Mikko Peltola

Mikko Peltola

I can use the forest trails to go straight to work.

"If I had to live a life where I sit in a car for an hour both on the way and coming back from work at night, I would find that quite gloomy." Luckily Mikko "Peltsi" Peltola does not need to. The well-known journalist and nature lover lives right beside Helsinki's Central Park. 

"I was born in Maununneva and have lived within the same one-kilometre radius my whole life. Now I live in a house that I had built on the same lot as my childhood home. My workplace is in Pasila and I can reach it just using the forest trails if I wish." 

Peltola has loved exploring his local forest since he was a kid. "At the time, parents used to drive their kids everywhere. I played hockey, and my parents drove me to practice and paid for my hobby. But if I wanted to go somewhere else, it meant biking. Or if I wanted something else, I would go around the woods with my friends picking up bottles and make some cash with the deposit. It was one way of getting to know the forest." 

Peltola also had a "city centre phase", during which the young man painted graffiti and played records in the downtown nightclubs. "I'm a graffiti fan but nowadays those places no longer exist due to development. When I was young, there were legendary spots like a gallery in Pasila, a "pigeon tunnel" in Haaga and the warehouse venue Lepakko. As a young man, the city centre was important. Once I expanded my work horizons, I started to value the outdoors more and more."   

A lover of wilderness and Lapland, Peltola once even considered moving up north. "The idea didn't however resonate at home. My wife and I have always been tied to the south because of work. On the other hand, living in a house practically in the forest with a yard full of trees and the immediate vicinity of the Central Park mean we don’t feel a strong need to head to the backwoods."

Nowadays Peltola works at the national broadcaster Yle and makes nature programmes that are well-known throughout Finland. In addition, he is also active in local initiatives to protect the nearby forests and monitor fishing. "My love for my home surroundings is great. Here in the Pirkkola district we are currently fighting hard over the site for the new sports hall. There is a plan to cut down a forest patch to clear out the site. I have also taken a public stand on it because I see forests as important. All research shows that forests are significant places for most citizens. A while back, I discovered my grandfather's hunting permit from 1963. It grants permission to shoot birds and small game in, for instance Haaga and Kaarela. Now those areas are full of houses. I understand well the pressures of expanding the cityscape, but it always stings when buildings are constructed over forest. The importance of man-made structures grows smaller and smaller for me. From my perspective, nature is clearly the most important thing." 

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