The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines weed as a plant that is unwanted where it grows. Furthermore weed is defined as disagreeable thing. In Finland we call it turhake and in Finland we have an annual competition of the most ridiculous, thoughtless and somewhat stupid thing of the year. Vuoden turhake - the weed of the year.
It's the time of the year when the commercial and not so sentimental side of Christmas lifts it's head. Shops are starting to replace summer sales with plastic Christmas trees and ornaments. This is usually the time when Finnish people really start to wonder the uses of oh so many items and things.
It all started as a campaign to raise awareness about overconsumption and I guess vanity. Suomen Luonto (Nature of Finland) is Finland's biggest nature related magazine. It was established in 1941 and it writes about the current topics of environment and nature. Readers can enjoy the magazine ten times a year. So The Weed of the Year goes all the way back to the year 2000 when the competition was first released. It works like this; people can submit their ideas for The Weed of the Year throughout the year (until the end of October) in the magazine's webpage along with optional picture and argument. Then the editing office makes a decision and publishes the list of candidates as well as the winner in December.
To enter something to the list consider these things: the suggestion can be something totally useless, unbelievable or disturbing and it's also bad for the environment. The Weed of the Year cannot be a person, a company, a community or previous winners.
This is something Finnish people wait for. All the papers write about the results and Finnish population can discuss the list in a way that is nationally very typical for us. The nation that lines up for buckets. In the last couple of years there have been over 500 different things nominated in almost 2000 suggestions every year.
So I was thinking. Is there such a thing in Canada as The Weed of the Year. Apparently not. But in my opinion Suomen Luonto magazine's idea is great and it should be done in other roams of the world too. This campaign. Not the lining up for the buckets. The campaign makes me feel proud to be a Finn. The bucket weirdness doesn't.
Think about it.
And have a good night.
In case you're interested. Here's a list for you of The Weeds of the Year all the way to the year 2000.
2000 A leaf blower - it's loud and unpleasent
2001 A diaper concealer - it wraps up the dirty diaper in a lemon scented bag in a plastic tube
2002 Bottled water from abroad - Finland is called the 'land of thousands of lakes' and the water is super pure
2003 The freebies alongside of hamburger meals - they break easy and let's face it, they are crap
2004 Drinkable yogurt in mini packages - so that you can drink three instead of one...so much plastic
2005 The SUV - they're loud and environmentally unfriendly
2006 The double phonebook - ten years from this they were distributed for the last time
2007 The quad - there are so many more sensible things like the quad
2008 A pawn-free bottle - who's idea was this? I hope they're fired...
2009 A firework - very bad for the environment. Pretty, but very bad.
2010 Fur coat - fighting against fashion. And chemicals.
2011 Flush&Go toilet paper core - because you have to invent something new everyday
2012 The Dettol No Touch soap dispenser - the packaging is ridiculous, the batteries are hazardous waste and it dispenses way too much soap at a time
2013 Scented garbage bags - there are five scents to choose from
2014 The insect trap - traps the bad AND the good
2015 Eggyplay plastic egg case - we were already trying so hard to get rid of plastic things
2016 The plastic bag - because plastic is still bad
The banana case hasn't made the cut. Yet anyway.