Salty Liquid, at your service!

Hello fellow students and teachers!

Our team, Salty Liquid, consists of 5 ECGS-students: Reija, Aku, Suvi, Saara and Pauliina. Our initial problem, from our partner e2, was how to ensure food and nutrition security for all. Since that is a huge global topic, we started to narrow it down. The Corona pandemic was getting worse and worse as the course started, so we decided to solve the possible problems that Finland’s food security might face. We met with our partner already last week and agreed the aim and the study type of our work.

Salty Liquid, at your service!

On Thursday we didn’t have a workshop, but we still felt like meeting with our team on Skype. Our group’s agenda for this week has been browsing social media and the news about the development of coronavirus’ effect on people’s thoughts about Finland’s food security. More specifically, we are now monitoring news and social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram. We want to find out whether there are weak spots in Finland’s food security during a crisis like the Corona pandemic. Our aim is to tackle down the difficult questions that rise up in public conversations and to find the right questions to ask in order to enhance food security and food policy in the future.

On Monday we decided to contact experts and each of our group contacted at least one professional. We chose experts from different sectors of the food chain: The National Emergency Supply Agency, Finland’s Martat ry, Wealth and spending expert from the University of Helsinki, Sitra and Diakonialaitos. It was a bit scary to call these experts, but we survived! (In the end, it was also pretty darn fun.)

On Thursday we went through all the answers we got from the experts and picked up the main points to Flinga, which we use as post-it notes now that we are doing this project online.

Flinga-art:  Analyzing our expert’s comments together via Skype and Flinga!

Shortly, what main points did we find?

Professionals are not worried; they have a high trust in Finland’s food security. Finland is well prepared and there is no stress of food ending in Finland, even though people are hoarding food from supermarkets.

There are some critical points that must be secured all the time, but thanks to a well-organized system, these are well handled. For example, ferries are important for Finland’s trading, but this is not only in Finland as it is a global necessity of fluent economy and food chain that trading continues even though pandemic.

Media has a huge responsibility on how they reflect the ongoing situation for people. Is it necessary to post pictures of empty food shelves, as this creates panic among people?

It is highly important to contemplate well-deliberated politics, so that misjudgments are not made.

But the research continues! The next step is to find connections between our professionals’ comments and start the detective work of “what are the pondering questions of Finland’s food security?”


Grey Seals against underwater noise pollution in the Baltic Sea!

The Grey Seals go remote!

The project course changed its format due to the Corona virus pandemic. In accordance with the governmental regulations and the University of Helsinki guidelines the course moved online, and so did The Grey Seals. Our team, Anna, Elli, Emmi, Ilona, & Salla, all either ECGS or AGERE students, have become model citizens in social distancing. We keep in touch via WhatsApp at all hours of the day and talk and share our work in Teams. Every week we get workshop instructions from the course pages, and support and guidance from tutors in Zoom meetings.

The topic of our project is how to reduce underwater noise pollution caused by leisure boating in the Baltic Sea, and we are joining forces with the Baltic Sea Challenge, organized by the cities of Helsinki and Turku. Underwater noise caused by human activity has abundant negative effects on the biota and ecosystems of rivers, lakes, seas, and oceans.

We had workshops to brainstorm ideas and researched for information about our topic, and today our group had a Teams meeting with our partner, Baltic Sea Challenge Coordinator Mari Joensuu to discuss our project. We discussed and planned many possible ways to approach our problem and together decided towards an information campaign to spread the knowledge about the damage of underwater noise. We are planning to make a social media campaign, as well as a leaflet and a poster to be distributed to the boating community.

Meeting up with the project partner was important and fruitful at this stage of project work. Brainstorming and discussing together with our partner developed new ideas and pushed the project forward and getting tips, ideas and targets from the partner moved us closer to the actual product of this whole course. Also, lessons were learned when getting knowledge from a person handling Baltic Sea issues on a daily basis. For example, not to use the oh so cute and fluffy grey seal as a mascot for the social media campaign as it divides opinions throughout our target audience. Who would’ve thought about that!




The Pathfinders Kick Off the 2020 Sustainability Challenge Blog

The series of blog entries for this project course is kicked off by The Pathfinders, who are tutored by the course leader, Jarmo Saarikivi.

Our group (Charlotte, Eero, Jenni, Kaisa & Riikka) mostly consists of environmental scientists, but luckily we received a British reinforcement with a background in natural geography for some diversity. Between us, we possess skills in natural and sustainability science, communication, creativity, and remote sensing — and Karelian pie baking!

The City of Helsinki and Forum Virium Helsinki presenting their challenge.

Electricity was in the air as the students prepared themselves for the introduction of the partner organizations and their challenges. Four were presented, one for each student group. Topics vary but are closely related to two major themes: food and protection of nature from recreational activities. More specifically, the group working with Baltic Sea Challenge faces a challenge in decreasing noise pollution from pleasure boating, the group working with e2 Research attempts to ensure healthy and safe food for all, while the group working with WWF tries to tackle meat consumption.

Our group received the following challenge from the City of Helsinki and Forum Virium Helsinki: How to monitor the decay of nature areas in Helsinki caused by visitors and prevent further decay? The partners face problems with visitors, who are leaving the designated walkways to create new paths, stomping on plants, and leaving the area in an ever more decaying state. They propose a solution, which utilizes open source remote sensing databases to create a modern solution for monitoring the change in the nature areas. Gone are the times of signs and ropes. Now is the time for drones and satellites.

Ready to face your challenge? The Pathfinders sure are!

The Pathfinders started tackling the challenge right away.
To understand the given challenges better, each group had to create a system map to outline the actors, themes, and problems around the challenge.