A Finnish environmental NGO working in urban environments - example of Dodo (2013)
A Finnish environmental NGO
working in urban environments –
example of Dodo
August 19, 2013
Helsinki Summer School
Ecology and management of urban green space
Why an urban NGO?
• Majority of people live in cities; 50-50 situation was reached
– Finland 30 % in 1950 70 % in 2030
• Cities are getting bigger; in 1975 3 megacities of 10 million or
more inhabitants, by 2025 there will be 27 (21 in the
• Urban people are increasingly detached from the natural
environment and the sources of food, energy, raw
materials,…or are they?
• Cities are not ecological bubbles!
“ City dwellers have smaller carbon
footprints, study finds
Greater use of public transport and denser housing make
urbanites more eco-friendly than their rural counterparts”
"Tokyo has considerably lower emissions per person than
either Beijing or Shanghai and this shows clearly that
prosperity does not lead inevitably to greater emissions,"
said report author David Dodman. "Well-designed and
well-governed cities can combine high living standards with
much lower greenhouse gas emissions.”
Dodo – A Progressive Finnish
• Established 1995
• Promotes global environmental
thinking and citizen-based action
• Wide perspective to environmental
• Urban point of view: individuality &
• Open sharing of ideas and willingness
to test any possible solutions – with a
permission to fail
• Avoiding expert talk; everyone’s
entitled to understand and contribute
to the discourse
• strongly voluntary-based
• Environmental problems will be solved in cities that are
vibrant and tolerant.
• Positive thinking leads further. Therefore we don’t condemn,
instead we encourage.
• Dodo offers new opportunities for different kinds of people.
One does not need to be an expert in order to be able to
participate and be part of the solution.
• Anyone can make a difference in many
ways: with a fork or a bicycle, in a blog
or at a workshop.
• Even voluntary work can be done
professionally and impressively!
What DO we DO?
• Megapolis – urban festival (until 2012)
• Urban planning
• Urban farming
• Development cooperation
• Workshops, discussions, environmental
Ideas rising into action
“Cities have the
for everybody, only
because, and only
when, they are
― Jane Jacobs, The Death and
Life of Great American Cities
who ride bikes.”
• A great success since 2009: you CAN grow your own food in a city!
From local to global – development
cooperation in Africa
• Sinsibere in Mali: combating
desertification & empowering women
- creating alternative sources of income
to replace woodcutting, such as soap
fabrication and gardening
- establishment of a women’s
cooperative, supporting the
improvement and marketing of local
- cooperative center for education &
- development of solar energy
Adult literacy training
• Tany maitso in Madagascar: forest
conservation & sustainable rural
supporting alternative ways of income for
people living around protected areas
“Zimbabwe’s climate change strategy should
focus on urban communities, give a greater
role to civil society participation, and learn
lessons and gain experiences from other
highly vulnerable nations”
Brown et al., IIED 2013
IIED: International Institute for Environment and Development