Join Extinction Rebellion in “Rebellion for Nature” from 5 to 14 October!
It’s time to Rebel for Nature
Extinction Rebellion Finland calls on the Finnish government to take concrete and socially fair action to stop nature decline in Finland and elsewhere. However, stopping the climate crisis and the loss of nature must not be done at the expense of indigenous peoples or other vulnerable communities.
Given the seriousness of the crisis, we all have a responsibility to act to stop it now using the means we have available. In Rebellion for Nature, you can channel your environmental anxiety to concrete action through means that is proven and effective: non-violent direct action side by side with hundreds of other like-minded, determined rebels.
About nature decline
Unsustainable use of land and water and overconsumption of resources are the most common causes of nature decline. In Finland, nature decline is mainly caused by forestry, agriculture and the sectors that use their products. Finland must now assume responsibility for the nature decline it causes both inside and outside its national borders.
We are all afraid of a climate crisis that will turn familiar weather patterns into a dangerous nightmare. The climate crisis will turn hundreds of millions of people into climate refugees as their homelands become uninhabitable.
Less talked about but equally important is nature decline, loss of nature, which is closely linked to climate crisis. Nature decline means the collapse of biodiversity. Familiar, alien, even undiscovered species are lost forever. Combined, climate crisis and nature decline form the most serious threat to humanity and all living things ever known.
According to the Finnish Ministry of the Environment’s plans, loss of biodiversity will be halted by 2030. However, no Biodiversity Act has been enacted. The target dates have already been postponed several times, while the red list of endangered species grows longer and longer. Will the Ministry of the Environment’s plans be implemented at all? Will it be done in time?
Globally, nature decline is caused by unsustainable use of land and water and overconsumption of resources. In Finland, nature decline is mainly caused by forestry and agriculture. However, using products manufactured somewhere else means that we are also responsible for nature decline where the goods are produced. The effects of nature decline don’t stop at national borders.
The Finnish Nature Panel, an independent group of scientific experts, has concluded that it is entirely possible to stop nature decline. All that is needed is political will. But do we have it?
The link between nature decline and the climate crisis
Nature decline and the climate crisis go hand in hand. Nature decline is warming the climate by destroying carbon sinks such as forests. Global warming, in turn, accelerates the nature decline even further. When the ability of ecosystems to sustain life is compromised, the effects are distributed around the world unfairly.
Because of colonialism and capitalism, those already disadvantaged, the poorest and the most oppressed will suffer the most from climate crisis and nature decline. Those who are the least guilty for the situation, such as indigenous peoples with traditional livelihoods directly dependent on nature, are the first to be affected. Ultimately, however, we will all face the consequences of capitalism and colonialism.
Nature decline in Finland
There is simply too much logging taking place. Our carbon sinks are disappearing, and our species are going with them.
One in nine of Finland’s species is threatened by extinction. In addition, almost half of Finland’s habitats are already classified as threatened. Habitats are areas of land or water that provide habitats for the species that depend on them. Already 70% of forest habitats are threatened.
The cause of nature decline in Finland is the clear-cutting of forests and our current methods of forest regeneration and management. Clear-cutting also degrades habitats outside the immediate area that is cut down and contributes to the risk of extinction of species. Many species are highly dependent on decaying wood and old forests, which are no longer found in sufficient quantities in our natural environment. Approximately 6% of Finland’s forests are protected, and only 3% of forests are in their natural state.
In Finland, the forestry and the mining industries are over-exploiting Saami lands. The rights of the Saami to practise traditional livelihoods and culture must also be safeguarded when climate measures are taken.
Finland is committed to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. This treaty calls for the protection of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of natural resources. It also obliges indigenous peoples to safeguard their traditional knowledge of biodiversity.
According to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Saami people are at risk for several reasons: loss of species threatens traditional livelihoods such as reindeer herding, gathering and fishing. In addition, the Arctic habitat is undergoing particularly dramatic changes as the climate warms. In addition, the cultural heritage included in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is put to risk as traditional livelihoods are threatened.
To halt the climate crisis and the loss of nature, the culture of the Saami people and their right to their traditional way of life must be taken into account in the decision-making stage. The measures that are taken must not restrict the rights of the Saami people as guaranteed by the constitution. Their right to self-determination must be respected, and the self-government of the Saami and the Saami Parliament must be recognised. Finland must also finally ratify the UN’s ILO 169 Convention on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
A fundamental change in agricultural practices is needed to halt climate change and the loss of nature.
Loss of species also threatens food production, health and water supply in Finland. The main threat is a lack of preparedness. We are highly self-sufficient, but our production is currently dependent on imported products: fertilisers, chemicals, machinery and energy. Even much of our workforce comes from abroad.
Crop failure, pollinator decline and the climate crisis are affecting crops and driving up food prices worldwide. The poorest are the hardest hit by the rising prices, increasing inequality and instability in societies. When food supply becomes less certain, social unrest sets in.
The state must support the transition of agriculture to sustainable production. This means radically reducing animal production and a switch to low-carbon crops. While we are used to animal-based food, we don’t actually need it for anything.
Agriculture and food production
The current food production system, which prioritises animal production, is destructive to the climate, wildlife, farm animals, water bodies and people alike.
Our food production systems and agriculture are based on the exploitation of farmed animals, but they also threaten the vast majority of wildlife. Animal production wastes resources, produces emissions and causes suffering to sentient beings. One of those suffering are humans themselves: the average Finn eats around 80 kilos of meat a year, which exceeds health recommendations and is completely unsustainable from a natural perspective.
The production of animal protein is highly inefficient and environmentally damaging. Factory-farming production animals and growing animal fodder requires a lot of land and water. Government subsidies drive the production cheap and nutritionally poor food, which also impoverishes the environment. Animal production also undermines security of supply, welfare and equality in Finland.
A production system based on plant proteins would reduce carbon dioxide and methane emissions and curb the amount of nutrients in water bodies. By switching to such system, enough food could be produced with fewer resources and without animal suffering. Restoring the land previously used for factory farming would contribute to recovery of biodiversity. Released grassland could be turned back into forests or converted into traditional biotopes that support and strengthen biodiversity.
This summer’s unprecedented drought in Europe raises questions about water resources. A change into a sustainable food system must take place before we face a serious food crisis. Replacing the livestock industry that is dependent on export goods with plant-based production would also contribute to security of supply.
Last year, Finland produced more emissions through land use than our forests could absorb. Increased logging has a major impact.
In Finland, trees are felled mainly for the paper industry and for energy. Deforestation is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Degraded ecosystems and climate change can also lead to further conflicts and the climate displacement of hundreds of millions of people. The EU aims to strengthen carbon sinks to halt global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
As set out in the new Climate Act, Finland is committed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035. The Finnish Climate Panel and the Finnish Nature Panel are calling for a reduction in logging. Forest owners should be given financial incentives to protect the forest and implement biodiversity-friendly forest management practices instead of logging.
Root causes of the ecocrisis and global justice
Those who suffer the most are those who are the least to blame for the current situation. Stopping climate crisis and the loss of biodiversity requires global justice.
One of the root causes of the ecocrisis is our racist and colonialist economic system that puts the interests of the wealthy above all else. It is the wealthy states and the most privileged people who have also consumed the most of our shared resources and have benefited most from colonialism and unlimited capitalism.
As a prosperous Western country, Finland is responsible for emissions and nature decline also in countries and areas where products consumed by Finns are produced. Climate crisis has affected the global South for a long time, and recently the extreme weather events have also reached Europe.
Through its protests, Extinction Rebellion Finland has already called for consumption to be reduced to a sustainable level – approximately 30% of the current consumption. We have also called for the inclusion of consumption-based emissions in our emission reduction targets so that the environmental damage caused by imported goods was also made visible.
In Rebellion for Nature we also call for Finland to pay its share of the climate debt. We owe more than an apology to the countries of the global South where drought and floods are already driving people into exile today. The national debts of the global South must be cancelled in full. Moreover, the countries must be supported financially in their own climate, environmental and adaptation efforts.
It is time to focus attention on nature decline, a threat fully comparable with the climate crisis. The Finnish society must assume responsibility for nature decline both in Finland and elsewhere. In Rebellion for Nature we are addressing our demands to the Finnish government:
Demand 1. Protect the forests
Protect 30% of Finland’s total area, including all remaining natural forests. The government must enact a law to regulate the use of forests that significantly and permanently increases and protects the carbon sinks and the carbon stocks through Finland’s land use policies. As part of this process, the Saami people’s right to self-determination in their own territories and their ability to pursue their traditional cultures and livelihoods must be guaranteed.
Demand 2: No more factory farming
There must be a shift from factory farming of animals that drives nature decline and causes animal suffering to a plant-based food production system. Current subsidies for intensive animal production must be reassigned to the promotion of plant-based food production.
Demand 3: Assume responsibility
Finland must pay its share of the climate debt to the global South to make up for the disproportionately high historical emissions of the countries of the global North and their devastating consequences in the global South. The national debts of the worst affected countries to the IMF, the World Bank and the wealthy countries must be cancelled. The countries must also be given financial support for their climate and environmental adaptation efforts.
⧖ Why rebel? ⧖
Rebellion is effective
Studies have shown that demonstrations really do change the minds of decision-makers and the general public. Rebellion precedes change. We have the power to make the change happen!
Rebellion is our duty
Having grown up and lived in Finland, we are part of a culture of over-consumption that is based on global inequality and injustice. It is the responsibility of everyone who benefits from those to take action to change the social and the economic structures that perpetuate this culture of overconsumption.
Rebellion is empowering
As a society, we could both reduce our consumption significantly while at the same time improving our quality of life. In Rebellion for Nature we highlight, experience and build together the kind of change that is needed for a meaningful and truly sustainable life. Action is the best cure for environmental anxiety. Join the rebellion! Our collective voice will resonate more widely the more voices there are – loudly but gently.
Join the rebellion! United our voice will be heard louder and wider – strong but kind. Sign up now at luontokatokapina.fi