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Our Place on Earth, Chapter 1 - SELKIE

Our season the small Finnish village of Selkie, as villagers and locally-based Snowchange Cooperative work to rescue their watershed from the impacts of a local peat mine.  What unfolds is an exploration of village identity, the importance of place and tradition, and how saving one thing means the survival of others.

Voices from the Film:

"Despite all of the damages, it's still a paradise..."

...says Tero Mustonen, head of Selkie Village and president of Snowchange Cooperative, as he thinks about his home village and it's surrounding environment.  

The damages began in earnest following the Second World War, when Finland is forced to pay a 300 million dollar war-debt to Russia. A period of rapid industrialization begins, which includes the draining of over half the country's marshlands for timber farming, agriculture, and peat mining - a massive contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. And, as people migrated from villages to more populated areas, there was also a loss of fisheries and traditional knowledge dating back hundreds, if not thousands of years. 

"It's a very good thing that you're doing, but you’ll never win…"

...people tell Kaisu Mustonen, referring to the damages the peat mines have caused in their own villages' lakes and rivers. "They feel like there’s no way to change these things," says Kaisu.  

Rural communities in Finland have few resources to challenge the state-controlled forestry and mining companies. But Kaisu, Tero, and the villagers of Selkie have taken it upon themselves to develop a new form of co-management that has brought "new thinking - good thinking" to their village, and planted the seeds of change for a country.  By merging older knowledge and practices with science and contemporary policy they have created a thoroughly modern approach to healing the damages of the past century - an approach that can be replicated world-wide as we respond to a changing climate. 

We are responsible for things to get better on our watch.
— Tero Mustonen, Head of Selkie Village and President, Snowchange Cooperative

Tero and Kaisu Mustonen, Vechesuo Marshmire, near Selkie, Finland


In this OPOE short (10 mins), In-Between follows the hunters of Selkie for an afternoon as Tero Mustonen, head of the village of Selkie, discusses how the practice of hunting - of being in the bush - is a key toward recapturing and revitalizing our relationship with the natural world. Read more and watch now...

Watch Now (10 mins)

Watch Now (10 mins)

Restoring a River

Another OPOE short film (2 mins), Tero Mustonen and Tarmo Tossavainen talk about their ongoing restoration of the Jukajoki river course.

Collaborative Management: Governance for the New Normal

An OPOE Case Study 

Explore how the villages of Selkie and Alavi came together to create an innovative governance model for watershed restoration in North Karelia, Finland. The collaborative management, or co-management, approach to the Jukajoki (pronounced yu-ka-yoki) watershed restoration project delivers measurable environmental outcomes, and is changing how local and traditional knowledge is considered and incorporated into natural resource management and climate action.