Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Conference on Economy, Climate and the Future

If you followed this blog for a while, you might remember that I blogged from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation's conference last year. I'm really excited as I'm gonna blog from there this year again. It's extra interesting for me this year as the topic is about what changes we need in the economy to manage the climate change challenge ahead. This relates really well to the course I have at CEMUS at the moment. I'm also excited that  among others Johan Rockström and Mattias Klum will be there! I finally have their book "The Human Quest" in my bookshelf just waiting to be read.

Pic from Swedish Society for Nature Conservation's webpage

If you also want to join, you can still do so, the conference will take place on 23rd November in Stockholm, last date to sign up is 9th November. You can find the program here and you can sign up here, the conference will be mostly in Swedish I'm afraid though. If you can't make it, you can still follow the life feed here if you are interested, and twitter hashtag will be #hurda.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monthly Donation-October

As you probably know October is the pink month for breast cancer awareness so I gave my donation to the cancerfond.

This was a fun video for bringing awareness on breast cancer!

Little Tips and Thoughts

The blog has been a bit quiet lately as I've been working on assignments and my thesis. I can't believe that I'm having my last courses already! It feels like I just got to Uppsala to start my master. I guess soon is the time to start making a plan for what's gonna happen next, or perhaps no plan is better?

Saw this fun pic with Bill McKibben tweet on Facebook this morning. Wonder how much damage that hurricane Sandy will manage to make?

Little bit late but I do recomment this movie, Genetic Roulette, on GMO food, you can watch it here for free until Thursday.

And a last tip, I wrote about the Sustainergies cup a few days ago. I've been involved in the group starting up Sustainergies in Uppsala and next Tuesday we will organize a meeting and After-School get togheter if you are interested to know more about what Sustainergies do. All students from all different areas are welcome! Sustainability is not limited only to students in a certain science, on the contrary we need people in all areas. Link to the Facebook event. We're meeting at 18:00 in V-dala nation, unfortunately, I can probably not go myself but do go if you are a student in Uppsala!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Food Security in a Global Perspective

Food Security in a Global Perspective was the headline of the lunch seminar at our department yesterday. Melinda Sundell from the Stockholm Environment Institute came to speak to us about the reasons for food insecurity and what suggestions to solve this issue have been given by the commission on sustainable agriculture and climate change. Also, a professor from the economic department at SLU, Rob Hart, spoke a little bit about the economic perspective on this.

The reasons for food insecurity that Melinda mentioned were:
  • Poverty amidst abundance. Rob also mentioned that at the moment we do have enough food to feed the world but it is more a problem of distribution: some have too much and some don't have any.
  • Increased pressure on natural resources. For example, water might be a scarce resource in the future and we are also running out of phosphorus rock.
  • Climate Change will probably turn land that is used for agriculture today to dry deserts and extreme weather might destroy a lot of the crops.
  • Population pressure, as the world population is still growing.

The suggestions by the commission to solve the food insecurity issues were:

  • To integrate food security and sustainable agriculture with global & national policies (Melinda pointed out that everybody is talking about future energy issues but almost none about agriculture issues).
  • Significantly raise global investment for sustainable agriculture and food systems
  • Sustainably intensify agriculture production while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other negative environmental impacts of agriculture. The problem here is that organic produce costs much more than conventional produce, this could possibly be solved with some sort of tax that shows the "real" cost of the food in terms of environmental harm.
  • Develop specific programmes and policies to assist population and sectors most vulnerable to climate change and food insecurity. The fact is that a lot of developing countries are most vulnerable to climate change and there might be conflicts in the future because of that.
  • Reshape food access and consumption patterns to ensure nutritional needs are met and foster healthy and sustainable eating patterns worldwide. Melinda pointed out that food patterns might be difficult to change as they are very tied to emotions, eating patterns is something we learn from young age and is difficult to change.
  • Reduce loss and waste of food in the food system: infrastructure, farming practices, processing, distribution and household habits. Here we can actually do a lot! Something like 50% of food is wasted.
  • Create comprehensive, shared, integrated information systems that encompass human and ecological dimensions (still to be developed).
Some of these are easy to write down but perhaps harder to grasp and actually implement in reality. Global and national policies are for example difficult to achieve in a political climate where everybody mostly look after their own interests. However, small farmers are more important than what we might think: 70% of food consumed today is produced traditionally by small farmers which is a fact also pointed out in this video trying to bust the food myths that claims that we need industrial agriulture.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sustainergies Cup 2012

Are you a student interested in sustainability issues? Sustainergies has just launched their annual competition where students help companies come up with sustainable ideas for the future. The cup is launched internationally so you can participate even though you are not in Sweden. You are also allowed to join no matter what subject you are studying, the winning prize is 25 000 Swedish crowns.

If you are interested to learn more and download the case you can read more on their webpage.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I took the dog and joined the Save Cemus March today. I wrote about the budget cuts the program is facing before.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tree of Life

This is such a cool project! has constructed a Tree of Life with all the mammals in it. I went right out and looked for humans in the tree, and found us next to Chimapanzee and quite close to Borneo Orangutan as well. Fashinating! Now let's keep working on conservation so we don't have to cut whole branches out!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Bechdel Test

According to Peppe the series "The Big Bang Theory" does not pass the Bechdel test...Now I have a ligitimate reason not to like it too much (not that I've watched a lot of it). Any TV-series you like that pass/does not pass the test? Feel free to recommend anything, we are thinking of looking for something new to watch togheter but not sure what to go for.  We don't watch any TV but we have followed the Monk series on DVD, I know my husband follows more series but I really can't be bothered. It has taken us about a year to go through all the seasons of Monk and it has suited me fine as there is no cliffhangers so I don't get immensly stressed about when to watch the next one. I realized that it only just passes the Bechdel test, probably not even all the episodes, but at least Nathalie and her daughter are having conversations every now and then. However, I'm not sure it counts if it's a mother-daughter conversation?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

World Food Day

I celebrated the World Food Day today with finally making a "green" (it was more yellow in colour) juice on my own. I used a banana, two kiwis, apple and some juice ( I think it was carrot, orange, mandarin juice). It turned out quite thick in consistence but it tasted good which was my worst concern. Now I think it will be much easier to continue experiencing once I did the first one and it was not a complete failure.

How are you spending World Food Day?

After Peak Oil Role-Play in Sweden

Cruel Crude writes about a role-play in Sweden on possible after Peak-Oil scenarios. Read more here in English and check a short clip from Swedish television here.

A fun video on a human power station I found on this blog. That's an idea for a gym! Isn't it quite silly that we go to the gym to sweat using appliances that use energy instead of using appliances that would supply energy from our workout?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Change Through Cooperation

So today is finally Blog Action Day! As I participated in a TedX event last week I decided to hold on to it a bit longer and post about it today as Blog Action Day's theme is "The Power of We" and the TedxHornstull event theme was "Change Through Cooperation". 

The TedX event consisted of both live speakers and a couple of recorded TED event talks. If I remember correct the host presented the TedX event with the words  that we create social transformations through cooperation and not through business plans.

Rebecka Carlsson, Spokesperson for Young Greens in Sweden, started off as the first speaker and spoke very passionately about how we create amazing change when we give up our selfish goals and work towards a goal together. This became very clear to her when she was in Egypt during the Arabic revolution. Even if she was not there for that reason just being on the Tahir-square, feeling the engagement and fighting spirit from the people around her, gave her courage to do things she would normally not and she helped report back to Sweden on what was going on there. Her lesson from this event was that we do not always have to know what to do when trying to change something. In the revolution everybody was incredible supportive of each other and let everyone try and fail and it was so encouraging when you knew you'd be loved no matter how many times you would fail, the important thing was that you tried. Some of Rebecka's last words was "you can try a 1000 times without knowing how to start".  A great blog (in Swedish)  that unfortunately is not updated very much any longer on the Egyptian revolution can be found here (go back in the posts to come to the Egyptian posts).

Lars Wilderäng, who writes the interesting blog Cornucopia? (in Swedish) was the next speaker. His message was that the state is not a solution, it is the problem in today's society. He gave some examples of cooperatives that have emerged when the state no longer manage to provide the service, like parental cooperatives for children's day care and school. He also pointed out that there is a tendency at the moment for communities to take back the responsibility of infrastructure from private companies as they have noticed that it becomes both cheaper and the quality is much better when they do it themselves. He wrote a post about that in his blog here.

Next we watched the Ted speech  from Roy Bunker about Barefoot collage in India, which you can find on youtube here.

After this we listened to Anna Nygård on the project This project is working for a free public transport. They arguing that public transport is a public service and therefore it should be free for everybody. At the moment it is about 5-10% of the people who are travelling with public transport that cannot afford to do so and therefore has to cheat. The state present it as you have a choice to take another mean of transport if you cannot afford it but this might not always be the case. Therefore nobody should pay for the public transport so that the power structures in society wold change.

Per Ribbing spoke about cooperatives for renewable energy and how it is cheaper than the energy you pay to normal energy companies and it is obviously good for both the planet and for us.

Nafeez Ahmed was the last live speaker in this event and very inspirational one. He has written the book called A user's guide to the crisis of civilization: and how to save it.

The very last speech we saw was again a TED one on how to make a movement. This one should be obligatory to watch for everybody, very uplifting and funny!

Have a great Blog Action Day! I hope to read a lot of inspirational blogs during the day, you can see the list of participants here and a live feed here.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sustainable Cooking

As the student union at my university, SLU, turned 80 they had organized some lectures for inspiration about the green future on Wednesday. I didn't make it to the two first presentations but I'm happy I managed to go to the last one with the chef Paul Svensson, who talked about sustainable cooking. Finns might know him from the TV-series Strömsö. I sat quite far back so the quality of the photo is not that great but you can check better photos at the AbsolutAgronom blog and read about the other two presentations there (in Swedish).

I really liked Paul as a speaker, he was both funny and informative and seemed to be doing it with ease. He started with giving us a little bit of a historic background on cooking and also talked about a revelation he had when he was travelling for work on why we have so different cooking styles in different parts of the world. From good quality food produce you can build up a beautiful presentation of a meal around the vegetables without even complicating it too much but if you have vegetables that taste mostly water from produce that has been grown on depleted soils it's a different story. Luckily in the Nordics we have quite easy access to relatively good seasonal quality produce.

He talked about his own cooking philosophy, he's not a vegetarian but he uses meat mostly as side-dish or only for taste. His meals are always built up on what vegetables are in season locally and then he adds meat and fish. He gave us an example where he had used fried fish merely as croutons in a dish to give taste. He emphasized again the necessity for good quality produce, if you have good quality meat with good taste people will be happy with less and if farmers specialize in having produce with a their special own tastes it will give the food additional value. In Paul's view we need to move away from the idea that all food need to look perfect, a few brown salad leaves are not gonna kill us. Additionally, you can cook different things with the produce in different growing stages, for example different sprouts are just as good or even better than the full grown sometimes. Additionally, it is not necessary to import rice when we have lots of local grains that are just as nutritious.

He also talked about the need for cafés and restaurants that want to be sustainable to not only think about the food. They need to think about the whole concept from what people are gonna sit on to what they are gonna eat from. He will open his own café in Gothenburg end of next month where for example chairs and porclain are second hand. As they didn't want the café to have a vintage touch they bought second hand porclain only in white and painted all the chairs white. It is possible to create almost whatever from second hand, there is already so much material in the loop that upcycling is easy!

His last slide contained these sentences (sound better in Swedish):

Glad mage, upplyst mage, lagom mätt mage, renare mage och kanske en bättre värld.

Would translate into something like.

Happy stomach, enlightened stomach, just enough full stomach, cleaner stomach and perhaps a better world.

If you want to learn more about his philosophy he has written a book in Swedish. Another cook book that defenitely could make it to my kitchen.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

International Day of the Girl

We just spoke on Monday in class about gender equality, especially in the developing countries, and now it turns out that it is the International Day of the Girl today. Did you now that every three seconds another girl becomes a child bride?  These sort of facts can make me so upset and I am so happy that I'm grown up in a country where gender equality has come further than that, not that everything is perfect here either.

I found this video on Afrah Nasser's blog, a very interesting blog by a Yemen girl living in Sweden, she writes both in arabic and english on her blog. I found her blog trough Heidi, since she posted an interview with Afrah on her blog. Interesting ladies both of them!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Wine and Movie

Yesterday we had some of the best Eco Wine's I've tasted and we watched the feelgood movie "The Blind Side". I do recommend it if you haven't seen it yet!

The wine

The trailer

Talking about wine, Heidi wrote a very nice post (in Swedish) about the most sustainable way to drink wine. Here's a few good points she made.

- Eco Wine should have less toxins in it as no pesticides are used on the grapes
- How far has your wine travelled? Can you prioritize local wines with shorter transport routes?
- How is it packed? According to the study she refers to the most sustainable option is tetrapak, that can be recycled. Glass is less sustainable as it weighs more during transport and it takes more energy to recycle glass.

We have usually bought eco wines in cardboard boxes, because wine is only sold in the liquor store in Sweden and there is not so many of them, so it's been convenient to buy a big box and it last for long as we don't drink that often. However,  I guess it's not a super sustainable option as the wine is packed in plastic inside the box. Last time in the liquor store I saw something interesting though, a wine that claimed to be CO2 neutral. It was packed in plastic though, next time I need to write down the name and google it to find out some more about this! Also there are a lot of wines that are not eco but FairTrade. I guess here you can choose what you prioritize most, your own health or a better salary/conditions for the producer.

Any thoughts on your own on wine? I wrote about the wine corks vs the plastic corks also before.

Peak Phosphorus

I've written about peak phosphorus a bit before at least here, today I'm not gonna write about it myself but gonna recommend this post over at the Collapse of Industrial Civilization blog as he does it much better than me. It's quite a long post but I it's worth it, do watch the videos as well!

Here's a sneak peak:

Phosphorus is a critical resource as there is no living thing without it.

…Just like oil, phosphorus cannot be replaced or artificially manufactured. It can only be recycled through the application of organic matter. However, since urban areas started to use flush toilets, phosphorus was no longer returned to the soil, but washed out into water systems. The use of the local organic matter was then replaced by phosphate rock, which has to be mined or drilled out from the deep soil.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Urban Roots Movie

I went to another movie event by transition town Uppsala. They organize a movie event every first Thursday each month at 18 in Biotopia, so if you are interested in joining keep an eye out for  information on their webpage.

This time we saw the movie Urban Roots that explained how people in Detroit have taken to urban gardening and farming when the local economy and auto industry collapsed. It's interesting to see how they are building a more resilient community and how people are helping each other out trough these initiatives. If I have to say something negative about the movie, it was a bit too long but it got more interesting towards the end. All in all a good movie if you want to get inspired and learn about Urban farming/gardening!

On Natural Beauty

I've been following Patricia Southwell's blog for some time (on recommendation from Emma Granath). I just wanted to recommend the interview on Patricia's blog with Catherine Tran, a girl who have studied facial massage in France. I liked Catherine's view on cosmetics!

I have tried not putting on any night cream on my skin during the week as my friend told me that she heard from Dr. Hauschka skin therapists that the skin will purge dirt and old skin cells during the night and a cream might hinder this process. Instead it's better to let the skin breath during the night and just wash the face in the morning instead. So far my skin has reacted well, so let's see how it continues. I was sure my skin was gonna turn out really dry but it hasn't been the case so far, so that's good!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wedding Details

I think I have written about most things from the wedding now but I still wanted to write about the details. Is there anything I've forgotten to write about or anything you would like me to write about let me know, and I'll be happy to! We didn't put much effort into the decorations as there was already a nice rustic atmosphere in the restaurant. Here are some decorations that were already in place:

Pics John Grönvall.

So the only decorations we fixed were just red candles, and red petals to put on the tables. Our name tags were simple red paper and our wedding favors were dark FairTrade chocolate hearts from Divine Chocolate.

Something new:

Pics Annina Nygård.

Something old:

Pics Annina Nygård.

Something borrowed:

Pic Annina Nygård.

Something blue (if you check carefully my toe nails are painted blue), here you can also see the bouquet:
Pic John Grönvall.

The ring and the dress:

Pic John Grönvall and Björn Fagerholm.

As you can notice we were also immensly lucky to have so many talented and great friends who love taking pictures. Thanks to them as well!

Our Monthly Donation -September

I've been so busy end of September that I haven't had time yet to update you on our monthly donation. This month we adopted an elephant (for a year ahead) trough the organization Care for the Wild for my birthday. So little elephant-orphan Kihari is being taken care of in Kenya with our money. The organization is also supporting anti-poaching efforts and hope to release the elephants back to a safe environment later on.

My husband also bought me this neckless, perhaps I had given him some hints after I read about it on this blog. The neckless is from the organization called ViSkogen and they plant at least four trees for every neckless sold.

Inside Job

Yesterday we watched the movie Inside Job in class. I think it is a good movie if you want to understand what exactly happened that led to and created the financial crash in 2008. I wouldn't had minded though watching it with subtitles since sometimes I had problems catching all the words. I was a bit tired I think, we've been for a short visit to Finland for a long weekend. Back to the the movie. It is cut in quite short and fast sequences but it's surely entertaining. There was some discussion in class afterwards if the movie-makers are a bit partial in how they are portraying different people and organizations, but I guess everyone can make their own judgement. In any case it seems is the same people that are still in charge and responsible of the financial system in USA, so has anything really changed?

Here is a shorter movie describing the crises of credit, the same thing is also more or less taken up in the Inside Job movie.