How are you celebrating World Environment Day?

Each day of the year is devoted to something special and the on 5th June it is World Environment Day initiated by UNEP. This year 2011 is the International Year of Forests and hence our forests and all the benefits they provide us with are in focus for the celebration. The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (Naturskyddsföreningen) uses the long, bright summer night between 5-6 June to celebrate nature with lots of activities. Check out here (pdf in Swe).
If you are occupied with other things – celebrate by just noticing a tree close to where you live and work, minimize your print outs that particular day or contemplate how trees and forests support your life.

UNEP World Environment Day
2011 International Year for Forests

An old oak tree at the Stockholm Royal City Park

Tags: , , , ,

The Stockholm Memorandum

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 | Environment Update | No Comments

In mid May brilliant people met in Stockholm during the 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability. More than twenty Nobel Laureates, a number of leading policy makers and some of the world’s most renowned thinkers and experts on global sustainability concluded that we have entered a new era – the Anthropocene. Humanity is completely dominating the planet and pressing its ultimate boundaries. The Stockholm Memorandum is a new vision for global sustainability and also include means of how to achieve it. It has been handed to the UN High Level Panel on global sustainability that is arranging the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro (Rio +20).

The Stockholm Memorandum (pdf)
The Symposium website
The Economist on “The Anthropocene”
The concept “Planetary boundaries”

Tags: , , ,

Everyday choices in times of election

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010 | Environment Update | No Comments

Currently there is no room for other issues than those brought up by the politicians struggling for votes in the up-coming Swedish election. The signs along the roads, the commercials, the press-conferences are all about us making a very important choice. At least that is what they want us to believe.

However, everyday you and I make millions of choices that are as important as our political standpoints. We vote by our actions. We decide how to get to work: whether by foot, bike, bus, train or car. We decide what to buy: meat, fish or just vegetables, locally produced or not, free from pesticides or not, the cheapest or the more expensive. All of these minor choices are acts of economic, social and environmental importance at local, regional and global levels. To help us in our decision-making there is a flora of labels, in Sweden KRAV, EU-ecolabel, Fairtrade, Svanen, Bra miljöval, FSC for forest products and MSC for sea products.

On September 19th the Swedes decide on the politics for the next 4 years. Right now we make decisions that have an impact far beyond our national borders and for a long time to come. Start with your next activity and make it a bit more environmentally friendly.

Some Swedish guidance:
Fish for dinner, WWFs guide (in Swedish only)
KRAV – organic food production
Bra miljöval eco-label ” Good environmental choice”
Svanen, eco-label

…and international:
MSC, Marine Stewardship Council (Sustainable seafood)
FSC, Forest Stewardship Council (Sustainable forestry)
Global ecolabelling network, GEN
EU Ecolabel (Former EU flower)
Fairtrade (tackling poverty and empowering producers by trade)

How large is your ecological footprint? image courtesy Sara Borgström

Tags: , ,

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

Tags: , ,

Invaluable nature

Friday, October 16th, 2009 | Nature @ Your Service | No Comments

How much are you prepared to pay for the park in your neighborhood? What is a viable bee population that pollinates crops worth to food production? Can a scenic view be given a monetary value? These are questions dealt with in ecological economics, a growing field of research. Our dependence on healthy ecosystem needs to be integrated into all kinds of decision making and economic estimation is one strategy. Still, some argue that it is wrong and impossible to put price-tags on nature.

Check out The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, TEEB

Tags: ,

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

Tags: , , , ,