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Energy Globe Award

With more than 170 participating countries and over 1500 project submissions annually the Energy Globe Award is today's most prestigious environmental prize worldwide. It distinguishes projects regionally, nationally and globally that conserve resources such as energy or utilize renewable or emission-free sources. Award ceremonies are held all over the world. Prominent personalities as well as Energy Globe Ambassadors in 90 countries support the mission of Energy Globe. The activities of Energy Globe attract worldwide media attention - international TV stations report each year with approximately 1,000 hours of broadcasting time. The aim of the Energy Globe is to raise global attention on sustainable, everywhere applicable environmental solutions and to motivate people to also become active in this area.

National ENERGY GLOBE Award 2015

Submitted by: Snowchange Cooperative
River Jukajoki Restoration Project

Since ice age the south boreal catchment area of the Finnish river Jukajoki has had a special feature - the soil is rich with iron sulphates that cause no problems as long as they are submerged in water in marsh-mires and the natural cycles of weather work. Between 1940s and 1990s the catchment area was under heavy human land use to create ditches to drain forest areas and marsh-mires for three main purposes: Forestry, farming and most importantly, peat production for energy. Natural marsh-mires were drained and destroyed. This left the once-submerged iron sulphate soils oxygenizing and drying. Once such soils interact again with water, e.g. after heavy rains or spring melt-floods from snow, the mixed waters become extremely acidic and lethal to all aquatic life. Equally so, the catchment-area and nation-wide practice of ditching marsh-mires, by state and private companies in 1940s to 1990s, has left local villagers feeling powerless since their beloved marshes have been destroyed. In traditional times Finns and Karelians used such territories for traditional occupancies such as moose and bird hunting, berry picking and small-scale hay production. The scope and severity of destruction has left local communities in a state of no capacity or resources to act to restore the activities. The heavily-damaged Jukajoki catchment area suffered also from severe environmental degradation when all fish in the river died in 2010 as a result of an acidic discharge from a peat production site owned by the state company VAPO. Fish deaths repeated in June 2011 which caused the local villages of Selkie and Alavi as well as Snowchange Cooperative to launch a watershed-wide (9,600 hectares) restoration plan building on latest science and local knowledge. The project has been very successful with VAPO activities stopped and the company establishing the largest man-made wetland unit, “Linnunsuo” in Eastern Finland (120 hectares) to control the damages. Linnunsuo is a number 1 water habitat in Finland at the moment, collecting over 100-150 species, including rarities such as Terek Sandpiper and Northern Pintail. As the original marsh-mires of the catchment area were wrecked in 1960s to 1990s, the creation of new wetland units addresses carbon-releases and destruction of much-needed wetland habits. The Jukajoki project implements the ideas of collaborative management, where the villagers and scientists work together to address the damages - one of the first of its kind in Europe.



We need to fundamentally alter the way we use our lands and waters into better.

Tero Mustonen

Jury-Rating
Since ice age the south boreal catchment area of the Finnish river Jukajoki has had a special feature - the soil is rich with iron sulphates that cause no problems as long as they are submerged in water in marsh-mires and the natural cycles of weather work. Between 1940s and 1990s the catchment area was under heavy human land use to create ditches to drain forest areas and marsh-mires, leaving the once-submerged iron sulphate soils oxygenizing and drying. Once such soils interact again with water, e.g. after heavy rains or spring melt-floods from snow, the mixed waters become extremely acidic and lethal to all aquatic life. This year’s National Winner of the Energy Globe Award in Finland launched a wetland restoration plan involving local villagers and scientists in order to restore wetlands and stop the fish kill in the river Jukajoki. Congratulations to this great initiative!