I'm Krisha - a Scandinavian mama and physician, a crafter, and an avid coffee drinker - trying to nudge my family towards a greener lifestyle!


Entries in going green (2)


Spring thoughts

Like most Norwegians, I naturally talk a lot about the weather since we have so much of it here. The really long, dark winters makes us very eager for spring to come with its bright and early mornings, birds, warmer weather and budding trees. Over the past decade spring has literally sprung earlier and earlier. There is now firm evidence that the growing season in Norway is 3 weeks longer than it used to be.

I can see the evidence myself - on our little island property, there is a cluster of 3 huge walnut trees. According to my neighbor, they were planted under much fuzz and care when she was a child, more than 60 years ago. She grew up with them. Apparently the excitement was big when the first nuts were formed, but, for as long as she can remember, they never ripened enough to eat or to produce new plants. About four years ago she pulled me over one morning, excitedly pointing to some greenery on her property. At first I did not see it but then, I noticed a tiny little walnut tree. Now they are all over our lot and hers. This is tactile proof that something is happening. Walnuts do not grow wild in Norway or at least they never did before.

This spring, on the other hand, feels like the springs of my childhood. The kids are still wearing hats. The trees seem to wait with budding and may even make it into May before they do. This makes it so tempting to think that everything is on its way back to normal. I so want to believe the climate skeptics with their "it’s only natural fluctuations" arguments. Meanwhile there are climate scientists quitting their jobs because they can’t bear thinking about the implications to the planet that their data is showing. I understand them. Global warming is an unbearably difficult topic.

Even though I think that it is not covered nearly enough in the popular media, there was an article recently in the local newspaper about how the polar melting accelerates. The record melting last year resulted in large expanses of open dark water up at the North Pole.  The dark ocean retains heat and attracts the sun where the white ice used to reflect the rays and heat back upward.  As the sun's heat returns to the North, more melting occurs and so a viscous cycle is started. This, paradoxically, is causing our spring to be a lot colder. 

A few days later there was a report in the same paper about how the Arctic nations are splitting up rights to the pole to go after the natural resources – mostly oil and gas – which exist up there.  Obviously, the oil companies don’t believe the skeptics and are making expensive moves on the basis that the climate is changing.  There is way too much short-term benefit from exploiting melting poles for us to expect industry to control themselves.  We need government action and we need it now – politicians need our vote and it’s time we made them take long-term and sustainable decisions before it is too late. 



Going green

Last night we celebrated earth hour with candles, board games and lots of candy!  We all really enjoyed it.  One of the first things the kids did was look out the windows, where they found several of the neighbors also had lights out - I think it really made an impression on them. 

This was a partcularly important celebration for me, as I have found myself "going green" more and more lately.  I'm a bit conflicted though - the term "green" is a bad word in some circles - thought of as elitist, lefty, anti-jobs and anti-commerce.  That's not me - I'm not going off the grid.  I am not granola - I am pro-trade and pro-commerce.  I like my makeup and heels!



I am concerned for this little globe of ours that floats though space amongst millions of stars that we know next to nothing about.  This little globe has limited space and we are crowding it with ourselves, our garbage and our pollutants. There is a plastic garbage patch the size of TEXAS floating around in the Pacific.  Pollutants from ever-bigger landfills are seeping into the ground water and reentering our food chain.

And there is no doubt that the global temperature is rising - it is stipulated that, in 12 years, the North Pole will be ice free in the summer.  Can you imagine that - an ICE FREE NORTH POLE.? 

Why are we not more concerned?  

There are probably very many reasons.  First and foremost, we can not conceive of the destruction that will result from relentless global warming if, for example, the South Pole were to also melt.  And, of course, I think there is too much money to be made by continuous raping of the environment through extraction of resources in an all-too-unsustainable manner.  Politicians just want another vote, so they are unwilling to do anything meaningful, and the pundits and talking heads out there seem to be representing the politicos and moneymen who aren't about to lift a finger for us to change course. 

With these monumental forces at play, how can a single person like me make a difference?

I think that we - the individuals - are the solution. I think it is our moral obligation to think about what we consume on a daily basis. Is it moral to drink from a plastic straw that will be around for more than a thousand years after your daughter is done with it? I don't think so. I think that the solution to the predicament our planet is in is that each and every one of us starts taking responsibilty for our actions and their consequences for the planet.  

We teach toddlers to share their toys, yet we insist on polluting so much so that island nations are flooded? Why should we as adults not be equally obliged to understand that we are all sharing this precious and beautiful globe? Shouldn't you be confronted with your polluting as a moral dilema for the harm it does to your children and mine?

    poster by Max Temkin

In my mind, the problem of global warming boils down to this:

 :: The emissions of green house gases - which causes global warming and changes in ecosystems - is caused by our over-consumption and wasteful lifestyle.

:: The constant consumption depletes the planet of resources and causes the destruction of wildlife and nature. 

:: The enormous waste we accumulate starts breaking down, polluting our water and soil, emitting methane, an even more potent and malign greenhouse gas.

I admit that this is a very simplified view, but looking at it this way motivates me rather than making me dispair.  Our consumption patterns should be seen more as an addiction, where, if we own up to our problem, maybe we can change.  If we see all this as interconnected - our plastic spoons and the migration of the penguins - we might be able to protect our wildlife, our oceans and our planet.  Start with what's most important to you and see how tiny changes will make a difference.

Steering the planet is like steering a massive ocean liner, heading full speed in the wrong direction.  We can't stop and change direction all at once, but we can slow down right away and eventually slam the engines in reverse and gradually pick up speed on the right course. 

The time is now.

Last year I chose these three things 

1. started recycling

2. chose to use cloth diapers for the baby

3. started doing meat free monday.

This year I will continue doing the above and I will:

1. stop using dipsoable plastic

2. start walking or biking to work 

3. make my own yoghurt to avoid the plastic containers. I will let you know how this goes!

So I challenge you to choose three things you can start doing this year that will help, even if it feels like it will make as much impact as a mouse peeing in the ocean. Maybe you can talk about your choice in such a way that it becomes a moral imperative for your best freind as well? 

Then next year celebarate earth hour, feel good about yourself and the gradual "greening" of your family and add three more things to the list.

You are welcome to write your challenge or leave a link to it in the comments section!