Climate News

#ClimateStrike #FridaysForFuture

There is a growing movement of young people everywhere, waking up to the challenges, created by earlier generations, that will affect their own lives. The movement of school children striking for the climate started with 16 year old Greta Thunberg in Sweden. She demanded that Swedish politicians adapted their climate policy to be in line with the Paris agreement. Because currently, the emission graphs are headed in the wrong direction.

Greta Thunberg has been speaking clearly about the climate for a long time now. Her school strike started in August last year. In this TEDx talk, she explains why taking action for the climate can not wait. It been seen by over 1 million viewers. I can highly recommend it.

Last week, Thunberg travelled by train to Davos, where she told the world leaders who where gathered at the World Economic Forum. She spoke directly to them and said that the current way that the worlds leaders are treating the climate crisis is simply not good enough. She told them how urgent it is, and that many people present had been part of causing it, with their high emissions.

Inspired by Greta Thunberg, climate strikes has been erupting several places. In Brussels, 35.000 students marched out of their schools last week, to demand climate actions from their politicians, lead by 17 year old Anuna De Wever. In Norway, Nature and Youth organised climate strikes in September. In both Belgium and Norway there will be elections this coming autumn. Then everyone with a right to vote can do the climate justice by voting for a future that will still include a living planet.

Greta Thunberg says she sees the question about the climate as a black and white one. If more people saw it that way, if more people were aware that we are in fact in the middle of the sixth mass extinction, that the worlds emissions are set to increase, not decrease in the coming year - then more people would take to the streets. That is why my call for action to anyone who reads this is quite simple today - spread awareness and take action!

Talk about the changing climate. Talk about it at school. Talk about it at your job, at the dentist office, at the hairdresser, on your commute to job. To your family members who does not believe in it or does not care. Tell everyone, and show them examples of how it is already happening today. It will only get worse tomorrow. There is no planet B. If more people were woke to this fact, if more people walked out of the places they were meant to spent their working hours, in order to give attention to what matters the most - then our politicians and leaders would have to listen.

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. 

 

 

 

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. 

COP23 Finished

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

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

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

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

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Norway's first climate lawsuit!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COP23

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

H&M burn your clothes

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

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

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

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

Rewilding!

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

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

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

Indigenous women delegation in Norway to put pressure on the Oilfund

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

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

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

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

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

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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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. 

 

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. 

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 :)