Against Ecological Illusions

Standing around a cocktail table during lunch at the 2019 Sustainability Science Days in Espoo last May, I and my new-found colleagues marvelled at the cutlery. The spoons were plastic but they had been designed to look and feel like wood. Together we thought it would be good to find a name for these plastic “wooden” spoons. “Greenwash” did not seem right as it was associated with corporate behaviour and we dispersed to the next session – on sustainability transitions – without managing to find the right term.

“We need the reaction like there was a fire in the kitchen”

The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Ms. Patricia Espinosa presented this quote in the intersessional meeting, which took place in Bonn, Germany from 17-27 June in 2019. I attended the meeting in Bonn as a non-governmental observer as part of the delegation for University of Helsinki. Ms. Espinosa’s idea summarizes the atmosphere of the conference: we are in a hurry and we need to do more. We have a crisis called climate change that is influencing our own life, yet our response is not fast enough. If there would be a fire in the kitchen, how many of us would wait and watch our house burn? I have to believe that many would step up and take action.