Here, I will focus on the background of the climate change to demonstrate why the reforestation is important.It is not an opportunity, but a necessity.
Humankind has arrived at a crucial crossroads.
That is why we need new perspectives and creativity.
Copying from the past will not be enough. Instead, it would be a mistake.
We are not to judge past generations, but to act as doctors.
We can foresee two gigantic developmental directions: growth in population and average temperature of the earth.
By the end of our century, the population will reach 11 billion and then start to a decline, maybe.
The rise in average temperature is accelerating, and without radical action, will continue to increase by at least 2.5 degrees from present.
These changes cause other ecological and social problems.
We can identify solutions on three levels, which correspond to the health care model.
The first is first aid, the most urgent measures.
Reforestation is a part of the first aid.
The second is comparable to the common health care, and will last for decades.
Sustainable cities, or EcoCities, are an important part of the cure.
The third is prevention, a significant change in the values of humankind.
I will first talk about the second level, curing the disease, the EcoCities.
EcoCities are a reply to the vast challenge that our environment is facing.
EcoCities do not pollute their environment and they save natural resources and exist in harmony with nature.
We must reform the infrastructure of all cities.
We must radically renew the land use, construction technology, traffic, the production of goods and energy, the supply of food and water and the recycling of waste.
The new urban structure will reflect on all other details of production.
We have to replace commercialism with sustainability.
An EcoCity is to a traditional city what a sailboat is to a motorboat.
The architecture of EcoCities is different, but not just on the surface, it is profoundly and ideologically different.
It reflects the ideological background and the global demand, and the tool is the new technology.
Change will be as radical as it was during the first industrial revolution.
During the previous revolution, cars replaced horses.
The new revolution will see gasoline-powered cars replaced with remote-controlled horizontal electric elevators.
We must reform the entire infrastructure in the same way.
The change will affect all new cities, but also old metropolises.
Reshaping old large cities is a bigger task than building the new ones.
The change will not only be material, it is in the first place mental.
It will reflect in the values, and way of life of city’s inhabitants.
Now I shall talk about the most urgent part of health care, first aid.
Educated people no longer argue whether the Earth is in a state of emergency.
The emergency has become now a self-evident truth, but unfortunately thirty years too late.
Now we must talk about the how and the when, not the what.
We all cry out today together “the planet must be saved!”
We have no time to waste.
We must solve the issues of climate change, water shortage, plastic in the oceans, loss of natural forests and desertification.
The irreversible loss is the extinction of species.
In short: this is all about the impoverishment of the natural environment.
The social issues facing humankind only fuel these changes.
We then seem to forget about two things.
We talk about one temporary solution at a time, in narrow sectors – this time it is the climate. We think that we have solved the problem entirely, if we solve one problem temporarily at a given time.
We fool ourselves by this limitation.
We also neglect, that the climate change leads to consequences, such as the melting of the polar ice and permafrost and the warming of the oceans.
These create a reaction that accelerates global warming.
This, in turn, accelerates the changes mentioned above.
The earth is thus in an unstable state, meaning that stopping the process is becoming more and more difficult each year.
A simple example of an unstable state is a stick standing on its tip, tilting.
The angle of tilt and the force tilting the stick amplify each other reciprocally.
At first, the tilting is barely noticeable, but the process accelerates and finally becomes instantaneous.
The stick regains the balance when it is flat on the ground.
Regaining the original balance becomes more difficult the further the stick tilts.
That is why the planet requires radical, swift counter-action.
What is the order of urgency?
Let us look to health care for answers once again.
We must save first those patients who are in immediate danger of dying, but we can save.
Only secondly should we take care of those whose care can wait.
Climate change is probably the most urgent illness now on earth.
Painkillers are not enough.
We must use means that tackle the root of the disease.
We cannot solve the problem with old-fashioned methods used in welfare: voluntary poor relief.Volunteering is good, but insufficient.We must force, we need international treaties and sanctions: legislation that tackles the roots.The earth needs counteraction, and one of the measures at hand is large-scale reforestation.By increasing carbon sinks, we can regain a balance in nature – a balance, which can maintain itself without outside support.Anything else is only temporary, and a form of self-deception.We need a program that requires investments of hundreds of billions each year.We cannot raise five hundred billion euros a year by begging from benefactors.The values of humankind prevent such attempts.We must employ two measures, both based on international treaties.The first is the market place for CO2, also considering reforestation, proposed by Mr Anttonen.We could use it to stop the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.The solution is clear: industry must remove the gases it emits into the atmosphere by establishing a corresponding amount of carbon sinks. This way, human actions would not increase carbon in the atmosphere.This requires an international treaty, quickly.However, even this is not enough.We must lower the carbon content of the atmosphere to a level where nature is able to remain balanced without support.We must remember that the process is going forward in an unstable state – for decades, even without humankind.This is a solution, which we must make for the coming centuries.We cannot burden future generations with constant support actions.It would only be a form of pain-pill.We cannot even load the current industry by the mistakes made in the past.We have in use an organization to repair the major environmental damage, the military.The combined armament expenditure of the world is approximately 1,800 billion euros annually.By reallocating a great part of this money – either directly or indirectly – we can solve this issue.Returning the earth to its former state is not a compensation, but a correction of old mistakes.The reforestation of the Sahara desert would be sufficient proof of actual willingness to do something.It would not be superficial, considering only about appearances.The desert has an area of nearly 10 million square kilometers.How could we reforest that area?We need a pilot project.It must be significant, 10,000 square kilometers in area, for example.That we can implement in the form of European development work.It must combine two issues.It must clearly give an example, how we can reforest the whole Sahara.We must build an EcoCity in the middle of it.It would be the world’s first real EcoCity, something that we could export globally – later.Finland cannot guide the world towards future, but we can influence the change.Europe can influence it even more.Europe owes a debt to the world, especially Africa.The EcoCity and the reforested area in the Sahara desert is not a donation, they are a form of repaying our debt.