Tag archives for ecology

Fighting spilled oil on the Swedish West coast


The rocks of the island Tjörn. Photo: The Swedish Coast Guard.

Last week the biggest oil spill that the Swedish West coast has seen in about 20 years reached the island of Tjörn in the Bohuslän archipelago.

Of course this is one of the things that people of coastal areas fear most, whether you live in Louisiana or Skärhamn  [map]. Now a frantic activity has started to gather the oil, save wildlife and nature.

In the beginning of this week more than 200.000 litres of oil had been removed (update: during the weekend, after one week of work, more than 460.000 litres of oil had been removed), but there can still be a lot left in the waters, and the experts working on the case say the clearing might have to go on until the end of this year. Oiled birds have been taken to the bird central in Gothenburg and other bird centrals are prepared in case of a rush.

At this point it’s not known where the oil spill comes from, but it’s believed it has to do with a collision between two boats outside the Danish coast about 10 days ago.

One slightly comforting detail of this terrible event is that it didn’t happen during springtime. In an article in the Gothenburg newspaper Göteborgs-Posten (article in Swedish), Sverker Evans at the brand new Swedish public authority for our waters and seas says that this oil would have been much worse for the sea would it have come when fish, birds and plants are in a growing phase.
Another factor is the water temperature. When the water is colder it takes longer for the oil to decompose naturally. Now the sea is at least a bit warmer after the summer.

It can nevertheless take years before all traces of the spill are gone. But it will eventually happen, says Sverker Evans. Eight years ago, there was a large oil spill outside the kust of Skåne in the South of Sweden. 40 km of the Swedish coast were affected and there were fears about long-term environmental consequences.
– Now you can’t see any of it, says Evans.


Update: Sweden’s first marine national park, Kosterhavet, might be threatened by the oil (Article in Miljöaktuellt. In Swedish, but can be translated through this page.)


A bird caught by the oil spill. Photo: The Swedish Coast Guard.


Clearing the oil. Photo: The Swedish Coast Guard.




Ecology begins at home

Ecology-begins-at-homeThis is the name of a book about how to use nature’s resources in a sensible way in daily life. Its author Archie Duncanson grew up in Los Angeles in the 1950:s. Working in the space industry, his path led to Sweden and then took a whole different turn. In 1989 he wrote the first version of this book, which became popular and led him out on tours around Sweden to talk about his ideas.

Now Archie Duncanson is retired but writes on his homepage that he continues “to look for ways to live more simply and sensibly so that a decent standard and healthy life can be enjoyed by all, for generations to come.”

His book has been translated into many different laguages and is now spread freely as a downloadable pdf on the Internet. For example it’s being used as course litterature in a course about how to household with the Earth’s resources, which Archie is developing together with the transition group of Sigtuna [map]. It contains all kinds of good tips for a greener everyday life and contains things as the basics of how to make a compost to recommendations for low-energy cooking.

I think it’s very sympahetic to share the book freely like this. To explain why he does this, Archie Duncanson writes:


Archie Duncanson. Photo: Elisabeth Tralau.

” Use this book to give hope, inspire action and show how each of us matters! Ecology Begins at Home inspires readers of all ages to action as they learn how our daily choices affect the climate and the planet. Inspiring and practical, this is a guide to low impact living that practically everyone can take to heart and learn from. With new awareness, the food on the shelves, the soft drink in the store and the chemicals under the sink all take on new meaning, and behaviour change follows when the moment is right. We may not be able to change the world, but we can change our own habits and affect our friends, thus contributing to the big changes needed for a healthier planet and sustainable future.”

Download a free copy of the book in English here.