Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

ELLS conference video

I wrote some time ago about the ELLS conference that i attended. Now the University have put togheter a short video from the conference.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Yoga and Sörnäinen district

I have been doing mostly ashtanga yoga before, but lately I've been curious to try something else as I'm not so motivated to do ashtanga anymore. So I signed up for Yin Yoga and Flow Yoga on Thursday nights in Etnofitness. I had my first classes today and it was actually really good for me! Especially the Yin yoga. In this type of yoga you stay reaaaally long in one position but it's exactly what I need and I don't have the patience to do that at home. Flow yoga was more like ashtanga but as this was a beginner class we took it quite easy. I am in any case looking forward to go back next week! (only minus was that the music from the dance-class beside ours was interrupting our zen a bit).

At the moment I am temporarily living in the Sörnäinen district in Helsinki because of work. Hopefully soon I will know more about my future, if I will stay here for work or what will happen. In any case, most of the time I miss being on the countryside, but the advantage of being in the city is the availability of for example yoga classes and such.

I don't know how to describe Sörnäinen district in Helsinki, it has a little bit of a dodgy reputation and there is for sure weirdos (drunks) hanging around the metrostation at times but they don't bother you if you ignore them. However, there is also some cool things and especially food places popping up. Etnofitness has already been here for a while now, I used to go there also years ago when we lived in Helsinki but new things I've seen are for example the Soi Soi vegetarian restaurant (perhaps it's been around for long but I haven't spotted it), Fafa's (really good falafel, also available in other places in Helsinki), Moko café (lov-ely place), café Sävy (for coffee and tea drinkers) and Street Gastro (sandwiches). So I don't think I will at least go hungry living here.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sustainability Student Conference in Vienna

The last days I have spent in Vienna, Austria in ELLS student conference about sustainability. I was fortunate to get a grant to go there and present my thesis on responsible sourcing.

We were also invited to go on a tour of our choice in Vienna and I chose to go to tour number 2:

Tour 2: Environmental Protection Agency + City Tour
Their aim is to communicate that human actions should be based on deep respect for nature in all of its kind. In order to sustain and restore environmental health, humanly produced damages need to be avoided. The municipal department 22 works to improve the quality of the local environment as well as the general quality of life in Vienna. The department focus lies on supporting related research and cooperating with other departments as well as interest groups.

The head of the department spoke to us about how the city of Vienna is doing to buy Eco and responsible products by also also considering social and environmental criteria through public procurement . Vienna seems to be working quite a lot with this and they also try to keep city services public as the risk of privatization is that private companies will go for the cheapest option (which is not always the best for public health and environment). Vienna also has a program that business can join and they advice the business on sustainability. You can read more on their website but unfortunately it is only in German.

I also enjoyed two of the keynote speeches during the conference by DI. Dr.Franz Fischler and Univ.-Prof. Dr.phil. Helga Kromp-Kolb. Fischler speech was "On the Road towards a Smart, Inclusive and Green Future." His last slide was about sustainable agriculture, as most students came from agricultural universities, and he highlighted how important it is that we manage to have a sustainable food production chain by for example reducing waste and closing the natural cycles.

Kromp-Kolb spoke about "Climate Change: Can Technology Solve the Problem?" The answer to Kromp-Kolb's question was not a clear yes or no, but it was pretty clear that technology can not save us alone, we need to have many solutions and most of all we need to enhance resilience so we can manage the future challenges.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Addictive Daughter

I have a weak spot for poetry, found this fine, soft video from AddictiveDaughter on Dragana Babic's blog. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Environment and Work-Reflections

As I mentioned in the previous blogposts, I had the opportunity to attend the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) 2013 Conference on Environment and Work in Stockholm and I'm still trying to chew all the impressions from the different speakers and debates.  Personally, I was  more optimistic about the equation the environment + work = 2 problems = one solution during the morning part of the conference than towards the end. Why? Perhaps because in the end I had the feeling that we do know what is needed, but that it is not realistic to expect much change soon because the politicians are waiting for the public opinion to clearly demand changes before they take any initiative and it seems their perception is that the majority of the voters don't want change.

PM Nilsson, political editor at DI,  said in the last debate "Forget about transition happening within 10 to 20 years". But can we wait that long?

On a positive note there were solutions presented during the conference and the ones that caught my attention most (perhaps because I studied environmental economics) were ideas about taxing carbon:

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation's (SSNC) chairman, Mikael Karlsson, was pointing out that GDP is not a good measurement for development and that we should not consider this indicator so much. Wat is important is to move away from a fossil fuel economy by increasing the tax on fossil fuels like OECD has suggested. This way we could stimulate innovation, entrepreneurship and have the environmental benefits from lower carbon emissions.

Also, one of my favorite speakers was Staffan Laestadius, professor in Industrial Development at KTH, (Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm) and he was also referring to tax solutions:
  1. Green VAT: benefit green
  2. Black VAT: punish the unsustainable
  3. Lower VAT in all services

On a different note, one aspect that I felt was not discussed during the conference was the idea that everyone could work less and share the jobs. I've blogged a little bit about that before here and here. In short, the economist John Keynes wrote in the 60's of the possibility of everyone working less to produce the same amount and not consume more in the future which would give us the possibility to both prosper but also have more freetime.

The international speaker during the conference was Angelica Thomas from Germany and IG Metall. She talked about why they support the Geman "Energiwende" or energy transformation. You can listen to her speech here and see the Q&A session with her and Swedish IT- and energy minister Anna-Karin Hatt here.

More interesting links (in Swedish):
We also had yummy vegetarian lunch and awesome entertainment by Anna Christoffersson during the day:

Thanks to SSNC for once again organizing an interesting conference!

Om ni vill läsa om konferensen på svenska kolla in de andra bloggarna och naturskyddsföreningens hemsida:

It’s easy being green
Karins miljöblogg
U&We blogg

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Environment and Work tomorrow

I am leaving Finnish soil in a bit to join the conference on environment and work by Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) in Stockholm tomorrow. It's gonna be nice to be in Sweden again, even if only for a short while.

In case you can't come but want to follow what's going on during the day you can follow the conference live here and hashtag #miljojobb during the day.

Ska snart åka iväg för att delta i Naturskyddsföreningens konferens i Stockholm imorgon, ska bli kul att vara i Stockholm igen, även om det bara är en snabbvisit.

Ifall du inte själv kan vara med på konferensen men ändå vill följa med vad som händer så kan du kolla den live här imorgon. Hashtagen på twitter är #miljojobb.