Stockholm’s Mayor is a True Leader for the People

GR:  Reduced air pollution, less noise, increased health, clear skies, and more jobs. All cities could follow Karin. Is there any movement stirring in your city? Read the interview and get ideas for your home town. Oh, for another benefit, there’s saving the planet and all its wonderful plants and animals from the greed of oily politicians and their owners.

“Karin Wanngård, the mayor of Stockholm, rides an electric bike to work each morning — at least when it is not snowing too heavily.

“She also wears second-hand clothing — a trendy move in Stockholm, she says — and eats less meat than she used to. It is all part of her contribution to meeting an ambitious goal she set for her city: eliminating all use of coal, oil and other fossil fuels by 2040.

Karin Wanngård, the mayor of Stockholm, with a bicycle she rides to work most mornings. Credit: Liselotte van der Meijs/REUTERS

“Leadership is really important when you want to make things happen,” said the 41-year-old, who has run Sweden’s capital city since 2014. “You can always have politicians making nice speeches but when it comes to action you need to have leadership.”

“Around the world, cities are increasingly at the forefront of action to curb climate change. Some, like Stockholm, have set ambitious emissions reduction goals, while others have pushed ahead with climate policies despite national policy reversals, such as under President Donald Trump in the United States.

“Increasingly, many of the cities leading on climate change — Paris, Washington, Sydney, Cape Town — are run by women.

Stockholm, Sweden. Credit: vapi photographie/flickr

“In two years, the number of women leading large cities that are at the forefront of climate action has risen from four to 16, according to the C40 Cities network of more than 80 cities committed to addressing climate change, which is organising a conference for women leaders in New York this month.” Laurie Goering, Thomson Reuters Foundation (Continue reading:  Stockholm’s Mayor is Taking on Climate Change | Climate Central).

Stockholm, Sweden waterfront. Credit: Jordi Escuer/flickr

Political Platform for Nature-Conservation

Nature Conservation Platform

We must apply much more effort to conservation if we want to keep the benefits we derive from natural ecosystems. We need leaders that can promote activities that improve living conditions and guarantee long-term benefits from nature.

Children playing outdoors.

Children playing outdoors.

Political platforms usually emphasize human social and economic equality. The Justice Democrats platform is an example that lays out a set of goals for leaders focused on human society. It includes climate change. Here are the nature-conservation goals I recommend we add to political platforms.

I’ve listed subjects and actions in rough order of priority. I don’t think the first items are more important than the ones that follow. They are first because the emergency conditions we’ve created require that we act on them immediately.

  1. Global warming. Make an immediate switch to renewable energy. This is part of the Justice Democrats platform, but the best statement is in the Our Revolution platform. I’m repeating the item because it deserves emphasis (climate-change*).
  2. Population. Make knowledge and technology for family planning free or inexpensive worldwide (population).
  3. Habitat Loss. Stop ecosystem destruction resulting from these human activities: construction, farming, spreading invasive species, mining, releasing toxic wastes, and water diversion (construction, farming, invasive species, mining, pollution, water).
  4. Sustainability. End fishing, grazing, and logging harvests that take more than natural processes produce (deforestation, desertification, fishing, forestry, hunting, livestock grazing, logging, soil erosion).
  5. Equality. Respect the right of sentient beings to live wild and free according to their natural instincts (animal cruelty, animal rights, sentient beings, wildlife)
  6. Restore. Restore and set aside half the Earth’s lands and seas for wild plants and animals (ecological restoration, half for nature).
    *Search terms for information and discussions on this website. The most recent search results will appear at the top of the list.
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Destroying the land for material that will destroy the air.

Conservationists, land managers, wildlife biologists, and educators will see nothing new here. We have years of observations, research, and experimentation on each of these topics. It is time to start full-scale application of what we’ve learned. For this, we need dedicated leaders that understand the value of watersheds, soils, pollinators, and ecosystems. We need leaders who recognize that we are in the midst of both a climate and an extinction crisis. We need leaders who are convinced that humanity cannot survive without healthy ecosystems.

Conditions are in flux. I would be delighted to have your suggestions and questions.  Thanks.

United Nations Tackles Ocean Plastic Pollution

GR:  There is growing realization that waste plastics including everything from packaging to the microfiber fabrics used in clothing, are harming wild plants and animals. An earlier petition campaign and many other reports have finally been heard. It’s good to see the UN tackling the problem.

un-env-leader-erik-solheim

Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment

“BALI, Indonesia, February 26, 2017 (ENS) – An unprecedented global campaign to eliminate major sources of marine litter within five years was launched this week by UN Environment, the United Nations agency formerly known as UNEP. The campaign is targeting microplastics in cosmetics and single-use plastics such as straws, bags and packaging materials.

SolheimUN Environment chief Erik Solheim of Norway (Photo courtesy World Bank)

“It is past time that we tackle the plastic problem that blights our oceans, said Erik Solheim of Norway, the former Norwegian environment and development minister who now heads UN Environment. “Plastic pollution is surfing onto Indonesian beaches, settling onto the ocean floor at the North Pole, and rising through the food chain onto our dinner tables. We’ve stood by too long as the problem has gotten worse. It must stop.”

“Introduced at the Economist World Ocean Summit in Bali, the UN’s new #CleanSeas campaign is urging governments to adopt plastic reduction policies.

“Ten countries have already joined the campaign with far-reaching pledges to turn the plastic tide.

“Indonesia has committed to slash its marine litter by a massive 70 percent by 2025.

“Uruguay will tax single-use plastic bags later this year, and Costa Rica will take measures to reduce single-use plastic through better waste management and education.

“The campaign is targeting industry with the message that it’s important to minimize plastic packaging and redesign products, and is calling on consumers to change their throwaway habits before irreversible damage is done to the oceans.

This Laysan albatross died from dehydration or starvation after swallowing plastics at sea. Laysan is one of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean. On nearby Midway Atoll, some 200,000 albatross chicks die each year from consuming plastics that block or perforate the stomach, esophagus or gizzard. (Photo by Duncan)

“Each year, more than eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism, and costing at least $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems. Up to 80 percent of all litter in the oceans is made of plastic – items such as plastic bottles, bags and cups.” –Environmental News Service (Continue reading:  – UN Campaigns to ‘Turn the Tide’ on Ocean Plastics | ENS.)

‘Extremely High Levels’ Of Toxic Pollutants Found In Deepest Parts Of World’s Oceans

GR: We can reverse some of our environmental impacts by removing toxic waste and restoring native species. However, some of the things we’ve done seem irreversible. Here’s a report on deep-ocean pollution that, like climate change, is another of the marks of our presence that will persist long after we’re gone. The subtitle sums it up:  “There’s literally no escaping mankind’s mess.”

Alan Jamieson/Newcastle University Hirondellea gigas are voracious scavengers that consume anything that comes down from the surface.

“Not even the very deepest, darkest depths of Earth’s oceans can escape mankind’s legacy of toxic pollution.

“In a shocking discovery highlighting the interconnectedness of our planet, scientists have detected “extremely high levels” of organic chemicals in the fatty tissue of amphipods, a type of crustacean, living in Mariana trench ― the deepest part of the world’s oceans.

Garbage in the Pacific Ocean (Huffington Post).

“We still think of the deep ocean as being this remote and pristine realm, safe from human impact, but our research shows that, sadly, this could not be further from the truth,” study author Alan Jamieson, a marine ecologist at Newcastle University in Britain, said in a statement.” –Chris D’Angelo (More:  ‘Extremely High Levels’ Of Toxic Pollutants Found In Deepest Parts Of World’s Oceans | The Huffington Post.)