Lappeenranta is the only Finnish city to have what it takes to become a finalist in the international Earth Hour City Challenge 2014, organised by WWF. Based on a worldwide search, the candidate cities were those that act as forerunners in the reduction of emissions and the mitigation against climate change. A total of 163 cities took on the challenge, and 34 cities from 14 countries made it to the final.
In addition to the official winner – the Global Earth Hour Capital 2014 selected by an external jury – one city receives a People's Choice Award. You can vote for your favourite city on the Internet. The voting results are weighted to the size of the city.
Everyone everywhere has their chance to cast a vote for Lappeenranta. To vote for Lappeenranta, go to http://www.welovecities.org/lappeenranta/
Use #weloveLappeenranta on Instagram to send positive messages or images from Lappeenranta. The winning city will be announced on 27 March 2014.
Head of Marketing Communications for the City of Lappeenranta, Mirka Rahman, reminds us that the city with the most activity will receive the People's Choice Award. 'With everyone’s help, we can win this. I hope that the voters also give us tips on how to make Lappeenranta even more environmentally friendly.'
Residents' activity important for creating a green Lappeenranta
Director Ilkka Räsänen of Lappeenranta Region's Environmental Office emphasises that the participation of city residents is vital for creating a green Lappeenranta for the future.
Residents are encouraged to get involved by providing advice on energy issues, as well as through the Green Energy Showroom networking project and the protection of the Pien-Saimaa area, the activities of which cover the entire South Karelia region. Some schools in Lappeenranta are involved in the international Green Flag Schools programme.
The Green Energy Showroom project is currently hosting an Eco Ideas Contest that anyone can take part in online at http://www.greenenergyshowroom.fi/fi/kilpailut
'A clean living environment and sustainable well-being make Lappeenranta a comfortable place for residents and tourists to enjoy, and commit to setting up local businesses here', says Ilkka Räsänen.
Pioneering investor in renewable energy
Lappeenranta has made considerable investments in the exploitation and research of wind and solar energy in recent years. Lappeenranta University of Technology offers the most versatile selection of university-level research and education in the energy sector, with renewable energy development as one of the focus areas.
Lappeenranta has reduced emissions by switching to bioenergy and hydrogen production for district heating. The use of public transport is also increasing, and investments in solar energy are being made by various sectors. In addition, a more compact urban infrastructure reduces mobility needs.
One of the goals of the Lappeenranta 2028 strategy is to develop Lappeenranta into a model city for eco action in which having a clean living environment and a zero-waste world are sources of innovative business growth.
Another development goal for Lappeenranta is to make the city a testing ground for eco-friendly innovations, such as the ongoing construction of the Kivisalmi pumping station and the new hybrid bus, which was developed to meet future public transport needs.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Director of Environment Services Ilkka Räsänen, tel. +358 40 081 5284, firstname.lastname@example.org
Head of Marketing Communications Mirka Rahman email@example.com, +358 40 849 9161
WWF Finland Climate Coordinator Hanna-Liisa Kangas, tel. +358 45 631 8353