Back to school, back to saving the environment

August is almost finished, and many of us is getting back into the routine of school, university and jobs. Here is a list of four tips for making your everyday life greener! For long term readers, you will remember the concept of how we can use habit building to incorporate more environmentally friendly habits in our daily routine. Basically what this means is; make it easier for yourself to follow up on the green choice you have already committed to doing. 

How to remember your reusable bag when grocery shopping: If one of your, like mine, green everyday choices is to use a reusable bag when you grocery shop - then always carry with you in your backpack or choice of carry on item a reusable bag. This way, you don't have to remember the action of finding it every singel time, and the amount of plastic you use will be drastically reduced.

Pick five peaces of plastic every day: Maybe you have seen the #5forhvalen on instagram? If you haven't the thought behind it is as simple as it is doable; if everyone pick up five items of plastic that they find in nature every day, it will have a massively positive impact on your everyday environment, and you stop it from reaching the ocean! Which makes you a climate hero! :D 

 Plastic that me and my friends picked along the coast of Lofoten this summer to bring back to the mainland for recycling. 

Plastic that me and my friends picked along the coast of Lofoten this summer to bring back to the mainland for recycling. 

Cutting down on your disposable plastic consumption: After watching NRKs brilliant "Plant plast" this spring (if you haven't already, it is highly recommended) you probably don't want to contribute to plastic problem that we are currently facing. If your daily routine includes picking up a coffee to go, then remember to put your reusable cup in your backpack, making the decision so much easier for yourself when you are already in line (and remember "I do have one of those! Only problem is, it's in my cupboard at home...) Most coffee shops also give you a discount if you remember to bring your own cup, so there's economical incentives for remembering as well. I bought myself a cup (for hot drinks) right before the start of the hottest summer recorded, but as temperatures finally are cooling down in Norway, I will soon get a use of it. 

Start of a new season - new green habits! Most likely, if you do read this blog, you are already either quite concerned about the climate and environment, but do you get an every day outlet for your passion? I find that it's very important for me personally to contribute in the ongoing battle against climate change on many different levels, and one way that I've benefitted from in so many ways is by being part of an organisation that works on climate related matters. Being part of an organisation, you both support the good work they are doing, and if you support, either with your time spent volunteering or with financial aid, you are contributing in helping the environment. It is also one of the most meaningful ways you can contribute, by saving the planet for the future generations to come. August/September is a great time of year to start out with new activities, so you know you've always wanted or you have always intended to do it. Let this be the autumn where you take your green passion to the next level and start advocating for it louder. After the summer we have had, it's visible for all to see that we don't have any time to waste. I will include a list of Norwegian environmental organisations (but for my international readers, many of them, like WWF and Greenpeace will have international chapters as well) 

List of environmental organisations you should look into: 

- Greenpeace

- Spire

- Natur og Ungdom

- Fremtiden i våre hender

- Naturvernforbundet

- WWF

- Bellona

- Utviklingsfondet

There are lots more, but do some research, find out which one best resonate with you, and what are the options of getting involved in your local chapter where you live/work or go to university. Becoming an active member in one of these groups could be the best decision you make this autumn. Have a happy green back to work/school! 

 

Good green habits in the summer

We've recently experienced summer like temperatures where I'm studying. This blog post is therefore a quick reminder to us all that we don't forget our good green habits over the summer months. 

1. Reusable bag. Remember to bring your reusable bag when shopping. It saves the environment unnecessary plastic, and by refusing, you are stopping the demand for plastic bags. Remember we talked about 5 R's? Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair, RefuseThe trick is to leave the fabric bag in your bag/backpack so you don't need to make a conscious decision to bring it along each time, saving yourself the energy to remember.

2. Give away clothes you don't need. This blog has focused a lot on the clothing industry and for new readers; in 2017 I did a year of shop stop, here you can read my evaluation after one year had passed. By giving away clothes you dont need, you are both decluttering your own space, but more importantly, you are giving the clothes you don't need any longer to someone who will have real value of them. 

 Translation of the text in the image "The dress that you give will give someone else an opportunity for a job", and "The trousers you are giving is saving the environment for 8 kg of CO2" and "The sweater you are giving will give warmth to someone who is freezing". 

Translation of the text in the image "The dress that you give will give someone else an opportunity for a job", and "The trousers you are giving is saving the environment for 8 kg of CO2" and "The sweater you are giving will give warmth to someone who is freezing". 

3. Reusable water bottle/cup for hot drinks. I bought myself a KeepCup in 2014, which I recently learned also makes glass cups. However, my plastic one started smelling and tasting like plastic, so I recently invested in a glass one from the brand JocoCups. Building on research from among others, the climate psychologist Per Espen Stoknes, who I reviewed the book of: 'What we think about when we try not to think about global warming' ; one important aspect when it comes to changing habits/making greener choices, is to base our desired new habit on something we already like or are predisposition to liking. In less academic terms: Choose a cup you find pretty/good looking, and you are more likely to use it! 

 My new glass Joco cup. 

My new glass Joco cup. 

4. Picking up plastic litter in nature. We know so much about the plastic problem by now, that we should all act on it whenever we see plastic laying in nature. Also, speak up against unnecessary usage of plastic, like in Norway helium balloons where recently banned on the 17th of May because enough people cared! Helium balloons are known for ending up in the ocean as marine litter.

 17th of May plastic litter that can soon become marine litter. 

17th of May plastic litter that can soon become marine litter. 

5. Leave the nature as you found it. In Norwegian there is a term called "sporløs ferdsel" which essentially means to not leave a trace where you've traveled in nature. In practical terms this means for example to not leave your disposable grill on the ground (or worse - dumped in the ocean) after you've used it. The simplest way is asking yourself; should nature look like this? If no, pick it up. 

Thank you for caring about our joint environment <3 

Rana Plaza and Talanoa Dialogue 

Happy May Sunday, dear climateschool readers! I've had a short hiatus due to exam season starting up here at NTNU, but in just 6 weeks time I will have finished the teacher degree. In the meantime; climate-news does not take exam breaks. Therefore, this blog post will be a short summary of two important things that's been happening while I've been away reading pedagogy literature: 

- The 24th of April was the 5 year mark since the clothing factory Rana Plaza collapsed in Bangladesh and 1138 textile workers died that day. Last year, I attended a meeting about the 4 year mark, and it was then announced that what needed to come in place was a binding agreement where the brands we know sign a uniform agreement of openness and transparency, so that an accident and working conditions like Rana Plaza can never happen again. The Future in Our hands has done a great job following the progress of this security agreement. However, they revealed that the giant IKEA has not signed this agreement. This is a huge shame, because the agreement works, and is already making a significant change in the life of the textile workers. To get a visual of how it was like to experience an ordinary day before the collapse of the Rana Plaza, The Future in our Hands has put together this short video.  

If you want to take action after knowing this, like I do, you can go to IKEAs facebook page and ask them to sign the agreement.  For example: (in Norwegian) "Kjære IKEA, skriv under den livreddende sikkerhetsavtalen for tekstilarbeiderne i Bangladesh!" (And you may also link to the Future in our Hands article) 

- There has also been a UNFCCC Climate change meeting in Bonn from the 30th of April - 10th of May. This was the start of the Talanoa Dialogue : "

"Talanoa is a traditional word used in Fiji and across the Pacific to reflect a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue. The purpose of Talanoa is to share stories, build empathy and to make wise decisions for the collective good. The process of Talanoa involves the sharing of ideas, skills and experience through storytelling.

During the process, participants build trust and advance knowledge through empathy and understanding. Blaming others and making critical observations are inconsistent with building mutual trust and respect, and therefore inconsistent with the Talanoa concept. Talanoa fosters stability and inclusiveness in dialogue, by creating a safe space that embraces mutual respect for a platform for decision making for a greater good.". 

A short recap of the outcome of this meeting: 

  • There was progress made in the the Paris "rulebook"
  • The next meeting will be held in Bangkok, so a negotiation text will be made to prepare for this session
  • There is still key factors in the technical and financial negotiations that needs to be worked out

Thanks to ClimateTracker for the infographic

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Earth Day 2018: End Plastic Pollution

Today, Sunday 22nd of April is Earth Day, where the mission is to end plastic pollution. Plastic pollution has luckily gained a lot of awareness this past year in Norway. On a recent survey by Norad, 7 out of 10 Norwegians answered that plastic pollution should be Norways most urgent environmental cause, and that Norway has a special responsibility as a sea nation. 

I worked with marine littering almost every day in Greenpeace, and have written some fact sheets about marine littering and micro beads. Fortunately, plastic in the ocean is so easy to get engaged in, as it is clearly so wrong. It also helps with great TV series like NRKs "Planet Plast"

Also fortunately; there is so much we can do about it! First of all, we can have a close look at our own consumption and notice how much plastic, and especially disposable plastic, we use every single day, and then take the measures to reduce our overall plastic habit. But as we know, there is already so much plastic waste in the ocean. 

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That is why in Norway, starting next week; its Beach Clean up Week! All over Norway, you can find your local beach and join in on cleaning your local beach for plastic. Off course, needless to say, but none the less - you can off course have every day of the year as beach clean up day! Whenever I am at home, on the South-Coast, and I see some plastic either already lying in the ocean, near the ocean, or on land, I pick it up, because eventually it all ends up in the ocean. 

There is also the recent trend of "plogging" where you jog and pick up plastic waste in nature at the same time. 

If you've ever walked a dog in nature, you know how easy it is for the dog to spot the plastic as something that is not belonging in nature. Two years ago, when I was walking my samoyed at home on a local beach, and I turned my head towards the horizon for 5 seconds, my dog had found a transparent plastic bag in the sea, and maybe mistook it for something edible, so when I turned back to look at my dog, she was half way inhaling the plastic bag. Luckily I got it out of her mouth in seconds, but it was absolutely horrible to witness and to think about what could have happened, and what has happened to so many animals living in the ocean. 

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I hope the awareness created around plastic pollution will last, and continue to be at the forefront of peoples minds as we have a national and global "dugnad" (joint volunteer work) to end plastic pollution together. Happy Earth Day. 

 

 

 

Book recommendation De best intensjoner - Oljelandet i klimakampen

De beste intensjoner - Oljelandet i klimakampen by Anne Karin Sæther, or "The Best of intentions - The oil country in the climate battle" is one of the best books I've read this year. It got great reviews when it came out in 2017, and is still a must read for anyone who wishes to understand the ultimate paradox that is how the Norwegian oil industry and climate legislation has been in bed together since day one. 

The book gives you the historical background since we first found oil in 1969 at Ekofisk, and how the newly established Oil Office compiled "the ten oil commandments" that would govern Norwegian oil and climate policies in the years to come. It was decided that the oil should be extracted at a "moderate" estimate. This meant that Norway had given itself a limit to how much oil that should be extracted each year, based on the precautionary measures that we did not know how it would go. Later in the book, it is revealed that this "moderate" estimate were in fact higher than what the earliest oil pioners could ever imagine that Norway would extract of oil, but the principle of a moderate oil extractive pace was established to stay. 

Then, we are presented with how Norway led the way as the climate leading nation, with the worlds first environmental minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland. In 1987 she presented the report "Our common future" in the UN's climate assembly, where she recognised the impact oil extractions would have on our climate. As one of the first nations, Norway presented its first climate law, which was to "stabilise" the CO2 emissions during the 1990s or latest in the year 2000. 

However, in the Norwegian Parliament and oil industry, it was recognised how this climate law would hinder the oil industry. This is when the idea of climate quotas was first invented. It became  crucial for Norway's new and growing industry, that gave Norway so much wealth, to not be strangled by climate legislation. Therefore, in the next UN assembly, the then statistician Jens Stoltenberg, presented for the environmental ministers the idea that emission cuts could be made outside ones own country. It was in Norway's interest that you could pay other countries a quota, in stead of reducing emissions in your own country. 

In the next UN assembly, where Norway was part of negotiating forward a climate agreement, our new politics on CO2 emissions made us unpopular. Norway was criticised for caring more about national interests, than the climate, and that our protectionism was delaying the work with the climate agreement. 

These are the events the Norwegian oil adventure was based upon. "The best intentions" then goes on and present some of the arguments the Norwegian oil industry has used to defend its further use of more oil extraction in a time when we know how closely linked the oil industry is to climate change and rising CO2 emissions. The myths of "the worlds cleanest oil" and "Norwegian oil to the worlds poor" are dissected and revealed. Further, the book talks about Statoils role in Norway, and how this has affected the Parliament and our politicians. It also discusses modern oil debates, as the Lofoten area.  

This book is for anyone who wishes to understand how and why Norways biggest industry has played such a huge role in our modern history and policy making. It is also for anyone who is interested in Norwegian politics, international climate politics or just wishes to read a really well written book. 

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Bridge to the Future

This week, the yearly conference 'Bridge to the Future' was hosted at Folkets Hus i Oslo. The Bridge to the Future is an alliance between the Norwegian trade unions, the environmental movement, the church and scientific researchers who has come together because time is running out to build a sustainable society, and we need to act now. 

The alliance demands are a democratic, planned and just transition to 100.000 green climate jobs, and to slow down Norways ever expanding oil and gas industry. 

If you would like to see the conference, you can view it here: 

If you are interested in reading more about the thoughts behind the 100.000 climate jobs demand, you can find these former publications here. 

 

Where do you find your climate news?

Today I thought we could do a different kind of blog post, namely, where do you get your climate news? And why does this matter? One of the many reasons why I keep myself constantly updated and informed on what is happening, is because I actively seek news about the climate and environment. This is of course because I want to know what is going on. 

My theory is when you limit the amount of work from information seeking to action, it is easier to get engaged. In practice for me, this means on social media to follow reliable sources that I know will provide me with relevant and updated climate and environmental information. 

In reverse, if you only ever get the tiny snippet of these kinds of news headlines in relation to sensational stories, then I can understand that it is easy to become defeatist. By broadening your sources, you should gain a wider perspective on the same topic, which again enables you to join the climate debate, which is ultimately what I would want more people to do. 

I think a lot of people fear having an opinion on climate/environmental related topics, because they feel it is too abstract/complicated/hard to grasp etc, which leads them to not participating. 

My thought on this is that regardless of how far you've come in your 'environmental journey', you do have a right to voice your opinion.

If asked why should you care about the environment/climate, let me rephrase it; if you care about anything that is happening on planet Earth, you should care about the climate/environment, because it is the foundation for everything that happens next. 

This week, there has been a ton of climate/environment related news stories, some uplifting, some more alarming: 

- A 'mega-colony' of 1,5 million penguins has been discovered in Antarctica. Overfishing and climate change causes a great threat to this massive colony, which is why the area is now considered to become a sanctuary. 

- The worlds first plastic free supermarked opened this week in Amsterdam, leading the way to show that a plastic free future is possible! 

- ExxonMobil (US based oil company) is now pulling out its Arctic project with Rosneft (Russian oil company) 

- Canada announced it will fund new protected land, oceans and wildlife, which is a historic investment in turning the tide of bad news!

- Arctic temperatures are at a record low this winter, which is frightening climate scientist. 

- Germany let cities decide to ban diesel cars in order to better the air quality! 

- The Norwegian Oil fund is still heavily invested (11 billions) in 'The black snake', Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). This is despite of the promise that the Oilfund should withdraw its assets. By keeping our investments there, we are allowing Trumps agenda to follow through. 

As you can see from this selection, a lot is happening all the time, and by knowing it is happening it is easier to speak up and take action when and where it is possible. 

If you want to see some of my climate/environmental sources, you can see that here. 

My last news of this blog post is this video from the creators of Blue Planet 2, with the end message being that it is not too late, we can still make a positive change for the worlds natural environment. 

Victory in the fight against micro beads!

In the climate battle, it is important to celebrate every win, because they don't come often enough. This time, it is the micro beads - more particularly; the rubber granules that is used on artificial turf (synthetic football fields), that will now be regulated. 

The rubber granulates are made of finely chopped car tires. This has become a massive environmental problem. 

Within the end of this year, The Norwegian government has announced, that artificial turf on football pitches will need to have a plan for how to make the micro beads not fall outside of the turf. There will be stricter rules on storage, usage and how to collect the micro beads. 

To give you some numbers; 

- There are ca 1600 artificial turf football fields in Norway

- Micro beads coming from these artificial turfs is one of the highest plastic polluters in Norway

- Globally, over 8 million tonns of plastic ends up in the ocean, this equals five lorry truck worth of plastic per minute being dumped in the ocean. 

In other words; this is great news! Marine littering is however a global problem, and plastic that ends up in the ocean knows no limits to where it might end up. But seeing Norway stepping up and making changes like this makes a real difference, because we are such a high consuming nation. I hope more countries will make similar priorities in the near future, so we can have more environmental wins, and protect more of what we love. 

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.&nbsp;

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.