A review from a science café on the 16th of September 2021

Juniversity is a science and learning program for youngsters, organized by Tampere University. The program offers opportunities to experience and learn science through various different ways, including science cafés where experts discuss different topics every month. This month the topic was environmental psychology, and the main question was how to raise people to be more environmentally friendly. In my opinion, the topic was important considering the growing concern about climate change, and how relevant role young people have in preventing it.

The presentation happened via Zoom, so all the participants were able to follow the discussion online. This time the expert was Anette Mansikka-aho, a student of Tampere University who participates in a research project that studies the relationship between young people and global warming. The other party of the discussion was a student ambassador of Tampere University. They discussed the topic in a clear and conversational manner which created a relaxed atmosphere around the presentation.

The content of the discussion was really interesting. Global warming is presumably a theme that causes a lot of anxiety in people, but the tone of the presentation was very positive. The focus was on how we can influence others and make things better instead of just listing all the things people are doing wrong.

The key point I picked up was that we can all help by affecting the general opinion on climate change by making it a more approachable topic. This can be achieved by listening and understanding people with a negative approach instead of judging and blaming them. Mansikka-aho called this a “love approach” which ensures that every person can feel valid. This makes people more open to suggestions on how to sift towards more environmentally friendly habits. Approaching a difficult topic with positive intention can close the gap between knowledge and actions which has been a problem in preventing climate change.

In conclusion, the presentation was interesting and informative. At some points the structure was a bit unclear, but afterwards it was easy enough to discover the central message of the discussion. It was a plus that the audience was able to ask questions after the presentation. I asked one question about how we should approach older people when “raising” them is a difficult task. Mansikka-aho answered that in that case, the love approach is the best way to go, and I agree. If you are thinking about where you can find interesting discussions on relevant topics, I recommend the science cafés. You can read more by googling Juniversity.

Helmi Lehtonen 20KA



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