About the project

In our view, too little attention has been given to the environmental consequences of the Syrian crisis. This is why we started this project, which is a study combining science, art and journalism.

The aim is to look in to the environmental consequences and pressure that the Syrian crisis and refugee situation has on the countries that have received, and are currently hosting, large amounts of refugees. This conflict is an example of the fact, that in addition to the immense human suffering, war leads to environmental destruction – and vice versa, environmental destruction can also lead to war and more human suffering.

As a result of the Syrian crisis, approximately 12 million Syrians have been forced to flee their country. Almost half of them have fled to their neighboring countries. The speed and the continuation of the situation has had a significant impact on not only Syria and Syrians, but also on the whole region and its environment.

This conflict is an example of the fact, that in addition to the immense human suffering, war leads to environmental destruction – and vice versa, environmental destruction can also lead to war and more human suffering. A large increase in the populations of Lebanon and Jordan, for example, has led to drought and consequently left these countries with water, waste and sanitation systems that are significantly under-capacity. This has had direct effects on the local population and refugees, as well as on social stability. People’s health is very strongly linked to the well-being of the local environment, and in order for the situation to be sustainable and not lead to more human rights violations and new crises, the environmental effects need to be taken into account.

In our view, too little attention has been given to the environmental consequences of the crisis. This is why we started this project, which is a study combining science, art and journalism. It looks into the environmental consequences and pressure that the Syrian crisis and refugee situation has on the countries that have received, and are currently hosting, large amounts of refugees.

Geographically we concentrate on Finland, Jordan, Lebanon, Greece and Turkey. We look into various small and large-scale examples of the environmental effects as a result of the crisis. Apart from the various problems and challenges, we also try see what the solutions could be and what tools have already been created to prepare for the effects of the crises in the future.

During the project, the results and stories will be published in the form of articles and multimedia publications. We are also working on a photo exhibition on the subject.

The current team consists of a photographer, Vanessa Riki,  journalists, Veera Vehkasalo and Nina Jaatinen, and documentarist Heli Pekkonen. Another journalist, Aija Kuparinen, took part in the first field visit in November 2017. We are all currently based in Finland.

The project spans over four years, from late 2017 to 2021, and is financed by the Nessling Foundation, the Foundation of Journalistic Culture, The Association of Science Journalists, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and the board of Information Publication (in Finland).

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