TBG Food for Thought: The right to explore nature as “everyman’s right” – shouldn’ it be universal?

With our flagship project, The Big Green, we are bringing environmentally-engaged artists under one large-scale umbrella initiative and experiment with innovative ways of using art to promote sustainability. But what does it mean for us on a personal level? We asked our partners to write us a few lines about what art and sustainability and their relationship mean to them. First, Silja Suntola’s (XAMK) thoughts:

“Being raised and born in Finland I want to share our nations deep-rooted appreciation for nature and a clean environment for all to enjoy. Breathing clean air, drinking pure water from our lakes, or dipping into one after a sauna, roaming freely in the forests is mindfulness at its best for me. There is an interesting legal concept in Finland, something called “Everyman’s right”. What this means is that all people whether residing in Finland or just visiting have the right to enjoy nature anywhere in the Finnish countryside, regardless of land ownership. This freedom comes with some responsibilities to respect nature, not littering or disturbing other people or animals of course.

What does this have to do with culture and sustainability?
This appreciation for nature is strongly reflected in the work of many Finnish artists, of which most have drawn much of their inspiration from nature. Finland has had no kings, queens or churches to support artists – who have had to manage themselves and figure out multiple ways of getting income. Still, artists wrote the whole nation’s history into compositions, poems, paintings and the national story within a decade. The picture below is from our family’s summer cabin porch on a beautiful summer night- a typical place for many Finns to grow one’s inner wisdom and vision for a more sustainable future for all.”