11 March 2021 | Reading 3 mins.

Journey of Water: How Finland fell in love with migratory fish – and dam removals

Richard Lee
Freshwater Communications Manager – WWF

Richard Lee, Freshwater Communications Manager – WWF

This year REVOLVE has partnered with WWF to showcase the journey of water and how it is inextricably linked to our lives. From the dams of Finland to the deltas of the Mekong, join us on our voyage across the globe as we discover the water-challenges we are facing, and the innovations we are making to overcome them.

They say ‘sex sells’ – and if you want proof, look no further than the trans-formational dam removal campaign in Finland. In the past five years, the country has moved from planning and funding new hydropower dams on its remaining free flowing rivers to removing hydropower dams and freeing rivers for the first time in centuries. One key driver of this paradigm shift was a hugely successful TV and social media campaign entitled ‘mating belongs to all’, highlighting the fact that dams stop migratory fish from reaching their spawning grounds – and having sex!

This innovative approach built on the momentum that had arisen during parliamentary elections in 2015. Back then, political parties were openly planning to infringe key 1987 legislation, which covers the protection of the country’s last free-flowing rivers and wild rapids, by investing in hydropower to phase out coal plants and switch to cleaner energy. While it would have helped Finland to meet its targets under the Paris Climate Agreement, it would also have choked more rivers, threatening fish populations and freshwater biodiversity.

Free-flowing rivers

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