Editorial: Global Climate Emergency: after COP24, climate science, urgency, and the threat to humanity

Development Studies Professor Barry Gills and Leeds Beckett University Sociology Professor Jamie Morgan have published an urgent editorial about the global climate crisis in the journal Globalizations.

The abstract is below, and the full article is free to read, here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14747731.2019.1669915

Global Climate Emergency: after COP24, climate science, urgency, and the threat to humanity

by Barry Gills & Jamie Morgan

This Special Editorial on the Climate Emergency makes the case that although we are living in the time of Global Climate Emergency we are not yet acting as if we are in an imminent crisis. The authors review key aspects of the institutional response and climate science over the past several decades and the role of the economic system in perpetuating inertia on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Humanity is now the primary influence on the planet, and events in and around COP24 are the latest reminder that we live in a pathological system. A political economy has rendered the UNFCCC process as yet a successful failure. Fundamental change is urgently required. The conclusions contain recommendations and a call to action now.

Environmental Emergency: Demanding for Urgent, Radical Transformations

Environmental Emergency: Demanding for Urgent, Radical Transformations

“Here at the University, we take part in multidisciplinary research relating to the environment and the multiple crises currently happening within it, and we want to use our platform and expertise as researchers to take and demand for urgent action.

We are living in a time of environmental emergency created by human actions. It is clear that out ways of life, especially here in the Global North, are not aligned with the carrying capacity of our common home planet, the Earth. Solving the environmental crises should be today’s political priority. What is at stake is life itself, both human and non-human. As important as individual choices can be, the changes that are needed are far bigger in scale, and must be enacted through the political system. We need structural, wide-ranging transformations in order to tackle the climate crisis in a socially just way, and we need them now.”

With these words, Development Studies PhD candidate Sanna Komi opened a silent vigil for the environmental emergency on Friday. The event was arranged by Development Studies in cooperation with Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science HELSUS, The University of Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (HCAS), The Student Union’s Environmental Committee and the Elokapina initiative as a part of the Global Climate Strike week. After the opening speech, a silent moment of 11 minutes was held to mark the 11 years that we have according to last year’s Intergovernmental Planetary Climate Committee’s (IPCC) report to tackle climate change before it’s impacts become irreversible and truly catastrophic. The silent moment was followed by the sound of a bell as a call for action, and short speeches from representatives of the different organisers as well as University of Helsinki students.


Professor of World Politics Teivo Teivainen reading University of Helsinki rector’s letter of support for the event (pictures courtesy of Saana Hokkanen)

This action is accompanied by an open letter to the Prime Minister of Finland and the Mayor of Helsinki, in which we demand for radical and urgent policy initiatives to tackle this emergency.

You can sign the letter here: http://chng.it/dYWyrmnD


Associate professor of Development Studies Markus Kröger urging for sanctions on Brazilian goods due to the ongoing burning of the Amazon and other Brazilian rainforests. (pictures courtesy of Saana Hokkanen)

We would like to thank everyone who came to show their support, and encourage everyone to take action during this climate strike week, which will culminate in climate marches in different Finnish cities on Friday 27.9.

Throughout the week, Elokapina is arranging focused demonstrations and workshops:

Monday 23.9.: The Red List Reading, where the entire list of 2700 endangered species in Finland is read 4 times during the day: https://www.facebook.com/events/2695678497110594

Monday 23.9.: Nonviolent direct action training: https://www.facebook.com/events/2409273232675241

Tuesday 24.9.: Climate anxiety workshop with Panu Pihkala: https://www.facebook.com/events/1564048937063293

Friday 27.9.: Climate Strike March

Helsinki: https://www.facebook.com/events/929882457363184/

Tampere: https://www.facebook.com/events/974490042916201/

Turku: https://www.facebook.com/events/2233521740091425/

New Book: Kaakkois-Aasia – Talous, ympäristö ja yhteiskunta

This is the first Finnish-language multidisciplinary textbook on contemporary Southeast Asia, focusing on the region’s societal change, development, economies, cultural diversities and environmental issues. The book is published by Gaudeamus and edited by Erja Kettunen. Three of the eight authors are from our discipline: Mira Käkönen, Anu Lounela and Anna Salmivaara.

More information: https://www.gaudeamus.fi/kaakkoisaasia/

For online purchase: https://kauppa.gaudeamus.fi/sivu/tuote/kaakkois-aasia/2450984

Short descripition in Finnish: Kaakkois-Aasian taloudellinen ja kulttuurinen merkitys on alati vahvistumassa. Kaakkois-Aasia – Talous, ympäristö ja yhteiskunta on ensimmäinen suomenkielinen alueen nykykehitystä esittelevä teos. Se pureutuu alueen talouteen, ympäristöön ja yhteiskuntaan sekä piirtää kuvan monikulttuurisesta ja poliittisesti kirjavasta mutta myös dynaamisesta ja keskinäiseen yhteistyöhön pyrkivästä maailmankolkasta. Teos on tärkeää luettavaa alueen maiden parissa työskenteleville ja kaikille Kaakkois- Aasiasta kiinnostuneille.

Development Studies Professors Anja Nygren and Barry Gills Ranked Among Top Professors in Finland

In a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Turku, University of Helsinki Development Studies Professors Anja Nygren and Barry Gills were both ranked in the top 10 Social Sciences professors in Finland. The research investigated the international level of scientific publications in different broad disciplines by professors from Finnish universities. You can read the article (in Finnish) here.

Congratulations Anja and Barry!

Anti-Slavery International: Documentary: Invisible chains – bonded labour in India’s brick kilns

Anti-Slavery International has released a new documentary about bonded labor in brick kilns in India (video below). This brief documentary on bonded labor and modern slavery gives a succinct and human insight into this global problem.

You can read the press release and find a link to the Anti-Slavery International’s full report here.

Recent Development Studies PhD graduate  Elena Samonova focused her research on bonded labour in Nepal and India. She is in the process of publishing two articles: “Social protection as tool of prevention of bonded labour” and “Bonded labour from a human rights perspective”. For further information and in-depth looks on modern slavery, see the work of Professor Kevin Bales.

Professor Barry Gills to receive International Studies Association’s prestigious James N. Rosenau Award

The International Studies Association (ISA) just disclosed that the winner of the 2019 James N. Rosenau Award for the most important contributions to globalization studies will be given to University of Helsinki Development Studies Professor Barry Gills. Commenting on receiving the honor, Professor Gills said, “The award is a recognition of the work of hundreds of others who have joined me in this work over the past three decades. The award truly belongs to all of them.”

From the ISA website: James N. Rosenau’s innovative work, honors the scholar who has made the most important contributions to globalization studies. A past president of the International Studies Association and a pioneer in globalization research, Jim Rosenau offered great insights into the intersection of domestic and foreign affairs, boundary spanning actors in world politics, and parametric transformations in our field. This award recognizes his role as a pillar of the international studies community and leader in globalization research.

The award will be presented at their 60th Annual Convention, held March 27 – 30 in Toronto, Canada.