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. 

 

Second quarter of 2017 on shopstop

June is nearing its end, and so is the first half of this years non-shopping policy. To be honest, it only gets easier the more time that passes. 

At first, I figured the main challenges could be changes of the seasons, but now that I have 'mastered' ice cold winter, mild spring, and warm summer temperatures, I know it will be easy to last the rest of the year without breaking it. 

The key to any habit building activities, at least to what I have found, is reminding yourself every so often, why you are doing this in the first place. Until the new habit becomes an integrated part of your daily routine, then it can be good to remind yourself why you first set out on this journey. To me, I am luckily beyond that point, which makes it easier to focus on the idea behind this. 

One cool thing that has happened since the last update, is that I have had several really good conversations with friends about how they too has started questioning themselves more about their consumer habits. Which I think is great! A higher awareness of how much we consume is the first step towards decreasing the amount that goes in to what the advertisement industry wants us to think is a 'normal' or 'standard' amount of clothes, shoes etc to consume in a year. 

Another good thing that has come out of this project so far, which was one of my intentions, was to free up spare time, in order to use it how I know I actually would, in stead of ending up in a store. I can definitely say that I have been able to go on hikes both in the weekdays and also in the weekend a lot more frequently (while living in cities) after starting this project. 

If you have a similar idea that you want to test out for a years time, that you think will bring you closer to the kind of life you want to lead; I would say go for it! I am happy about doing shopstop 2017. Maybe you would like to do shopstop for the second half of this year, starting on 1st of July? :) 

 

The exciting and fragile Arctic

This week I attended a seminar by the Norwegian Environment Agency and the AMAP (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme) about the dangers facing the Arctic region, and let me tell you, there are many! To me this fact only emphasises the importance for us to protect it. Even if most of us actually doesn't live in the Arctic, the Arctic serves as a barometer for the rest of the world on how climate change will impact us all. 

Here are a few of the findings that is worth knowing about the Arctic: 

- There are a lot of chemicals that ends up in the Arctic, and now that the ice is melting, we are discovering occurrences of PCB, one of the most dangerous environmental toxins, that was banned in 2005 due to its acute poisoning both for humans and animals. PCB is now resurfacing, most likely due to the ocean currents. 

- The temperature in the Arctic has more than doubled in the Arctic during the last 100 years, which is why you might often hear that the climate change is happening twice as rapidly at the poles. 

- 1/3 of all sea level rice will come from the Arctic region, due to melting of the polar ice caps.

- Between 1961 and 2015, scientist have discovered that the Arctic is getting warmer, wetter, with less and thinner sea ice and less snow. This is affecting the albedo effect; how much sun is reflected back - with a white surface, a lot of the sun is reflected back, but with darker surfaces, as an ocean, the heat is adopted. To illustrate this, look at the drawing underneath. 

- Earlier, there used to be a higher percentage of many year old ice. Now, that percentage has gone down, and one year old ice is more common. This affects life on a molecular level, because there are life living within the ice. This may have grave implications for the ecosystems, that we yet don't know. 

- Introduced species is another threat to the biodiversity. Due to warmed temperature in the water, new species are making its way up in the Arctic. Some of these are taking over the territories to species that have spent a long time adapting to that particular climate. One example is that Atlantic cod has gone up in population, and Polar cod has decreased. 

So, what can be done about this? 

The advice that was given at the conference were these: The Paris agreement is important, but more needs to be done. 

- Marine surveillance needs to be strengthened and we need to be prepared for the unknown.

In the former IPCC reports, the Arctic region has been under-communicated. This needs to change, because the Arctic is a very sensitive region, and as someone said at the seminar - the Arctic is everybody's business. 

I hope this has provided you with some new and interesting input, although this blog post was a more science based one. A lot of exciting things will take place in the Arctic region this summer, so stay tuned for more updates on how to protect the Arctic. 

3 tips on how to be eco friendly this summer

Hi everyone, June is here, and so is the start of summer holiday for a lot of you. With summer comes a lot of well deserved spare time, and with that, here are some handy tips on how to not let the good habits slip over the holiday: 

1. Slow travels: If possible, chose a train/ferry/bikes/kayak in stead of a flying. Slow travel is all the rage, and for a good reason. By making the travel part of your journey, you can find a necessary slowing of the pace, that might be the reason why you wanted to go on holiday in the first place. For more inspiration, you can follow this link to a couple who are committed to slow travels. 

2. Be a local hero: If you do decide to stay at home, be a local hero in your community! What I mean by this is - if you see that someone has thrown a disposable grill out in the water right next to a beach or any place that children or animals might get stuck in it - be a local hero and pick it up! I have seen this happen numerous times; its polluting, and the grill has no reason to be there. 

3. Pick up the plastic: Following up on being a local hero, I am assuming that a lot of people associate summer with spending time near the ocean, or at least waters, at least, that's summer to me. Whenever you see a plastic bag, or a bottle that have lost its way out of some owners hands, please be the climate hero they failed to be, and carry it with you until you can throw it away in a designated place. Last summer, I did a kayak hike, which turned into a picking up plastic bags from the sea hike. 

Also, obviously, great to pick up the plastic before it enters into the ocean as well, because as we know, almost all the plastic that ends up in nature find its way to the ocean. 

There might be more tips over the summer, but if we all try to follow up on these, you are really making a difference. Have an eco friendly start to your summer. 

The world without us - by Alan Weisman

I started this book without knowing too much about its content, except that it would describe what will happen to our world if we were all to disappear tomorrow. With this seemingly bleak outlook I started reading, and was instantly surprised by, given the premises for the book, how little troublesome it was to read. 

First of all, the language is beautiful. With sentences like:

‘Unless humankind’s Faustian affair with carbon fuels ends up tipping the atmosphere past the point of no return, and runaway global warming transfigures Earth into Venus, at some unknown date glaciers will do so again.’  

Weisman does a good job at describing what will remain after us, mostly underground cities. But with chapters with names like ‘Polymers Are Forever’ and ‘The Petro Patch’ it’s easy to see where we are headed. It is an environmentalist book through and through. Weisman has gone to some great lengths and apparently traveled the world in the attempt to cover all our misdeeds towards the climate. 

What is most distressing however is not that the concrete will break up and New York will once again be a green canopy, but how long after the toxins we have engineered are staying in our environment. One example is PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) that we stopped using in the 70’s due to how animals who came in contact with it started mutating and changing gender. After remains of PCB were dug deep into the earth, that again found it’s way back into the water (spoiler: Everything finds it’s way back into the water), these toxins have now reappeared in the Arctic, where they are found in breastmilk in Innuit women, and in the fat tissues in seals and fish. 

Weisman leaves us with a thought on the choice ahead — if we as a species will bring the rest of Life with us, or tear it down, with a friendly reminder that we can't really do it alone if nature isn't with us. This is, to my belief, perhaps the core of this book, how closely we are linked with nature. 

If you are into in-debt explanations and a more naturalistic approach to climate change, this could well be the book for you. 

Marine littering

It is almost funny how I have not written about this topic sooner, as it is something that is very close to my heart, and that I have been concerned about for years. 

Marine litter is a global problem, so even though (for my Norwegian readers) we live in a country with fairly good recycling methods for plastic, it is something we need to be very considerate about.

To start with the facts; 

- Each year 300 million tonnes of plastic is produced

- Of these 300 million tonnes - 8 million ends up in the ocean

- That equals 5 lorry-trucks dumping plastic in the sea, every minute all year around

- If this continues, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050, according to World Economic Forum

- We also know that 80% of all the plastic that ends up in the ocean originates from land-based sources

So, what can we do about it? :) 

Luckily, there are several things we can do to help aid the problem, and specially if you live in a high consumption society, like Norway, your contribution will really make a difference. 

First; this is how long plastic products keep on lasting in the sea:

To combat this, here is a handy trick you can remember - Refuse, Reuse, Reduce. 

Refuse - plastic that will only be used once, like a plastic straw

Reuse - plastic bottles and fill them with tap water, in stead of buying a new one every time

Reduce - the amount of plastic you consume. 

There is an even longer list of 10 good steps you can take if you follow this link. 

I will write a new post soon on what happens when the plastic is broken down to micro plastic/micro beads, and also how we can prevent that from spreading as well :)

Is the clothing industry getting any better?

I was recently at a meeting that discussed how the clothing industry is progressing, now 4 years after more than 1110 people died in the collapsing clothing factory Rana Plaza in Bangladesh. 

Status quo today 

The project lead for the Sweatshop (which I encourage you to see, if you haven't) said that the salaries they are making, is still not enough to cover daily costs. On the topic of security, we learned that there is still a lot of uncertainty in the job market. After the Rana Plaza accident, two work agreement was drawn up, the 'Accord on Fire and Building Safety' in Bangladesh and 'The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety'. If the new standards are not met, western companies must end their relationship with the factories. They have until the end of 2018 to meet the targets. However, as per today, the majority of the factories are still far from reaching these targets. There is still a lack in rights at the workplace, wages are low, and the workers are treated badly and without respect, and is sometimes beaten with plastic bottles. 

After the Rana Plaza, the industry wanted an overview of who had produced their clothes there. It turned out that none of the companies that used Rana Plaza had operated with open lists. In order to tell a customer where their garments are made, a company should always operate with an open list. That is why asking for open lists in the clothing industry is one of the ways you can help alter the system. This is because if an accident where to occur, the responsible would be easier to target, to prevent it happening again. 

Still, progress is being made, but a lot remains to be done. The term 'when best is not good enough' was used about the 'best' factories. In the meantime, we as consumers can look at these lists to see what companies operate with open lists. The other thing we can do is to keep paying attention to the working conditions, and keep asking questions. 

No DAPL

I have been so incredibly fortunate this week that I got to know and become friends with a group of strong indigenous women , coming to Norway to tell us about the fight for clean drinking water at Standing Rock, North Dakota, US. 

The delegation has been here this entire week, and told their story to a live audience twice, in addition to the news station NRK, on the radio, in the newspapers, to politicians and most importantly to the Ethical Council, who are the ones that advices the Oil Fund where to put their money. The delegation also had a meeting with DNB, the last Norwegian bank to withdraw from the project. This happened the day after the delegation came here. A coincident? I think not.

All the Norwegian banks are now out, but the Norwegian Oilfund is still invested with 6,7 billion NOK in the project. This is a substantial amount of money, and the withdrawal of these would create waves to other banks and funds financing the project. With the current administration in US, the hope relies heavily on European banks. 

The testimonials I have heard this week is just gruesome. I followed the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) at the end of last year, and was one of the more than a million supporters who checked in on Facebook to show that my location was also at Standing Rock, as police was using Facebook sign ins as a way to see who was there, in order to arrest people. It is one thing to read about these atrocities towards humanity in the news. It is a complete different story to have that same living breathing person telling you about how their sacred places were intentionally destroyed, how they were jailed and treated in the most inhumane ways, how the police officers abused their power in the worst ways - all because a group of strong people are standing up for the right to clean drinking water.

The status quo on the 1,172 mile pipeline is that there is currently oil in the pipeline. This isn't only going to affect the indigenous communities, it is going to affect everyone who gets their drinking water from the river it is crossing (see illustration below) This goes for the local police officers arresting the Water protectors, as well as the indigenous. 

If it was only one message that was left with people who got to hear the stories of the women fighting for Standing Rock - I hope it is this; we have just about everything in common. You wouldn't want a big massive oil pipeline to run directly across your drinking water. Especially not an oil company which are known for their many spills. When we know that drinking oil causes cancer, and you think about where you get your drinking water coming out of your tap. You wouldn't want that. You wouldn't want it on your friends and family either. And you wouldn't want it on your enemy. The people at Standing Rock are just that - they are people, they are a community and they are our friends. 

Spending time with delegation today just made me even more aware of how incredibly similar we are, how much our joint humour unites us, and the vital importance that we feel and know what is going on in the US right now. The fight isn't won. The project is intended to go on. For us here in Norway, we can keep reminding the Ethical council that it is highly unethical what they are so heavily invested in. If they choose to wait an entire year to draw their money out, then that will be too late. There are also other European banks that needs to be made aware. A full list here. 

The movement around Standing Rock is very much alive, and happening right now. The momentum is stronger than ever, and it is vital to keep the momentum high. Everything is at stake for the Water protectors fighting for their right to have clean drinking water. I would encourage everyone to watch this livestream we recorded on Thursday this week, so you can hear the stories directly yourself. 

I am very glad that you read this. The more people who knows, the better. The power of this movement is the way people are coming together for this cause. We are with you, dear Water protectors, you are not standing alone. #StandWithStandingRock. 

First quarter of 2017 on ShopStop

As March is soon coming to an end, so is my first quarter of the shopstop, hence I thought it suitable with an update on how it is going. 

So, these are the ‘lessons’ that I’ve learned so far, and bear in mind that this is highly subjective: 

  1. You don't necessarily need to wear everything you find pretty. 

I know I have an affinity for burgundy as a colour, and I can not remember what it was that I saw in that colour, but I think it was a pair of trousers, and they might have also been corduroy (another favourite of mine), that in combination was tempting. However, this is not something I am lacking, so I simply reminded myself of this fact, and walked away. 

This lesson is also true about other things, for example if you come across a particular pattern you might like, or a colour, it still doesn't mean that you have to wear it. This part of the project is more about changing how one view what you own and not. Say for example, when you look out on a lovely sunset, you can not own it, but you can still carry the feeling of it with you. In that way you do own it, or at least you own the feeling or sensation it created. And in a lot of ways, that is what the fashion and advertising industry wants us to experience, some sort of feeling that we are buying (along with their garment) 

For me, I have had this thing about dark blue lately, but as I am committed to this project, I rather got an outlet for this with painting with dark blue. Also, I found a dark blue sweater that I’ve had for a few years and started wearing that again, in stead of following a quick and easy impulse, which would have been to purchase a new one right ahead. I should probably point out that I am not saying you can paint yourself out of any temptation; if you actually do lack something, then you do lack it. But the case for most of us with easy access to stores like H&M, is that we actually don’t lack items, we are just bored and easily affected by advertises. Therefore I am trying to create a higher awareness in the decision making process regarding what you actually do chose to buy. 

My quick check list would therefore be: 

  1. Do I actually need it? 
  2. Do I have something from before that could do the job? 
  3. Am I buying this piece because I answered ‘yes’ to the two prior questions, or am I trying to fill some gap in another part of my life with this purchase? 

The first of these I have been asking myself for years, the latter two are new, but I will adopt them, as these are some of the things I want to be more conscious about as a consumer. 

It is actually already becoming easier. 

I hope this can inspire some of you who is reading this, because at least to me, this feels like a relief, not like giving something up. 

For further inspiration, I can recommend this series by Australian blogger and youtuber Muchelle B of how to simplify your life, that I was quite inspired by in January.

Thank you for reading, and remember that it's not just the grand efforts that makes a difference <3

Norway just about to start its Arctic oil drilling

Yesterday marked a new step in race against Arctic oil drilling. As a long term reader of this blog, you might have followed the blog updates on how Arctic oil drilling, more specifically in the South-East Barents Sea, is extremely destructive for all life that lives there. We know both that seismic activity can be hazardous for marine life, and we definitely know that all oil and gass found in the Arctic must stay in the ground if we are to reach the 2 degree target. 

That is why it was particularly devastating yesterday, when Statoil, regardless of all climate recommendations, still went ahead and sent up its first oil rig, Songa Enabler, to drill for oil from now and all throughout the summer. This is part of what is called the 23rd concession round, where oil licences where handed out in the South-East Barents Sea. 

In Norway, we are so fortunate to have a constitution that speaks in quite strong language about how we want our climate to be. The wording of §112 sounds like this: 

'Every person has a right to an environment that is conducive to health and to a natural environment whose productivity and diversity are maintained. Natural resources should be managed on the basis of comprehensive long-term considerations whereby this right will be safeguarded for future generations as well. 

In order to safeguard their right in accordance with the foregoing paragraph, citizens are entitled to information on the state of the natural environment and on the effects of any encroachment on nature that is planned or carried out. 

The authorities of the State shall issue specific provisions for the implementation of these principles.' 

Because of the inconsistency between these words in our constitution and what our government is actually doing, and also the fact that our chosen politicians were just as quick to sign the Paris agreement as they were to hand out new oil licences, that is the reason why several Norwegian environmental organisations, lead by Greenpeace and Nature and Youth, are now suing the Norwegian state over Arctic oil drilling. The lawsuit agains the Norwegian state now has a court date, and it is set to the 13th of November. 

These are exciting times to be an environmentalist, even though Big Oil still hasn't realised its era is coming to a close. It is neither financially nor environmentally sound to invest in fossile fuels compared to renewable

Luckily, there are forces both within and outside of Norway that sees this, and hopefully this will win through in the court case against Arctic oil drilling. If you want to do more, please feel free to add your name to the lawsuit, as one of the over 8 million who supports this. 

As always, thank you for reading. <3

Remember, sharing is caring, and we collectively really need to care about the Arctic, because what happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic. 

This changes everything

I have finally gotten around to read Naomi Kleins 'This Changes Everything" (2014) (yes, I know, a little late to the game) However, even if you read it now, you will still get some really good insights as to where we are currently in the climate discourse.

Klein is a Canadian journalist, author and political activist, and 'This Changes Everything' draws most of its example from the current day US climate policies. The main idea of the book is that its the current economical system, capitalism, that is ruling how we make all other decisions, including those for the climate. If you are either interested in climate, as I sort of assume you are if you've found your way to this blog, but also if you are interested in how economy influence all aspects of society, then this might be the book for you.

One of my most 'aha!' moments when reading the book, was when she discusses how the fossile fuel industry per definition neither can't stop nor won't stop before they have literally searched every inch of our common Earth. This has to do with how it is financed; oil companies gets new investments based on what they estimate that they will be able to produce. So with this cycle, they can never stop searching. Klein gives some devastating examples in the book about small island communities that perished because of this extractive industry. For a more thorough explanation of this and a lot more, I can really recommend this book. It is also a good road map if you have just gotten into the climate debate, but want to get a bit more back history on how the movement came to be. 

ShopStop 2017

It's been a while, its a new year, and a new greener you, if you'd like to. 

I've decided to introduce a new element to this blog, which is more about green living and how you can do lifestyle choices that is helping us taking care of our common earth. 

For me, one of my contributions this year is that I will not buy any new clothing in 2017. This is because of the awareness I have gained over the past few years about how the textile industry works and the enormous effects this has on our climate. For a more in debt about this, see my last blog post: http://theclimateschool.com/news/2016/11/30/black-friday-and-over-consume-of-clothes

I do believe this is going to become a challenge, even thought I do know I have what I need in order to physically manage it. The biggest challenge, the way I see it now, is to overcome the constant offers that the advertising world is constantly imprinting in you that you need. I read somewhere that earlier we used to talk about the four different seasons. Now, clothing advertises the year like every new week is a new season, which is insane. However, these things are effective, and just the other day when I was walking down the street, I saw a long warm looking black skirt, and immediately thought ‘that was nice’, then I remembered the vow I had given myself and thought about alternatives to buying this new skirt, and straight ahead I recalled a long black skirt I had from four years back that could do the job! So solution number one: See what I already have that can be used. 

The second challenge that I think can become a fall mine is that sometimes one buys stuff out of boredom. Although, now that I am aware of this, I will rather used the time and money spent on something more lasting; like spending time in nature! The nature is of course free, but sometimes it can cost a bit to travel to the more remote areas. This is where the saving aspect of not buying any new clothes come in. I went over my online receipts for 2016 and found out how much I used on clothes that year, and it came to the sum of 4480 NOK. From my perspective, who is someone who considers oneself as not that materialistic, I was quite shocked. It is tempting to come with three explanations as to why the number was this high: 

  1. In 2016 I gave away half of the clothes I owned in the first half of the year. If anyone else is getting inspired by a minimalist lifestyle, as I am currently, I will write another blog post on how minimalism can help you to become more green in your choices. However I would also state that if you do decide to get rid of a lot of clothing, do not throw it away in the bin, donate it to somewhere you know the items will be taken care of, as too much textiles in the garbage is another severe environmental problem. 
  2. There was a holiday in 2016 that I was on where I arrived to the final destination, whereas my suitcase did not. This was in January, and it was rather cold, so I had to buy a new outfit from top to bottom. 
  3. After having given away half my wardrobe in the first half of 2016, I came to realise that a few essential things, like trousers, where now currently missing from what I had left, so that needed to be bough in order to cope with the cold winter of Norway. 

After having reflected on the clothes that I did need to buy, I am still thinking that I must have bought things I did not necessarily need. This is one of the insights I am hoping to get this coming year, what you really need. When you limit your purchase of new resources, you become more creative with what is already available to you. At least that’s my theory. On the bright side, the amount of money I spent on clothes in 2016 could buy me a trip I am planning with a good friend travelling from Oslo to Lofoten, even in an environmentally friendly way. If you come to look at your spendings that way, I am sure you would end up with better memories from an experience like that, instead of yet another pair of black jeans. 

A third challenge I have thought of is this - but what about presents? Will I not be able to give gifts that are textiles this year? There will come a Christmas towards the end of this year as well. For the time being, I am thinking no to soft gifts this year. 

Something constructive I have thought of that can come out of this years experiment is that I want to learn how to knit after a pattern. I haven't tried it yet, and when I manage it, I will be able to produce things myself out of wool this year. 

These are the premisses for my shopstop 2017. So far these are the challenges I see as most likely. Other solutions during the year will of course be to for example borrow say, tour equipment should I need that. On the top of my head I rememberer that I don't own a sleeping bag, but I know someone who does. I am exited about this project, and when I have something to report along the way I will, and then when the year is finished give a full review of how it turned out. 

Black Friday and over-consume of clothes

Last Friday was the so called 'Black Friday', the day after Thanksgiving that Americans, and slowly also Norwegians, have come to embrace as a shopping day without any sensible limits. The day encourages you to buy items, just because they are so cheap you can not afford not to. This goes especially for clothes. 

However, there are major reasons to be concerned about the current situation of how our clothes are being produced and the lifecycle of the cheap clothes we buy. I was glad to see that organisations like Greenpeace wrote this excellent piece on the day (in Norwegian) https://www.nrk.no/ytring/buy-nothing-day-1.13243458 because November 25th was also Buy Nothing Day. The equivalent of Black Friday that is so sorely needed. They also published this factsheet (in English) http://www.greenpeace.org/norway/Global/norway/Miljøgifter/Dokumenter/2016/Fact-Sheet-Timeout-for-fast-fashion.pdf which I highly recommend you check out. 

The current way our clothes are being produced are severely bad for the environment. Composting a fabric that is made out of several different types of textiles, which is also coloured can take up to 1000 years to break down. In this process it is also likely that toxic waste will either leak from the compost area into potential drinking water or if burned, turn into the climate warming gass methane. 

Worst of all is still the conditions that the clothes are being produced under. The Norwegian environmental organisation Framtiden i våre hender (The future in our hands) teamed up with the newspapers Aftenposten and sent Norwegian youths to the factories where the clothes we buy are being produced. They made the short series Sweatshop http://sweatshop.no to show a Scandinavian speaking audience how horrible the conditions are for the workers in these literal sweatshops, and how little they earn. I strongly recommend seeing the series. Both seasons are 5 episodes lasting 10 minutes each. When you think more consciously about the cheap clothes we buy; from it is made to when we dispose of it, you start seeing that this is not a sustainable solution.

The best alternatives are to: 

-Buy less

-Buy used

-Buy only what you need

-Buy higher quality when you first buy

Living Planet Report 2016

Every second year, WWF publishes a Living Plantet Report to inform us about the current state of our common Earth and the species that lives here. 

They recently published this years report, and the results are worrying. The scientist behind the report have developed their results based on 14.000 populations of 3.700 different species. Here are some of the findings: 

- From 1970 to 2012 the populations decreased with approximately 58 percent.

- This means that the worlds animal population is more than halved in just over 40 years. 

- If the development continues like today, we will face a world in 2020 where 2/3 of all the animals on Earth will be extinct.  

These are gruesome prospects, and we don't even know the full impact this would have on the biodiversity as a whole, only that it will have an significant impact to the worse. 

Sir David Attenborough spoke at the WWF launch of the report, you could see the speech here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAqSeVY0mH4&feature=youtu.be

To read the full report, you can visit this site: http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/all_publications/lpr_2016/  and if you want to read the summary you can follow this link http://awsassets.panda.org/downloads/lpr_living_planet_report_2016_summary.pdf