Image: Joel Karppanen

Author Rosa Meriläinen, original in Finnish: Haluan jättää lapselleni perinnöksi jotain kaunista ja kestävää

In recent years, I have often wondered about my responsibility towards my child. How would I make the best use of my unique life so I can leave her a legacy of something beautiful, lasting? So far, his legacy includes the rise of the far right, men’s conscription and the ecological triple crisis – climate change, biodiversity loss and the sixth wave of extinctions. The symbol of all this is a continent of plastic debris floating in the Pacific vortex. I would rather leave a legacy of art.

I joined the Greens in 1997, when I worked in Parliament as an assistant to Member of Parliament Satu Hassi. In addition to environmental ideology, I was drawn to the open-mindedness and internationality of the Greens. The same things still speak to me, and I have never been left out of the party’s activities, even though I have not stood for election for twenty years. Now the time has come to do more again and put my body on the line for my child and his future.


I am not one of those politicians who draws strength from their own feelings, but when it comes to my child, they cannot be avoided. For the first time, when my child had been in the district court to answer the allegations of insubordination in Extinction Rebellion, I found myself weeping.

All the wonderful young people who shared why they felt obliged to demonstrate so that adults would shoulder their responsibilities seemed to speak to me as well. My child said this speech to the judge:

“I participated in Extinction Rebellion because politicians have not made the necessary decisions to curb climate change, biodiversity loss and extinction waves, even though there would have been plenty of expert information available. Extinction Rebellion, and with it myself, demanded that decision-makers declare a climate and environmental emergency and take concrete action corresponding to the emergency, because we knew in autumn 2021 that the last safety limit, 1.5 degrees, would be broken within a decade and that the living conditions of more than a billion people would be destroyed by 2050 if politicians did not act.”

I was there as part of a chain of generations because my parents were there too. My mother cried too. The one who had subscribed to the Green Thread magazine for me when I was 14 years old. I have been raised to be environmentally responsible, but I have fallen far short of making a change. I feel that this is again my bargain. My old joke: “I already wasted my youth in the boardrooms” is not enough. It is not enough.


The scale of climate change, biodiversity loss and the sixth extinction require European solutions. This does not mean that Finland, as a prosperous welfare state, does not have a special responsibility for its own territory. This means that, in addition to our own environmental measures, we must do more: advocate for action and regulation at EU level. Make the EU is a global bearer of responsibility and a trailblazer. Less is not enough. I owe it to my child, who, as a minor, said before a judge:

“I have experienced climate anxiety since I was 10 years old, because nature and animals were dear to me already as a child. Nature provides us with the water and nutrition, materials and entertainment we need. We humans need the spectrum of life in all its beauty. It would be wonderful if I could imagine a future with flying cars and space travel. However, all I see in the future is death. Frankly, I am desperate. Adults seem to be asleep or otherwise just blind. They don’t seem to see that there will be other generations after them who need a habitable planet.

We have all the necessary scientific information and it has been available to adults for many years. Many times adults wait for the new generation to come up with a magic way to get away with it and stop climate change, but they don’t realize that the way has already been invented.

The government, elected with adult votes, does not seem to be able to achieve its own goal of carbon neutrality by 2035. NGOs have filed a climate complaint because of serious negligence in the implementation of the Climate Change Act.

It seems that climate change, biodiversity loss and the wave of extinction will not be stopped unless we citizens demand it. I have to do my best. That’s why I’m here today. Me, a 17-year-old high school student. I’m not trying to save the planet, the planet can do well without us. I’m trying to save humanity.”

Quotes: Frans Frangén