Tag archives for environment

Playing for a better world – and a different consumption

Someone who seems very happy with the toy he just swapped. Photo: Retoy.

Can you create a better world by playing? One person who is sure of this is Soledad Piñero Misa, who started Retoy. The idea behind Retoy is to let children understand the value of sustainability by exchanging, borrowing, repairing and creating their own toys.

In the last issue of the climate and sustainability magazine I work with, Effekt, we interviewed Soledad Piñero Misa about her ideas.
– One of the things we really need to change is our consumption. That goes for everyone, also the children, she says.

Reading together about children's rights at a climate festival in Tensta, Stockholm. Photo: Retoy.

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A scientist at war against our unnecessary plastics

Photo: Erik Bleckert

Daniel Hansson is an oceanographer at the The Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment. Knowing the wonders of the sea, he became worried about the threats against it, and started a project to make people avoid using unnecessary plastics in their everyday life. His work can be followed for example through the hash tag #plastriot at Twitter.

In an interview at the web site of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (article in Swedish, can be autotranslated here) he says plastic is a fantastic material – when it’s in the right place. It’s strong, thin, easy and solid.

But there are innumerable examples of the problems plastic causes when it ends up in nature.

Did you for example know that: Read more » >>

Swedes worry about the environment (of tomorrow)

Still looking good. But what about tomorrow? Photo: Jacque de Villiers/Imagebank.sweden.se

Surveys and statistics aren’t always easy to interpret. Here’s one example:
When the Swedish SOM Institute recently presented their annual survey about what Swedes think about different things in society, the things that most people felt concerned by were

1. Environmental degradation

2. Climate change

3. The sea environment

After that come organized crime, unemployment and widespread corruption.
Conclusion: Swedes are worried about climate change and the environment.

But – on the list of today’s biggest problems in society, the environment isn’t to be found anywhere near the top. What does this mean?

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Making fun of climate change

Swedish cartoonist Riber Hansson's modern Noah's Ark.

Taking climate change seriously doesn’t mean you cannot joke about it. That’s the idea behind the exhibition Facing the Climate where Swedish cartoonists have their take at one of our time’s greatest challenges. And often I think humour is one of the best ways of approaching a difficult subject. At least I know it works very well for me, leaving me somewhere between laugh and tears.

When I went to the Stockholm+40 meeting last week, I found some of the interpretations exhibited in one of the rooms, working as a powerful reminder of why we were all there.

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Sustainability in Stockholm, 40 years later

Panel-discussion Summing up what has happened since 1972. The secretary-general of the Stockholm Conference in 1972 Maurice Strong is the first at the left of the panelists. Note the Swedish king in profile between the first and second panelists from the right! Photo: Sara Jeswani.

Many may not know it, but it is often said that it was in Stockholm that the sustainability discussion first started. The 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment, also known as the Stockholm Conference, is widely recognized as the beginning of modern political and public awareness of global environmental problems.

This week it has been 40 years since then, and to commemorate this Stockholm is now hosting a new forum, leading up to the Rio+20 UN Conference on sustainable development that will be held later this year, dealing with the tricky mission of “defining pathways to a safer, more equitable, cleaner, greener and more prosperous world for all” .

So right now we have more than 30 ministers from all over the world, and hundreds of international participants in Stockholm – in fact just a few blocks away from my office.

This morning I went there to listen to a panel made up of former participants of the conferences held ever since 1972, being asked what has actually happened since then.
“Not enough” was the harsh answer from the panel’s oldest member, Maurice Strong who was secretary-general at the Stockholm Conference in 1972.
– There’s nothing wrong with the agreements made during this time, but the problem is in the implementation of these agreements. Today we are in a more urgent situation than then, but the will has faded. Frankly, we need a revolution. Because the survival of humanity is at risk, he said.

A reminder from the parallel conference: There is no planet B! Photo: Sara Jeswani.

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