The environment is today in a better state in Finland than 10–20 years ago in many respects, but climate change threatens to overshadow these achievements. As recently as the 1990s, global warming was still seen as a distant challenge rather than a problem requiring urgent action. But this perception has changed since the turn of the millennium, as reports and research findings have produced more detailed forecasts of the consequences of global warming.
The state of the environment is not an instant snapshot, but a combination of inter-related trends and factors. Whether we interpret this combination as favourable or unfavourable depends at least partly on our personal values and viewpoints.
The review on the state of the environment
The review of the State of the Environment in Finland in 2008 summarises the information available online, compiling data on the most important and topical issues in an accessible form.
Finland’s environmental administration works to keep citizens up to date by providing the latest information on vital environmental issues such as pollution, its impacts and actions to address environmental problems, in line with national obligations set out in the EU Environmental Information Directive. This is primarily done through the website www.environment.fi, which is also closely linked to the websites of several other Finnish authorities who provide online information about environmental issues.
Although the causal factors behind many environmental problems are global, the consequences are evident at local level. Thirteen separate reports examining the state of the environment in various regions of Finland were produced at the same time as this national report, focusing on issues of particular importance for each region. These regional reports were published only in Finnish and three also in Swedish.