"Raising awareness among citizens is a key problem in decision making"

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ERNACT led COPOWER partners in Centria University of Applied Sciences involve students in the project.
31 January 2024 - COPOWER  project
Alongside the second COPOWER partner meeting, the first project awareness raising seminar took place on the 12th of December 2023, hosted by Centria University of Applied Sciences in Kokkola, Finland.

For this special session, the partnership invited 15 students from Centria's Automation and Electrical Engineering programme to share their thoughts on raising awareness among young people and investigating how they can lead the energy revolution. Both, the students from Centria and the COPOWER project members were divided into smaller groups, and got the task to discuss the following topics:

1) Raising awareness among young people.

  • How to get reliable information?
  • What channels give reliable information to young people?
  • Tell one example when disinformation was used against the energy revolution.
The differences in opinions between the “old” COPOWER persons and the “young” Centria students were less significant than expected by the partners. Both “old” and “young” persons mostly agreed that finding reliable information is mostly possible from scientific publications, journals and peer-reviewed articles. Also, participants commented that trusted newspapers and websites, such as YLE (in Finland), the BBC or the Irish Times generally have a high trust, and can therefore be considered as reliable.

In addition, they agreed that d
isinformation used against the energy revolution is mostly found on social media, such as Facebook, TikTok or X platforms. "Attendees mentioned that these channels are bad sources for reliable information", continued COPOWER project partner Fabian Sander from Centria University of Applied Sciences.

2) Energy revolution: Transformation of electricity production from fossil to renewables.

  • Why are young people not asked when decisions are made that effect them?
  • Why is it important to hear young people when decisions are made?
  • What would you suggest to make young people more aware of those problems?
  • What needs to be changed in our system that young people are more listened to?
Referring to this second topic, Fabian highlighted that, "the opinions between all participating seminar participants differed, but even within the “old” and “young” participants. There is no clear picture that “old” persons had a certain common view on the issue, and “young” persons a totally different view." Among the main conclusions from the seminar, the COPOWER partner commented that "young" people are not treated differently from "old" people, when decisions are made that affect them. "Raising awareness among citizens is a key problem in decision making. Most people do not show interest when politicians, or the local council, make decisions, regardless of age", he explained. Attendees also highlighted that, in order to get more participation by citizens, councils or municipal administration need to start using more forms of communication as well, such as Facebook or even TikTok.

"We wanted to find out the differences in peoples conceptions in the field of information search, raising awareness, and energy transformation; between “old” persons, such as the COPOWER project members, and “young” persons, such as the students from Centria"
, he explained
This idea evolved during the participation of the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme's annual conference 2023, held in Skellefteå, Sweden. "One presentation during that event focused on the topic why young people are not listened in policy making. We therefore thought to investigate the different concepts in more detail, to see if there is a large difference between “old” and “young” people’s mindset", he adds.

Click here to email  Ianire Renobales at ERNACT for further information

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