This year, alongside the Foundation's general grant call, we will launch a special call in which we look for multidisciplinary research projects on the theme “The economy and human health in the planet’s ecological crisis”. Eeva Furman, Ilari Sääksjärvi and Lassi Linnanen explain why we must finally understand that humans are part of nature’s ecosystem.
Global warming is accelerating the loss of biodiversity, and on the other hand, the loss of diversity is exacerbating climate change. Together these phenomena are called the ecological crisis.
The effects of the ecological crisis on individuals, societies and states are significant. This past year has also shown us how unpredictable the mechanisms of nature are and how dependent humans are on the ecosystem of the entire planet.
“Human well-being depends entirely on what happens to our world’s natural systems. COVID-19 only made this visible”, says Eeva Furman, professor and director of SYKE's Environmental Policy Center. Among other things, Furman is familiar with environmental health issues and feels that we still have a lot to learn about proactive health care and its relationship with nature.
The global pandemic also exposed the fragility of the human-made economic system. According to Lassi Linnanen, professor of environmental management, the economy has become like a new religion that should not be questioned. However, science shows that continuous growth is not possible.
“The current economic system is based on the idea of continuous growth and efficiency. It is in stark contrast to the limited resources of our planet. We need new ways of thinking about the economy. ”
Both Linnanen and Furman agree that it is now important to understand the relationship between the environment and the economy and health so that humanity is best able to both curb and adapt to the ecological crisis.
Research-based solutions increase the resilience of the entire ecosystem
In the 2020 special call, Nessling Foundation is looking for initiatives searching for an understanding of and new solutions to challenges in the economy as well as in human health caused by climate change and loss of biodiversity. The Foundation welcomes applications from multidisciplinary research projects led by merited doctoral researchers. The total sum granted to these initiatives is 1 million euros.
"Climate change and biodiversity loss are the greatest challenges facing humanity – but there is still hope," emphasizes Ilari Sääksjärvi, professor of biodiversity research. According to Sääksjärvi, the Nessling Foundation's special call is one way to seek completely new approaches to solving challenges in Finland. The most important thing, however, is to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
“It is often mistakenly thought that solving the impoverishment of nature is the task of biologists. However, this is a much broader phenomenon, which is why researchers from many different disciplines are needed. ”
Interdisciplinary collaboration and new research-based solutions increase the ability of the entire spectrum of life, including humanity, to be flexible and to cope with inevitable changes.