Swedes pride themselves on environmental awareness. Swedish paper companies were the first to develop chlorine-free diapers, and recycling of household waste, paper, bottles, plastics and batteries is widespread.
GreenScan, presented by Azariah Kiros the first Tuesday of every month, deals with Swedes’ environmental concerns and ways and means to deal with them.
In this month’s edition of GreenScan:
WHICH WAY KYOTO?
Tens of thousands of delegates were gathered in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, to discuss the future of the Kyoto Protocol. The current agreement expires 2012 and must be replaced by another one if the campaign against the emission of greenhouse gases is going to have any future. But no definitive agreement could be reached at Nairobi. The best the delegates could achieve was to agree on how to approach the issue. But the agreement to help developing countries cope with their emissions is expected to bring some benefits to the recepient countries. We take a closer at Nairobi and the climate debate here in Sweden in general.
What impact is your life style having on the planet? A leading environmental movement warns we’re living beyond our means. And the new Swedish government’s environmental policy receives both praise and criticism.
WHAT ARE THE PRIORITIES OF
THE NEW OVERNMENT?
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and his cabinet made up of ministers from four centre-right parties took the reins of power at the beginning of October. And when it comes to environmental policy, the new government says the protection of the ecosystem is a vital part of its overall policy. But the questions remains: Does the government have the necessary tools? We discuss the issue with representatives of two environmental movements.
WE NEED SEVERAL PLANETS
The environmental group, the World Wide Fund for Nature, is warning us that if we don’t introduce drastic changes to our life style, then we may reach the stage where Mother Earth would not be able to cope and we would need the resources of several plantes. The WWF report describes the changing state of global biodiversity and highlights the extreme pressure that is being put on our planet as a direct result of our life style. But the international environmental group also reminds us that it is not too late and much can be done to reverse the negative development.
A much coveted Swedish environmental prize has gone to an outstanding researcher for his study on the use of sustainable water in developing countries. We hear from him how water crisis can be effectively tackled. He also lets us know what he intends to do with the prize money.
DUMPING TOXIC WASTE
The chemical tanker, the Probo Koala, dumped its toxic waste outside Abidjan, the capital of the Ivory Coast. It then vanished into nowhere and finally reappeared in Estonia where it was blockaded by the Nordic chapter of the environment group Greenpeace. At the insistance of Greenpeace, the Estonian authorities have launched an investigation into the ”horrendous environmental crime”. The European Commission has also shown its interest in the matter and its environment commissioner is following developments closely. We report on the issue and talk to Lennart Daléus, the Secretary General of Greenpeace Nordic.
CHEMCALS IN YOUR FOOD
A study carried out by the Swedish branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature shows that almost every industrially produced food stuff is laced with a good dose of chemicals. Twenty-seven food products were tested in seven European countries and all of them showed traces of different types of chemicals. That simply means that we are going around with a cocktail of chemicals. But how dangerous are these chemicals? Nobody knows says Ingemar Pongratz of the prestigious Karolinska Insitute.
WATER FOR ALL
People in the affluent nations may take it for granted that water would flow automatically when they turn the faucet. But that is not the case for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Water scarcity or inefficient management of water have created immense problems all over the world.
And that was the focus of the annual Stockholm World Water Week held at the end of August. This year’s encounter brought together more than 2,000 delegates from all corners of the globe. Many researchers say that the main reason behind the lack of adequate water for all is its scarcity. That there simply isn’t enough water to go around. And that the available water resources are drying up or disappearing for one reason or another. Some researchers paint a doomsday scenario and others predict that the next world war will be fought on controlling water resources. But not everybody agrees that the main reason for the lack of adequate access to water is scarcity. How can such conferences help bridge the gap and devise ways and means to come to grips with water shortage or inefficient water management? Some of the participants of the conference discuss the issue on GreenScan.
IS THE BALTIC SEA ABOUT TO FLIP?
The Baltic Sea is described as one of the filthiest seas on this planet. And as a result, we’re constantly reminded that it is simply a matter of time before the Sea’s marine eco system totally collapses.How seriously are we to take these alarming reports? The assertion that the marine life is about to collpase may be a bone of contention, but scientists, environmentalists and politicians in the countries borderding the Baltic Sea are united in their emphasis of the severity of the problems faced by the Sea. This edition of GreenScan is devoted entirely to the predicaments facing the Baltic Sea. We take a closer look at the problems and discuss the issue with a researcher, an environmentatlist and a senior politician.
HOW MUCH DO POLITICIANS CARE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT?
Swedes will be going to the polls to choose their parliamentary representatives on 17 September. In addition to employment, the economy, health and other social issues, the various parties vying for power say they’re giving prominence to environmental matters as well. But in reality how much dedication is there for the environment among Swedish politicians?
WILL STOCKHOLMERS APPROVE CONGESTION CHARGE?
Stockholm is about to conclude a six-months trial period to control traffic congestion with the help of a congestion charge. Tolls were levied on every vehicle, except those exempted, entering or leaving the city. The proposal to conduct the congestion charge trial period was very controversial from the beginning. But now five months later, more and more people seem to be warming up to the idea of a permanent congestion charge.