- Finnish researchers have installed the world's first fully working "sand battery" which can store green power for months at a time, BBC News (Jul 05, 2022)
Finland (Finnish: Suomi [ˈsuo̯mi] (listen); Swedish: Finland [ˈfɪ̌nland] (listen)), officially the Republic of Finland (Finnish: Suomen tasavalta; Swedish: Republiken Finland (listen to all)), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the northwest, Norway to the north, and Russia to the east, with the Gulf of Bothnia to the west and the Gulf of Finland across Estonia to the south. Finland covers an area of 338,455 square kilometres (130,678 sq mi) with a population of 5.6 million. Helsinki is the capital and largest city, forming a larger metropolitan area with the neighbouring cities of Espoo, Kauniainen, and Vantaa. The vast majority of the population are ethnic Finns. Finnish, alongside Swedish, are the official languages. Swedish is the native language of 5.2% of the population. Finland's climate varies from humid continental in the south to the boreal in the north. The land cover is primarily a boreal forest biome, with more than 180,000 recorded lakes.
Finland was first inhabited around 9000 BC after the Last Glacial Period. The Stone Age introduced several different ceramic styles and cultures. The Bronze Age and Iron Age were characterized by extensive contacts with other cultures in Fennoscandia and the Baltic region. From the late 13th century, Finland gradually became an integral part of Sweden as a consequence of the Northern Crusades. In 1809, as a result of the Finnish War, Finland became part of the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland, during which Finnish art flourished and the idea of independence began to take hold. In 1906, Finland became the first European state to grant universal suffrage, and the first in the world to give all adult citizens the right to run for public office. Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia, tried to russify Finland and terminate its political autonomy, but after the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared independence from Russia. In 1918, the fledgling state was divided by the Finnish Civil War. During World War II, Finland fought the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War, and Nazi Germany in the Lapland War. It subsequently lost parts of its territory, but maintained its independence.
Finland largely remained an agrarian country until the 1950s. After World War II, it rapidly industrialized and developed an advanced economy, while building an extensive welfare state based on the Nordic model; the country soon enjoyed widespread prosperity and a high per capita income. Finland joined the United Nations in 1955 and adopted an official policy of neutrality; it joined the OECD in 1969, the NATO Partnership for Peace in 1994, the European Union in 1995, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997, and the Eurozone at its inception in 1999. Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life and human development. In 2015, Finland ranked first in the World Human Capital, topped the Press Freedom Index, and was the most stable country in the world during 2011–2016, according to the Fragile States Index; it is second in the Global Gender Gap Report, and has ranked first in every annual World Happiness Report since 2018.
Climate action[edit | edit source]
Climate change in Finland has far reaching impacts on the natural environment and people of Finland. Finland was among the top five greenhouse gas emitters in 2001, on a per capita basis. Emissions increased to 58.8 million tonnes in 2016. Finland needs to triple its current cuts to emissions in order to be carbon neutral by 2035. Finland relies on coal and peat for its energy, but plans to phase out coal by 2029. Finland has a target of carbon neutrality by the year 2035 without carbon credits. The policies include nature conservation, more investments in trains, changes in taxation and more sustainable wood burning. After 2035 Finland will be carbon negative, meaning soaking more carbon than emitting.
Police estimate that 10,000 people attended the April 2019 climate peace march in Helsinki. In January 2020 99% of Finns said action must be taken to stop climate change.
Open spaces[edit | edit source]
Green Hearts, Park Walks in Helsinki
Community involvement[edit | edit source]
Yhteismaa (Common Ground), a Finnish non-profit dedicated to participatory city culture and placemaking
Community energy[edit | edit source]
Cycling activism[edit | edit source]
Ethical consumerism[edit | edit source]
Food activism[edit | edit source]
Restaurant Day[edit | edit source]
In big cities, people of many different cultures live in close proximity. However, there often aren't enough chances for them to intermingle and experience the diverse traditions within their city. In an effort to bring people together and foster cross cultural interaction, local organizers in Helsinki, Finland, created "Ravintolapäivä," or Restaurant Day. Initiated in 2011, it began as a food carnival where anyone with a passion for food was encouraged to run a "restaurant" in their private home or in public spaces for a single day. Even though the pop-up restaurants charge money for the meals, the emphasis is not on profit, but rather on community teamwork and cultural exchange. During the event, Helsinki is transformed by hundreds of these informal restaurants serving a wide range of cuisines in this city-wide street festival. The event is put on through distributed organization — individual volunteer restaurateurs are responsible for finding a location, managing the menu and invitations, and setting the meal prices. Now, Restaurant Day has become a global movement, with over 27,000 pop-up restaurants having served over 3 million community members across 75 countries. —Khushboo Balwani
Cottages and Allotments, City of Helsinki
Sustainable transport activism[edit | edit source]
Train schedules: VR.fi EN
Bus timetables and routes in Helsinki region: HSL.fi EN
Towards sustainable economies[edit | edit source]
The federal government of Finland is currently (Oct 2017) conducting an experiment of the effects of a basic income on unemployed citizens, which began in January 2017 and will conclude in December 2018.
Resources[edit | edit source]
Networks and sustainability initiatives[edit | edit source]
- Green Reality, Lappeenranta, Green Leaf winner for 2021
- Lahti, European Green Capital, 2021, Story
- Dodo, environmental organisation which aims to approach environmental issues in an open-minded way, trying to find new perspectives, relying on the power of factual discussion. Public events, discussion groups and projects.
- Siirtymäliike Hämeenkyrö, Transition town
Events[edit | edit source]
Restaurant Day 2015, Visit Helsinki, approximately once every three months
Community resources[edit | edit source]
Sompasauna, wood burning self-service public sauna in Helsinki built and maintained by a group of volunteers.
Apps for sustainability[edit | edit source]
Täsä, city of Turku. Mobile app, which helps capture citizens' ideas regarding urban development sites.
Citizens data initiative[edit | edit source]
Urban Facts, open data at the City of Helsinki.
Maps[edit | edit source]
Helsinki Region Transport - Vehicles, bus and tram (English)
Research[edit | edit source]
News and comment[edit | edit source]
Nordic countries endure heatwave as Lapland records hottest day since 1914, Jul 6
The full impact of Finland's UBI experiment is in - improving wellbeing, cognitive confidence, and a sense of personal control, May 5
My country's ambitious plan to be carbon-neutral in 15 years
Finnish Prime Minister Marin calls for a 4-day-week and 6-hour-day for her country, Dec 19
Lahti becomes the European Green Capital in 2021, Jun 24
The city with no homeless on its streets, Jan 31
Finland: Where second-hand comes first, Nov 8
Helsinki unveils plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2035, Mar 21
Safe, happy and free: does Finland have all the answers? Feb 12
How one city plans to steer residents away from driving, Sep 26
Free Cash in Finland. Must Be Jobless. Dec 17
Helsinki Treats New Bike-Share as Another Form of Public Transit, May 27
Finland is considering giving every citizen a basic income, December 5
The Sharing Economy is Booming in Helsinki: Here's Why, October 22
Dinner Under the Helsinki Sky Turns Busy Street into Community Table, September 14
Helsinki Volunteers Reinvent the Public Sauna, September 4
Why Helsinki – a mix of Detroit and Geneva – is one of the most exciting cities in the world, Aug 10
Finnish parliament approves new climate bill that commits to 80% emissions reductions by 2050, March 6.
Mobility survey reveals three-quarters of Helsinki journeys are sustainable, January 7
Finland Sets New Goal For Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions, June 11
"Finland is about to start using crowdsourcing to create new laws", September 20
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References[edit | edit source]
- The Alternative UK
- BBC News]
- BBC News
- The Guardian
- Friends of the Earth Europe
- European Green Capital