The Bio Era event tour, organised to celebrate Finland’s centennial year, is a review of the future of Finnish bioeconomy that astonishes by its broad scope. The target group of the tour are young people 13 to 19 years of age.
A science centre exhibition of 52 square metres is housed in the trailer of an articulated lorry, and more activities are organized outside it. The exhibition presents solutions offered by bioeconomy, whether to problems occurring in people’s everyday lives or to the great challenges facing all of humankind.
The exhibition explains the basic concepts of bioeconomy, such as sustainability and renewability. Both past and future solutions based on bioeconomy are also presented.
The road towards a sustainable future that Finland has travelled during its 100 years of sovereignty is illustrated by a continuum of good decisions, beginning in the era of forest loss in the 19th century and extending towards the present and future bioeconomy.
How much forest there is can be studied through VR glasses as if from the cabin of a modern harvester. Also on show are forest bioeconomy “hotties”, the latest and hottest products. Visitors are welcomed to the exhibition area by the Wiilubike (Veneer bike), a bicycle made of wood.
Using the forests is the solution
One of the most interesting exhibits is the Finland 2.0 vision machine. With the help of a word cloud, visitors can use the machine to create and record their views of the future of bioeconomy. At the end of the tour, the future vision jointly created by the young people will be presented to decision-makers.
The visitors’ views can also be studied separately for each of the tour locations. After the tour we will know whether young people in Seinäjoki have different ideas about bioeconomy from those in Helsinki or Rovaniemi, for example.
The biofuel-powered lorry will travel throughout Finland, starting from Helsinki on the World Environment Day, the 5th of June. All in all, it will visit a hundred localities and the proceeding of the lorry can be followed on the tour map.
During the summer the lorry will stop at a couple of major events, some of them organised by the forest sector. With the start of the school year in August, the lorry will begin to tour schools, mainly upper secondary schools around Finland.
The participant schools will receive a materials package to allow the students to learn about bioeconomy in advance of the visit. After the visit, they will receive an additional information package presenting, for example, study options in the field of bioeconomy.
All assignments during the visit will be presented and completed electronically. Both before and after the event, the participants are also asked whether they feel doubtful or optimistic about the future.
An important objective of the tour is to promote learning by doing and exploring. Existing learning contents and networks in bioeconomy will be used.
Action instead of brochures
The school tour starts in Ivalo, northern Finland, and ends in December with a future-themed event organized in Helsinki. In addition to upper secondary schools, the lorry will also visit some lower secondary and occupational schools.
In each locality a Bio Era fair will be set up around the lorry, with local bioeconomy actors presenting their activities. Other local events related to bioeconomy, such as factory visits or forest excursions, will be organized to coincide with the exhibition.
The exhibition will be open for schools and other student groups during school hours, and for the general public in the evenings.
The Bio Era event tour is a joint effort by the whole forest sector, and each stakeholder may participate according to their own preferences. Not all of them will be present in every locality, but at least the following will be involved: forest owners’ local associations and their union, the MTK, the state forest enterprise Metsähallitus, Stora Enso, UPM, Metsä Group, 4H Finland, Finland100, the Finnish Forest Industries Federation and the Finnish Forest Association.
Schools have shown great interest in the tour. At the moment, 85 percent of the time slots available for student groups have been booked.
The Bio Era event tour is produced by the Science Centre Pilke together with partners. The main sponsors of the tour are the Finnish Forest Foundation and the Metsämiesten Säätiö Foundation.