Not just facts, but real influence
Atte Saastamoinen wrote his Master’s thesis at the University of Eastern Finland, and he found that people’s attitudes towards the landscape effects of wind power, in particular, were mostly negative. Summer house owners felt that they were being threatened on their own property, making wind power projects seem increasingly unjust.
Giving local communities partial ownership in wind power projects has been used as one possibility to win them over, and this would also generate resources for local development, among other things. Professor Peltonen says that the effects of wind power projects can also be monitored in collaboration with local stakeholders, making the activities increasingly transparent and easier to understand.
“Whether the local community feels that it has some control over its destiny, or whether it feels like it is being overwhelmed with things its struggles to understand, plays a key role. In the latter case, resistance may well seem like the only option.”
Professor Peltonen says that people aren’t as rational as generally thought, and mere facts aren’t enough to change attitudes or behaviour.
“Social and emotional factors are crucial. Emotions are part of social acceptance.”