Documentary: The Finnish village restoring climate-critical ecosystems

“Humans will only succeed by pulling together.”

In a new 12-minute mini-documentary from BBC Newsnight, Tero Mustonen, from Gaia partner organisation the Snowchange Cooperative, shares how Finnish villagers from Selkie are restoring climate-critical peatlands, rivers and lakes.

Using a blend of traditional knowledge and science, the people of Selkie are successfully undoing the damages of many years of mining and industrial forestry that ravaged their lands and waters. Their efforts are converting carbon-emitting peat mines back into marsh mires, lakes and wetlands that provide homes for thousands of species, livelihoods for local people and draw down and store carbon from the atmosphere.

In a nation with great potential for re-wilding of drained peat and forest lands, Selkie’s efforts, and those of villages like them, are playing a leading role in realising Finland’s ambitious plans to be carbon neutral by 2035. But entrenched interests in peat- a fossil fuel more potent even than coal- are a major obstacle to achieving the restoration of ecosystems into biodiverse carbon sinks on a much larger scale. The new documentary explores this tension in the global context of rapidly shortening timelines for climate action.

Gaia has been working in partnership with Snowchange to support this trailblazing restoration work since 2017.

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