- The cycle-mad city in Finland that doesn't stop for snow, BBC News (Jan 21, 2023)
Finland (Finnish: Suomi [ˈsuo̯mi] ; Swedish: Finland [ˈfɪ̌nland] ), officially the Republic of Finland (Finnish: Suomen tasavalta; Swedish: Republiken Finland; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders 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 to the south, opposite Estonia. Finland covers an area of 338,145 square kilometres (130,559 sq mi) and has a population of 5.6 million. Helsinki is the capital and largest city. The vast majority of the population are ethnic Finns. Finnish and Swedish are the official languages, with Swedish being the native language of 5.2% of the population. Finland's climate varies from humid continental in the south to boreal in the north. The land cover is predominantly boreal forest biome, with more than 180,000 recorded lakes.
Finland was first settled around 9000 BC after the last Ice Age. During the Stone Age, various cultures emerged, distinguished by different styles of ceramics. The Bronze Age and Iron Ages were marked by contacts with other cultures in Fennoscandia and the Baltic region. From the late 13th century, Finland became part of Sweden as a result 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 this period, 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. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Finland declared its independence from Russia. In 1918 the young nation was divided by the Finnish Civil War. During the World War II, Finland fought against the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War, and later against Nazi Germany in the Lapland War. As a result, it lost parts of its territory but retained its independence.
Finland remained a largely agricultural country until the 1950s. After World War II, it industrialised quickly and established an advanced economy, with a welfare state built on the Nordic model. This allowed the country to experience overall prosperity and high per capita income. During the Cold War, Finland officially embraced a policy of neutrality. Since then, it has become a member of the European Union in 1995, the Eurozone in 1999, and NATO in 2023. Finland is a member of various international organisations, such as the United Nations, the Nordic Council, the Schengen Area, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The nation performs exceedingly well in national performance metrics, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life, and human development.
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]
- The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance now has 10 core members (Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Greenland, Ireland, Portugal, Quebec, Sweden, Wales, and Washington State), two associate members (California and New Zealand), and five "friends of BOGA" (Chile, Fiji, Finland, Italy, and Luxembourg)., beyondoilandgasalliance.org (Nov 16, 2022) — BOGA is an international alliance of governments and stakeholders working together to facilitate the managed phase-out of oil and gas production, led by the governments of Denmark and Costa Rica
- 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)
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