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Several NGOs, which aim to protect, restore or improve the natural environment, offer volunteering opportunities. Some of these organisations have teams or groups specifically targeted at young people. WWF Finland has a WWF youth groups that operate in the biggest cities. The youth team participates in designing, planning and implementing the WWF projects. PLAN International Suomi has a group of young people cheering on the decision-making related to climate protection (in Finnish Ilmastotsempparit). On the other hand, the age of 18 is quite common age limit for volunteering. For example, Greenpeace Finland (in Finnish) and the World Village Festival accept only volunteers who are over the age of 18.
Most of the initiatives are not limited to raise awareness or to foster young people’s active participation. On the contrary, in most cases these two goals overlap. Therefore, the goal of initiatives, such as 'Don’t buy anything' etc. is to foster young people’s active participation in environmentally friendly activities as well as to raise their awareness of these issues. For more information, see Youth Wiki/Finland 9.4 Raising awareness.
In the sub-study group ´Creating sustainable well-being´ of the ALL-YOUTH research project 2018-2023, the focus is on the experiences and visions of Finnish youth regarding sustainability transformation and sustainable well-being. Young people may not be able to find urgent solutions and create new innovations that society requires to adapt to climate change, yet it is the youth who will live under changed access to opportunities and entitlements, including environmental risks and requirements. Thus, knowledge transfer between the generations and knowledge co-creation are considered essential and a deliberative means to support the socio-ecologically rooted well-being of young people (about rooted well-being, see Helne & Hirvilammi 2021).
To create genuine interaction and to develop trajectories relevant to both project partners and the young people involved, the project has used participatory action research. This includes developing co-research methods with young people, for example with young forest owners and young Muslim women, in which they have been engaged at various stages of the research (Mubeen & Tokola 2021) and the societal interaction processes (Mustalahti et al. 2021).
Rural networks and development initiatives are also being studied, as well as whether and how active environmental citizenship can alleviate climate change worry that many people experience (Pekkanen & Tuukkanen 2020). As a response to this growing worry the research group has co-created with its partners the Circular knowledge -model (more information in Finnish) encouraging environmental knowledge sharing and learning in peer-groups or with a mentor. The model is open access and the research group and its partners are pleased to share more information, also in English.
The ALL-YOUTH-research project is funded by the government, namely by the Strategic Research Council under Academy of Finland. An important element of such 'strategic' research is the active collaboration between those who produce new knowledge and those who use it.