Blue Wings Beginnings issue 2 / 2020

Page 40

Think again

G R AN NY POWE R Finland’s newest climate action group taps into the wisdom of older generations. Meet Seija Kurunmäki and the Activist Grannies. TEXT WIF STENGER PHOTOS SANNA LEHTO


towards the desired changes. We need bout one year ago, a small different kinds of people to talk about group of women began plotting this issue.” a new way of looking at the The founders come from a range future at H ­ elsinki’s futuristic Oodi of backgrounds, including science, library. medicine, media, and business – “we The Activist Grannies were born. need all these kinds of skills,” says “People have certain mental images Kurunmäki. of grannies, but we want to redefine She began dreaming of such a group the word as being strong and active,” in late 2018, concerned says founder Seija about her preschoolKurunmäki. aged grandchildren After a 40-year “We want to and inspired by Greta career in food and keep the world as Thunberg’s Fridays for communications, Future youth strikes. she invited fellow a good place to At 63, Kurunmäki saw grandmothers to join live for our own the need for a parallel her to face the climate movement at the other crisis. Their mission: grandchildren.” end of the spectrum. to shift attitudes and In October 2019 spur action across the group published a manifesto society. “We want to keep the world as a good and set up a Facebook group called Aktivistimummot (Activist Grannies). place to live for our own grandchildren Within a couple of weeks, it gathered and the children of the whole world,” more than 3,000 members, passing 5,400 says Kurunmäki. early this year. “With our empathy, experience, “You don’t have to be a grandmother and networks, grandmothers can be to join,” she says. “There are more than opinion leaders to strengthen attitudes

40 BLUE WINGS 2 / 2020