Reference and see the whole interview: Elm magazine (Laura Pörsti, transl. Karoliina Knuuti)


The most important issues of the planet

Adult education should help us live the rest of mankind’s time with dignity, says Professor Anja Heikkinen.

Adult education should be a peaceful terminal care for humankind, says Anja Heikkinen, Professor of Pedagogy at the University of Tampere at her desk. Totally calmly.

The afternoon sunlight illuminates the room when Heikkinen explains what she means.

– I am a believer in natural science, she says.

She thinks that we already know enough about the impact humans have on earth and its natural resources. She wonders why the active forgetfulness of the truth seems to be mainstream.

– As we know what we know, it’s crazy to get involved in constant competition and efficiency. Instead, we should look for ways to live the rest of mankind’s time with dignity, Heikkinen says.

She is known as an advocate of science for empowerment. She believes that adult education and science have a lot to give in the most difficult issues in the world.

– Science cannot save the world, but it can provide information and tools and promote the emergence of a critical mass. This is how we can avoid things that deepen crises, disasters and nausea. […]

Civilized people carry the responsibility

Why then is it so difficult to grasp the great questions of mankind, even though we know how necessary it is?

– At the same time as society has been academized, our understanding of our cultural responsibility has become thinner, Anja Heikkinen estimates.

This phenomenon manifests itself, for example, in the fact that many leading politicians, globally, seem to be oppressive to scientific information.

–  Even after the Second World War, in the leading posts in politics and economics there were people who were not ashamed to put forth civilized values, ​​with cultural visions.

Heikkinen ponders what a civilized elite might mean these days.

–  Maybe it would mean just that, that the world leaders would internalize our planetary responsibility.

In politics, one should also remember the laws that make up science: that man is an animal, part of nature. This will affect what kind of solutions are genuinely effective.

– Although we are trying to become more effective by making bigger units, ultimately man is just one organism and one among others. Physically, we work in the same rhythm as everything else on this planet. We cannot escape this evolutionary fact, says Heikkinen.

Herself, she longs to live regularly in the rhythm of nature: to make fire, to carry water, to manage her own waste.

–  That way I see where things come from and where they end up. It does good to people to be aware of their environment. […]

The text is translated and edited from Finnish by Karoliina Knuuti.