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Marko Järvinen on ‘What Can I Do to Help Freshwater Ecosystems?’

July 26, 2016

A Finnish river in winter. Image Ville Lukka | Flickr Creative Commons

Living an environmentally conscious lifestyle can sometimes seem overwhelming. There are so many ways in which humans are changing and damaging the natural world that it can be difficult to know how to take positive steps in reducing your own impact.

This is particularly the case for freshwater ecosystems, which are increasingly abstracted, channeled, polluted and fragmented by humans.  However, there are many small-scale actions that we can all take in our daily lives to help reduce our negative impacts on freshwater health and biodiversity.

Today we start a new series of short posts titled ‘What Can I Do to Help Freshwater Ecosystems?’  which suggest ways in which our daily lives might become more ‘water aware’.

Our first contribution is from MARS scientist Marko Järvinen from the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) Freshwater Centre.


And awareness of the state of one’s local water bodies is likely to increase your personal interest in maintaining and improving freshwater health. For instance, in Finland environment authorities provide information on the state of our surface waters on the web.

Citizens can download their own observations of water temperature, cyanobacteria bloom situations, certain alien species etc. from the web (from their local lakes or during sailing, etc.) using the web-based service Järvi-meriwiki. Members of the public can also download their observations to this wiki-system via a smart phone application.

In Finland we have around 720 000 summer cottages and many of these are located next to a lake, river or the coastal Baltic Sea, including the archipelago. As a result freshwater health concerns most Finnish people. Almost all summer cottages have a sauna, so the handling of sauna bathing water is one issue.

Another way for the public to help improve freshwater health is to attend local lake and river management activities. In Finland, SYKE is coordinating a network of lake and river restoration workshops where environment authorities, experts from municipalities and common people share and learn their experiences.


If you’d like to contribute to the series, you can email us on info{at}

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