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Sustainable Circus

Janis Laucenieks


Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin's Government has set as the objective that Finland will be carbon-neutral in 2035 and carbon-negative soon after that. [...] The aim for Finland is to reduce emissions from the effort-sharing sectors by 39% to 2030 and by 16% to 2020. How does it influence the performing arts and what directions are taking the leaders of Finland?

Thanks to CircusInfo Finland, I had a chance to take part in various events and online talks about sustainability in arts; they appear like mushrooms after the rain and when I talk about mushrooms, there is no joke in Finland. Circus performer and climate change student Sana Peura was happy to meet Marina and me in a cosy cafe in an old wooden house in Lauttasaari. She organised a webinar dedicated to the circus arts and eco-crisis that the world is facing due to global warming. 

As Sana writes later in her email: “We didn't know much about the content, just thought that it would be nice to start discussion about sustainability and environmental issues in the Finnish contemporary circus field.” And this discussion was a success. First steps were made towards the art and public sector focusing on climate issues. I realise over and over that communication is the key. Well, action must follow, but the world works magically sometimes, and sometimes you just need to reach out and touch the magic.  

The main topic of a webinar organised by Sana was gravitating around how an artist, in this case –  travelling circus artist, can act more responsibly towards the eco-footprint (e.g. taking trains instead of planes, plan longer and more local tours), the set-design (make recyclable construction and reuse props), and other small but important actions that one can take to pollute less and follow the eco-friendly government objectives.

While these ideas sound very noble to my ear, I also acknowledge that this can be reached only with the help from the same government that issues these policies. Finnish government travel is guided at a general level by the state travel strategy. The strategy is currently being updated: the goal is to adopt it in early 2021. A key starting point of the government’s travel strategy is to reduce travel and thus travel costs. The aim has been to avoid unnecessary travel and at the same time take advantage of new tools such as remote connections, video conferencing, etc. Covid-19 has escalated this change.

I guess a greener environment is simply the way forwards these days. Finland has the most ambitious goal in the world: carbon neutrality 2035 that resonated within the EU Green Development Agenda and Climate Neutrality Goal 2050. 

The control of climate policy is in people's hands, and it is up to us to tighten it. For it seems natural that artists are the ones to talk about it since they are the ones that move ideas and people's hearts. Up to you to move your government decisions! 


Further reading:

Published on: 11. January 2021

NHLP has been made possible with the support of Nordisk Kulturfond and Nordic culture Point, Nordic Council of Ministers, and Lund Municipality


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