How is local nature connected to climate change and biodiversity?

Last June, I was awarded 3000 euros from Climate Changemaker to curate, produce, and edit Helsinki Nature.

Helsinki Nature is a multimedia project that tells the story of the rich nature in Finland’s capital city. It explores connections between local nature and global questions of climate change and biodiversity.

I have observed great dissonance between stated values and implemented actions in Helsinki. The City of Helsinki has declared a climate emergency and, occasionally, talks about biodiversity.

But at the same time, the city is engaged in officially sanctioned ecocide. Local politicians vote on and approve it. Forests are being cleared, coastal waters filled, and meadows zoned for building.

Helsinki Nature is born out of concern and love for these forests, meadows, and coastal waters.

Born out of love for the human and non-human animals that call these areas home.

Out of love for life itself.

I held a Winter Open Call in February for artistic visual and written works. Multiple artists and writers are now creating commissioned works to be published by Helsinki Nature throughout this spring, summer, and autumn.

I have had the pleasure of working with one of the artist groups on their project. We held a meeting last week in the Pirkkola Forest to discuss their work, which is connected to the area.

With my deep familiarity of the Pirkkola Forest – its ecological characteristics and the legal and nature protection actions that took place concerning the area last year – I was able to share little-known expert knowledge with them.

Contributing to the project thus far are a fine artist and curator, an artist and creative writer, an author and spoken word artist, a photographer, an illustrator, two artists, and a photographer and artist.

I am very excited to see and publish their works.

I have applied for additional funding for the project from the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike), under the COVID-19 support and state subsidy call that ended in April.

If the funding comes through, I will organize a Summer Open Call for more artistic visual and written works. I feel very strongly that art and writing are work – and must be paid.

So, I hope Taike awards the funding and the project can continue to organically grow!

Follow the Helsinki Nature social media channels (FB @HelsinkiNature; IG @helsinki.nature) and stay tuned for publications and – hopefully – another open call.