tiistai 8. elokuuta 2017

Lapland - the future model region in bioeconomy

Minori enjoying the winter in Lapland.
My name is Minori Baba and I’m an exchange student of Lapland University of Applied Sciences from Japan. Fortunately, I was accepted as intern in the Arctic Bioeconomy project in Regional Council of Lapland (Lapin liitto) for the first week of July (3.-7.7.).

I realize that Lapland’s society has a great possibility towards bioeconomy through some interviews from forestry and energy sectors I did during my internship. I think the most successful way to make Lapland area a forerunner in bioeconomy is definitely in the way of the relation between environmental resources and people. Compared to Japan it may be sort of easy to understand what I mean.

Beautiful lake scenery in the summertime.
As everyone already knows, Lapland is almost 90 % covered by forest so forestry is important and independent industry here in Lapland. In case of Japan, nowadays forestry is one of the run-down industries even though we also have approximately 68 % proportion of the whole land forested. But in the Finnish forestry, both young and old, men and women are contributing to this sector and also education system of this field. This means that the study in school and collaboration related to forestry between various organizations like government and regional level is working quite well. I think this flexibility and good quality of forestry is making the forestry field stable in Lapland and enabling the workers to create new innovations. Here in Lapland forestry is absolutely the basis of bioeconomy and it is natural to get benefits from it.  

The first ever distribution day in Rovaniemi's REKO.
I knew that there are not only just forests in Lapland but also plenty of fresh fish in clear water and regional food. These can be called arctic natural resources. It is very important to develop these natural products and business in whole Lapland and it has been recently done very effectively. If the awareness of these arctic natural resources spread, it’s going to offer a great potential to develop the society in Lapland. For example, Regional Council of Lapland is already partly organizing through Arctic Bieconomy project a small market for local food where consumers can buy local products from producers without any intermediaries (Rovaniemen REKO-lähiruokarengas). Both sides, producers who want to sell their local food or natural products and consumers who need them, can benefit from each other. I can say that here resources are quite sufficient to maintain bioeconomy as an industry and to serve the local people.

Since I came here in this January, I have experienced Finnish way of life next to nature like snowshoeing in the forest, enjoying fire place, picking mushrooms and berries and so on. And then, I started to feel that existence of forest, local food and nature itself is definitely big part of Finnish people’s life. You love nature. When I noticed this, I was moved because we have also a lot of nature in my country but I think most of people in my country wants life to be smooth and convenient. We are in the situation that we have forgotten the most important thing in human life. At least I forgot before those experiences in Lapland’s nature. Therefore, I strongly feel that Finnish people have amazing culture with nature so that you are really good at understanding how to use nature, how to conserve nature and how to live with nature. You might see these things as normal, but they are not that obvious elsewhere. It is totally splendid to notice this kind of culture with nature as a person outside of Finland.

From now on, Lapland can be definitely a future model region of bioeconomy in the world. I think people should know not only skills like how to use nature but also Finnish people’s posture toward nature. Lapland will show us a potential that we haven’t seen yet.

Tanja, Minori and Johanna.

Minori Baba

Pictures: Minori Baba / Arctic Bioeconomy

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