinked with climate change denial and the challenges of climate change communication, education, and advocacy. Psychological dynamics such as distancing are commonly used to keep anxiety further away. In some cases, anxiety can generate denial or disavowal, but the phenomenon of climate change denial is complex and shaped also by intentional political actions. Since there are so different kinds of publics, climate anxiety presents profound challenges to communication, education, and advocacy. Threatening messages of “doom and gloom” paralyze many people, but careful “fear appeals” may motivate some others. The baseline is that the emotional dimensions of communicating should always be considered carefully.

 

  1. It should be remembered that experiences of climate anxiety are much shaped by various contexts and intersectional dynamics. For many people, there are profound sources of hardship and anxiety in their lives, much caused by structural problems and injustices. These kind of contextual factors greatly shape people’s feelings of climate anxiety. For many oppressed people, climate anxiety is “only” one part of the trouble they face. For wealthy people in industrialized nations, climate anxiety may be their first and foremost existential anxiety, but voices from other contexts need also be heard.

 

  1. Traditional instructions for coping with anxiety are only partly relevant in relation to climate anxiety, because the climate threat is very real. There is much that can be applied from established methods of coping with anxiety: new mental models and revised habits can help to reduce catastrophizing and rumination. However, the common method of de-emphasizing the actual seriousness of the threat is not particularly suitable, since the climate crisis is happening all the time and is scientifically predicted to grow worse. What is needed are skills which help a person to continue functioning amidst the uncertainties, and naturally climate action by all kinds of people.

 

  1. Experts recommend that coping with climate anxiety should include opportunities for efficacy, emotional support, and resilience building. It helps greatly if a person can feel that she/he can contribute positively, together with others, in building a more resilient world. However, the difficult emotions must also be lived through, or otherwise there is a danger of “climate burnout” due to constant busyness. There is a need to build resilience both on individual and community levels, including emotional and existential resilience.

 

A short bibliography of research and tips for coping

A report about climate anxiety and various methods that have been developed to encounter it (up to Summer 2019): https://mieli.exove.eu/en/climate-anxiety

 

Australian Psychological Society has published a wealth of materials for coping with climate change, including materials related to climate burnout, distress, and education:

https://www.psychology.org.au/for-the-public/Psychology-topics/Climate-change-psychology

 

Royal College of Psychiatry, London, has published materials related to eco-anxiety among young people. For parents and carers:

https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health/parents-and-young-people/information-for-parents-and-carers/eco-distress—for-parents-and-carers?searchTerms=eco%20distress

For young people themselves:

https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health/parents-and-young-people/young-people/eco-distress—for-young-people?searchTerms=eco%20distress

 

Organizations which work with climate distress, climate grief and/or climate anxiety:

 

Analysis of various forms of anxiety in relation to the ecological crisis:

Pihkala, Panu (2020). Anxiety and the Ecological Crisis: An Analysis of Eco-anxiety and Climate Anxiety. Sustainability 12:19, 7836; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12197836

 

Ways to encounter eco-anxiety in education:

Pihkala, Panu (2020). Eco-anxiety and Environmental Education. Sustainability 12: 23, 10149; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310149

 

Analysis and case examples of children’s climate anxiety:

Hickman, Caroline (2020). We need to (find a way to) talk about … eco-anxiety. Journal of Social Work Practice 34:4, 411-424. DOI:10.1080/02650533.2020.1844166.

 

Some psychologists have worked with eco-anxiety for a long time. See, for example, the website of Dr. Thomas Doherty, www.selfsustain.com, and the list of psychologists compiled by Susanne Moser at www.susannemoser.com

 

Useful websites:

– Britt Wray’s high-quality website and newsletter about eco-anxiety and related emotions: https://gendread.substack.com/

– Large bibliographies and many articles: https://www.climateandmind.org/

– Stories of eco-anxiety: www.ecoanxious.ca

 

Books about eco-anxiety and climate anxiety:

Gillespie, Sally. 2020. Climate Crisis and Consciousness: Re-imagining our world and ourselves. London & New York: Routledge.

Ray, Sarah Jacquette. 2020. A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet. Oakland: University of California Press.

Grose, Anouchka. 2020. A Guide to Eco-anxiety: How to Protect the Planet and Your Mental Health. London: Watkins.

Pihkala, Panu. 2017. Päin helvettiä? Ympäristöahdistus ja toivo. Helsinki: Kirjapaja. (In Finnish)

Weber, Jack Adam. 2020. Climate Cure: Heal Yourself to Heal the Planet. Llewellyn.

Albrecht, Glenn. 2019. Earth Emotions: New Words for a New World. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Pipher, Mary. 2013. The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in our Capsized Culture. New York: Riverhead Books.

Verlie, Blanche. 2022 [in print 2021]. Learning to live with climate change: From anxiety to transformation. New York: Routledge.

 

About psychological measures and scales:

There is an ongoing academic discussion about these. An initial climate anxiety scale developed by Susan Clayton & Brian Karazsia (2020) has been tested in several countries and modifications have been recommended. (Clayton is a pioneering researcher in climate change and mental health.) A promising development is the Hogg Scale for Eco-anxiety.

 

Dr. Panu Pihkala

University of Helsinki 

Climate University courses in Autumn 2021

Several Climate University courses are available in the curricula this Autumn.

Kiertotalous.nyt / Circular.now

Kiertotalous.nyt on jatkuvasti suoritettavissa Helsingin yliopiston opiskelijoille 3 tai 5 opintopisteen laajuudessa ja avoimessa yliopistossa 3 opintopisteen laajuudessa. Ilmoittautuminen aukeaa 16.8.2021. Helsingin yliopiston opiskelijat ilmoittautuvat sisu-järjestelmässä kurssikoodilla MAAT-051. Avoimen yliopiston yliopiston kautta kurssi on auki kaikille kiinnostuneille, ilmoittautuminen: https://studies.helsinki.fi/opintotarjonta/cur/otm-ea683e6f-b74d-4090-82b3-706f69968f7d

Circular.now is continuously available for the University of Helsinki students as 3 or 5 ECTS course and at Open University of Helsinki as 3 ECTS course. Registration opens 16.8.2021. University of Helsinki students register in sisu, course code MAAT-051. Registration for open university students: https://studies.helsinki.fi/opintotarjonta/cur/otm-ea683e6f-b74d-4090-82b3-706f69968f7d

 

Sustainable.now

Sustainable.now (5 ECTS) is taught online at the University of Helsinki and Open University of Helsinki 9.9.-21.10.2021. The course is also open to Una Europa students. University of Helsinki students register in sisu, course code ATM378. Registration for open university students: https://studies.helsinki.fi/courses/cur/hy-opt-cur-2122-206de9fa-b6d4-4c06-aaed-04cbcb47ebbf/Sustainable_now_Online_teaching

 

Ilmasto.nyt / Climate.now

Ilmasto.nyt-kurssin voit suorittaa Itä-Suomen yliopistossa 2 opintopisteen laajuudessa milloin vain. Ilmoittautuminen aukeaa 1.9.2021. UEF-opiskelijat ilmoittautuvat weboodissa kurssikoodilla 3352711. Avoimen yliopiston kautta voit ilmoittautua kurssille täällä: https://www.uef.fi/fi/jatkuva-oppiminen/avoin-yo-ilmastonmuutos-verkkokurssi-0

Climate.now course (2 ECTS) is continuously available at the University of Eastern Finland as a self-study course. Registration opens 1.9.2021. UEF students register in weboodi, course code 3352711. Registration via open university: https://www.uef.fi/fi/jatkuva-oppiminen/avoin-yo-ilmastonmuutos-verkkokurssi-0

Climate.now (2 or 5 ECTS) is taught online at the University of Helsinki and Open University of Helsinki 2.11.-14.12.2021. The course is also open to Una Europa students. Course teaching language is in English, but you can also study the materials and return assignments in Finnish. University of Helsinki students register in sisu, course code ATM302. Registration for open university students: https://studies.helsinki.fi/courses/cur/hy-opt-cur-2122-1bdf90f1-4888-4b83-acae-e5424a557f90/Climate_now_Lectures

Ilmasto.nyt-kurssi opetetaan myös Oulun yliopistossa 5.11.-16.12.2021. Kurssin voit suorittaa 2 tai 5 opintopisteen laajuudessa. Oulun yliopiston opiskelijat ilmoittautuvat weboodissa, kurssikoodi 766383A. Avoimen yliopiston kautta voit ilmoittautua kurssille täällä (ilmoittautuminen auki 12.8.-30.9.): https://www.oulu.fi/fi/joy/koulutushaku/ilmastonyt-0

Climate.now is also taught at the University of Oulu 5.11.-16.12.2021 as either 2 ECTS or 5 ECTS course. University of Oulu students register in weboodi, course code 766383A. Registration via open university is open 12.8.-30.9. here: https://www.oulu.fi/fi/joy/koulutushaku/ilmastonyt-0

 

Lukiolaisen Ilmasto.nyt

Lukiolaisen Ilmasto.nyt -kurssin voit suorittaa Oulun yliopistossa 15.11.-16.12.2021. Opintojakso on suunnattu ennen kaikkea lukiolaisille ja muille toisen asteen opiskelijoille ja sen laajuus on 2 opintopistettä. Ilmoittaututuminen: https://www.oulu.fi/fi/joy/koulutushaku/ilmastonyt-avoin-yo-0 12.8.-30.9.

 

Find more about the courses at Climate University website.

Interested in getting Climate University courses  to your institution? Contact CU coordinator.

Nuorten ilmastowebinaari – vihreä kaupunki

The online climate webinar called Green city was wrapped up last Thursday on 6.5.2021. Thank you for all the participants, both presenters and listeners.

Maksuton Vihreä kaupunki -webinaari järjestettiin torstaina 6.5.2021. Webinaariin osallistui nuoria ja opettajia lähes joka puolelta Suomea.

Tapahtuma järjestettiin kokonaisuudessaan verkossa ja väliaktivointeihin käytettiin menti-nimistä interaktiivista työkalua. Webinaarissa kolme puhujaa lähestyivät ilmastonmuutosta kaupunkisuunnittelun ja sopeutumisen näkökulmista. Puhujina olivat;

Leena Järvi, apulaisprofessori ilmakehätieteiden keskuksesta Helsingin yliopistosta – Puuston ilmastovaikutukset (pdf)

Riikka Äärelä, maisema-arkkitehti Helsingin kaupungilta – Hiilinielut ja varastot tiivistyvässä kaupungissa (pdf)

Susanna Kankaanpää, ympäristösuunnittelija ilmastonmuutoksen näkökulmasta Helsingin kaupungilta – Miten puusto auttaa sopeutumaan (pdf)

 

Jokaisen esityksen jälkeen kuulijoita aktivoitiin pienillä kysymyksillä. Näet kysymykset ja vastaukset alla. Saadut tiedot olivat monelle uutta ja vain tunnin mittainen tapahtuma sisälsi tiiviin paketin eri näkemyksiä ilmastonmuutoksen sekä hiilenkierron käsittelystä kaupungin näkökulmasta. Aiheet herättivät kysymyksiä ja keskustelua yleisössä ja toivon mukaan avarsivat myös nuorten tulevaisuuden kuvaa. Jokaisen puhujan polku on ollut erilainen ja oli kiinnostavaa kuulla miten kukin päätyi nykyisen ammattinsa pariin.

Suuri kiitos puhujille mielenkiintoa ja ajatuksia herättävistä esityksistä, ja jokaiselle kuuntelijalle aktiivisesta osallistumisesta.

 

Tiistaina 11.5. alkoi myös Ilmasto.nyt tutustumiskurssi. Kurssi toimii pohjustuksena ilmastonmuutoksen kannalta tärkeille teemoille ja tarjoaa ainutlaatuisen tilaisuuden oppimiseen, sillä tämän kesän kurssi on ilmainen Avoimen yliopiston kautta. Ensimmäinen sessio sujui mukavasti ja oppilaat ovat päässeet aloittamaan kurssin parissa. Lisätietoa kurssista täällä: https://wiki.helsinki.fi/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=367946481

 

Ihanaa kesän alkua!

Janina Taurinen & Mikko Äijälä

New language versions available: Sustainable.now and ClimateComms.now

The new language versions of the Climate University courses are now open and freely available:

Sustainable.now is a bachelor’s level basic course for anyone interested in sustainable development and climate change. The principles of sustainable development are linked to the 1.5 degree climate target. The course provides a solid information package on the concept of sustainable development and its ecological, social, economic and cultural dimensions, as well as the connections and tensions between them. The ethical perspective running through the course provides a basis for looking at sustainable development as a political and normative concept as well. The course also emphasizes the importance of agency as well as the different roles of the individual. The student is offered the opportunity to look at the sustainability of their own lifestyle from the perspective of individual choices, but on the other hand, sustainability and climate challenges are also presented as a structural and systemic problem. Practical examples and case descriptions illustrate sustainability challenges and their possible solutions. Through the team work assignments, the students deepen their understanding of sustainability challenges and receive peer support from other students. Team work assignments teach the student collective and multidisciplinary knowledge formation as well as collaboration skills that are essential in solving sustainability challenges. Find out more & link to the study material

The next opportunity to study the Sustainable.now course is offered by the University of Helsinki in September (course code ATM378). Follow CU blog, or join our email list for registration info and updates!

ClimateComms.now is a course about climate communication. What is the role of communication in solving the climate crisis? This course dives into the importance and challenges of communicating about climate change, and covers the factors of effective climate communication. During the course you learn to identify the different forms of communication related to climate change, to understand and critically analyze factors that are characteristic to climate communication and make it important yet challenging, to learn about issues that affect the messengers and recipients of climate change messages, and the keys to effective climate communication. Find out more & link to study material 

The ClimateComms.now course you can study at least in the University of Oulu, starting in January 2022 (course code 766382A).

Kesä ilmaston parissa

Tervetuloa viettämään kesä ilmastokysymysten parissa! Ilmasto.nyt tutustumiskurssi perustuu Climate Universityn uuteen Lukiolaisen Ilmasto.nyt -kurssiin ja on tiivistetty versio jo monena vuonna järjestetystä Ilmasto.nyt -kurssista. Kurssin lisäksi järjestämme toukokuussa Nuorten ilmastowebinaarin, jossa kurssin aiheita käsitellään vierailevien puhujien kanssa ennen varsinaisen kurssin aloittamista. Sekä opiskelijat että opettajat ovat tervetulleita kuuntelemaan sekä maksutonta webinaaria että osallistumaan kurssille.

Ilmasto.nyt tutustumiskurssi (2 op, kurssikoodi FYS4027)

Ilmasto.nyt -tutustumiskurssi järjestetään 11.5 – 22.6.2021 Digicampus-kurssialustalla. Kurssi tarjoaa pohjustuksen ilmastonmuutoksen moninaisiin aiheisiin. Kurssin materiaalit ovat pääosin itseopiskeltavia, ja ne soveltuvat sekä lukiolaisille että kandidaatin tutkintoaan suorittaville opiskelijoille, kuin myös muuten vaan aiheesta kiinnostuneille. Kurssilla järjestetään tiistaisin klo 16-17 yhteinen Zoom-sessio, jossa halukkaat voivat osallistua keskusteluun ja kysyä kurssiin liittyviä kysymyksiä. Ainoastaan kurssin ensimmäinen ja viimeinen etätapaaminen ovat pakollisia kaikille osallistujille (ja ne järjestetään 11.5 ja 22.6.2021 klo 16-17). Kurssi on ilmainen ja sinne ilmoittaudutaan avoimen yliopiston kautta.

Kurssin kolme keskeistä teemaa ovat

  • ilmastonmuutoksen luonnontieteelliset perusteet (esimerkiksi kasvihuoneilmiö, hiilenkierto, ilmastomallit)
  • ilmastonmuutoksen hillintä (esimerkiksi hiilineutraali energia ja uusiutuvan energian tuotanto, hiilijalanjälki, ilmastopolitiikka)
  • ilmastonmuutoksen vaikutukset ja niihin sopeutuminen (esimerkiksi ekosysteemipalvelut, palauteilmiöt, ilmastonmuutokseen sopeutuminen)

 

Kurssin tarkempi kuvaus löytyy kurssin wiki-alustalta: https://wiki.helsinki.fi/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=367946481

 

Kurssille ilmoittaudutaan Avoimen yliopiston kautta:

https://studies.helsinki.fi/opintotarjonta/cur/hy-CUR-142447848/Avoin_yo_Ilmasto_nyt_tutustumiskurssi_kes%C3%A4

 

Nuorten ilmastowebinaari – Vihreä kaupunki

Maksuton Vihreä kaupunki -webinaari järjestetään torstaina 6.5.2021 klo 15-16.15. Webinaarissa ilmastonmuutosta lähestytään kaupunkisuunnittelun ja sopeutumisen näkökulmista. Webinaari soveltuu hyvin lukiolaisille ja muille Ilmasto.nyt tutustumiskurssista kiinnostuneille.

Tervetuloa kuuntelemaan ja keskustelemaan yhdessä Climate University:n tutkijoiden ja vierailevien puhujien kanssa!

Webinaarin ohjelma:

15.00-15.10 Tervetuloa

15.10-15.30 Leena Järvi (apulaisprofessori, Ilmakehätieteiden keskus, Helsingin yliopisto) – Puuston ilmastovaikutukset

15.30-15.45 Riikka Äärelä (maisema-arkkitehti, Helsingin kaupunki) – Hiilinielut ja –varastot tiivistyvässä kaupungissa

15.45-16.00 Susanna Kankaanpää (ympäristösuunnittelija, ilmastonmuutos, Helsingin kaupunki) – Miten puusto auttaa sopeutumaan

16.00-16.15 Koonti ja Ilmasto.nyt tutustumiskurssin esittely

 

Webinaari on maksuton eikä edellytä kurssille ilmoittautumista. Webinaarin osallistumislinkki lähetetään ilmoittautuneille. Ilmoittautuminen webinaariin:  https://elomake.helsinki.fi/lomakkeet/110980/lomake.html 

 

Webinaarin järjestävät yhteistyössä Helsingin yliopisto INAR, Helsingin kaupunki ja Lukioiden korkeakouluyhteistyö pääkaupunkiseudulla –hanke.

 

Tulevia tapahtumia:

Global Challenges camp for the youth 3.-4.8.

Kansainvälinen Global Challenges –leiri, joka sopii hyvin jatkoksi Ilmasto.nyt verkkokurssin teemoille. Lisätietoja löydät leiristä tiedekasvatuksen verkkosivuilta:

https://www2.helsinki.fi/en/science-education/for-children-the-youth-and-the-families/global-challenges-course-for-the-youth

 

4.-5.8. Teachers’ Climate Change Forum 

Opettajien kansainvälinen ilmastonmuutosfoorumi (TCCF):

https://www2.helsinki.fi/en/science-education/for-teachers-and-learning-communities/teachers-climate-change-forum

 

Janina Taurinen & Mikko Äijälä 

Helsingin yliopisto 

Good bye from Mikael

I started working at the University of Helsinki and also at Climate University, in August 2019 as a civil servant. My job was to produce video material for online courses, among other things as well.

In the beginning I felt a bit lost. I had never worked in an office environment before. My days were filled with watching tutorial videos for my video editing software and navigating around the university both online and literally. After a month of working at the university I went on a month-long bus trip in Eastern-Europe with my friends. It was marvellous and returned to work with a clearer mind.

In November 2019 I attended my first Climate University workshop at Metropolia UAS. In the workshop we launched an idea of a #ClimateChallenge campaign, where the workshop attendees could challenge any individual or organisation to take a specific action against climate change. We received positive feedback from the challengers and decided to continue the filming of these challenges in the upcoming workshops. And so we did. In early March 2020 at Aalto University’s workshop (just before the first COVID-19 restrictions) we filmed more challenges. After Aalto, all of the remaining three workshops were online, but this didn’t stop us from filming the challenges. During my time at Climate University I filmed and sent 29 amazing challenges to various different organisations and individuals. Thank you everyone who contributed to the making of these challenges!

My other major task at Climate University has been the production and coordination of videos for the new Climate University courses, Sustainable.now and SystemsChange.now. During autumn of 2019 I was more invested in tasks regarding the courses of University of Helsinki, but in early 2020 I started to work on the Climate University course videos. We decided to make these videos with Unigrafia, which turned out to be a great decision. First I planed the videos with the course teachers and developers. They came up with the topics and the potential speakers. Then we all had a few meetings together with Heikki and Lauri from Unigrafia, where the course developers could ask questions and give their ideas for the videos. Then I started to contact the speakers and searched for locations for filming. I was able to make a schedule for the filming of the videos right before midsummer. Everything stood still during July, but things started rolling again in August. We filmed the videos with Lauri and Heikki during September and October. On set Heikki and Lauri took care of the technical side, while I instructed the speakers and asked the questions for the interviews. All of the speakers were excellent, which made the post-production much easier. Heikki and Lauri edited the videos and I gave my creative opinions and told them what should be fixed. We were supposed to get all of the videos on YouTube before the final Climate University workshop on 9th December. I worked long days and we were able to get most of the videos online on time. The rest of them were put up there before Christmas. For the first months of 2021 I have been fine-tuning Climate University’s YouTube channel so that everything is visually pleasing and in a unified format. I think the videos and the channel turned out very well. It was pleasure to work with Lauri and Heikki from Unigrafia as well as with the speakers and the course developers. The videos will give a fresh addition to the already great courses. I’ll put links to some of my favourite videos below.

On 1st July I officially became a conscious objector. I refused to complete my remaining civil service due to my non-violent beliefs. I had informed everyone at the university about it well beforehand and Laura and my other co-workers supported my decision, which felt great. I was hired to the university for seven more months as a trainee, starting in the beginning of August. I enjoyed a beautiful, sunny July travelling around Finland, visiting my friends and relatives. It was an easygoing month full of swimming and relaxing. It truly was one of the best months of my life. Then in August I returned to work and the following seven months have flown by me just like that. Now it is time to close this chapter in my life and embark upon new experiences.

All in all I have enjoyed working in Climate University. Although, the work hasn’t constantly been super exciting (I don’t think almost any work is), it has been important for me to work for something that truly makes a difference in the world. I have had great co-workers and I have learned a lot about making videos but also about the topics of the videos. I hope that the Climate University materials will spread around the world and I’m proud that I was able to contribute to the creation of them.

What comes next is a bit of a mystery for me, as it is for everyone else as well, because of the pandemic. The first thing I will do with me free time is reading and exercising. I won’t apply to any universities this spring, but I will maybe try to get a summer job. Something physical to balance the 1.5 years of working in an office. Gardener would be nice. What I do know is that I will soon go to jail for the conscious objection. I don’t know specifically what my new address will be and when it’s time for moving day. Luckily this is only a short-time arrangement, since I had so little time left of my service.

A big thank you to everyone who have worked with me during the past 18 months. Let’s all continue working for a sustainable future together!

A more detailed look on the reasons of my objection can be found here (sorry it’s only in Finnish).

Links to my favourite Climate University videos:

  • Forests:

  • Water and development:

  • The ladder of inference:

Mikael Nummi 

Climate University colleagues want to thank Mikael for the good work! You have done a lot in only 18 months, and it has been a pleasure to work with you! 

CU courses starting in March and April

Welcome to enrol to the following Climate University courses starting in March and April 2021:

Kestävyys.nyt, Kestävän kehityksen peruskurssi 5 op (kurssikoodi YH000042) on käynnissä Turun yliopistossa 17.3. – 23.5. Kurssi on tarjolla Turun yliopiston opiskelijoille sekä kaikille halukkaille Turun Avoimessa Yliopistossa, jossa voi ilmoittautua kurssille osoitteessa https://nettiopsu.utu.fi/avoin/ilmoittautuminen. Ilmoittautumisaika päättyy 28.2.2021. Kurssi on suomenkielinen.

Sustainable.now, course on the basics of sustainability, is available in English in LUT University (course code BH60A6800 and BH60A6801) 8.3. – 25.4.2021. The course is open for LUT students. 

Solutions.now, a project course where students brainstorm concrete and real climate and sustainability challenges in collaboration with working life, is available 15.3. – 7.5.2021. The course is open to the students of Turku University of Applied Sciences (course code TE00BR31-3002), Metropolia University of Applied Sciences (course code XX00DW15-3003), LAB University of Applied Sciences (course code LA00BU68-3002 /AMK and LA00BU68-3003 /YAMK) and University of Helsinki (course code ATM380), as well as via open university of Helsinki: https://studies.helsinki.fi/courses/cur/hy-CUR-136253958 

Climate.now, Basics of climate change and implications on technology and business (PHYS-E0580), is available in Aalto University 19.4. – 28.5.2021. The course is open to all Aalto students. 

Climate University in Tampere: Future of learning sustainability

The first round of Climate University was wrapped up in Tampere workshop 9.- 10.12.2020. Due to the Coronavirus situation the workshop was held virtually but that did not stop us from having good conversations and activities during the two days. The topic of the first day was summarizing what we have learned during the Climate University and teaching and research for sustainable citizenship. The second day we were concentrating on the future of climate and sustainability teaching and the future of Climate University. 

First day 

To start the workshop, we had the honour of having Academician Markku Kulmala giving us the opening words. Birgitta Vuorinen brought us greetings from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture before Mari Walls, president of Tampere University gave an opening speech. 

The rest of the morning session was used to summarize our experiences from Climate University and get to know the new Climate University coursesOur coordinator Laura Riuttanen had prepared a treasure hunt during which the participants could learn about the new courses while trying to find solutions to a puzzle. Before lunch break, we celebrated the success of Climate University by raising a toast. 

During the lunch break people also had the possibility to film #ClimateChallenges to challenge companies, politicians, institutions etc. to climate actions. The challenges were filmed by Mikael Nummi and are sent to the challenged individuals or organizations (and shared in social media if the challengers so wish). You can find all the challenges from the Climate University YouTube channel

The afternoon session concentrated on teaching and research for sustainable citizenship. Our first keynote speaker was Professor Leena-Aarikka Stenroos from Tampere University. She talked about CICAT2025: Circular Economy Catalysts project, which she is the research consortium leader of. We learned how circular economy leads towards more ecologically friendly and sustainable economic growth. This transition can be helped by various factor such as technology and regulations, but also by education. The education viewpoint was explored in more detail by Pirjo Kuula from TAU, who gave us a talk about integrating circular economy, and more broadly sustainability,  in the teaching and education of  built environment. Constructing buildings and infrastructure is material-intensive and therefore it is critical to teach future civil engineers the importance of recycling materials and avoiding primary materials when moving towards circular economy. 

Our third keynote speaker for the day was Anette Mansikka-Aho who gave us a thought-provoking presentation about how to talk about climate change to adults (or anyone else really) who refuse to accept what we know about climate change. Finally, we had professor Kirsi Pauliina Kallio talking about Climate Citizenship and the challenge of tackling a global problem in a world where decisions are made locally. Climate change does not respect borders and our response to climate change should reflect this. 

To end the day, we had a workshop lead by our four keynote speakers regarding their topics. Participants could discuss the topic they were most interested in and try to come up with ideas to take advantage of that topic in teaching. 

Second day 

After some welcoming words by professor Miikka Dal Maso, we started the second day with a keynote speech by Eveliina Asikainen. She talked about Sustainability Competences or how can we design our education so that it leads to a more sustainable world. This does not mean just courses about climate change and sustainability but taking those factors into account in all teaching. Our second keynote talker for the morning session was Daniel Fernandez Galeote. He gave us an interesting talk about how to use games to engage people to talk and think about sustainability and environment. 

The rest of the morning was dedicated to two parallel workshops. Under Eveliina’s guidance, the participants could discuss the different sustainability competences and their importance on their degrees or disciplines. The discussions highlighted how integrating the different competences (see the Flinga screenshot below) is a key cornerstone of creating impactful education.  

Daniel organized a Game Jam, where people could try to come up with an idea for a game that could be used to teach sustainability issues. 

The final session of the workshop was dedicated to talk about the future of Climate University. Meri Löyttyniemi from Aalto University was our last keynote speaker. She brought greetings from UNIFI (Universities Finland) Sustainable Development work group. We were given a talk about how the Finnish universities will take sustainability and climate into account in their future teaching, research, administration and societal interactions.  

Our last program was Introduction to the future of the climate university and a workshop held by  Laura Riuttanen. Participants could choose to join a topic relevant to the future of Climate University such as research or internationalization. 

Oskari Kangasniemi & Miikka Dal Maso

Tampere University 

New website published – welcome to explore the new courses!

We are glad to announce the new website www.climateuniversity.fi, where you can find information on all the Climate University courses from now on. Welcome to explore the new Climate University courses!

At least the following Climate University courses will be taught in spring 2021:

SystemsChange.now, 5 ECTS, January-May 2021

You can enrol via University of Helsinki (course code ATM379), University of Turku (MAAN7741), Tampere University (HALYAS14), Aalto University (MS-E2136) or Open University of Helsinki: https://courses.helsinki.fi/fi/ayatm379en/140011500.

Leadership for sustainable change, 5 ECTS, January-March 2021

The course is open to the students of University of Helsinki, Tampere University, University of Jyväskylä as well as via open university. Enrolment directly to the MOOC platform: www.leadforsust.fi.

Statistical tools for climate and atmospheric science, 5 ECTS, January-May 2021

The course is open to University of Eastern Finland students (course code 3352755), University of Helsinki students (course code ATM308), as well as via open university (registration: https://opintopolku.fi/app/#!/koulutus/1.2.246.562.17.99752628315). 

Solutions.now, 5 ECTS, March-May 2021

The course will be open to the students of Turku University of Applied Sciences (course code TE00BR31-3002), Metropolia University of Applied Sciences (course code XX00DW15-3003), LAB University of Applied Sciences (course code LA00BU68-3002 /AMK and LA00BU68-3003 /YAMK) and Helsinki University (course code ATM380), as well as via open university of Helsinki.

Sustainable.now, 5 ECTS, March-May 2021

The course will be organized by Univeristy of Turku. More info coming.

Welcome!

PS. Climate University in University of Helsinki news (in Finnish): https://www.helsinki.fi/fi/uutiset/koulutus-kasvatus-ja-oppiminen/yhdentoista-korkeakoulun-tuottamat-kestavyys-ja-ilmastokurssit-yhdesta-paikasta