How to integrate climate change solutions and circular economy in teaching? What climate related projects are currently going on in the Lahti region? These themes were the focus of the workshop arranged at the new Lahti campus Mukkula. The first day was organized by Lahti University of Applied Sciences LAMK and the second day by Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT.
The first day gave an overview of inspiring climate-related projects and initiatives in the Lahti Region. However, first a LAMK student took the participants on a guided tour around the new campus. Then the participants had the chance to hear about how Finland’s climate policy is put into practice in the Lahti region, as Maarit Virtanen (Päijät-Häme Regional Council) told about the Canemure project. Furthermore, Eira Rosberg-Airaksinen explained how the City of Lahti offers companies opportunities for climate partnerships with Lahti Region Development and Lahti University of Applied Sciences (called “Ilmastohaaste”, meaning the climate challenge). Then the participants got an insight into how Lahti, as the first city in the world, trial a personal carbon trading scheme (CitiCAP project) – Anna Huttunen told about what the project is all about; Ville Uusitalo about how a personal carbon trading scheme for mobility works; and Markku Sihvonen gave an introduction to how to use the CitiCAP app.
The participants also got an insight into how a changing climate affects the ecotoxicity of micro plastics. Professor Stephan Pflugmacher Lima guided the participants through a screw cap experiment where Lahti was compared with Singapore. The seminar day was concluded by Juhani Järveläinen who put the spotlight on urban effects of climate change – increased amounts of rain and snowmelt and the challenges of handling it in constructed areas (also called stormwaters). Järveläinen went through stormwater research and objectives at the City of Lahti.
After this, the participants had a buffet dinner at the campus.
The focus of the second day was going out in the field, as well as connecting circular economy and renewable energy to teaching. The day started with an excursion hosted by Ville Uusitalo (LUT) who told how excursions and visits are used as part of teaching. The first stop were the Kymijärvi power plants owned by the City of Lahti, which produce electricity and district heating. Here, many steps have already been taken towards sustainable energy systems, the guide Olli Talvitie told us. A new bioenergy plant, Kymijärvi III, is currently being built to replace the old coal-fired power plant Kymijärvi I. Power plant II uses a unique process where, first, the fuel is gasified, secondly, the gas is cooled down and cleaned and finally it is burned.
The next stop of the excursion was Kujala waste- and recycling centre, which provides fuel for Kymijärvi power plants. Päivi Oksanen gave an insight in the processes that are taking place in the area, first gathering the participants in a meeting room for a presentation and discussion. Then it was time for a bus tour, which took the participants between mountains of plastic, piles of recycled wood, containers for e.g. different metals where inhabitants were sorting their waste, piles of mattresses, and passing by the final disposal site.
Rich on impressions the participants returned to the campus. After lunch, Anni Wärri spoke about developing working life skills as part of teaching. It turned out that practices in biomedicine studies and the Jobitti project can be applicable also in a climate and sustainability studies context, and vice versa. After this Sanni Väisänen (LUT) introduced the participants to teaching circular economy using the Circular.now digital platform.
The day was wrapped up by small group discussions around the themes of the day: teaching circular economy; brainstorming about connecting to working life as part of teaching; as well as a Climate.now workshop for teachers.
Blog by Tina Nyfors, LUT
Photos: Anne-Marie Tuomala, Tina Nyfors, Laura Riuttanen