1.5-degree lifestyle has given a good life and rewarding job
Niina Olenius from Lahti applies sustainable values to her everyday life and work, so that the global temperature rise could be held down to 1.5°C degrees. Her guiding principle is the idea that humans are a part of nature.
Niina Olenius discovered sustainable lifestyle through her affection for animals.
“It is unfair if a living creature must suffer the consequences of my actions,” Olenius says. Living up to her belief, she became vegetarian 15 years ago and vegan 8 years ago.
“The more I learnt about things, the more I began to think about sustainable values,” Niina continues. She adopted the ideas of climate change, and sustainable and equal use of clean water and planet’s resources.
“It has been wonderful to notice that I can have a lifestyle that does not cause suffering or harm to anyone. Now I have peace of mind for that.”
Nature wins, individuals win
“I think that the everyday choices are the most important factors in achieving the 1.5-degree goal – that means the actions and omissions of individuals.”
Thinking of how she could reduce her carbon footprint encouraged Olenius to take even further steps. The next step was to implement solutions for mobility.
Niina and her husband Harri live in the district of Laune in Lahti. They need a car for getting to work, but whenever they have a chance they use a bicycle or walk. They think Lahti provides them with a good living environment, as the pedestrian and bicycle routes are excellent and enable sustainable transportation.
Last year Olenius started to cycle in the winter for climate-related reasons, and she has liked it so much that she would be sad if she had to switch from bike to car. When she is sweating in −10°C degrees on a bicycle on her way to work in Hollola, she considers it as a positive thing.
“In addition to sustainable transport, I keep myself fit and healthy.”
Sustainable consumption is an everyday habit for the married couple.
“We only buy what we really need. When buying new things, we choose high-quality products that have a long life cycle. We also buy second-hand items. My husband just bought and repaired a second-hand bicycle for me – and now the bicycle has a new life.
Housing accounts approximately a quarter of all emissions of the Finns, and most of these emissions are caused by heating of homes. The carbon footprint of people living in Lahti has already been reduced thanks to renewable district heating. However, every action for reducing the heating levels does matter.
The family minimises the energy consumption by adjusting the temperature in their detached house to the maximum of 17°C degrees in the winter.
“Lower temperature is better for health and helps us to sleep better.”
Sustainable lifestyle since infancy
Olenius works as a health nurse at a child health clinic of Päijät-Häme Joint Authority for Health and Wellbeing. She applies the same sustainable values to her work than in her personal life. Päijät-Häme Joint Authority for Health and Wellbeing has drawn up guidelines for child health clinics to promote children’s health while bringing benefits to the climate and environment. The guidelines continue the work that was started in the Ahtiala child health clinic in Lahti.
“In addition to the health benefits, the 1.5-degree lifestyle comes into the bargain,” Olenius explains.
“For example, children can be encouraged to exercise by taking them out on a nature excursion instead of taking them by car somewhere to exercise. When it comes to goods, families with infants are encouraged to choose second-hand products and cloth diapers and to reduce the use of chemicals,” Olenius lists some of the sustainable guidelines for children’s wellbeing.
The ultimate goal is to help people to understand the interaction between humans and nature.
“I feel that my job is more rewarding now that the values that are important to me are also applied in the health care services.”