Climate and Environmental Communication Science Association Ilvies
Ilvies, which was established in 2019, brings together a core group of experienced Finnish scholars from various fields of study. The aim of the association is to develop both research and public impact of environmental communication and related fields. The association provides links not only between researchers from a wide range of disciplines, but also between them and various communicators in Finland.
Research on the topics represented by the association is increasing rapidly, but remains so far mostly untapped in Finnish society. This has been partly due to lack of resources, but also due to the interdisciplinary character of relevant research. Insights are provided by numerous fields of study, such as communication research, psychology, sociology, environmental education, climate education, and environmental politics. So far, there has been a lack of organizational structures which would enable co-operation between such a wide number of fields. Ilvies narrows this gap by providing platforms for networking and by promoting the use of evidence-based methods in climate and environmental communications.
The active members of Ilvies take part in many ways in the recent developments in Finland, where climate action and communication are given new emphasis. To name a few examples, the chairperson, social psychologist Dr. Annukka Vainio is a member of the Finnish Climate Change Panel, and two board members, Ph.D. researcher Mira Hulkkonen and Dr. Panu Pihkala have produced a new national-level course on Climate Change Communication for the Climate University project funded by the Ministry of Education. On a practical level, Outi Silfverberg organizes dialogues between decision-makers and researchers via Forum for Environmental Information, and long-time climate communication expert Karoliina Kinnunen Mohr works as Strategy Director in Kaskas Media, a communication agency which specializes in science and expert communication. Other active members study environmental behavior and communication in various fields: for example, Jari Lyytimäki in SYKE (Finnish Environmental Institute), Hannele Cantell and Ilkka Ratinen in education, and Kirsti M. Jylhä in climate psychology. Anna Pulkka is a PhD student who also takes part in developing various initiatives in climate communication, for example through the new website ilmastotoiminta.fi, funded by the Kone Foundation.
While Ilvies currently has no funding and no hired personnel, its members have already been active. For example, in the winter 2019–2020, they wrote together an article about children’s climate anxiety into a prominent book, the climate change volume published by Lapsiasianvaltuutettu, Maapallon tulevaisuus ja lasten oikeudet. Members of ILVIES have also written other academic papers together and contributed to public discussions about climate communication in Finland.