Environment Update

Stockholm – European Green Capital 2010

Sunday, March 21st, 2010 | Environment Update | No Comments

The European Green Capital is a city that leads the way to environmentally adapted urban life by presenting fulfilled environmental quality targets, continued engagement in environmental improvements and sustainable development. Stockholm is the first city to be appointed as the European Green Capital. Among other things this is because it has achieved a great reduction in CO2 emissions during the last decade and an ambitious integration of environmental issues in all municipality work.

Check out the European Green Capital 2010

hammarbysjostad

Hammarby Sjöstad, the most environmentally friendly neighbourhoods in Stockholm? image courtesy: Sara Borgström

 

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Celebrate or not? The International Year of Biodiversity

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 | Environment Update | No Comments

It is the International Year of Biodiversity and the UN encourages the world to reflect on achievements made so far as well as to change gear to safeguard the variety of life on earth. It is also the year when the 2010 Biodiversity Target in the Convention on Biological Diversity is to be fulfilled. This target, ratified by 150 nations, that by 2010 there is “a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth “. According to recent assessments we are far from reaching this target. In fact, most drivers of biodiversity loss are constant or even increasing. Biological diversity represent all genetic, species and landscape varieties and is declining 1000 times faster than the natural extinction rate. Hopefully this year will put new energy into the work for biodiversity.

Why care about biodiversity anyway? One answer is that nature, with all its variety, is necessary for human survival and well-being.  Necessities like clean drinking water, food and medicines are provided by very complex systems of biodiversity interactions, the web of life if you like. The goods and services that nature provides humanity are also called ecosystem services. Read more at Nature @ your service in the right menu.

Meadows are the most biodiverse biotopes in Sweden and they are created grazing animals or hay making procedures. image courtesy: Sara Borgström

image courtesy: Sara Borgström

Check out the International Year of Biodiversity 2010

Check out the Convention on Biological Diversity

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Time for solutions

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009 | Environment Update | No Comments

Tired of researchers that just elaborate on problems but never dare to take sides or provide ideas on how to overcome them? In January 2010 the Solutions Journal launches  with a web site already available. Here you can find an ideas lab for growing innovations and for presenting your own vision together with leading environmentalists.

Check out Solutions Journal

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Possibilities of the commons

Monday, November 16th, 2009 | Environment Update | No Comments

Ever heard of the tragedy of commons? This concept argues that a common resource, like a fish stock, fresh water or common piece of land, can’t be used sustainably. This is because all users will try to take as much as they can without regard for the effect on others and in the future. The usual solution to this problem is privatisation or governmental regulations. Elinor Ostrom, professor in political science and 2009 Nobel laureate in economic sciences, has shown that the tragedy of commons is not a law of nature. Ostrom’s research examines communities that have been successful in the long-term sustainable management of their resources. Due to mutual dependency and respect cattle farmers in Switzerland, crop farmers in Spain and fishermen in Turkey have found ways to avoid the tragedy of commons. It is a great achievement for a researcher with an environmental focus to receive a prize in economics.

Check out Elinor Ostrom seminar at Stockholm Resilience Center

Recommended reading: Governing the commons by Elinor Ostrom (1989)

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Why care about a meeting in Copenhagen?

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009 | Environment Update | No Comments

The highest level of carbon dioxide ever in the atmosphere has just been recorded. Still, we do not know how this will affect us and our livelihoods. There are many signs of climate change such as melting glaciers, altered weather conditions and changed plant distributions. From individual to global level, our task is to decrease our emissions of green house gases and to find strategies to cope with the changes ahead.

In the beginning of December, the UN gathers the world community (15,000 delegates from 192 countries) to decide on reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and other green house gases. This discussion is a continuation of the Kyoto-protocol that ends 2012. The Kyoto-protocol is ratified by 187 countries in the world. One of the weaknesses of this protocol is that the world’s greatest emitter of carbon dioxide, the United States, has not ratified the agreement. One of the key issues in Copenhagen is therefore to create a truly global protocol. Key challenges are how to deal with the developed countries historical responsibility for today’s situation and how to support developing countries in their future transition into energy saving technology. The decisions reached in Copenhagen will determine the future of the planet as well as having an impact on almost all aspects of our daily life.

UN site on the Climate Convention

UN campaign for political will and public support for a comprehensive agreement

Recommended reading: High Tide by Mark Lynas (2004)

February sun over Istanbul, image courtesy Sara Borgström

February sun over Istanbul, image courtesy Sara Borgström

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The first Swedish marine national park inaugurated

Friday, October 16th, 2009 | Environment Update | No Comments

The brand new Kosterhavets National Park consists almost entirely of ocean and here you’ll find more than 6000 species of which 300 only occur at this site alone in Sweden. The core consists of a 200 meter (565 feet) deep sea trench with high salinity and low water temperature. Where these oceanic conditions meet the coastal waters one of the most species-rich sites in Sweden is found. Usually corals are associated with the tropics but in Kosterhavet one can find cold water corals.

Welcome to Kosterhavet National Park

Check out other marine protected areas

Kosterhavet archipelago

Kosterhavet archipelago, image courtesy Länsstyrelsen Västra Götaland

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Ecology + golf = true

Friday, October 16th, 2009 | Environment Update | No Comments

Golf courses might be environmental disasters, degrading habitats, wasting water and spreading pesticides and fertilizers. But they have the potential to become assets of nature, especially in the vicinity of cities. In a recent article Swedish scientists showed that golf course ponds contribute to the network of wetlands in the landscape, making life easier for many amphibians. In some cases the diversity of pond creatures were even higher compared to nature reserves!

Check out scientific paper “Golf courses and wetland fauna”

Check out Scandinavian turfgrass and environment research foundation

Recommended reading: The Swedish golf experience by Gene Oberto and Peter Cordén. “Brings you a golf book that is the only one of its kind in Sweden. It takes you on a journey to the many varied and beautiful types of golf courses there are in this golfing hideaway, Sweden.

image courtesy: Peter Cordén

image courtesy: Peter Cordén

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Making alternative fuel from a pair of jeans

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 | Environment Update | No Comments

Wondering what to do with really worn out clothes and other textiles that you can’t sell second hand? Professor Mohammad Taherzadeh and his research team from the University of Borås might have an answer. They are developing a technology for producing ethanol and biogas from textiles. It might be up to 50 per cent more efficient than producing ethanol from grains. One of the main criticisms of large-scale ethanol production for the international market is the risk that it substitutes necessary local food production. This kind of innovative technology that uses our own waste for energy is welcome.

Check out”jeans fuel”

Remains of jeans to be converted into fuel

Remains of jeans to be converted into fuel

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Toilets for millions

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 | Environment Update | No Comments

Dr Pathak from India receives the 2009 Stockholm Water Prize.
Millions of people in India today benefit from his work with sanitation in relation to human rights, social progress and health. It started in 1970 with the establishment of Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement. Dr. Pathak’s work has led to the development of cheap toilets as well as clear health improvements among the poorest in the meagcities of India which provide a model for other parts of the world.

Check out Sulabh International

Innovative solution for many

Innovative solution for many

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