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Finns want to discuss the importance of nature even in times of crisis: the Great Nature Dialogue Day will feature nearly 130 discussions across the country

During the Great Nature Dialogue Day on 9 March, discussions on the significance of nature and the protection of biodiversity will take place at scores of localities. According to the organisers, the importance of dialogues concerning our future is even greater in times of crisis.


Antti Koistinen

Specialist, Sitra


The Russian invasion of Ukraine shocks and worries us all. Finnish people and organisations want to continue a constructive discussion on the significance of nature and safeguarding biodiversity.

Today, 9 March, the Great Nature Dialogue Day will see nearly 130 constructive discussions taking place around the country. The people and organisations holding the discussions have emphasised the importance of being able to look beyond the crisis to the future.

“An active civil society is a key part of the resilience of Finnish society to crises. It is great that such a large number of discussions are taking place, even in these difficult times. The good state of our nature is also part of Finland’s overall security,” says Timo Lehesvirta, Leading Specialist at Sitra.

Aiming to deepen understanding of the importance of nature

The aim of the Nature Dialogue Day, organised by Sitra and DialogiAkatemia, is to deepen our understanding of what nature means to different people and organisations. Dialogue between different views is important when we reflect on how to safeguard biodiversity.
Discussions will take place in scores of localities in all parts of the country. Because of the coronavirus situation, most of them will be held remotely.

This will be the largest dialogue day so far organised using the Timeout dialogue method. The Timeout method was developed by Sitra and to gain a better understanding of a topic, other people or one’s own views, not to reach a consensus or find quick solutions.
In the future, an increasing number of security risks will be associated with issues such as global warming and the loss of biodiversity. A deeper understanding of the risks will also provide a better basis to manage them.

“Nature is our national treasure that gives us strength and unites us. This time of crisis reminds us of what nature means for our self-sufficiency and security of supply,” says Lehesvirta.

A wide variety of nature topics expected

The discussions are being organised by a large number of actors from different areas of society. They include the Finnish Centre Youth, Extinction Rebellion Finland, the Finnish Aeronautical Association, the Finnish Pensioners’ Federation, the Activist Grannies and a number of municipalities and universities.

The organisers also include actors representing business and producers, such as the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK), Finnish Energy, Infra Contractors Association in Finland, the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland and the Finnish Mining Association.

Sitra and DialogiAkatemia offer will provide training for the discussion facilitators, a framework for the discussion and an introduction to the topic, but the organisers can choose the themes from their own standpoints. There will be a huge variety of discussions on nature, involving such topics as:

  • What does nature mean to students? (Student Union of the University of Helsinki)
  • Grandparents as role models for the relationship with nature in the chain of generations (The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare)
  • The role of an active city resident in combatting biodiversity loss and enriching biodiversity in an urban environment (Dodo environmental NGO)
  • Biodiversity as a resource for the countryside and villages (Association for Rural Culture and Education)
  • What is the importance of nature capital in business activities? (Ramboll Finland)

Sitra will commission a summary of the nature dialogues to be published in the spring. The dialogues will be part of Sitra’s nature-related visioning work, the results of which will be published later.

Find out more about the Great Nature Dialogue Day discussions on the event’s website.

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