Evolution in Action
Why is it important to understand the role of evolution in shaping life on Earth?
Different evolutionary processes maintain and produce variation and biodiversity, from molecular level to individuals and species. With the help of evolutionary theory, its possible to explain things, like why the colouration of lady bird is red and black, and why certain butterflies imitate bird droppings. Why lupin or raccoon dog are so successful, or why some bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics very fast? Why all species do not simply adapt to the human made environmental changes, but go extinct?
Our aim is to promote understanding of evolution, its timescales and how humans impact ecological and evolutionary processes. This will guarantee that people of all ages understand how biological interactions shape and maintain biodiversity and how human actions currently threaten it. We want ensure easy access to this information in form on teaching materials and workshops, and promote active participation in maintaining biodiversity.
How do we work?
Evolution in Action is developed together with ecologists, evolutionary biologists and art educators. We combine science, art-based methods, action-based teaching, games and storytelling to ensure learning about biodiversity and evolutionary processes. The material links with the new Finnish Science curriculum and phenomena based education. We create freely available, teaching materials (under the terms of CreativeCommons-licence) to equip educators to teach evolutionary processes. You can read more about our team here.
Below you can watch a short introduction about our work:
Our goals are:
* To increase knowledge about species interaction and how do they shape organisms evolution. Where does the biodiversity in nature - that is now a lot spoken about - come from?
* To increase understanding of evolution being an active process that is happening now, not only something that happened in the past. Organisms (including humans) are developing in interaction with each other, also at the present moment.
* To demonstrate how and why understanding and researching evolutionary theory is important in understanding climate change and the loss of organisms habitats. The slowness of evolutionary processess is the reason why many species cannot adapt to the rapidly changing climate caused by human action, and to the loss of their habitats, but get eventually extinct.
* To demonstrate how scientific information is produced and its different stages, and increase knowledge in the evolution biology research made in Finland, and its significance.
* To offer art based methods for the participants to process and deepen their relationship to the nature and natural phenomena, and to work with the emotions related to challenging environmental questions, such as climate change and human impact on ecosystem.
* To encourage participants to act for the sustainable future and to strengthen an empathetic, respectful relationship to all forms of life.
We are funded by:
The Evolution in Action project was founded in 2017 by a group of scientists in the Department of Biological and Environmental Science at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. It was initially funded by an ESEB Outreach Initiative grant and we are currently funded by Tieteen tiedotus ry and Kone Foundation. In 2019 we started collaborating with artists and art educators, and are currently working on workshops combining art and science supported by Kone Foundation grant 2020-2023.