How To Wake A Sleeping Finnish Forest Giant: Perspectives On the Finnish Bioeconomy
There is a sleeping Giant in the Finnish forest, a source of boundless energy, material and wealth that once woken could provide a remarkable solution for the coming bio-based age. But the question is how best to wake the sleeping Finnish forest Giant? Do we wake the giant vigorously to scale up the industry renewal as soon as possible, maximising the output of the forest, feeding wood into its system as much as there is, to meet the demands for the coming future world? Or do we cautiously see which way the giant should awake, also aware that the sleeping giant protects in its sleep the weight of the biomass needed to fight the changing climate? Some in Finland see that a sleeping giant makes for a slow economy, and that it should be woken quickly to fulfil its promise. Entangled in this promise, a forest based bioeconomy would replace fossil fuels and materials with wood and biological based sources, industry would be reinvented to make this magical substitute, where wood would be for example the new plastics, biofuels and energy.
On the other hand, there are those in Finland that see the sleeping giant should stay sleeping right where it is, and that there are other ways to use this giant. They are worried that a fully woken giant would rampage through the forest over consuming trees, a situation that would go beyond the safe limits of the environment.
Are there other giants we should wake? And other innovative methods in which to wake them? In a sense, this is succinctly the current story of waking the bioeconomy in Finland. This is a subject of our ongoing research project 'Bioeconomy & Justice' BioEcoJust at the Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku, where we try to understand the ethical and decision-based dimensions for alternative futures of the bioeconomy.
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