Protect the Antarctic

So far, The Climate School has had a strong focus on the Arctic and the environmental challenges it faces, but today, we are travelling to the other pole. We are looking towards the Antarctic because something potentially extraordinary could be happening down there this year. 

You might have read news stories like this one, about Antarctic sea ice being at a record low, this, in combination with escalating climate change and expanding industrial fishing is putting severe pressure on the Antarctic ecosystem. 

Luckily, there is something we can do about it! In 2018, the Antarctic Ocean Commission (CCALMR) is meeting to discuss a Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary. This will be the largest protected area on the planet. 

This is not unlikely to happen. We have made it happen before. 30 years ago, a treaty was signed to protect the land in the Antarctic. Now it is the ocean that needs our help and attention.

My good friends and former colleagues in Greenpeace has made a petition and campaign where you can add your name to show that a lot of people care about this. 

I have added my name here, because Norway plays a vital role in these negotiations, and by showing that you care, you help to put pressure on the government to do the right thing.  

For a more visual representation of what's at stake, enjoy this video: 

What is happening in the Norwegian Climate Court Case?

On the 4th of January, we got a verdict in the court case against the Norwegian state for unconstitutional oil drilling in the Arctic Barents Sea.

Oslo District Court found that the Norwegian government was not responsible for breaching the Constitution. However, the Court found that the right to a healthy environment is protected by the Constitution and the Government must uphold these rights. That is a major victory in itself. 

But it doesn't end here. The Norwegian justice system goes higher than The District Courts. The next instance is The Court of Appeal, and at the top we find The Supreme Court. 

Tomorrow, the deadline for the appeal expires. Then, a decision will be made whether this should be taken higher in the Norwegian justice system. This will be announced during a press conference on Monday the 5th of February. This will be live streamed at Klimasøksmål Arktis facebook page at 11.00. 

Court processes are very expensive, and it is still possible to contribute until tomorrow on this page. 

As always, thank you for reading and caring about the environment. As David Attenborough says: ‘The Arctic is closer to our homes than we think.’

For the full verdict, follow this link. 

Eco friendly reading recommendations!

Happy Sunday fellow eco concsiously minded. 

Today, I want to recommend some environmental literature that is still on my to-read list, that I think is worth reading: 

1st book out is "The Nature Fix" written by Florence Williams. From the recommendation at Amazon: "The Nature Fix demonstrates that our connection to nature is much more important to our cognition than we think and that even small amounts of exposure to the living world can improve our creativity and enhance our mood. In prose that is incisive, witty, and urgent, Williams shows how time in nature is not a luxury but is in fact essential to our humanity. As our modern lives shift dramatically indoors, these ideas―and the answers they yield―are more urgent than ever."

2nd book out is "Earth in Human Hands" by David Grinspoon. From Amazon: "For the first time in Earth's history, our planet is experiencing a confluence of rapidly accelerating changes prompted by one species: humans. Climate change is only the most visible of the modifications we've made--up until this point, inadvertently--to the planet. And our current behavior threatens not only our own future but that of countless other creatures. By comparing Earth's story to those of other planets, astrobiologist David Grinspoon shows what a strange and novel development it is for a species to evolve to build machines, and ultimately, global societies with world-shaping influence."

I also have two recommendations of books that I have almost finished, but not written a review of yet, which is: 

"Silent Sprint revisited" by Conor Mark Jameson - (from Amazon"American scientist and author Rachel Carson is said to have sparked the modern day environmental movement with the publication of Silent Spring in 1962. She made vivid the prospect of life without birdsong. But has her warning been heeded? Fifty years on, Conor Mark Jameson reflects on the growth of environmentalism since Silent Spring was published. His revealing and engaging tale plots milestone events in conservation, popular culture and political history in the British Isles and beyond, tracing a path through the half century since 'zero hour', 1962. Around this he weaves his own observations and touching personal experiences, seeking to answer the question: what happened to the birds, and birdsong, and why does it matter?" 

And my fourth book recommendations is one of those books that even thought you've finished it, you've never really finished with it - it is "The Ecology of Wisdom" by Arne Næss. From Amazon: "These writings, full of Naess’s characteristic enthusiasm, wit, and spiritual fascination with nature, provide a look into the remarkable philosophical underpinnings of his own social and ecological activism, as well as an inspiration for all those looking to follow in his footsteps. This is an essential anthology from one of modern environmentalism’s most important and relevant voices."

I hope these books can be an inspiration for furthering your environmental journey, and if you have any books on the topic that you can recommend, feel free to write them in the comments below. 

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Using habit building to incorporate a more environmentally friendly lifestyle

Catchy title, but that is what todays blog post will discuss. How can you make it easier for yourself to live by the environmentally conscious principles you know would benefit yourself and the environment? For me, I think these two guiding principles helps you a long way: 

1. Make it easy - meaning; instead of wanting to cut back on the plastic bags you get from the store, but always forget, because you forgot that morning that you would grocery shop after school/work, then make it easy for yourself and always carry with you a fabric bag. It weights nothing and it saves you a lot of guilt. 

2. Make the decision beforehand. With this principle, I mean; instead of always having to consider every new temptation as they come along, of course you will be exhausted, and living environmentally friendly will seem like a shore. There is such a thing called 'decision fatigue' which is basically when you use up all your mental capacity on tedious little tasks, and when faced with the decisions you actually have to make, you dont have enough energy to make them. Therefor, I am an advocate for already making the decision, and incorporating them into the way you intend to live by. Say your green new years resolution was to eat less meat, as we talked about two weeks ago, but now, some time has passed, and maybe the initial motivation that comes by starting a new habit has faded ever so slightly. That's when this principle applies. Say your goal was to cut meat entirely, but now you're tempted to break it, because it seems easier to just go with what's familiar. That is when you now remind yourself; no, I've made a promise to myself, because the better, greener version of myself knows this is something that is important to me to follow through, and this is something I know will benefit me and the environement in the long term, even though it would seem like it does not matter what decision I make right now. I used this principle a lot in the beginning of my year of ShopStop

If you thought this blog post was helpful, this is something I am quite interessted, and have more resources on. Hope you will have a green Sunday! 

ShopStop 2017 Evaluation

The year of Shop Stop came to an end. It's exactly a year ago today that I outlined what would be the premises of my Shop Stop 2017. I just reread it, and I can now answer some of my predictions: 

Was the hardest part being tempted all the time? No, in fact that part came very easy. I knew I had clothes for the different seasons, and it was also such a burden being lifted not having to follow the constant white noice of commercials, because I had my auto reply "Sorry, not this year". I did however come up with these guidelines midway in the project in order to limit the time you are putting yourself at risk of being affected by commercials

Did I want to just stroll along in clothing stores out of boredom? No, not the least bit! This part was really liberating as well, because same reply as above. I do think I have spent more time in nature, I have for sure freed up a lot of time that I know I would have spent otherwise. 

What about presents? There were no soft presents this year! Most people knew the project I had undertaken, and even though it was questioned, it was at least respected that this was my wish. 

Did I learn to knit after a pattern? No, I haven't knitted at all, haha. It hasn't been a need or desire in my life the past year. 

However, did I repair a lot of clothing this year? I sure did! That is the thing about not buying any clothing for a year - things break. Specially trousers. In the end, I had 3 out of 4 trousers that were torn, so I've had my repair kit out quite a lot. The same goes for the majority of my clothes, but that is also one of the many great reasons why we should repair our clothes! I had a lot of repair jobs around November, when I wrote this on why we should always repair. 

Did I get any insights to what I actually need? Yes, and this was quite interesting. By tracking what I thought I needed over all the different seasons, without buying anything new, I could really feel the change between just wanting something and actually needing it. When the project was finished for example, I actually needed new trousers. Knowing this difference in once life is actually one of the better outcomes I gained from the project. 

Were there any downsides to it? At one point in the spring, I did become quite bored of using the same two skirts, before I had access to the clothes I would use over summer. This however, was not a major thing. The greater concern was rather would I be able to sew through quite thick denim. It turns out, that is very doable. Its just a matter of really needing it. 

How did I end the year to celebrate? This might sound contradictory, but I actually gathered almost two full black trash bags with old clothes and gave them away at the start of the new year. It was clothes that I had been holding on to for way too long, and as always it felt really liberating to pass them on to someone who needs them more than me.  

Me being quite happy to give away clothes to a charity. 

Me being quite happy to give away clothes to a charity. 

What can others gain from my experiences? If more people question the choices if they should buy something, in stead of just first buying and then thinking, it can have an enormous impact. 

Will I continue to boycott the clothing industry? In fact, I will not. This is not because I suddenly think it is super great how the employees in factories are treated, but because I learnt from a seminar I attended in May (organised by "The future in our hands" - the organisation that helped make the "Sweatshop" series) that the factory workers actually does not want us to boycott their industry. When I first heard this, I felt that this project was counterproductive, but then I did want to have a years "gap" where I could properly read myself up and understand the situation better, and by not contributing felt like the right way to follow that path. However, as I wrote above, clothes fall apart, and sometimes actually beyond repair. This doesn't mean that I won't think twice about where I do get my clothes from. In November, it became public that H&M in fact burn sever amounts of the clothes they can't sell. This really makes you question their "ethical commitment". Luckily there are several other options on how to buy more ethically, and I will follow up with a new blog post on this in the time to come. 

It has been an interesting and fun year in many regards, and a lot of people has asked me about it, which I think is a super positive outcome. If anyone else feel inspired to do it for a month, six months or a full year, I can actually recommend it for the peace of mind if offers. 

 

 

New Year, New Green Resolutions!

2018 is here, and with it, new possibilities to do and be the best version of yourself, for yourself and the environment, if you let it. I am all about new beginnings at the moment, coming back to finish my last semester at the teacher studies course I'm taking at NTNU, leaving Greenpeace, for now. 

Let this be the year when you start living by your ideals. If you've been meaning to cut down on meat eating, or cut meat entirely, now is the time to do it.

What step have you been meaning to take in your own personal life to live a greener lifestyle? Have you thought about:

  • Letting the car stand, and rather use public transportation or biking on your way to work? 
  • Getting more involved in the environmental movement and becoming supporting member of an environmental organisation? 
  • Using your voice and vote in elections to promote environmentally conscious politicians? 
  • Reading yourself up on a seemingly big environmental topic, as Norwegian oil drilling? 
  • Taken a closer look at your own carbon footprint

You are in luck, because there is no better time than the present to start taking one or more of these steps. This kind of thought process was part of my decision to make 2017 my year of ShopStop. The year is now finished, and my regular Sunday blogpost will be a review of how it went. 

Let 2018 come with all the new beginnings that follows. 

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Have yourself an environmentally friendly Christmas

December is here, and very soon, so is Christmas. So here, in this blog post, I will give you a few reccomendations on how to make your entire Christmas celebration more green. 

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1. Chose public transportation when you are traveling to get home. For a lot of us, Christmas means traveling back to where your family live. This can be a pleasant start to your holiday. Remember, you can still listen to "Driving home for Christmas" - from a train ;)  

2. When shopping for Christmas presents to your loved ones, consider these guiding questions:

- Is this something the recipient explicitly has said they want or need? If not, dont buy it. 

- Is it a possibility to buy the item used? Remember when we learnt about why circular economy is good for the environment? 

3. If your friend or family member says that they don't actually wish for any more material goods, a great gift that you could be giving is an experience! There are so many alternatives here, only your imagination sets the limits. It could be anything from a concert, trip to the cinema or possibly a journey you've both wanted to take. A study from 2010 in Norway showed that the majority of the people asked, actually wanted experiences over things

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4. A lot of the traditional Christmas foods tends to be meat based. This article explains how eating meat is actually more damaging than a long distance flight.  'A kilogramme of beef protein reared on a British hill farm can generate the equivalent of 643kg of carbon dioxide. A kilogramme of lamb protein produced in the same place can generate 749kg. One kilo of protein from either source, in other words, causes more greenhouse gas emissions than a passenger flying from London to New York' .Those numbers are shocking, but true. Therefore, making more of your Christmas meals green is a good place to start. 

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There are numerous other things you could be doing to save the environment over Christmas, but these ones; letting your car stay at home, don't buy things you or others don't need, and choosing to eat green over meat, are the key ones to remember. 

With wishes that you will have a green (and white) Christmas! 

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Buy nothing - repair something

This week's Black Friday frenzy has luckily also brought out the Green Friday/Buy Nothing Day movement. My Facebook feed has been full of articles advocating that you rather go out in nature instead of to shopping mals, as this initiative that American national parks made to make their parks free this day.  

However, as I have become quite well aware of, seeing as my year of 2017 - ShopStop is soon coming to an end; materials break - and sometimes beyond repair. Massive sales as Black Friday is only constructive if you buy something you truly need, that can not be bought used or otherwise obtained. Most of the time, this is the case; that you are able to find the item you "need" somewhere else than in a shiny wrapping showcased with good lighting, and even better advertising. 

When you start asking questions to why you need to continue to follow this commercial order of things, you come to realise there are so many alternatives of how to save money, free up your own time and save the environment all at once. Did you for example know that it takes 10.000 litres of water to produce one single pair of jeans? Knowing this, in addition to some other water facts: Only 2.5% of the Earth’s water is freshwater and only 0.3% is accessible to humans. 

Underneath is a picture from the site Good On You that shows how the Aral Sea in Central Asia dried up due to the unsustainable cotton industry in the area. You dont want to be part of this. 

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That is why I chose to repair rather than buying a new pair of blue jeans when my current pair broke last week. These jeans are under 2 years old, so I am not ready to give them up. It only took a few stitches and then their life span was prolonged again. Another pair, some brown chinos type of trousers, that are actually 10 years old also broke this week (a bad week for trousers in my household). These however were worn thin by the fabric, but I went to a tailor and asked for some extra fabric to repair them. I brought with me my the trouser to show the tailor, and he ended up giving my the fabric I needed to mend it for free! It didnt take much fabric for him, but it was enough for me to be able to give my garment a longer life, and hence reducing my need to replace it. 

I hope this inspired you to repair something you have, that you know needs mending. It is not hard, and you feel better afterwards because you've done the sensible thing for yourself, your economy and the environment. 

 

COP23 Finished

This past week, the historical climate lawsuit has taken place in Oslo District Court, but I will follow that up in next weeks blog post, when the court case is finished. However, another monumental climate event, COP23, finished this week, and this is what we know so far. 

The climate awareness spreading site Climatetracker has put together this helpful infograph to visualise what happened at COP. A positive outcome is that parties (UN lingo for countries) agreed that the processes must move quicker. The main objective, namely creating a way forward with he Paris agreement, was achieved. 

The process forward is called the Tanaloua Dialogue. This is a process that helps each country to hold each other accountable with the emission cuts they promised in the Paris agreement. These emission cuts are referred to as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). However, it turns out that the emissions each country intends to cut is not enough for the world to reach the 2 degree target, and definitely not the 1,5 degree target. Therefore there needs to be a process that reviews and increases these NDCs over time. This is the Tanaloua Dialogue. 

The COP is happening near the end of each year, but in the meantime there is a constant negotiation process going on in the UFCCC. These sessions are referred to as intersessionals, and are also worth following. For an overview of important dates on the climate calendar, have a look at the bottom of this piece from Carbonbrief

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Norway's first climate lawsuit!

Something historical will happen this following week. On Tuesday the 14th of November, in Oslo District Court, the climate article 112 will be tested for the first time ever. The article reads: 

'Every person has the right to an environment that is conducive to health and to a natural environment whose productivity and diversity are maintained. Natural resources shall be managed on the basis of comprehensive long-term considerations which will safeguard this right for future generations as well. The authorities of the state shall take measures for the implementation of these principles'.

This is a brilliant article because it says that the state is responsible for a liveable environment, not just for us, but also for future generations. This means that the actions we make today must be morally just towards the environment because it will affect the environment of the future. 

I believe, and so does the wonderful workplace that I am proud to call my job - Greenpeace, that drilling for more oil, and especially in the Arctic, is not in agreement with this article. We believe that it violates this article, and when the Norwegian government handed out new oil licences for oil drilling in the Arctic, against all environmental advices, that this would not be in the best interests of a liveable climate for the future. 

I first wrote about this lawsuit over a year ago, which you can read here, before I even worked in Greenpeace, because I as a global citizen care about and feel deeply committed to global climate justice and belive in the slogan that 'what happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic' - meaning that the oil and gas that is extracted from the Norwegian continental shelf will, when burned somewhere else, further escalate global warming. 

In two days it is finally happening. At 09.00 in Oslo District Court we will meet the states representatives and lay forward our best arguments. I hope with all my heart that we are heard and understood. If we were to win this case, it would set a global precedence. Literally, the world is looking towards Oslo these next two weeks. Here, you can read about it in Al Jazeera. 

There will be a myriad of cultural and other events linked to the lawsuit, that you can attend here, if you are in Oslo. Otherwise, for the best coverage, if you want to follow the court case, I would encourage you to follow Greenpeace Norge on both Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat. Also, follow Klimasøksmål Arktis on Facebook. It will be press coverage in both Norwegian and English. For purely English content, I would recommend following Save The Arctic on Facebook and Greenpeace International. Also, I will do my best to update on social media as well, so find me at The Climate School on Instagram. 

I am so very exited about these two upcoming weeks and I know that there is massive global support to this case. Over 400 000 people have signed up at Save The Arctic to add their names as witness statements. At the same time as this historical lawsuit is taking place in Oslo, there is the COP happening in Bonn, where Norway advocates for ways for create a better climate for the future. By looking towards ourselves first, we could make a significant impact in bettering the climate conditions by being the example that the world so sorely needs. Thank you to everyone that helps bring this message forward in the coming two weeks. 

COP23

Today, COP23 (Conference of the Parties) started. This is the UN's climate negotiations, under the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). Did I mention that they love abbreviations at COP?

This years COP is taking place in Bonn, Germany, but is hosted by Fiji. This is the first time a small island state is hosting COP. Fiji was the first state to formally ratify the Paris agreement, the global climate agreement from 2015 where almost all nations has come together to limit global warming to 2 degree celsius, but aiming for 1,5 degree celsius. Before coming to COP, Fijis prime minister announced that having a small island state as host would affect this years negotiations. In his opening speech, he also said that: 'It is a message to the world that all 7.5 billion people on earth are in the same canoe. We are all affected by climate change and we all need to act'. This is the very true, even though some states, as small island states will feel the effects of climate change sooner than others. 

The key thing to sort out during this COP is making a 'rulebook' for how the Paris agreement should be implemented, and how states should be able to hold each other accountable and have transparency to see that each other are delivering their set targets. Norway's minister of climate and environment, Vidar Helgesen actually went as far as saying that 'it's a good sign if nothing much is heard from this meeting'. This might be also be a reference to the tense fact that Trump previously this year announced that he was going to withdraw the US from the Paris agreement. Formally though, this is a process that takes years, so as per this COP, the US is still in the negotiations. Therefore, the hopes are that they won't try to block good initiatives even though they don't see a reason to helping this planet come together to solve the climate problem. 

Because COP isn't needed less now, it is needed more. 2017 is currently in the lead to become one of the three warmest years currently on record, including that it has been a year with an abnormal amount of extreme weather events all across the globe. Currently, we are on the track for a 3 degree celsius warmer globe, which means that our current efforts are not enough to combat the rising temperatures. 

Another key discussion topic of COP23 is 'loss and damage' - the mechanisms that is compensating developing nations that has done little to cause the climate change, but has been affected the most. 

The outcome that is most desired from COP23 is both getting the 'rulebook' in place for next years negotiations, but also the belief that UN still has a vital part to play in how we organise joint efforts on a global scale to tackle problems facing humanity. This isn't asking for little, but as Christiana Figueres, COP president of the COP21 in Paris said 'Paris (agreement) is everyone’s deal. It belongs to cities, businesses, NGOs and all of global civil society as much as it belongs to nation-states'. Also, it is the best we've got. 

 

H&M burn your clothes

Recently it was made public that the clothing giant H&M is burning away its fast fashion clothes in massive incinirators, when it is not being sold in stores. Since 2013, it is estimated that they have burned 60 tons of clothes.

When asked about it, H&M said it was due to health risks and injured clothes that they had to burn such vast amounts of fabrics, but when the reported conducted tests on the same clothes that were to be burnt, and comparing it with the clothes hanging in the stores, there could be found no differences in toxic levels. 

H&M have a history of not being transparent in the past, still, it is also considered one of the fast fashion brands that does a lot to set some standards for the textile industry. 

It would be great if H&M turned out to be as clean as they say they are, but regardless of H&Ms own initiatives, we can't deny the fact that the textile industry is still full of loopholes for the big companies and that far too much clothes are being produced by textile workers who's earning far too little in order to make a living. This recent scandal casted a light to the fact that not even all the fast fashion is being sold, so that is has to be burnt. This should be a wakeup call for H&M and also it's customers.

Rewilding!

This Sunday's blogpost is about one of the many good alternatives that is being done to make a positive contribution for biodiversity, and with it, the environment; it is called 'rewilding'. The concept is simple - by reintroducing species that has almost died out in an area, the hope is that biodiversity will once again peak and that natural processes and wild species will play a more significant part in how the landscape is build up. 

In Europe, there is an organisation called Rewilding Europe that states their mission as: 'Rewilding Europe wants to make Europe a wilder place. We want much more space for wildlife, wild nature and natural processes. We want to bring back the variety of life for us all to enjoy. And we want to explore new ways for people to earn a fair living from the wild. Let’s make Europe a wilder place together!'. 

One way to achieve this is by reintroducing wildlife, as bison, stags, lynx and wild horses. As biodiversity is in steady decline globally, initiatives like this can make a vital contribution to an area. To get a more visual presentation of the concept, see this video made by Rewilding Europe: 

Indigenous women delegation in Norway to put pressure on the Oilfund

I just felt so inspired that I had to write this blog post tonight, after this evenings event where the women indigenous delegation spoke in Oslo. The main reason for their visit was to meet again with the Ethical Council, that is overlooking the Norwegians Oilfund's investments. The message from the indigenous women is very clear - include human rights and indigenous rights in the guidelines for the Oilfund when it makes its investments. Also, divest (meaning to withdraw your investment) from your investments that is currently breaking with these rights. 

As the last time when the women indigenous delegation was here in March, they told equally strong stories this time on how women, elderly and children who had been at the forefront in the battles at Standing Rock were watered down in sub zero degrees with massive water hose, and how the militarised company that was helping these atrocities take place actually released dogs on the women, children and elderly to let them be bitten! This is inhuman and totally unacceptable behaviour! And when you think about that the very thing they are protecting is their own sacred land and their right to clean drinking water! 

Luckily, there is a massive movement, that is only growing, which speaks up for these crimes against indigenous and humanity itself. For the latest updates on what is currently happening at Standing Rock, I would encourage you to have a look at this site. Today, we were so honoured to have the amazing women from the Women's Earth and Climate Network (WECAN) with us and telling us these stories. You can read their press release here. 

In Norway, the biggest problem is that the Oilfund is so heavily invested in the pipeline called Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). You can read about this in Norwegian here. Until the Ethical Council comes to the conclusion that all the other Norwegian banks has concluded - that there are being committed crimes that breaks with human rights and indigenous rights in the DAPL project, the indigenous will keep coming back adding pressure and giving more evidence of these crimes being committed. 

This is an ongoing story, and only a (short) update for now, but at least this is where Norway could make a difference. For other banks that are still invested in these destructive projects, the message is clear - divest! 

Third quarter of 2017 on shopstop

September is coming to and end, and so is the third quarter of my year on shopstop. For new readers, this is the rational behind it. 

Reviewing what I thought would be challenges, I mentioned the constant consumer pressure that you are exposed to. To be honest, this has been a lot easier than I thought it would be! If you are planning to attempt a project like this I can give a few tip of advice: 

1. Remove yourself from the constant temptation - meaning for example; dont spend significant amounts of time walking in clothing stores or browsing online.

2. Also, it can be a handy tip to unsubscribe to newsletters that are sent to you daily, like H&M does. You probably dont realise, but this way of marketing really gets under your skin, if you dont fight back. 

3. If your presens on social media channels, like Facebook and Instagram, is constantly bombarding you with commercials, because you are in a target audience group, like I must have been - chose to hide or block it. You are allowed to chose who influence you. 

As previously mentioned, it only gets easier the more time that passes. However, I would encourage you to make it easier on yourself by not letting yourself be overexposed to the clothing industries constant commercials. 

We are now moving into early autumn, which means another cold season. I started this project in January, so I already know I will be fully equipped for the coldest part of the year. 3 months remains of the project, and the last review will come towards the end of the year.

 

 

 

An Inconvenient Sequel

Today I had the pleasure of being invited to the pre-screening of the new Al Gore movie 'An Inconvenient Sequel', the follow up to the climate awakening 'An Inconvenient Truth'. You can see the trailer here. 

The movie concentrates on the year following up to, and during, the Paris climate negotiations, and up until Trump became president. The movie presents you with several clips of climate catastrophes, which at least for me made me feel on how incredibly unjust the effects of climate change are, and how those who have done the least to contribute are those who suffer the most. 

On a more positive note though, Al Gore has spent the 11 years since 'An Inconvenient Truth' to build up a league of climate educators. This were one of the more uplifting parts of the movie. For more resources about this, please follow this link.  

Furthermore, what I was left with after watching this was how impactful a strong climate movie really can be. I remember seeing 'An Inconvenient Truth' in a biology lessons in college when I was 17, and only the year previous had I joined Nature and Youth, which was the start of my climate journey. With how strongly I felt about it then, and also now, I would actually highly recommend my readers to this week; use movies as a way of educating yourself on the climate. Did you catch Leonardo DiCaprios 'Before The Flood' last year? If not, I would actually encourage you to watch all three of them. 

I fear that some people are afraid of discussing climate related topics out of the doubt that they do not know enough about the subject. I would argue that all of these three movies gives you a fair overview of what has and is happening on the overall climate scene these past few years. In November we will see another UN climate conference (COP), this time in Bonn, so do watch, and do participate in the climate debate! 

 

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What we think about when we try not to think about global warming

Environmental book recommendation of ‘Det vi tenker på når vi prøver å ikke tenke på global oppvarming’ (What we think about when we try not to think about global warming) by Per Espen Stoknes

I must begin with saying that I am happy that this book recommendation can not do justice to reading the book yourself - and that’s a really good thing! Because this is actually, as the book says on the back 'The most important book of the year!'.

The author of the book, Per Espen Stoknes, is both a psychologist and economist, and in this book he presents us with the five key psychological mechanisms that prevents us from acting on climate change. Luckily, he also provides us with new strategies about how we should talk about climate change, and also how detrimental some of the communication around climate change can be. 

There are three main parts of the book: ‘Thinking’, ‘Doing’ and ‘Being’. In ‘Thinking’, the book starts of by thoroughly describing why there are climate deniers and sceptics to climate science. The key findings in this chapter, and also why there are psychological barriers towards climate action is summed up in: 

  1. 1.Distance - the climate cause feels distant to us, ‘it doesn't concern me, yet’. 
  2. 2.Doomsday - with impending doom soon on your hands, it’s easy to feel defeated. 
  3. 3.Dissonance - when we know that the use of fossil fuels amplifies climate change, but we continue to drive our petrol based cars, it can create a dissonance that is uncomfortable to handle. This dissonance is relieved by starting to doubt or trivialise the facts (that our lifestyle created the problem) 
  4. 4.Denial - when we deny the facts, we use it as a tactic to protect ourselves from fear or guilt. By denying climate change altogether, it is easier to lift yourself to the same level as those ‘preaching’ climate facts to you, and rather ridicule them, as a mean of self defence. 
  5. 5.Identity - we look for information that confirms our personal and political values and beliefs, and when the political side you identifies with either express that they believe or do not believe in climate change, it is easier for you to let your cultural identity belief be mirrored, than opposing this. 

However - there are good ways to combat these identified traits to why some denies climate change, and these tactics are described in part 2 - ‘Doing’. The main message here stars of with: Turn the barriers upside down - 

  1. Find a way to make climate change feel close, human, personal and urgent (the opposite from distance). 
  2. Use supportive framing that does not evoke negative emotions (doomsday). 
  3. Create opportunities for a simple and visible climate action (reduces dissonance) 
  4. Avoid emotions as fear, guilt, and the need for self protection (reduces the need for denial) 
  5. Reduce the cultural and political polarising of climate change (to reduce the need to protect your identity) 

From a climate communication perspective, which is my daytime job, this information is golden! Knowing how to not create a ‘them and us’ worldview is vital information when the goal is for climate science to be globally accepted. 

The two main remaining aspect of this first strategy also includes: 

  1. Stick to the positive strategies - whatever we communicate about the climate - the message should be inspiring, sympathetic, and stimulate to togetherness. A solution works so much better when people actually wants it, rather than having it implemented by guilt or fear of repercussions. 
  2. Act as a global citizen, not as a individual - we get further when we act towards societal change, rather than as separate individuals. That being said, we do need those individual acts, as recycling, but it’s when more people join in that a movement is created. 

Based on this, the book presents us with five new strategies to present climate change: 

  1. Social - use the power of social networks. The best communicators for an idea is someone you look up to or identify with, be it a cultural influencer or a celebrity. This strategy has been successfully used in AIDS campaigns in South-Africa and anti smoking campaigns in the US. The same logic can be applied in communication climate science. In already established communities as sports clubs, organisations etc - find out who different communities looks up to, and let them be spokespeople to their own communities.  
  2. Supportive - use lingual framing that supports the message with positive feelings. Talk about the opportunities to a better life, innovation and job opportunities. Talk about how it promotes better health and wellbeing, how it is better to be prepared and ready for the risk of climate, than staying passive. Talk about it as values for our joint cause. 
  3. Simple - make it simple and practical to act climate friendly. Use ‘green nudges’ as means to making the green choice the simplest.
  4. Story-based - use the force of stories to create meaning and togetherness. We need the vision of how the green future will look like, therefore - tell better climate stories. Avoid the apocalyptic narrative and rather talk about green growth, happiness and the good life, ecological restoration and nature ethics. Also, when you tell the stories, make them personal, personified and concrete. Give them life and make them extraordinary. Visualise, don’t explain. Make them fun and vibrant with a strong narrative and use of emotions and drama. 
  5. Signals - use social indicators that visualise society respons to the climate crisis. Integrate the climate communication with new progress as indicators as towards green growth. 

All in all, this is a very optimistic book, and with fear of that this blog post is going to be too long, I will refrain from covering part 3 ‘Being’. I will just say this, you want to read this book, as it provides you with a lot more visuals and examples than I could cover in this brief overview of what the book contain of ideas. 

While reading it, and after, I have felt a renewed hope in communicating climate science. If Stoknes aim for this book was to spread hope around our joint climate, I will definitely say that he succeeded. 10 out of 10, I can strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in climate, psychology, even economics or communication. 

Thank you for reading this longer than usual blogpost, and remember to talk positively when communicating about the climate. 

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Climate March!

This weeks blog post is a little different, however, I hope you'll find it inspiring. It's about one of the many ways that you can contribute towards a greener and more environmentally friendly society.

Today, there is a big climate march happening in Oslo. I am helping to organise it, so as soon as this blog post goes up, I will head down to the Oslo central station to help out. If you are in Oslo, and have this afternoon free, do come and join us, this is the Facebook event.

The march is the work of a broad coalition, raning from the environmental movement to the religious movement, workers union and scientists. In addition, there will be appeals by author Karl Ove Knausgård and Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council. 

The reason why its good to come to these kinds of marches is both to see for yourself that you are part of a much broader movement than you probably knew. Also, it is very good to show our politicians how many people who actually do care and are concerned about the environment. 

Our three major banners this year says "No Arctic Oil", ""Show Climate Justice" and "100.000 new climate jobs". These are our demands, in addition to that we want the upcoming Norwegian election (happening on the 11th of September) must be a tide turn for the environment. We want it to be a climate election. 

So if you are around in Oslo today and want to get some inspiration and feel how broad this movement is, I strongly encourage you to come. We will be marching from the Oslo central Station at 13.00 and end up in front of the Parliament where the appeals will be held. 

 

Circular economy - why it is good for the planet

You've might come across the term 'circular economy' while reading, but what does it really entail? And how is it helping the planet? I hope you will get some of these answers after reading this blog post. 

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a foundation founded to accelerate the transition to a more circular economy, defines it as 'Looking beyond the current "take, make and dispose” extractive industrial model, the circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design. Relying on system-wide innovation, it aims to redefine products and services to design waste out, while minimising negative impacts. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural and social capital' .

Put simply; todays economic model isn't sustainable - what can we do about it? In a circular economy we no longer think about a product linearly, hence the name circular. This is understood as a 'produce, use and throw away' linear model. In the circular model, the aim is for the product to stay within the economy for as long as possible. This longevity can even mean that the product no longer servers the use it was initially intended to. 

In the broadest understanding of the concept of circular economy, there will be no more waste. We have finite resources, and within this economic model, waste is actually seen as a resource. In the process of better waste management and recycling, this economic model also aims at upcycling (creatively reusing something), having stricter standards for product design and material usage, and find smarter ways to run a business. 

The overall aim for this economic model is to find smart alternatives. We know that resources are finite, sometimes even scarce, and we know that the Earth has its own limits to what it can handle. With this model, the aim is to play on the same team as Earth, in stead of against it. Luckily, as with many green alternatives, this can both be a financially good investment model, in addition to being good for the planet. Several major companies as H&M, Nike and Google are already partners to the aforementioned Ellen MacArthur Foundation. 

If this blog post sparked some interest for you to find out more, because there is a lot more to dive into with this concept, then I can recommend this page as a first point. 

As always, thank you for reading, for keep educating yourself towards a greener you and a greener future for our shared planet. 

 

The renewable energy revolution!

For quite some time now, a renewable energy revolution has been growing, first silently, but recently it has rightfully gotten more attention. With the international political climate we are operating in at the moment, all good climate news are sorely welcome, and these news are actually quite extraordinary. 

In May Blackrock, one of the worlds biggest coal investment companies, declared that: ’Coal is dead. That's not to say all the coal plants are going to shut tomorrow. But anyone who's looking to take beyond a 10-year view on coal is gambling very significantly’. 

The coal industry emits enormous amounts of CO2 and is therefor considered one of the worst contributors to climate change. 

There is a broad agreement that in order to reach the targets set in the Paris agreement, emission must be cut, and especially from coal. ‘Fossil fuels are dead. But this is in the long term. It won’t happen over night, or in two to three years. But it will disappear’ said the US biggest railway transporter recently to Financial Times. 

Blackrock also announced that they are seing a change in attitudes towards renewable energy; earlier they were heavily subsides. whereas now we see that they are even financially good investments without subsides. 

‘What has fundamentally changed the picture is that renewables has become so cheap!’ head of Blackrock says. The EU saved 16 billion euro in energy import, due to its own renewable production, and these savings are estimated to increase to 58 billions by 2030, according to the EU commission. 

The headlines about either falling coal demand and the rise in renewables in India  and China are really changing the global energy situation for the better. 

 

The future for renewables are looking bright, and we can expect more good news to come soon.