Lapland is a wonderful place, but is there trouble in paradise?
Finland is experiencing a mining boom and media will have us believe that the locals hate the idea. Mining is not the most environmentally friendly industry; we all know that. There’s also lot of talk about how mining impacts tourism, but I believe that the environmental damage caused by millions of people flying into Lapland causes much more damage than any mine in Finland.
Exploration activities bring tens of millions of euros to Lapland every year, it’s a fact. I asked someone today how he would feel if a mining company started exploration right next to his house. He replied that he would worry about nature being destroyed, rivers polluted, soil contaminated, etc. In practice, however, exploration involves drilling holes deep into the ground. The hole is about ten centimetres in diameter and after it has been explored, it is covered with a plastic pipe. That is more or less the entire environmental impact of exploration in most cases. The environmental impacts of mines in Finland will never outweigh the impacts of harvesting Finland’s green gold by the forestry industry.
So why is there such a problem? Well, there is Talvivaara that really tainted the industry. Big foreign corporations stealing our resources is also a problem for many. If Outokumpu hadn’t made the terrible decision back in the early 1990s to stop mining activities, it would be Outokumpu handling the mines and we would have Finns trained in the mining business. I also blame the lack of easy-to-understand information and terrible public relations, not to mention sensationalist media.
So how do we stop the mining industry? The answer is simple, just reverse society. Here are some easy steps you can take today to stop the madness and hit the mining industry hard:
- Stop using telephones. You stare at your phone too much anyway. Computer and internet also off limits, sorry.
- Stop watching television. England has already dropped out of the Ice Hockey World Championship anyway and Game of Thrones has ended.
- Stop using all vehicles. Walking is fun and good for you! In the winter, try running from place to place to keep warm.
- Stop taking vitamins and medicines. Being ill gets you paid time off work.
- Stop using make-up. I’ve already taken this step. Use duckfaces instead to make yourself look unnatural.
- Stop using soap, toothpaste and shampoo. Personal hygiene is so overrated.
- Stop wearing jewellery, recycle your wedding rings.
- Stop heating your house, using electricity, water, even your toilet needs to go.
- Stop using your sauna. Let’s face it, nobody really likes sitting next to sweaty people in silence anyway.
- Eat only what you find in nature and do it sustainably. But remember, you are competing with a lot of other animals and because you hate mining, you only have your fists to fight off the bears and wolves.
If you are not willing to take these steps, not to worry, there is another solution. Tell the mining companies they can’t come here. NIMBY = Not In My Back Yard. As many of us love consumerism, wouldn’t it be better if they put the mines somewhere else? We would still love to use all the products and services mines make though. Is this not a little selfish? If we need mines to satisfy our material desires and they can’t come here, they will go somewhere else and mine there. Will that country have strict rules and regulations like Finland?
This reminds me of a salmon fishing trip with my father on the Tornionjoki River. Whenever we needed to take a toilet break, our guide would land the boat on the opposite shore and say “Remember, we always piss on the Swedish side”.