The Guardian (28/6/2017) shows an article with the title “A Million Bottles a Minute”- I suggest you read for yourself:


The global consumption is estimated to reach half a trillion bottles by 2021. By now we all know that many of those bottles reach the sea. Others are dumped on land. And it is not only bottles.  Most of what we buy is wrapped in plastic. Scientists are step by step learning that whether on land or in the sea plastic does not really decompose – it is not, like for example leaves from the trees – converted chemically by organic processes into basic components that loop back into biological life processes. Instead plastic is split up into ever finer particles that eventually become small enough to penetrate living cells and influence the very life processes of plants and of the animals that eat them. It now seems clear that plastic particles are found for example in fish that we eat – how that effects us has become a serious concern. Scientists are not clear on that. There is reason to worry since the use of plastic grows steadily, and since collection and recycling is far from enough to have an impact. It has been estimated that globally in 2016 only 7% of the plastic bottles were recycled, while the rest was dumped in landfills or in the sea.

The islands outside Jakarta are a popular destination among domestic tourists in particular, but also among foreigners, since it only takes a few hours to reach them by speed boat, and since the beaches are friendly. The visitors generate garbage, but most of what is found on the beaches is from elsewhere and has been washed up by the sea. Resort operators are anxious to keep their places neat and clean – of course to attract more visitors. So you may not notice at first. But as soon as you leave the resorts you will find garbage in droves.

You will find piles of plastic among the trees inland also, dumped since there was no other east way to get rid of it.

The Governor of Jakarta has mobilised an “Orange Brigade” to collect and dispose of garbage, and this work is extended to the islands off Jakarta as well. Brigade workers collect garbage – almost entirely plastic – and the volumes are barged once or twice a week to the mainland for dumping in landfills.

Field trips arranged by Naturetrails include visits to villages in rural areas, and Homestay wherever feasible, where we not only can see the situation for ourselves but engage with families and village leadership to improve the situation. As visitors we have to set examples by not leaving garbage behind. But we can also participate in “clean-up operations” with our hosts, and perhaps provide advice on how to improve garbage management.  We can provide garbage cans and suggest collection routines where justified. In remote areas recycling is usually uneconomical unless well organised with support from the district government. Our role there is to demonstrate the importance to tourism of a clean environment.


Who Produces, and Who Benefits?

I read somewhere that in the medieval ages European farmers considered that Nature did the work. Their task as farmers was merely to harvest what nature produced, and for some crops also to plant. This way of looking at natural resource management adds a new aspect to the idea of a “Thanksgiving Day” – which is still celebrated in Swedish churches at the end of the harvest season, with samples of root crops, vegetables, berries etc. placed by the altar. I guess the thinking among the Dayak is similar, when they celebrate their Gawai after the rice harvest.


As I have stated, my business is Society and Nature.

Are there any potted plants in Trump Tower?

I have no idea, but I am sure there are. It is “nice” with ornamental greenery in the office. But does he notice? What does he think about Nature? Does he at all think about Nature?

On 1 June president Trump held a speech in the Rose Garden, where he declared that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement of Dec 2015. – Several commentators have pointed out that the speech did not at all touch on the concerns of the Agreement: climate change and related environmental issues. The speech dealt with the efforts of other nations to undermine the US, to prevent the US from acting in full freedom, including stopping the US from expanding coal-based energy production. In the speech, the Paris Agreement takes the shape of an international conspiracy to weaken the US. After having made this “discovery” Trump explained that from now on the US will act on its own, do what it wants and what is best for it, without looking at the views of others, and without paying attention to possible climate change consequences.

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, writes in Washington Post that with this move by president Trump the slogan “America First” became “America Alone”. Fareed Zakaria of CNN states, referring to govt sources, that president Trump has clarified that the world is not a global community but an arena where nations compete for advantage.

President Trump explained during the election campaign that he wanted to be unpredictable, to keep people guessing what his next move would be. Now we have come a bit closer to an understanding of his personality and outlook.

But what will follow? Will the US withdraw from its position as a global leader – not just as the world’s policeman, but as a promotor of peace, global balance, and economic development for mutual benefit? Should we try to get used to the thought that China will take over that job?  – One thing seems clear already: the rest of the world has become more united around the intentions of the Paris Agreement.

Meanwhile many voices of disagreement with the president’s position have been raised within the US itself. A blog post from World Resources Institute, dated 2 June, the day after, explains that more than 1000 US companies urged the president not to leave the Agreement. The blog post also presents statistics demonstrating what actually is going on in the US in terms of job creation and economic development generated by energy adaptation. The post ends with a very terse sentence: “Trump is securing his place in history as someone intent on sabotaging a global effort that has earned the commitment from nearly every other country”.

Who does president Trump think he is? And what does he think about Nature?

The Weather without Trump

Diplomats from around the world have gathered in Bonn, Germany, for two weeks, to talk about how to operationalise the Agreement reached in Paris in Dec 2015. This includes procedures for how to assess the progress made over time, to begin with the status by 2018. Of course the position of president Trump, not yet clarified at the time of closing, was hanging over the heads of all the delegates – but this uncertainty may have brought the delegates closer together and more determined to agree on something doable. According to the main issues ventilated were the global stocktake already hinted at, transparency (or how do we trust each other), and of course funding. The latter remains a contentious issue, further muddied by president Trump’s decision already months before the meeting, to cut further contributions to the so-called Green Climate Fund.

As to the tricky, and so far confusing, Carbon Market complex, the delegates were apparently still in a “brainstorming mode”, so we cannot expect much of guidance until the next meeting at least.

Now we know that president Trump backs out of the Paris Agreement and other forms of climate discussions. This is seen as tragic, catastrophic, senseless etc. But on the positive side experts speculate that his decision may not be all that consequential due to market forces and initiatives among NGOs etc that in practice bypass the official US position – but is so much more in line with the position of everybody else. (This is probably what the delegates felt while working out their conclusions.) Another positive point is that Trump’s decision may de facto reinforce the determination of most everybody else to work all the more towards what seems to be the right thing. This reaction is already  expressed in many places.  – Next stop on the road is in Nov this year, again in Bonn.