Human-sheep relations to foster sustainability in the Arctic

Activity: PresentationConference presentation


The impact of sheep-human relations and collaboration can be discussed through the lens of animal rights, climate and biodiversity impacts, and posthuman connectedness and interdependency. This presentation is based on the WoolInno-project, which aims to promote sustainable wool design. Wool production has a significant climate impact compared to many other textile materials, especially when sheep are bred solely for wool, such as is common with most Merino breeds, rather than as a byproduct of meat production. In countries like Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, and South Africa, sheep farming contributes to soil erosion and reduces biodiversity. In contrast, in Finland, most shepherds are smallholders, and sheep grazing in meadows and pastures actually enhances biodiversity. Additionally, in Finland, wool is often obtained as a byproduct of meat production, and sheep meat is associated with lower climate emissions compared to beef. Nevertheless, there are several challenges to the economic sustainability of sheep farming and the wool industry in Finland. This presentation will explore the current challenges, made innovation, ongoing product and service design and future visions for human-sheep relations both in Finland and in the Arctic region. We consider if fostering cross-national collaboration in the Nordic wool industry would be beneficial for sustainable development. The WoolInno project is implemented by the Faculty of Arts of the University of Lapland. The partners are craft, design and tourism companies in Lapland. The project is co-funded by the European Union.
Period1 Jun 2024
Event titleArctic Congress
Event typeConference
LocationBodø, NorwayShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational