Lahden kaupunki.
Kuva: Lahden kaupunki.

In June 2019, the jury of EGCA announced that Lahti, in Finland, received the award of being the European Green Capital 2021.

Finland has not had a green capital before and in three months, the entire country can celebrate with Lahti. The cities compete in different categories and Lahti scored high in air quality, waste, green growth & eco-innovation and governance.


Lahti has been preparing for its upcoming year as the 2021 Green Capital and is inviting the entire country to celebrate.

Tiirismaa, Finland
Tiirismaa, Finland. Kuva Lahti facebook site

One of the city’s strengths is the capability to produce green, sustainable transformations, which are easy to modify to different cities and adapt in different kinds of circumstances. What can we learn from Lahti and how can we represent Finland and do our part across the Atlantic?


How about biking to work and recycling?

Biking to work

Well, during the coronavirus pandemic, biking to work hasn’t been an option to many. Remote work has transformed our dining room tables and bedroom nooks into our new offices. No need for a bicycle to get to work, however, maybe in 2021 we get to go back to the office. Biking, instead of taking the car, is extremely environmentally friendly. Couple of times a week makes a huge difference, plus it is a good form of exercising. You also get fresh air and no more being stuck in traffic. If for any reason, biking is not an option, perhaps taking the bus or train to work could be and instead of driving yourself, you could be reading a book, listening to music, or just relaxing.


Lahti has taken cycling to a different level with the commuters. CitiCAP application supports the locals to take the bike and reduce the CO2 emissions. The users will collect virtual money by making environmental choices and travel by bike, bus, train, or by foot. These rewards can be used to buy tickets to public transportation, go swimming in the local swimming hall, or buy coffee and cake. I wouldn’t say no to free cake, especially after biking all those miles and exhausting many calories.

Currently CitiCAP app is available to download in Lahti, however, its being envisioned that this could inspire other developers to create similar types of apps, worldwide.

What would motivate you to move more and what could be your daily goal? Would you walk 10,000 steps a day for a piece of cake once a week? Or could you take the stairs instead of the elevator and perhaps reward yourself with 15 minutes of extra relaxation time in the hammock? How about walking to the grocery store instead of taking the car and just enjoying the fresh air while outside?


Exercising, and being active should be fun, and your motivations and goals should be personal to you. Do something that makes you happy and if that also helps the environment, great – that is a double whammy. I love Finnish cinnamon rolls and yes, I would take the 34 flights of stairs to get back home to eat one of those weekly.


Recycling should be part of everyone’s daily routines. These days recycling almost everything is possible and it reduces pollution and greenhouse gasses. Recycling plastic, cardboard, glass, metal etc. we also improve sustainable use of natural resources.

During COVID-19, many of us did a deep clean at their house and got rid of excess stuff. Many, including I, started thinking where to donate things, instead of throwing them down the trash chute.


Goodwill, and other donation centers are open again and accepting donations after some of them being closed for a period during the pandemic. Check your local donation center for more information of what you can donate.

DSW wants your gently used shoes. You can pack them into plastic bags and bring into the store. DSW is supporting frontline workers and families which have been impacted by the coronavirus. When you donate your shoes, you will help people in need, and you will also get reward points towards your next purchase: win-win situation.

Nike welcomes you to donate your old shoes in any condition they might be in. And you can bring your old Adidas or New Balance sneakers to the Nike store as well to be recycled. Nike has recycled shoes for many years now and their Nike Air shoes are made of 50% recycled materials.

What about your old prescription glasses? Did you know that you could donate your old pair and help someone to see better? Lions Club partners with opticians to collect old glasses and donating them to the ones in need. I donated 3 pairs glasses and so can you. Find where you can donate eyeglasses and help someone see (

It is amazing that a city in Finland has finally been recognized sustainable, green, and ecological. Good thing is that we do not need to live in Lahti to be able to do same things they are doing for our environment. We should all partake in becoming more environmentally conscious and do what we can to help the surrounding nature. And even small acts can have a huge impact and we are all part of the change.

What will you do now, and during 2021 for the environment? Share your thoughts here and in social media and remember to use the tags #greenlahti #ympäristöpääkaupunki #EGCA2021