Environmental decision-making has to be based on knowledge, not intuition

Nessling Nest kasvi

The challenging problems facing the world will not be solved by the wave of a magic wand. Climate change will slow down and nature’s diversity will be preserved only if many parties find knowledge-based solutions simultaneously. The Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation received a record amount of 399 applications in the 2015 grant application process. We decided to fund current environmental research on a wide scale, and emphasise the solution focus and communication of research.

Out of almost four hundred applications, grants were awarded for a total of 105 different studies, amounting to 2,640,000 euros. The funded projects include very current topics ranging all the way from circular economics to biofuels, and from protecting swamps to preserving traditional ecological knowledge of the Sami people.”Decision-makers are not familiar enough with the Sami people or their culture. Yet they still make decisions concerning their lands. It is good to record the oral traditional ecological knowledge of the Sami people and bring it to the attention of decision-makers”, says recent grant recipient Leena Heinämäki. It is important for her that the decision-making concerning the Sami people’s lands is not in conflict with the indigenous people’s traditional ways and views.”We work in cooperation with the Sami people. Traditional knowledge can be transferred on in workshops, for example, where the community’s elderly teach the young. In addition, we provide training courses for decision-makers.”Heinimäki’s venture combines two of the themes emphasised in this year’s application process: societal environmental research and communication of researched environmental knowledge.

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More information:
Minttu Jaakkola, FT
Head of research, the Nessling Foundation
Tel. 040 169 6325Leena Heinämäki, research fellow (PhD)
Arctic Centre, University of Lapland
Tel. 040 484 4280Sampo Soimakallio, senior scientist
Finnish Environment Institute
Tel. 050 366 9810