Tallinn Botanic Garden


Biotoopia’s new Talks series will bring together young people and experts to discuss solutions to the environmental crisis

Biotoopia’s new Talks series will bring together young people and experts to discuss solutions to the environmental crisis

The first exciting instalment of Biotoopia Talks will take place on Tuesday, 30 November 2021, with nature’s self-worthiness as its main topic. The aim of these themed evenings, which will occur quarterly, is to create a fruitful platform for discussions involving young people, focusing on different problem areas regarding the relationships between nature and humans.

To the wider audience, Biotoopia probably mainly means its namesake conference at the end of summer in Viinistu. However, the forum is just one of Biotoopia’s means of expression. ‘Biotoopia must not be regarded as a traditional, once-off conference and art event. Our primary goal is much broader– to keep the environmental crisis constantly in focus. We believe that one of the most successful ways to achieve that is to give a voice to the young people who have to deal with the problems created by older generations, said the curator of Biotoopia Peeter Laurits.

The topic of the first Biotoopia Talks is nature’s self-worthiness. Philosopher Timothy Morton recently raised a thought in the context of a protest march in Amsterdam, ‘To flourish as a planet and as a species in the next thousand years, what do we need to do today? /–/ To flourish, we must make sure that everything around us also flourishes. [If we can’t do that], we’ll be the asteroid and the dinosaurs at the same time.’

The world’s problems begin at our own doorstep. In order to further activate the local community, and to bring international knowledge/art straight to our door, we created the multisided Biotoopia Conference, which now brings to you a series of discussions called Biotoopia Talks.

‘Contemplating nature’s self-worthiness is central and unavoidable as we try to find solutions to the environmental crisis. It is also obvious that contrasting humans and nature is an illusion that doesn’t work in reality. The biggest crisis currently lies in our relations with everything around us,’ noted Laurits. ‘Besides concentrating on climate change, the environmental crisis also demands paying attention to mass extinction, environmental toxins, deforestation as a cause of the destruction of living environments, as well as everything else unpleasant that human activity has brought along.’

On Tuesday, 30 November, at the opening event of Biotoopia Talks at the Von Krahl Theatre, the experts will be represented by ecologist Mihkel Kangur and educational psychologist Grete Arro. Young people’s thoughts will be presented by Anette Pärn (University of Tartu), Aditi Toome (Tallinn University), Anna Luther (Estonian Academy of Arts) and Aurora Ruus ( University of Tartu / Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre).

The free event starts at 19:00, and its duration is approximately 1.5 hrs. The Von Krahl bar is open as usual, and it’s possible to come and enjoy the buzz earlier. Entrance is free, but we would like to ask participants to pre-register at this address.

The discussions can be followed via Facebook Live on the Biotoopia Facebook page.

It’s a good idea to arrive early, as all participants must provide a COVID certificate (to prove their vaccination status or recovery from the disease), according to the rules set by the Estonian Government. The certificate cannot be older than 6 months. COVID cert is valid alongside your ID document.

Young people from the age of 12 years and 3 months until (and including) 17 years must provide proof of vaccination or recovery from the disease, or proof of a negative PCR test or an antigen test, conducted by a healthcare professional. The PCR test must not be taken more than 72 hours and the antigen test within 48 hours prior to the event. Besides the test carried out by a healthcare professional, a rapid test taken at a pharmacy is also acceptable.

Biotoopia is championed by our main sponsor Click & Grow. Other sponsors are the producers of health products Ecosh Life, digimarketing agency ePPC and process analysing company Wizon. Our volunteers are dressed by Muulin, the makers of sustainable clothing. Biotoopia is supported by Estonian Ministry of Culture, Estonian Enterprise Foundation through the European Foundation of Regional Development and the Estonian Cultural Endowment. The guests are hosted by Viinistu Art Harbour in Kuusalu Parish and Von Krahl Theatre in Tallinn.

Biotoopia’s roots extend back to the 1995 exhibition Biotoopia. Biology. Technology. Utopia., curated by Sirje Helme, Eha Komissarov and Ando Keskküla. The exhibition, with great foresight, questioned the possibility of equal partnership between the humanist cultural tradition and the changing environment. The second international hybrid conference Biotoopia will take place at Viinistu Art Harbour on 17–19 August 2022.