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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The Presidential Palace is illuminated in the colors of the Italian national flag and the words "we are with you" in Vilnius, Lithuania on March 31, 2020, expressing solidarity and support for Italy. / Lehtikuva

It’s a new world order defined by the global health politics of Coronavirus. The borders are back and resealed. Maybe just temporarily or perhaps we are back to where we started before the current global integration. The year 2020 started on a high note. At least, besides the old known problems, we were not expecting fundamentally earthshaking ones. Forecasts were positive and optimism was high.

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Slovak military personnel unload an Ukrainian cargo plane An-12 Ruslan shortly after it has arrived from China, loaded with 74 tons of face masks, respirators and.../ Lehtikuva

In the past few weeks, the COVID-19 epidemic has spread at an unexpected pace into a pandemic. Meanwhile, the situation in China is trending steadily towards a positive direction. At present, we are working around the clock to resume production, putting medical protective materials on the top of manufacturing list, and trying our best to support the world in the fight against the virus. However, China’s motives were questioned and politically interpreted recently.

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“We are a group of concerned parents who started a PETITION to the Government on 13 March to close Universities, schools, daycares, public places and events due to the coronavirus outbreak. Following the announcement of THL on the testing approach and WHO recommendations to isolate, test, treat and trace in order to suppress and control the epidemic, we updated our petition to include also a plea to the Government to re-consider the testing approach.

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When a cruise ship sinks in the ocean or an airliner crashes and the causes are examined retrospectively, human error turns out to be the most common cause of the disaster. Someone pushed the wrong button, miscommunicated, slept on his watch, missed the signs or misunderstood or disobeyed instructions.   

In our Titanic today, that navigator, who doesn’t believe in maps and thinks the best way forward is right through the iceberg, seems to be Mr Mika Salminen, The director of health safety at Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

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