Laura Kolehmainen

Green Talk: Laura Kolehmainen founder of Climate Move 2019

Green Talk is a blog series featuring interviews with people working in environmental science, circular design, sustainability and green business. We tell stories of kick ass people and their passion!

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Laura Kolehmainen is the founder of Climate Move 2019.

MP. In your own words, who are you and what do you do?

Laura. I’m a law and world politics student who woke up to the climate crisis a couple of months ago. I work at the university and spend all my free time on a climate campaign, Ilmastoveivi 2019, which I started a while ago. 

MP. What is Ilmastoveivi 2019 and how did you come up with the concept?

Laura. Ilmastoveivi 2019 or Climate Move 2019 is a climate campaign started by young people, aiming at gathering us Finns to take climate leadership, starting with our term as the EU president 7-12/2019. We are a bunch of worried people who decided to act together, and invite others to join us. We got tired of the story, that the solution to the climate crisis would be solved individually , and that it would be each one’s responsibility, separately. As a child, teen or a youngster it is clear, that everybody don’t have the same power to solve the problem, but rather, that a certain segment of the society determines the conditions of living to the rest. Namely politicians and the business elite, and the older generation benefiting from the status quo. The people without authority, money or any formal position (our generation at the moment) can at best unite and collect a movement inviting all of the society to build a sustainable future together. 

MP. What do you want to accomplish?

Laura. The number one aim the campaign has is to utilize the six months Finland has in the world’s (or at least Europe’s) spotlight, and to inspire our people to have the courage to start taking the super radical steps towards the max 1,5 degree world. Namely, lead the EU to take the necessary turn and cut it’s emissions by 60% by 2030, and strive for 0% by 2040. Nobody else is in a better position to do this! We’re a small, rich, educated and relatively democratic society with a lot of people thinking about how to solve climate change at the moment. 

So far, we’ve got 30 000 people to sign our petition, and collected around 150 organizations including schools, univesities, municipalities, NGO’s, trade unions. celebrities and companies to support our cause both in Finland and abroad. We’re have around 150 people working on this at the moment. 

MP. You don´t just work inside Finnish borders. What does your international work/collaborations include?

Laura. Our aim is to spread the message of transforming societies from fossil capitalism into tomorrow’s juster and cleaner world by our example: look at us, this is how it’s done! The Finnish state has already promised to help us in this, but I believe the best agents for change are us youngsters, as we are the ones acting already. Climate strike which is happening all around the world is a proof of that.

MP. What does the future look like to you? What kind of future world do you see us living in?

Laura. My future will most definitely be about halting climate change. I think it´s the biggest favour anyone could do to humanity. After this campaign I’ll surely find other ways to inspire, initiate and participate in action towards that goal. 

Nobody else is in a better position to do this! We’re a small, rich, educated and relatively democratic society with a lot of people thinking about how to solve climate change at the moment. 

MP. What motivates you?

Laura. My motivation comes from a sense of purpose these of bigger projects give to me. I want to feel I’m doing big enough stuff for the good of people. I’m certainly an idealist in that sense, but it’s balanced with the motivation and energy I get from seeing ACTION. It’s so easy to think one person can’t do anything significant, but it’s equally easy to just start acting. If the idea is good, people will pick it up. There’s so many people wanting to do something to stop climate change and are just waiting for someone to take the initiative. I would love to be that person.

MP. How does a perfect day look like to you?

Laura. Hmm! At the moment I’d really just need a day off, but I guess a perfect day would start by waking up at around 8, doing climate activism until lunch, studying the afternoon, then some sports and an evening with a friend, cooking dinner and chatting or doing something creative.


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Photo credit Eva Nieminen