From time to time I am asked, which science is the stronger one, ecology or economy. The answer is obvious. Ecology sets the framework for all human activities, including and especially the economy. There is no sustainable economic or social development if we keep breaching ecological limits.

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Active international cooperation is a key issue in meeting the biggest challenges of our time, such as climate change, overconsumption of natural resources and turning our economies to a sustainable path. Open exchanges of ideas and bringing people from different educational, professional and cultural backgrounds to work together often leads to the best possible results in developing solutions to multifaceted challenges.

As an organic farmer, I  participated in numerous international events. During my farming carrier I had voluntary or paid workers and practicians from more than 20 countries. I learned a lot from them. I hope they learned a lot on my farm too.

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The year 2015 was an extremely important one for international efforts to enhance sustainable development globally. First, all the countries of the world agreed upon 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their implementation plan, Agenda 2030. For the first time ever, there are shared goals for all countries to work for socially, environmentally and economically sustainable development. Later in 2015, we succeeded in negotiating the Paris Climate Agreement. Again, the majority of states were committed to working towards its goal of keeping global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius.

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The Baltic Sea is one of the key things that makes Helsinki the city it is. In addition to beauty and diverse possibilities for relaxing it provides us with a gateway to the world and its oceans.
 
Unfortunately, the Baltic is not doing great. Eutrophication remains a big problem that hampers achieving a good status of the sea.
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Feeding a rapidly growing world in the face of climate change and resource scarcity will be an immense challenge and test for human ingenuity. The effects of climate change on food production around the world are accelerating and could lead to more than 500,000 deaths by the year 2050, according to a grim new study. Rising temperatures, more frequent droughts and extreme weather events will result in crop productivity losses for farmers in many parts of the world.

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Slush 2017 Global Impact Community Event participants

Slush is a startup and tech conference organised annually in Helsinki, Finland. Last year Slush took place 30 Nov - 1 Dec 2017. The event which was established in 2008 by a few techies and game producers, has grown to a huge international event, from a small gathering of 300 people.

This was my first experience with Slush. Arriving there was like stepping into the future. There were cool startups and new inventions everywhere you looked. It felt super inspiring and motivating to see what these intelligent and innovative people had come up with, to help other people and the community.

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When I was a boy Finnish winters used to be cold and snowy. A white Christmas was more of a rule than an exception. Today, things have turned the other way around, at least in the Helsinki region: winters have gradually become rainy and warmer than before. However, globally we are among the very fortunate ones – it can be annoying to walk dark and rainy streets for months but that is nothing compared to the extreme weather conditions caused by climate change in other parts of the world.

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A boat sails past as a cargo ship berths at a port in Qingdao, in China's eastern Shandong province on June 10, 2019. - China's exports beat gloomy forecasts to rebound in May though imports sank more than expected as the trade war with the United States heats up, official data showed on May 10. (Photo by STR / AFP) / - LEHTIKUVA / AFP

Currently, the so-called Sino-US economic and trade friction and its affiliated issues have become a heated topic worldwide, and drew intensive attention from all countries including Finland. As a follower of this matter, I would like to share some of my personal observations.

Firstly, trade conflict prompted by the US affects many countries and many areas in the global market, and goes far beyond China-US trade issues. As the world’s second largest economy, China is a main victim of the US’s tariff sticks. After 11 rounds of consultations, the US suddenly threatened to raise tariff rates on China.

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A video grab taken from AFP TV footage shows WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as he is driven by British Police to Westminster Magistrates Court in London on April 11, 2019. - WikiLeaks founder Assange appeared in a London courtroom on Thursday, hours after being arrested in Ecuador's embassy on an extradition request from the United States and for breaching bail in Britain. (Photo by - / AFP) - LEHTIKUVA / AFP

On April 11, the ongoing saga of journalist and transparency activist Julian Assange took a dangerous turn.  Ecuador's president, Lenin Moreno, revoked his asylum in that country's London embassy.

British police immediately arrested him -- supposedly pursuant to his "crime" of jumping bail on an invalid arrest warrant in an investigation since dropped without charges but, as they admitted shortly thereafter,  actually with the intent of turning him over to US prosecutors on bogus "hacking" allegations.

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Coast of the Barents Sea. Teriberka, Russia

Russia and certain Scandinavian countries have already implemented a number of projects across their joint border areas aimed at developing tourism infrastructure with joint management of specially-protected natural areas. 

Pasvik Nature Reserve is an example of such protected areas. It is located in the extreme northwest of Russia, in the Pechenga district of the Murmansk region.

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View of the headquarters of Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA in Caracas, on January 29, 2019. - The United States announced sanctions against Venezuela's state oil company Monday in a coordinated effort with the main opposition leader to cripple embattled President Nicolas Maduro's power base. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

The short: The Trump Administration wants the Maduro Administration to leave.  H.E. Nicolas Maduro, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela wants to stay.  The governments of the Russian Federation and People’s Republic of China believe that the repayments of what could be approaching US$100 billion might be best served by President Maduro remaining in office.  The Republic of Cuba wants the Chavez Administration (1999-2013) to return.

If the Trump Administration provided assurances that the commercial interests of each country, which are not the same with respect to what they have received and what they want would be guaranteed, they each might support the removal of President Maduro and his exile to the Republic of Cuba. 

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