Daily Archives: February 25, 2011

Tree 286 :: the price of nature? ::

25th February 2011
Near AnkerBrua, Oslo, Norway

This is Line Lønning.

She works full time as a volunteer for Natur og Ungdom (Nature and Youth).

It’s inspiring that these young people across Norway are daring to stand up to the oil industry. David and Goliath. Or should I say David’s youngest Sibling and Goliaths older and bigger genetically modified, enhanced brother.

She could be traveling the world and partying it up. She gives up her life to fight for you. Or am I being a drama queen?

If you aren’t too old and passed it like me… and live in Norway… here’s a link to Nature and Youth. If you live elsewhere… this passion can be found in every corner of the world. A world with corners?

Henrik:  So, how is Oslo treating you? You are from near Stavanger on an island.

Line:  Yeah, Karmøy.

Henrik:  How big is this island?

Line:  I think its, am not sure if it’s a 100% correctly but I think its supposed to be about the same size as Manhattan in…

Henrik:  Land mass?

Line:  Yeah, but in population its not that big but it’s about 30,000 people I think.

Henrik:  So what do people do their?

Line:  Well people, I don’t know, eat hot dogs and vote for FRP and…

Henrik:  The kind of right wing kind of party, not the Norwegian, what is it the Norway league of what are they called the league of, the Norwegian League of, its like a weird sort of very right wing like racist party but its not them but they although kind of right, right wing kind of.

Line:  Basically the same thing, so most people work in the oil industry and there is not all of that much environmentally that and all that, environmentally…

Henrik:  Interested? So what made you so interested coming from the place like that?

Line:  I don’t know, I guess it started early and I just, I was kind of upset that people weren’t more aware of, basically everything, it might just seem a bit harsh but I kind of objected to that way of living, you know they are born on the island and they go to school there and they find some neighbour kid and they settle down and its all like, yeah. They are fine with the way the world is really everyday as long as they get a job in the oil industry or something and I was always, I don’t know I always, I would always find myself kind of objecting to that way of living and that way of thinking, and the environmental part of it I don’t know where it came from, I think it’s the only logical way to think about the world and to.

Henrik:  But your parents, are your parents of interest in this?

Line:  Not at all.

Henrik:  But you must have got it from someway, you must remember someone or something or something on television or…

Line:  Well growing up there was actually a lot of things on television there was one children’s program called Kykelikokos, where they would recycle and sing songs about how if you throw something away that doesn’t mean it disappears.

Henrik:  Alright, so there is, yeah.

Line:  I wouldn’t necessarily say that , that’s what made me think about it, but in the 90’s growing up there was actually a couple of good things on television that told you about recycling and be kind to the earth.  So maybe that had something to do with it.

Henrik:  Funny you should mention that actually because I was toying with asking you, I have been thinking you know there ought to be some sort, I don’t really watch much TV but their ought to be some kind of green show that is kind of really good, you know?

Line:  Yeah.

Henrik:  Like for adults. Is there such a thing?

Line:  I don’t know I don’t watch that much television nowadays, that’s just the sort of thing you do when you live on Karmøy and don’t have anything else to do.  But, we definitely see that more people are aware these days and you know like in 2007 or something there was this wave of consciousness I should say or something so there is definitely more stuff about it on TV as well but is there enough? I don’t know.
On the news for example that’s probably the only thing I watch on TV nowadays, you could have one reporter saying that there is a disaster somewhere and there is flood and there is hurricanes and stuff like that and that’s really easy for especially people like me who work with environmental stuff to connect that with climate change and stuff like that and the pollution and everything.
But you could have one reporter saying that and the other reporter says something about how they want to drill for more oil blah, blah, blah.  So if there is TV programs or stuff no TV that’s about the environment it’s not really a whole way of thinking its just.

Henrik:  Little bits and bobs, of information.

Line:  Yeah.

Henrik:  What do you think, what kind of a show would that be then, if we were to make a new show, what would you have in it?

Line:  I don’t know, I think the first thing that comes to mind and I haven’t really thought about this before at all but the first thing that comes to mind is probably just that youth should have, the youngsters should have a big part of it, and that’s why I work in Nature and Youth which is Norway’s only environmental organization for youngsters.

Henrik:  The only environmental organisation for young people?

Line:  Yeah, its easy for an old man to say that he wants to do something for his children and for his grandchildren and for the future but its a lot more important for us that’s young today to speak up and say what we want and what we need for the future.

Henrik:  Yeah, because the young people are the ones who are going to be facing the biggest problems.

Line:  Yeah, especially when you are talking about oil drilling especially in Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja which is a big issue in Norway today, a lot of old people that’s been working in the oil industry in their entire lives and they could be claiming that we need the oil and we want this for our children, our grandchildren and even our great, great grandchildren because of the money aspect of it.
I think it’s a lot more important for us, for the youth of Norway to say that we don’t want this because it’s our future. I mean like it’s all about putting a price on stuff and the environments is way more important, and worth so much more than some money we might get out the oil.  So if I were to make a TV show I think that would be an important part, it should be.

Henrik:  So young people…

Line:  They should be able to speak up.

Henrik:  So, how many are involved with Nature and Youth?

Line:  We are about 7,000 members spread across the country and we have about 60 or 70 teams working locally in different places in the country and we also have people working in the office here in Oslo we are about 30 or 40 people working full time.

Henrik:  Wow, 30 or 40 working full time? How does that work?

Line:  Or basically full time.

Henrik:  Okay, so they put a lot of hours in, spread across from like you must be working 24 hours a day?

Line:  Not far from it no.

Henrik:  Wow, so you are really, really, passionate I guess.

Line:  Yeah you have to be to have that sort of job. For me and for 13 of the other people working in the office here in Oslo, that’s unpaid job so we work basically full time job, but you still have to have something beside of that to get some money in because its not cheap to live in Oslo.

Henrik:  Its amazing what, you know, the amount of people giving their time, you know because they believe in something, I mean there are a lot of people doing that in other kind of groups I am thinking about like church people, who are really passionate about that you know for example or yeah, on the other hand you know there is a lot of people not doing anything.

Line:  Well of course their could be more people and…

Henrik:  And the time shared a bit more.

Line:  Yeah, I think that’s one of the things about Nature and Youth is that we are a group of people from 13, 14 to about 26, when you get to 26 you are kicked out basically because then you are not a youth anymore.

Henrik:  So what am I then am 34, am I an old man?  Am I basically old and passed it?

Line:  You could be a member of Nature and Youth, you could be Nature and Youth friend and you could give us money but you couldn’t like…

Henrik:  I don’t think am exactly youth but, no. (laughs)

Line:  But that’s the important fact of it is that we are youngsters and we, because that’s an important part of…

Henrik:  So how many years have you got left?

Line:  I have got about six year, five years, so yeah.

Henrik:  Okay.

Line:  I am 20 now, yeah, so that’s good but we are just this group of people who, we don’t have any education and we are basically doing this on our free time and I think that’s just so important and to show that we are so dedicated, we care so much about our future and about the state of the earth and about climate change and green house gases and lazy politicians who don’t want to do anything that could be unpopular with the voters but good for, good for the earth.

Henrik:  So what kind of things do you do then as this group like, yeah?

Line:  We do a lot of stuff, there is, of course there is a different, according to what we do in the office here in Oslo and what our local groups do but that could be all from trying to get your council to start recycling or it could be like the biggest thing we work for here in Oslo and nationally, we are trying to stop the oil drilling Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja, and that has been our biggest…

Henrik:  The main focus.

Line:  The main focus yeah, for like the past three years I think now.

Henrik:  Really that long?

Line:  Yeah.

Henrik:  Flip.

Line:  So its kind of hard to like constantly tell the like 13 year old working for Nature and Youth in like some place in the country and that maybe its not too close to Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja, and the whole oil issue, there to just constantly tell them for like three years that keep working for this its important, the decision is right around the corner… but now its really is.

Henrik:  What did you think of Jens Stoltenberg’s, the Prime Minister’s like, he made some comments, that was recently on the news he made a comment, did you hear it?

Line:  Yeah that was probably when…

Henrik:  They went and had a meeting with like…

Line:  There was someone from Nature and Youth representing at that meeting, well the things he said was kind of more positive than we would think because he said that Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja is not the only place that we should be focusing on, it shouldn’t necessarily have the main focus for oil drilling and we should look more to Barin sea.

Henrik:  Up in the North?

Line:  Yeah up in the North.

Henrik:  Way above the…

Line:  Where the Russian border, and so that’s positive because its, well we don’t want more drilling for oil, no matter where it is but Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja is such a special area, it has such a rich…

Henrik:  Yeah it’s a beautiful place and there is also the cod and all that sort of thing.

Line:  Yeah, thats very special for that area so.

Henrik:  They come there to mate or something and there is a lot, it’s the last cod…

Line:  It’s the largest swarling place I think they call it, I tried to Google this because I don’t normally talk about this in English but its where they make their babies basically, so it’s a very important area for the cod and also a lot of coral reefs and yeah that’s just very spectacular nature there and so it’s a very special area and that’s why we are fighting this so hard and we are putting all of our energy and all of resources into fighting this.  So that was very positive what Stoltenberg said, it’s  not necessarily the main focus.

Henrik:  Yeah he didn’t commit to anything did he?

Line:  No.

Henrik:  He sort of did a political thing where he sort of said something slightly, positive but not really saying anything and that’s sort of kind of…

Line:  Yeah, it still better than we thought, so that’s good. Our expectations to Stoltenberg isn’t all that high, so and, like last year we voted him for that year’s worst environmental… er, I don’t know what to call it… Miljø Vaersting

Henrik: oh like the sort of environment, not criminal but like…

Line:  You could say its criminal so…

Henrik:  It’s not really a criminal but Miljø Vaersting is like, its more kind of comedy in it, in the word.

Line:  Because you know that’s all about, its all about being young and being a bit funny about it, but still very serious and so.

Henrik:  Yeah, taking it seriously as well yeah.

Line:  It’s a fine balance.

Henrik:  So do you, since like you know, you are going to inherit this, I mean not long after me, I mean the young people like 13, 14 year olds you know, do you think, is there hope, are you hopeful or are you?

Line:  That’s a big question but, well of course I am hopeful because if I am not hopeful I cant do this, I couldn’t be working so hard and putting so much of my time and energy into this if I wasn’t hopeful but yeah.

Henrik:  I am thinking, I probably mentioned this a few times over the course of this last nine months but the slave trade it took like 40 I don’t know how but a lot of years of people campaigning to get it abolished and that was a whole system, you know that people couldn’t imagine living without.  I mean to be honest you know I think not drilling in Lofoten is ridiculously important, am beginning to feel that we need to start, you know talking about the really, the root of the problem which is, I mean what do you think the root of the problem is?

Line:  Well the root of the problem is basically people not thinking about the fact that drilling up the oil and polluting it all over the place it has consequences, and when the issue of money is put, before the earth. I think that’s the main problem just money and the fact that it seems to be more important than the state of the earth and clean air and clean water.  It’s all about appreciating the resourses that we need, we haven’t been able to put a price on clean water or clean air or a healthy world.

Henrik:  Not yet.

Line:  But that’s a big discussion nowadays that I think would be quiet important over the next couple of years.

Henrik:  I mean that’s an interesting point like, for me, you know because, you know like there is a car, there is, in an insurance claim with a car like in America it probably applies here as well to some extend.  When a car is made and they, what is it? Lets say there is something wrong with the car like lets say it’s a seat belt, but that wouldn’t be that, something like that, that may cause questions of safety, like they calculate how many lives maybe lost, right against what it would cost to fix the problem in all of the cars that have been made and to call all the cars back might cost a billion dollars or something, you know, and you know there has been a sum that has been put on what a persons life is worth and so they calculate it, its like 20,000 deaths and that’s equal to X number of thousand dollars, yeah, and if the sum to withdraw the cars is greater than the sum of the deaths they wont withdraw the cars you see?

Line:  Yeah.

Henrik:  And my point is that you talked about putting a price on nature and clean water and all that, personally there is something in me that feels uncomfortable about that idea, the fact that there is, you know even if it was to start saving the world the fact that its done because of a financial incentive you see what I mean, for me that’s a tension. I mean its difficult…

Line: Yeah.

Henrik: But obviously I’d rather that the world was saved completely and then maybe deal with the financial problem later, I don’t know.

Line:  That’s what kind of difficult about it, because its very controversial to put a price on human lives and on natural resources but if that is what has to be done to get politicians and businessmen and stuff like that to just, to calculate it, to see if like, if we pollute this much with this product then its not worth it or something, and so I don’t know if that’s the way to do it.
But something has to be done that’s for sure so. I think we all agree that its worth very much to have like clean air and clean water, that’s a fact you know everybody knows that.  But we don’t calculate it.  Its like of course we have clean air, of course we have clean water but its not.

Henrik:  But its not you know what I mean, this interview I did the day before yesterday you know they are talking about Bygdøy Alle and the Kastanjer (Chestnut trees) they all died because of the pollution, and its so ironic or its interesting, that what they don’t talk about is we need to reduce the pollution, so that we can plant new Kastanjer and they will survive.  No the solution is, ‘we are going to plant Alme traer, they are actually elms that can take the pollution.

Line:  Yeah, and that’s a good example of how fucked up it is, because yeah.

Henrik:  Yeah it’s like healing the symptoms.

Line:  Yeah but not the problem.

Henrik:  Not the cause yeah.

Line:  And that’s for me that’s so stupid I cant even tell you how stupid that is.

Henrik:  So we will probably round this up very soon but… so what’s the show going to be called in Norway?

Line:  I don’t know.

Henrik:  Don’t worry. Well, I can’t think how you put a price on a liter of water like…

Line:  They do in the store but.

Henrik:  In the shop that’s one thing.

Line:  No its…

Henrik:  I mean in terms of in a global natural system like rain, you know. So do you mean just making it less of a free market for a kind of pollution and so that there is more rules?

Line:  Yeah well it should be, I don’t know this is not my area of expertise but I don’t know people should just think logically about it. I mean for me it all comes down to like health. Its like you know you shouldn’t smoke because its bad for your health and you should also know that the pullution from the cars in the city centre harms people in the same way. People get asthma and its bad. Yeah, when will there be like a rule that says that you are not allowed to pollute in public places, like you are not allowed to smoke in public places.

Henrik:  You have to go like into the woods if you want to drive your car you have to drive in the woods.

Line: You shouldn’t be driving your car and polluting either way I think. Its all about being healthy and we have come a long way to think about how to keep our bodies healthy in terms of what to eat and what not to eat and not to smoke and stuff like that.  Even if you do smoke you probably know that its not good for you but in terms of what’s good for the earth I think we have a long way to go but there is definitely hope.

Henrik:  Cool, so you are telling me you are feeling slightly, not exactly embarrassed but, about going to IKEA, but you qualified it by saying that you are going to buy some recycling boxes.

Line:  And I am taking the bus so. I don’t know how to drive so. But for like friends and family, I might seem a bit extreme, because I am a Vegan and I don’t smoke and I don’t drink and I am like working full time for an environmental organization and it probably seems a bit too hardcore for them. But I think its important to get the message across that you shouldn’t have to go out of your way to do something good for the environment and you should have to…

Henrik:  Do you mean in a perfect society?

Line:  Yeah, the simplest thing to do should be the more environmental…

Henrik:  So when you go to the shops, the shops are stocking stuff that is in a way that is…

Line:  It should be like organically grown food shouldn’t be more expensive it shouldn’t be hard to choose and it shouldn’t be hard to choose the bus.

Henrik:  You mean it shouldn’t be, I know what you are saying.

Line: The politicians should make easy to be environmentally friendly, but you should also be aware enough to go a bit out of your way. I do a lot but I don’t feel that I give up on things, I just live the way that I think is the best for me and the best for the environment and… you just have to do the best that you can and I don’t think you should have to go out of your way to do something good for the environment.

Henrik:  Okay very last question, which is who are you going to have in your parliament?  Who is in your government… anyone alive or dead?

Line:  Oh that’s…

Henrik:  I am just going to save this actually just incase the battery runs out.

Line:  Yeah.

Line sent me an email about who should be in her cabinet… Here is an extract. (No-one specific but do you fit into this category? Maybe one of them could be you?)

I’ve been thinking about who I would like to in government, and I think I landed on a combination of environmentalists, human and animal right activists.