Climate Crisis Links: A tidbit

Does this image meet all seven principles for climate visuals? Check out the last link in the list below to find out. In the great climate debate, it may be difficult to tell – or even to know – what truth is, for there can be many different varieties and perspectives on it. However, attempting to tell a truth is better than the alternative, which is to engage in obscuring it, which is much broader problem than that of simply telling obvious lies. Photo: Joël de Vriend

The world is in crisis, and it is time to act now. There is only one person who can decide how you should act, and what you should prioritize. Despite this caveat, here are some links.

World Scientists’ warning of a climate emergency 2019-11-05: https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/biz088/5610806

Nobody is prepared: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/05/most-countries-climate-plans-totally-inadequate-experts

Previous warning statements to put current events into perspective

Second warning (2017): https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/67/12/1026/4605229

First warning (1992): https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/1992-world-scientists-warning-humanity

UN Sustainable Development Goals website: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs

The 7 climate visuals principles: https://climatevisuals.org/evidence-behind-climate-visuals

The Charm of Hell

Hell is a neuter Norwegian noun that translates as “luck”, as in “good fortune.” The opposite, or uhell, translates as “accident.”

It is also the name of a village with railway station, close to the city of Stjørdal, in Trøndelag county. Read everything and more that anyone could ever want to know, here.

On Saturday, 2019-08-24, we decided to take a break from construction and other domestic chores, and do something fun – shopping: for roofing tar and cement. We also decided that we could spend some time walking along the coast towards an island, then – on our return to Stjørdal – eat a salad at a local pizzeria.

Here are some photos from the walk

On the outside wall of a farm utility building is the distance to Jerusalem.
Billetholmen, an island, and its causeway/ breakwater.
A boathouse, on the pathway leading to Billetholmen.
The backside of the boathouse.
Picnic tables and benches at Hellstranda.
Hell Station, built in 1902.
The current train stop at Hell.

Constructive Environmentalism

Environmental protection is a more common phrase than environmental defence (British English) = defense (American English). Protection is passive, as in locking something away out of harms way. Defense is active, employing people and devices to deflect attacks, reduce danger and prevent injury.

In many respects, changing the word order of these phrases provides a better understanding of the intended purpose: protective environmentalism in contrast to defensive environmentalism. Unfortunately, while defense is active, it is neither assertive nor positive. Thus, there is need for more dynamic representations. Potential phrases include: assertive environmentalism followed by aggressive environmentalism, and ending up with militant environmentalism. The problem with these last two approaches is that they are too authoritarian, too dogmatic, too insistent – without nuances. Thus, none of them will be used, at least by this author.

Another approach is to use terms related to negative or positive environmentalism, where negative emphasises prohibitions, most emphatically expressed in destructive environmentalism. Unfortunately, this is the mindset of many environmentalists. It is yet another term to be avoided, despite the fact that the environmental movement has far too many adherents telling people what not to do. Instead, my preferred adjective is constructive, as in constructive environmentalism, which involves working actively and co-operatively to promote positive changes.

As an example of constructive environmentalism, it is my hope that Friends of the Earth Inderøy, will focus on five areas:

  1. Education
    1. Information about species (native and otherwise) resident in the municipality, and their impact on the environment and people.
    2. Information about the impending climate crisis, and how it will impact the natural as well as the cultural landscape. It is especially important for provide information about how to mitigate its effects.
  2. Repair and recycling
    1. Bicycles
    2. Clothing
    3. Consumer electronics
    4. Furniture
  3. Local food production/ rewilding
    1. Geodesic dome greenhouse. Norway does not produce enough plant based foods to sustain its population. Thus one of the first projects is to develop a greenhouse.
    2. Hydroponics = growing plants in water. The greenhouse will be complete with suitable lighting, that will allow year-round production of food-stuffs, using hydroponics to reduce water and mineral resources.
    3. Apiculture = bee keeping. There is a need for more bees, as well as family and bee friendly hives, for pollination, as well as the production of honey.
    4. Heliciculture = snail farming. Protein production using snails, and other invertebrates.
    5. Rewilding areas not used for food production and recreation. Living near trees, especially, improves mental health and wellbeing.
  4. Monitoring and communication
    1. Radio communication of environmental data, with monitoring facilities located at Mosvik, Utøy, Kjerknesvågen, Sandvollen, Straumen and Røra, at schools where these are available.
    2. Construction of radio and weather/ monitoring equipment to be used at the six centres noted above.
    3. Air defence. Construction and operation of drones to monitor acute situations. Equipped with sensors and video cameras.
    4. Sea defence. Construction and operation of underwater robots to monitor the environment. Equipped with sensors and video cameras.
    5. Collection of evidence. It is not the role of environmentalists to enforce environmental laws or to police violations. However, evidence that is collected through monitoring can be given to the authorities who have that responsibility.
  5. Transportation
    1. Encourage the construction of pedestrian/ cycle paths connecting residential areas with school/ commercial/ administrative centers. This will promote healthier lifestyles/ more exercise/ better mental health, and reduce dependency on motorized transport.
    2. Construction of pathways through disturbed natural landscapes (de facto cultural landscapes), encouraging exercise and wellbeing.
    3. Construction of raised pathways in undisturbed natural landscapes, to reduce the impact of these human pathways, and to prevent them from becoming barriers to native species and their natural use of the landscape.

On Environmentalism

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with activist fashion warrior Katharine Hamnett at a reception at 10 Downing Street, in 1984. Please note the appropriate party shoes worn by Hamnett.

There are many different types of environmentalists. Most people’s involvement in environmentalism does not involve a full range of issues. Instead, there is a focus on just one, or a few. For example, some people are focused on nuclear energy, or policy decisions on bears and other carnivores, or preservation of the arctic fox.

For many, their most distinguishing garment is their hiking boots. Others are more comfortable in a lab-coat. There are even people who prefer tailored suits, to cavort with members of political/ business elites. Fortunately, many times increasingly more people simply wear their ordinary school clothes to protest outside their favourite democratically elected assembly each and every Friday. Personally, I feel most comfortable outfitted in protective clothing suitable for a workshop. One can never be quite sure what type of clothing evokes the best environmentalist image, except to refer to the stunning success of Katharine Hamnett, dressed in a rather long sweat shirt with dress sneakers, at a reception at 10 Downing Street in 1984, which is now 35 years ago.

The reason for all of these different fashion statements, is that people have their own individual environmental fashion style. Personally, I see a need for a flora of environmental organizations, each with their own approach. To help people understand this concept better, I’d like to use religion as an analogy.

There is a large segment of the population in Norway who are active – but more likely passive – members of a Lutheran church, still often – but incorrectly – referred to as the State Church. Many immigrant families are members of the Catholic church, while other immigrant families are members of a wide variety of Muslim organizations. There is also a variety of other religions, associated with other faiths.

Membership in a religion involves a two-fold declaration. First, a potential member must hold a minimal set of core beliefs that are known in advance, and the religion must then be allowed to adjudicate that person to determine if that person meets its membership requirements. It is insufficient for a person to make a declaration that they are Jewish/ Christian/ Muslim/ Baha’i, and for the particular religion to be required to accept that person as a member.

Bridge building between the various religions is not undertaken by having every religious person join an ecumenical organization, and then allow decisions to be made through democratic voting procedures. That would result in a tyranny by the majority. Instead, the different Faiths/ denominations become members, and areas of common interest are developed through consensus. There will, of course, be areas where these organizations agree to disagree.

My experience of Friends of the Earth, is that it – like the Church of Norway – has a large number of passive members, who pay an annual membership fee more out of guilt, than belief. Yet, it is also resembles The Council for Religious and Life Stance Communities, hoping to foster mutual respect and dialog between a variety of environmental perspectives, and working towards their equal treatment.

The Norwegian name of Friends of the Earth is not Verdens Venner or even Jordens Venner, as could be expected with a literal translation. Instead, it is Naturvernforbundet, which is officially translated as the cumbersome, The Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature/ Friends of the Earth Norway. For linguists, one could cryptically add: natur = nature; vern = protection; forbund = for-bund = together bound = federation/ association/ society; et = neuter direct article = the, which is put at the beginning of the phrase in English. Note the general absence of norsk (adjective, not usually capitalized) = Norwegian, or Norge (noun, in Bokmål, spelt Noreg in Nynorsk or New Norwegian) = Norway. However, the name sometimes begins with Norges (possessive noun) = Norway’s, if there is a need to distinguish the organization from something in other countries.

Because of the structure of Friends of the Earth, there is no need for the organization to build consensus. Instead, individuals can position themselves to become representatives attending bi-annual national meetings, and voting on policy decisions. In this internet age, this 20th century approach means that a determined few, can decide policy that could be offensive to a more passive majority.

Some of the more radical and active members are able to capture the votes of this passive majority, and to use it to change/ uphold policy decisions. What appears to be consensus, can be more properly be described as a tyranny by the few. This problem can be remedied by replacing a representative democracy, with a direct democracy – one member, one vote. This is attaining using today’s internet technology.

Unfortunately, Friends of the Earth cannot be both dogmatic and ecumenical at the same time. If it opts to take a more ecumenical approach, then instead of communities of Buddhists, Hindus, Humanists and Sikhs (all groups not mentioned previously), there would be place for different views of environmentalism: field naturalists, species preservationists, workshop activists, to name three. Each group would then be allocated an agreed upon number of council members. A (bi-)annual meeting would appoint a board, which again employs a secretariat, and the organization would work towards consensus building.

Despite my role as leader of Friends of the Earth, Inderøy there are days when I contemplate leaving the organization. It is related to one significant flaw with Hamnett’s photo (above), and that is the negativity of her message. One never wins friends by telling people what not to do. Instead, there has to be a positive message that can be periodically reinforced.

Friends of the Earth, Norway, is on the warpath again against imported plant species, including those grown in private gardens. Instead of making positive suggestions to grown some under-rated, beautiful, endemic species, they want to induce guilt in people who chose immigrant species.

I think, in particular of the sand lupine, Lupinus nootkatensis, which thrives on sand and gravel-containing areas, growing to about 50-70 cm high. The species name originates from the Nootka Sound in British Columbia, Canada. It is a place I am intimately familiar with. The species was first listed on the Norwegian Black List 2007 (SE). Yet, the species came to Norway with The Norwegian State Railway (NSB), which used it to tie the slopes along the then (1878) newly constructed Jær Line, south from Stavanger for almost 75 km to Egersund. From there, the plant has spread along the railway and the road network to large parts of the country. Today, it is found in 16 of the country’s 19 traditional counties.

The species started its expansion from Jæren in the Southwest. It was observed in Stjørdal in 1911, which means it has been found in Trøndelag for at least 108 years. In a very short period of time, lupins grow densely, and where not limited by droughts, large, barren areas can be reclaimed quickly because of its nitrogen fixation abilities. It can also extract phosphorus from compounds in poor soils. In spite of these good qualities, it has a tendency to become dominant and overtakes the natural flora. Of course, the reason why lupins were used by the railway, is that there were no native Norwegian species capable of taking on the reclamation duties required: to combat erosion, to speed up land reclamation and to help with reforestation.

The reason for my despair, is that many environmentalists do not seem to understand that the world of 2050 will be vastly different from the world of 1950 or 1850. Unfortunately, many of the species previously thriving in Norway will be totally unsuited for continued life in Norway in thirty years time.

The Crowther Lab at ETH Zürich has examined expected temperatures for 2050, and found that Oslo will experience a 5.6 degree increase in its warmest month, and a 2.2 degree increase annually. This could significantly weaken the viability of many species, including Norway maple, Acer platanoides and strengthen an imigrant, Sycamore, Acer pseudoplatanus, which was introduced to Norway about 1750, and has become naturalized. There are suggestions that the Sycamore is replacing species devastated by disease such as the wych elm, Ulmus glabra, and the European ash, Fraxinus excelsior, which is at its cultivation limit at Trondheim Fjord.

NB Information about Lupinus nootkatensis has been updated. Aparently, it was already placed on the Norwegian black list in 2007.

Telling the Climate story!

An alternative advertisement in Oslo depicting Swedish activist, 15-year old Grete Thunberg. Thunberg seems to have a much greater and more nuanced understanding of climatic challenges than, for example, Norwegian Prime Minister, 58-year old Erna Solberg. (Photo: Gunhild Hjermundrud, NRK)

While 40 000 school children held a strike for the climate last Friday, 2019-03-22, The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation published a chronicle by Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, where she tried to respond to the students’ criticism.

Tried, but failed. In the chronicle, Solberg shows that she does not realize at all what the climate strike was about. “We must listen to your ideas,” she concedes. Unfortunately, listening was not one of the objectives of the strike. Rather, it was “Enough talk – we demand action!”.

Alternative advertisements? That is what happens when someone usurps paid advertising space that would normally be used to promote Coca-Cola, or other fine products made by multinational corporations. Fine products that, unfortunately, may not be all that healthy for individuals, humankind or the planet. Alternative advertisements promote an alternative vision. All that is needed is a large sheet of paper, some felt pens, and tape.


Global Warning

“The good Lord has to fix it. We’re not capable of it.” Voyd Fleming commented on life, global warming and California wild fires at the Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay, Redding, California, a quotation appearing in: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/31/california-wildfire-climate-change-carr-fire

Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay, Redding, California. From the south. Photo Chad K. 2007-02-16

It is challenging to engage conservative Christians in discussions about climate.  Here are three responses.

  1. There is no need to do anything about climate change. Christ will return, and everything will be fine.
  2. There is no climate change. God micromanages the earth. There is no need for people to do anything.
  3. Forget climate change. Concentrate on business. God rewards Christians on Earth and well as in heaven. Capitalism, business jets and offshore tax shelters are all part of God’s plan.

This post was originally written 2018-08-01. It stopped here. In keeping with the above set of Christian principles, I waited patiently for God to finish writing this text for me, and to publish it. This did not happen. Thus, I have had to revise my text about God’s plan.

  1. Forget business. Concentrate on climate change. God rewards people on Earth and well as in heaven, who are or were stewards of his planet. Capitalism, business jets and offshore tax shelters have no place in God’s plan.
  2. Climate change is real. God does not micromanage the earth. People have to do everything, and they have to work together.
  3. Christ has already returned (as Baha’u’llah) – and left again, leaving us to deal with climate change. Nothing is fine until we learn to work together, for the benefit of all humanity.

The Charm of Skarnsund

Skarnsund is a Norwegian strait connecting the Beitstadfjorden with the outer section of the Trondheimsfjorden. It is 5-kilometres long and 0.5-kilometres wide, located in its entirety in the municipality of Inderøy. It is most noted its strong tidal current and maelstrom. Recreationally, it is world-famous in Norway, for its fishing and scuba diving.

The beach is located in the small beige area near the top right side of the map on Skarnsund. Cliff Cottage is located towards the bottom (perhaps 1/5 of the way up) on the right side of the map just where the road to Vangshylla bends to the right. Our driveway is also featured on the map at this point.
Today’s walk took us to a beach on the eastern shore of Skarnsund, about three kilometers walking from our house. There are three cottages at this beach front location. If supplies are to be brought in, the only practical way is by boat. The walk is far too steep and narrow to be of much use. With temperatures just below zero, it was cold enough for any mud on the pathway to freeze, which actually improved the grip, compared to mud that can be experienced when the temperature is above zero.

The first half of the walk features a path is more than wide enough for two people to walk beside each other.

Then the pathway becomes narrower, and steeper. This photo is taken looking backwards and upwards. A rope provides psychological comfort.

There is a bridge, for lack of a better word, near the bottom of the trail. The black line provides potable water, hopefully.

Depending on perspective, this is the first or last tree one encounters on the trail.

The beach at low tide, with markers showing where boats can be brought ashore.

Foundation walls of a Naust – a Norwegian boathouse.

The wood could do with a bit of paint, and the hinges probably could use some oil. The corrugated steel roof is good for another century of hard use.

Oak leaves indicate the presence of an oak tree,

It is Sunday, 2018-12-02 at 12:50. Sunrise was at 9:32, sunset at 14:37. This is almost as high as the sun gets in the winter. Skarnsund bridge, with Ytterøy in the backgroud. Ytterøy means outer island, in contrast with Inderøy which means inner island.

The Charm of Straumen

Welcome to Straumen, the administrative centre of Inderøy municipality, Trøndelag county, Norway. It occupies  1.33 square kilometres (330 acres), and has a population of 1 642 people (2017).

Views of Straumen

Inderøy, and Straumen in particular, is known as the Pearl of Trondheim’s Fjord. Needless to say, it was the village’s 19th century residents who inflicted this title on the world.

A view of Straumen from the east.

Straumbru, Straumen Bridge, crosses Børgin Fjord at its narrowest point.

Most residents in Straumen have a view of the sea.

Old Sakshaug church

Old Sakshaug Church dates from 1150-60, and is one of two medieval churches in the municipality.

Straumen, from the museum which is beside Old Sakshaug Church. New Sakshaug Church, from 1881, is to the right in the photograph. A new organ has been recently installed. While the sound quality has not been commented on, local residents are keen to report that this is the largest organ in old Nord-Trøndelag county.

 

Shopping

A pathway goes under highway 755. This building complex has a shopping mall on the lowest level, and apartments on the two upper stories.

E@ internet cafe, Marens bakeri and Jostu’, a shop featuring locally made products, are all part of Flyndra, the inter-municipal organization started in Inderøy that provides employment for those who otherwise would have difficulty finding it.

Euronics sells electrical appliances. One of two local banks is located to its left.

Sodd, a meat soup served on special occasions has been made in Inderøy since 1938. It is currently made in this building.

The local vet, a second bank, an electrical installation company all operate from this building. It was originally build in Steinkjer (20 km away) but was de-constructed and re-erected in Straumen. This required a bylaw change. Prior to this all building were required to have gabled roofs.

Shell is still selling diesel and gasoline. Here one can see the only gabled roof Shell station in Norway. Built to conform with local bylaws.

This mural is on the rear of the local Co-op grocery store. On the right is Reodor, yet another operational unit of Flyndra, for people with special needs. The name comes from Kjell Aukrust’s idiosyncratic character , Reodor Felgen (English: Theodore Rimspoke), who has become synonymous in Norway with Rube Goldberg type contraptions.  The reason this is being mentioned, is that I won the naming contest with that name.

Services

The municipal medical centre, complete with non-standard light pole. The upper story is a gym.

The municipal hall, previously the medical centre, before the new one was built.

A combined junior and senior secondary school with cultural centre. The most unusual aspect of it, is that while Inderøy municipality is responsible for the junior secondary schools, Trøndelag county is responsible for the senior secondary school.

 

The Charm of the Utøy Recycling Station

The new recycling station at Utøy in Inderøy municipality was opened for waste delivery on 18 September 2018.  At the same time, the two older centers in Røra and Mosvik were shut down.

The recycling station is open Tuesday and Thursday from 12:00 to 19:00.

Site map

 

Inderøy Recycling Station is a state-of-the-art facility with ample space, efficient land use and easy and safe waste delivery. Hazardous waste and electrical/ electronic waste are delivered and stored under roof. Outside the recycling station, a 24-hour return point has been established, so cottage owners can deposit their waste when the facility is closed.

The official opening was Monday, September 17 from 11:00 to 14:00. Trish and I attended.

Program:

11:00 Opening with Mayor, Director of Innherred Renovation and students from Utøy School
11:30 Serving hot dogs, coffee and cake. Tours.
12:30 “Round and Round” a theatrical performance of Scenekompaniet. Kick off-theater against resource wastage, and for recycling!

The recycling station is located at Røvika in Utøy, Utøyvegen 500. The address numbering system indicates that it is located 5 kilometers from the start of the road in Straumen.

Bins for various product groups

Inside (Hot dogs provided on opening day).

Window recycling, used as a stage during the opening.

Waste containers

Signage. In this case for appliances.

Outside the entrance, “Nothing is Garbage”, in the Trønder dialect

Containers for different categories of waste, for cottage owners

Return point for cottage owners.

Social Media revisited

‘If you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere.’ Theresa May, 2016

Unlike Facebook, I am not “stockpiling and mining user information”. As far as I am aware, neither Cambridge Analytics, nor their lackey, AggregateIQ, are scraping posts. Yet, this blog is another incarnation of social media with an agenda (of attempting) to influence reader opinion.

Bill Blunden notes, “Social media is a form of mass surveillance and a tool of elite control. Buy product X, vote for candidate Y, support regime change movement Z. Pay no attention to the CEO behind the curtain.”

Dear reader, rest assured, I am not a member of any elite group. This includes Elite Singles, from whom I regularly receive invitations to join.

Yet, Blunden is correct when he states that messaging reinforces existing beliefs, and is part of a “divide and conquer strategy which the power elite have traditionally wielded to hobble the proles.” In fact, I see wisdom in his conclusion that “Readers should be wary of social media bubbles, safe spaces, and the like. …instituting societal change means reaching out to other folks. Some of whom may have different ways of viewing the world. Resist the temptation to write them off and have the humility to accept the limits of your own understanding.”

Currently, this blog only reaches a very narrow market. An optimist  would be exaggerating by saying that it was somewhere between ten and twenty people, limited to family members and a few real friends. Its sphere of influence could be expanded to perhaps a hundred people –  a few more (former) friends, Facebook acquaintances as well as others who have currently escaped Facebook attention, mainly Somewherians who lived in New Westminster in my formative years.

The market could be expanded more, if I chose to focus exclusively on an educational mission, ignoring family history and my blatant political, philosophical and other biases. Unfortunately, that isn’t me.

Blunden writes, “Take personal responsibility for your own social life. Go back to engaging flesh and blood people without tech companies serving as an intermediary. Eschew the narcissistic impulse to broadcast the excruciating minutiae of your life to the world. Refuse to accept the mandate that you must participate in social media in order to participate in society. Reclaim your autonomy.”

Birdhouses and beyond

The Inderøy birdhouse, a workshop project with a social and environmental profile.

One of the purposes of Hastighet (= Velocity) techno-garage, a local maker-space start-up, is to encourage the development of real-world Somewherian relationships with others from Inderøy. It is in the workshop world that people can make manifest their social and environmental ideals.

On Saturday, 2018-04-14, at E@ Internet Cafe, Inderøy, anyone could build themselves a birdhouse. Their only cost was an investment of time, during which they transformed 6 pre-cut, pre-drilled boards, 14 screws and a length of wire into a functioning house for a homeless member of the Paridae (tit) family, of which seven species live in Norway.

Almost 60 building sets were made, including one prototype. In the end, 14 bird houses were assembled and given away to specific people, for their contribution to the environmental movement in Inderøy. Currently, there are 17 kits left over. That means that more than 25 kits were assembled, or taken home for later assembly, by people attending the event.

Common birds, especially farmland birds, are in sharp decline in Europe.

As the graph above shows, common birds, especially farmland birds, are in sharp decline in Europe. Giving a child their own personal birdhouse, can foster an interest in the environment that may last a lifetime. With Workshop activism a focus for some members, the Inderøy Friends of the Earth is considering inviting all pupils of a particular grade, yet to be determined, to the Hastighet workshop in 2019 to build yet more bird houses. The real purpose is not to teach woodworking, but environmentalism. However, before this is done, a plan has to be made so that all school children are given regular opportunities to experience practical environmentalism, through woodworking. Additional plans also include a Repair Cafe, which would focus on rehabilitating rather than discarding products. It should also be noted that while some people were making birdhouses, others were working at the annual clothing exchange, making sure that inappropriately sized clothing received new owners.

Thus, my considered reply to Blunden is that I do take personal responsibility for my own social life. I am engaging with flesh and blood people, but I am also engaging with people who are geographically more distant, but emotionally closer. These are typically Nowherians living in places as diverse as Bergen, Prince Rupert and San Francisco. It is to keep in close contact with these that I have now turned to my blog. I dream of using Diaspora, but no critical mass has emerged there. I have applied to have an account with hello.com when it becomes available in Norway. It is a social networking service founded by Orkut Büyükkökten, the creator of Orkut.

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out of Social Media