The international “Zero Carbon Conference for Students 2022” conference, held 22-25 February 2022, gathered high school, vocational school and university students and teachers together.
Karelia University of Applied Sciences, the Environmental department of the Nagano Prefectural Government in Japan, the University of Eastern Finland, Riveria North Karelia Municipal Vocational Education and Training Consortium and ENO Schoolnet Association organized the international ZERO CARBON CONFERENCE FOR STUDENTS, a climate and environment conference on February 22-25, 2022. The four-day program was divided into daily themes: Climate Change, Circular Economy, Microplastics and Forest Resources.
The goal of the conference was not only to share information related to climate issues. It included a strong pedagogic point of view and especially involving young people and strengthening their agency. Therefore, the program included both expert presentations and student presentations. The conference is a good example of enabling interaction between students, researchers and company representatives.
“The conference was an empowering experience precisely because there were many different actors involved and concrete examples and insights were shared.” Tuula Jyske, LUKE
“I was especially pleased by the solution-oriented approach in the young people’s presentations and questions, as well as the genuine enthusiasm they convey to take care of the state of the environment.” Emilia Uurasjärvi, UEF
“Speaking at this conference was my first experience of an international activity and a presentation in English in public.” Anonymous student presenter
Keynote speakers included research, education and environmental specialists from Finland, Japan, Greece, France and Italy and student presentations were given by high school and university students from Japan, Peru, Finland, Spain, Kenya and Lithuania.
There aren’t too many international, accessible climate events targeted at young people, and that also came up in the feedback. More than 1,200 participants from 44 countries registered for the conference. There were students from high schools to doctoral students, researchers, civil servants and teachers with their students.
“Similar opportunities to convey a message to the influencers of the future do not come very often” Marko Uutela, BCon Oy
“I was very impressed by the international scope of the event and the young people’s enthusiasm and active participation” Lasse Okkonen, Karelia Univeristy of Applied Sciences
“The conference exceeded my expectations. It was great that there were participants and speakers from so many countries. The conference motivated me to study the field.” Anonymous feedback
“By participating in the conference, me and my students better understand the importance of carbon neutrality for the environment and our health.” Anonymous feedback
The conference was organised as part of the Forest bioeconomy development co-operation 2020-2022 between North Karelia in Finland and Nagano prefecture in Japan project. The goals of the project are e.g., to build multifaceted cooperation between partner regions of North Karelia, Japan’s Nagano Prefecture and Nagano City of Ina. The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and North Karelia Regional Council.
The conference was organised by the Nagano Prefectural Government, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Riveria North Karelia Municipal Vocational Education and Training Consortium, and ENO Schoolnet Association as part of a project funded by the European Regional Development Fund and North Karelia Regional Council.