[*Solastalgia – the distress caused by environmental change]
Solastalgia, as I briefly mentioned earlier, is caused above all by mega-scale devastation, for instance of the kind that happens when old (or current) industrial production facilities overspill their bounds. As we’ve been reading, yellow sludge in Colorado destroys life forms but it also breaks hearts and makes it harder to live. Arriving decades after industry has left, this is poison that’s not just escaped the spatial confines that were supposed to keep things in order, it’s messed with linear time too. It’s brought past troubles into the present.
But it wasn’t toxic sludge I wanted to blog about, but Helsinki’s seemingly irrational planning regime. That too, can cause a kind of solastalgia. Importantly, the damage is not done yet and the activists are still busy getting the message across that something uniquely precious is about to be squandered, an island of 82 hectares within Helsinki’s city limits on which wildlife and villa life flourish: NO CONCRETE JUNGLE IN VARTIOSAARI!
The prospect of turning Vartiosaari into a sleepy suburb for 7 000 future residents leaves me lost for words. So, instead of them, a series of pictures taken today, Vartiosaari Day. Thank you to all those whose activity made today possible.
More Vartiosaari information in Finnish here and and here facebook-based friends of the island here and a slightly out of date text in English by artists keen to prevent the madness from going further here. I will be there again next week to talk about nature, culture and our times.
P.S. Searching online I just found this well-informed and oh-so-beautifully written letter to the planning committee who discussed Vartiosaari in May this year. Well, well worth a read.