In good CHARTER news, we are delighted to welcome Simo Sarkki to the project team. Simo has a PhD in anthropology and holds docentship on “anthropology of environmental governance” at the University of Oulu, Finland.
Sarkki’s research interests include science-policy interfaces, land use in northern areas, scenarios, participatory approaches, and multi-level governance under the broader theme of environmental governance.
Simo has already started and will be with the project until the end of the year. While his academic background started out in the field of anthropology, during his PhD studies on forestry conflicts in Finnish Lapland, he became increasingly interested in policy, planning and how they feed into governance, and this is the direction his work has gone in the last decade.
Simo will also be undertaking tasks for the POVAUS project and will be working closely in both CHARTER and POVAUS with Sirpa Rasmus (insert quote). Both these projects are interested in looking at future scenarios for reindeer herding among other themes.
Scenario building is increasingly being used across many academic disciplines. It can be described as a story which is based on the analysis and understanding of current and historic trends and events. The development of sets of narrative scenarios helps to identify possible pathways towards a vision of the future – in this case a future that is positive for reindeer herding and other local traditional livelihoods in northern Fennoscandia. Reindeer herders are in the middle of global trends that are impacting their livelihoods in many negative ways inside their ‘operational environment’.
These trends include but are not limited to climate change, changes in the snow pack at the micro local level, land use changes, loss of pasture areas, social changes, land use pressures from tourism, mining, and green economy shifts.
By concretising the connections from global trends to local decision-making, Sarkki is interested to investigate scenarios whereby herders might achieve their dreams for a better future and what tools they might need or use to achieve their goals once the threats and possibilities are identified.
He will start by conducting a literature review with a focus on sustainability literature and throughout the summer there is a hope that in person workshops with herders and other traditional land users will take place across Finnish Lapland.
Building out future scenarios, mapping the impact of global trends to local livelihoods, assessing policy, planning and governance strategies and their relevance to local communities is very complex. I feel that my background in the discipline of anthropology has helped me think in a more holistic way, as the challenges faced by local actors in the north are extremely broad and require this kind of wide frame thinking.