Finland’s Ambassador To Viet Nam Sets An Environmentally-friendly Example.

Some call
him an environmental ambassador, as he can often be seen on the crowded streets
of Ha Noi riding his bicycle around as his daughter takes the public bus to
school.
    This is
just the day to day life of Finish Ambassador to Viet Nam Pekka Hyvonen and his
daughter Allisa Hyvonen, both of whom have inspired others through their
actions to protect the environment.
    The Finish
Embassy in Ha Noi recently won the Green Office certificate from the World
Wildlife Fund (WWF) for their working protection of the environment.
    Ambassador
Hyvonen, who arrived in Viet
Nam
last August, said he had wanted to do
something for the environment ever since the Green Office programme was
initiated by the Finnish WWF years ago.
    “We
thought we would follow their good example”.
    “We
sat down with the embassy staff and started to think about what we could do. Then
we got some help from the WWF branch in Viet Nam“, Hyvonen said.
    He spoke to
Viet Nam News about the ways that he, his daughter and the Finnish Embassy
staff were involved in protecting the environment.
    “Our
measures are all in a package included in our Environmental Management System,
and this package is continuously being developed”.
    “In
very concrete terms, we save energy by switching off the lights when we’re not
around, setting the thermometers so that we can save energy, choosing to walk
and bike around, using cloth bags instead of disposable plastic bags, printing
documents as little as possible, always putting litter in bins and sorting out
waste for recycling”, he said.
    Hyvonen
said, trying his best to follow his daughter’s suggestions, that he often goes
to work by bicycle. “On the weekend, our family rides together to the city
suburbs along the Hong (Red) River, where we feel we are very close to nature,
listening to birds’ singing and enjoying the fresh smells of wild grasses and
fresh air”, the ambassador said.
    Hyvonen’s
daughter, Allisa, said her family tries to ride their bikes whenever possible,
a good way to save money and energy, as well as to protect the environment.
    She said
her family owned both a motorbike and an automobile, but they were rarely used.
They also saved on energy and costs by shutting down power and air conditioning
whenever they left the house, and always tried to travel by either bike or bus.
    Asked how
he and his daughter, as well as staff at the embassy, were involved in
implementing the environmental protection project, Hyvonen said that it started
in October last year and was an ongoing process.
    “We
have all agreed to change our habits to help protect the environment. We
discussed it and found that we were using far too many resources. We understood
that we could benefit by thinking green, cutting our costs and getting that
good feeling that comes from doing something positive for the
environment”.
    According
to Hyvonen, the basic idea was to think green.
    “We
should stop littering around our homes and gardens and cut down on our use of
energy and natural resources. Developing clean technologies is a key issue in Finland right
now. By simply being more energy efficient we can save a lot, both in money and
in resources”, the ambassador said.
    Hyvonen did
admit that there were some limits to keeping a green office.
    “We
still need to use the air-conditioner during the hot summer days, and we also
use the heating system during the cold winter. Though there is still room to
consider whether one could work in a less air-conditioned environment. Sometimes,
I think our offices are over-conditioned or over-heated”.
    “We
have to find the right balance of being energy efficient while managing our
work”, Hyvonen said, adding that he and his staff feel much healthier
because of the Green Office.
    The
ambassador also sent a message to the people about the importance of protecting
the environment:
    “Let’s save this wonderful world of ours, our lakes,
rivers, forests, streets and parks, for our children and for their
children”.

 

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