søndag 11. desember 2011

Magical medicine!

I strongly recommend you to watch this! Health and climate are closely related. Walking, biking or running is beneficial for both yourself, your economy and the global climate!

fredag 9. desember 2011

I´m currently revising for my next final exam: energy and environment. There are several fascinating, worrying and interesting subjects brought back to my attention! Among them the effect food production has on the environment.

For my international readers, the bar graph is in Norwegian, but I´ll explain:

The image to the left is taken from one of our energy and environment-lectures. The bar graph gives an overview of the amount of CO2 emissions produced by various types of food. The scale is measured in grams CO2 equivalents per kg of the product. Not surprisingly, vegetables give very little emissions, while meat from cattle is by far worst. Cheese is the third worst, and vegetables grown in greenhouses give very high emissions compared to vegetables and fruit growing outside.

In short: a low-carb diet is disastrous for the environment. A varied, balanced diet with lots of vegetables is the key to sustainability!

lørdag 3. desember 2011

Intelligent thermostat saves energy

Now here´s something I like! The intelligent thermostat Nest is just what we need to increase the efficiency in energy consumption. By automatic, flexible systems it´s easier to reduce the need of energy for heating and cooling buildings.

In a global scale, an automatic, easily operated thermostat controlling the temperature isingenious, just like the iPhone- generation would expect. The user-friendly and esthetic design is, by the way, designed by none other than Tony Fadell. He´s the mind behind Apple´s iPod and iPhone! If revolutionizing the music industry is possible within a few years, I feel pretty confident the same should be possible in the energy sector.

torsdag 24. november 2011

Longlasting short-sightedness

The ice levels in the Arctic Sea once again lie close to the year of historic minimum, 2007. This was the year we didn´t get snow in Norway until January. We´ve had the warmest November ever, and still the snow is delaying. I feel like emphasizing the depth of nature´s connected patterns yet again, though it should be obvious. See the National Snow and Ice Data Center for more info about Arctic ice levels here.

I´m still amazed by humans ability to think incredibly short-sighted. How is it possible to ignore scientific knowledge because we have comfortable and cheap solutions within reach? How can it be so difficult to understand the need of sustainability?

It´s quite logical really, the math is pretty straight-forward. I will repeat it, just in case. It all boils down to one thing: we don´t have more than one globe. The consequence is: we can´t use more than the limited resources accessible. One plus five never equals one.

So we should use the resources available to develop sustainable solutions, which will last despite of population growth. Renewable will deliver energy for years and years ahead because we already have an unlimited power supply: the sun. In my eyes, developing yet other methods for squeezing the last drops of oil out of the already exhausted soil is madness. What we need is to think further than profit next year or decade, steering towards the "plan ahead"- mentality. Use natural and human resources for constructive solutions, not to create new problems which will delay the process more than absolutely necessary.

Global sustainability and balance is required within several fields, but perhaps most importantly concerning environment and economy. The two are closely related, so regulating one in the right direction will have positive affects on the other.

lørdag 5. november 2011

Luna Solar Energy

This is a visionary energy concept from the Japanese Luna Ring Shimizu Corporation´s researchers. The idea is to establish a giant ring of solar photovoltaic cells on the moon´s surface, to transport solar energy to the earth by microwave power transmission. I love their ability to think outside the box! Clean, concentrated energy transmitted directly from space seems like a comfortable solution to our global energy problems. 7 billion people definitely need clean energy.

There are lots of physical and ethical issues related to projects like the Luna Ring: among them the immense cost and technological challenges. Think about the initial amount of energy we would have to use for transporting all the resources and materials to the moon in the first place! And do we really trust ourselves enough to believe we would use the energy constructively where it´s needed, with no possibility of abusing the immense amounts of energy? A giant laser turned towards our own planet could lead to frightening possibilities. Who should be in charge of operating it? The richest, most populous, poorest or most prosperous country? All countries? How do we finance it, and which role would the contributors play afterwards? As in all cases where energy is involved, I believe thinking before acting would seem like a good idea.

You can read more about the Luna Ring project here.

lørdag 29. oktober 2011

Update: renewable energy in focus


Long time, no see. Well, I wanted to give you a little update again. As I said earlier, I´ve been busy studying for the past couple of months. It is a bit of a challenge, but I´m getting along all right. The best subject for me is without doubt energy and environment. It´s really exciting learning more about renewable energy! I realized I was on the right track when our professor told us Enovas book about renewable energy is part of the course. I read the book four years ago!

Take a look at the e-version of the booklet at renewable.no here

onsdag 28. september 2011

New website


Sorry for little activity lately. The studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology are indeed time consuming! I have also joined a student organization, Start NTNU. We work with innovation and entrepreneurship, great fun but quite demanding.

In addition I´ve been working on a new website together with a friend. The address is http://only1planet.info (only1planet.com and .no are also coming). It´s not finished, but in progress!

mandag 29. august 2011

Fun Science: Light

I wanted to share this video by Charlie McDonnell. I just started studying industrial economics and energy & environmental engineering, so his humourous video about science seems appropriate for the occasion!

lørdag 30. juli 2011

Thoughts after the attack

I was asked to write an article about the tragic events in Norway for
Youthkiwaaz.com, India´s largest online platform that enables youth to express themselves on critical issues. I would like to thank them for enlightening important events worldwide, and for sharing the message from the Norwegians after the attack. Hate has never solved conflicts, but open dialogue and love will never lose its power!

The Survivors´ Message: Love and Solidarity Is Our Answer

On Friday 22 July, Norway experienced the worst peacetime massacre in the modern history of our country. A massive bomb in the capital Oslo devastated governmental buildings. Then a shooting attack on the island Utøya with the governing Labour Party´s annual youth camp.

In the days since the attack, the strength, unity and clear message from the survivors leaves no trace for doubt: when disaster strikes, the importance of unity is vital.

The horrific stories after the sensless act of terror were numerous and shocking. Realizing the depth of the tragedy, it was difficult to grasp the comprehension. 76 people massacred. In Norway. A country that has been blessed with peace and political stability for the past seventy years. We have never experienced a terrorist attack.

The nightmare is like taken from the worst imaginable horror movie, with a plot too evil to see daylight. And yet this was the reality some days ago.

National grief

Since the youth at the summer camp were gathered from all over Norway, almost everybody knows someone directly or indirectly involved in the disaster. Having friends, family or acquaintances fighting for their lives in a nightmare brings the horror so close. Youth from eleven years old were shot by a desperate gunman seeking attention to his twisted perception of reality.

The grieving process has been a national event, bringing people together to an extent I have never witnessed. The warmth, support and unity shown by each and every person is overwhelming. Flowers, candles and cards in memory of the victims overflow the city centres of every town in Norway. Rose parades were arranged all over the country to demonstrate how we meet such a hateful attack.

Strong leadership

I admire how our governmental leaders, politicians and royal family have met the tragedy. Our Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has united the nation through his leadership, setting an example by saying «we are devasteted, but will not falter. With lanterns and roses we send the world a message. We will not let the fear destroy us or our values!». He held a speech right after the incident saying that terror and evil will be met with openness and democracy, emphasizing the importance of international solidarity. The heartbreaking but dignified grief is combined with a crystal clear message: our fight for democracy and humanity will continue with reinforced strength both nationally and internationally. Also, that the solution of conflicts lies in dialogue between people, religions and ideologies, not violence and hate.

The past days has left 4,9 million Norwegians in united perception: we will not let the grief destroy the pillars of our society. On the contrary, we will fight even harder for the good values we believe in.

A German newspaper described the situation like this: «Even in their deepest sorrow the Norwegians don't get hysterical. They resist the hate. It is amazing to see how politicians and the whole country reacts. They are sad to the deepest thread of their souls. They cry in dignity. But nobody swears to take revenge. Instead they want even more humanity and democracy. That is one of the most remarkable strengths of that little country»

Survivor´s message

I think one of the strongest impressions after the disaster is the way surviving youth tackled the situation. Young leaders and participants have supported each other, held moving speeches and interviews. Instead of lingering in hate, they have encouraged everyone to unite and focus on friendship, continue fighting for democracy and an open, humane society. The firm belief in humanitarian values combined with the strong leadership of our heads of state leaves no trace for doubt. The event is met with deep sorrow, but unwavering unity and increased efforts for human rights.

The message is that we cannot defeat hate with hate. As one 23 year-old survivor said: «I will not allow myself to sink to his level. Hate took the life of my best friends. With love and uncompromising solidarity we will defeat the ideologies of hate».

To protest against the terrorism and violence, the message from the survivors is also clear: use your right to vote. By doing so, we can use our chance to strengthen democracy. Open dialogue, human relations and human rights will increase the stability and understanding between nations and people.

The most powerful response

Evil exists in the world. When struck by tragic events, it is important to approach the grief with constructive response. One of the most powerful ways to reply is expressing love and continue fighting for the values we cherish by showing empathy, tolerance, unity, and respect for our fellow human beings. It´s vital to stand together in the grief, unite and comfort each other instead of tearing people further apart. Hate has never solved conflicts. As a sixteen-year old surviving girl from Utøya so beautifully expressed it: «if one man can show so much hate; think about all the love we can show together».

You can read the full article at Youthkiawaaz.com here.

tirsdag 26. juli 2011

Til minne om tragedien på Utøya og i Oslo.

Jeg ønsker å uttrykke min dypeste medfølelse og varmeste tanker til alle berørt av tragedien på Utøya og i Oslo. Ord kan ikke beskrive hvordan jeg føler, så I stedet vil jeg dele fotoserien min, "Hearts". Kjærlighet er det beste svaret vi har på et slikt meningsløst angrep. At vi står sammen i sorgen og fortsetter kampen for verdiene vi står for i Norge ved å vise empati, toleranse, samhold og respekt for våre medmennesker.

I would like to express my deepest compassion and warmest thoughts to everyone touched by the tragedy at Utøya and in Oslo. Words cannot describe how I feel, so instead I will post my photo series "Hearts". Love is the best answer to such a senslessly hateful act; that we stand together in the sorrow and continue fighting for the values we cherish in the Norwegian society by showing empathy, tolerance, unity, and respect for our fellow human beings.

mandag 11. juli 2011

St. Petersburg

I´ve had a great time in Russia so far. Currently my location is St Petersburg! It´s a gorgeous city with lots of channels, historic sites, parks and museums. After nine hectic days in Seliger, it´s good to be a tourist again! I enjoy the company of some of my new friends; we still have a lot to talk about! To sum up our experiences from Seliger, it must be: the world is moving forward, and youth all over the world will be part of the change! Sustainability is the key word in both politics, economy, entrepreneurship and innovation. And the tendency of multiple, broad educations from several fields is more relevant than ever.

torsdag 23. juni 2011

Soon in Russia!

I got my Visa for Russia a couple of days ago! The main stop will be the
International Youth Forum 2011 in Seliger. With areas of focus such as innovation and enterprise, sustainability and renewable energy, world politics, civil and social development and mass media, the result is certainly a perfect blend for useful learning! It will be wonderful to learn more and meet so many outstanding people from all over the world.

Altogether my stay lasts for three weeks, split between Moscow, Seliger and St. Petersburg. It will be an experience of a lifetime!

Photo: St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow, Russia. Photographer: dattho

søndag 19. juni 2011

Bamboo for sustainability

Bamboo may be a major contributor to the development of sustainable materials. It´s actually a type of grass, with an extremely rapid growth. Incredibly, the length can increase with up to one meter per day! This is where the sustainability of bamboo comes in: where a common forest uses 60 years to re-vegetate, a similar area of bamboo is fully grown in only 60 days.

As a great alternative to tropical timber, bamboo can re-grow where the rainforests never grow back. Another great thing is the fact of the extreme durability: bamboo is three times stronger than oak!

To give you an idea of the volumes we´re speaking about; bamboo can grow as much as 40 meters high and 25 cm thick. The hues appear from yellow and green to dark brown and black, so the application ranges from houses, furniture, paper and tools.

Here in Norway, the company Northern Light Bamboo Centre distributes goods made of bamboo.

lørdag 11. juni 2011

Solar Energy

Do you know how a solar panel actually works? The way of exploiting the energy stored in photons is quite spectacular; seemingly simple, but very complicated in a microscopic level.

The effect of a photovoltaic cell is not even close to a hundred per cent, more like sixteen to twenty. There is still lots of work to be done! The dream scenario is reaching a hundred per cent. Whether it´s physically possible is another matter... I know scientists have reached fifty in laboratories here in Norway, so we´ll get closer every day. I´m positive we´ll find even better ways of extracting the energy from sun rays in the future!

fredag 3. juni 2011

Testing an EUV in the city centre!

I have arranged an event where people can test drive an EUV (Electric Urban Vehicle, an Electric Vehicle specially adapted to urban driving) in the city centre of Trondheim. Starting twelve o´clock this Saturday and next!

The idea is to give people a chance to test an EUV in a convenient way downtown. That way people can get information about practical and environmentally friendly alternatives in everyday life, without having to take a great initiative themselves. Accessibility is the key word!

The fact that Norwegian EVs and EUVs are run by 100 % renewable energy makes them a great alternative to vehicles run by fossil fuels. With the economical advantages the Norwegian government have promoted, the total situation is in favor of the environmentally friendly alternative for transport.

lørdag 28. mai 2011

Clean energy isn´t flawless

Clean energy requires an environmental cost during production of the technology. China is one of the countries suffering most, being a major exporter resources, material and parts used in renewable energy technology for extracting wind, hydro and solar power. I was not so happy after reading an article about this issue on dailymail.com....

søndag 22. mai 2011

Conference coming up!

I have been selected as a delegate for the International Youth Forum in Russia! The event is a nine days long conference in Seliger, half way between Moscow and St Petersburg. I am a first-time visitor, so I´m thrilled at the thought of going to Russia!

The theme I chose from the conference is innovation and enterprise, with focus on sustainability and renewable energy. World politics, Civil and Social Development and Mass Media were other options.

There will be 700 students gathered from all over the world. Thanks to Facebook, we already have a discussion going. It´ll be great to meet peers with resourceful minds and ambitions for making positive change!

Visit Seliger´s website here.

søndag 8. mai 2011

The Sahara Forest Project

I read a very interesting article about the collaboration between Norway and Jordan through the Sahara Forest recently. This is an example of why I have so strong belief in international collaboration!

The Bellona Foundation, an international environmental NGO based in Norway, is involved in the project run by solar energy from the Sahara desert. The location is by the Red Sea in Aqaba, Jordan.

The target is revegetation (planting trees and greenery), water and clean electricity production. The network of natural windstoppers and roots from the plants will stop erosion and uncontrolled spreading of the desert. Simultaneously the Sahara Forest Project will produce fresh water using seawater greenhouses for destillation. The combination of concentrated solar energy and water production will provide a sustainable alternative for agriculture and biomass production.

The test- and demonstration centre is planned to be finished by 2012, and a large scale production site will be ready by 2015.

It's a very fascinating project, and a good indicator of how a green economy can be built. Industrial processes can make large-scale projects come to life in a shift towards sustainable solutions!

For more information you can click here to read Bellona's article, or visit the Sahara Forest Project's website here.

søndag 1. mai 2011

A greener everyday life

Many people ask me how to live a greener everyday life. I feel confused sometimes myself, as there's a jungle of different opinions and more or less acknowledged truths out there. What is right today might turn out to be false tomorrow, but there are some common features you can look out for and implement for a greener everyday life. Remember that the simple solutions are often the best! So this is my top five list:

1) Choose renewable energy, recycle and re-use.

- You know why. The greenest energy is the energy we don't use!

2) Travel green

- Make something useful out of your traveling. Networking and linking sustainability to traveling makes the experience so much more meaningful!
- Make international communication become global cooperation!
- Use trains, subway, local buses, environmentally certified hotels.
- Be an eco- tourist. Full time or as much as possible. Try hiking in the forests or mountains!

3) Eat green

- Vegetables, chicken and fish leave a considerably smaller ecological footprint than meat, palm oil etc. Homemade food with pure ingredients is great both for you and the environment. Want to try delicious vegetarian dishes? Try Indian or Moroccan recipes!
- Try using ecological, and/ or short- traveled food. Or maybe cultivate your own?

4) Support environmental organizations.

- I am a Rainforest Guard for instance, giving a set amount each month for preserving rainforests through the Rainforest Foundation.

5) Be creative!

- Common sense usually works. Any product, activity, or means of transport that requires energy leaves an ecological footprint. The more complex and grand, the more resources are used. Go for the simple solutions!
- Use ordinary (or organic) cooking oil mixed with lemon juice (30:1) for maintaining the
veranda, furniture etc instead of the toxic versions you can buy in stores. I tried, and it works!
- Support, live and share attitudes. Involvment is everything!

If you look at the list, notice how often an environmental approach can lead to good health and better economy. We get a tripple win situation, as everything is interlinked!

søndag 24. april 2011

Development accelerates for Electric Vehicles

The Danish magazine "Engineer" recently announced that charging an Electric Vehicle (EV) could take only five minutes in close future. A new production method makes it possible to manufacture battery electrodes that recharges several hundred times faster than today. This makes EVs a competitive alternative to today´s refilling of gas or diesel. Development is definitely in fast progress!

Researchers in Illinois, USA, recently published an article in Nature Nanotechnology. They have discovered a new manufacturing process that allows recharging 400-1000 times faster than today. 90 % full batteries would thereby take two minutes. If this technology is integrated in the commercial market, the competitiveness of the EVs have reached a new level.

I think the battle of vehicles run by hydrogen vs electricity will stand or fall on the capacity of the batteries, how quick they can recharge and the availability of raw material. I´m looking forward to seeing the progress over the next few years!

Both the Electric Vehicles I have tried are brilliant in their respective ways. Buddy (up left) is a Norwegain Electric Urban Vehicle (EUV), meaning it´s compact, energy efficient and very practical for use in cities. Tesla Roadster (right) is an EV suitable for long distance driving as well, with a range up to 340 kilometers. It originates from California, USA. The esthetic sports car is one of the world´s fastest accelerating cars, going from 0-100 km/h in 3,7 seconds. A little like sitting in a jet airplane....

Read more about the development in Nature Nanotechnology here. If you want to go deeper, you can read the story behind some central researchers here.

tirsdag 19. april 2011

Solar energy power plants

Solar energy is one of the most promising renewable resources available. The potential is enormous, exceeding any other energy resource by far, including fossil fuels. The challenge is finding a way to utilize the energy to a greater extent; today, the efficiency is only 20- 25 % of the potential. I think nano technology will contribute for new and better ways to utilize the energy from photons. Both through dust- repelling films to cover the mirrors or solar panels, and more advanced technology changes within the materials.

For quick development, it´s evident that investments in solar energy is necessary: both within research, technology test sites, production and power plants. Several countries are doing a great job to make progress. Among them are Spain and Germany, having done a great job when it comes to governmental strategies for increasing solar energy utilization. For instance the project on the image; the world´s second largest photovoltaic solar power plant. It is situated
in a former military base in Germany and was completed in 2009.

With a price tag exceeding 180 million dollars, the need of governmental subsidies are self-explanatory. However, the enormous advantages more than pay back the investments: clean energy meets the electricity needs of 10,000 households annually. The ecological footprint is low, and doesn´t increase over the decades of energy production.

Read more about the power plant here.

torsdag 14. april 2011

If anyone would like to visit Norway this summer, I can give you some "get started" advice. First of all: I recommend you to come! Whether you are Norwegian or a foreigner, Norway is a great place for summer holidays. Our country is known for spectacular nature, and the possibilities for eco- traveling are getting better every year.

Traveling in Norway is expensive, but not too bad if you plan ahead. Therefore, I´ll make this post now so you can plan towards the summer!

I recommend you to visit Visitnorway´s website here to start navigating. I think the best part is a recently launched navigation tool called "Green Travel". Here you can find all needed information for traveling, accommodation and relevant environmentally certified companies. Visit the Green Travel gate here!

There are many places to go, but among the most memorable experiences I´ve had is the Pulpit Rock. If you get the chance, I recommend you to go! It is located not too far from Stavanger in the Western part of Norway. To the left you can see me from last summer, peaking over the edge at the fjord, which lies six hundred meters further down... Whoa.

tirsdag 12. april 2011

Spiderman inspires

I wanted to write about the French climber Alain Robert, aka Spiderman. As a part of the Education Without Borders conference, he climbed the world´s tallest building Burj Khalifa for the Guinness World Record! He climbed during the opening ceremony of EWB, so that we could follow his way towards the top from our seats. When nighttime came, we could barely glimpse the tiny figure as he started closing in on the top, 828 meter above the ground. He completed the climb in windy conditions using only six hours, when the limit was set to nine.

His climb towards the top was a great inspiration. Not just the fact that he decided to go for it in the first place. It´s a typical example of setting goals everyone else find amusing because it´s got to be impossible, right? Not to mention dangerous! I admire the way he shrugs off skepticism, plans well, trusts his capabilities and reaches the target. Up left is a photo from the President´s Palace in Abu Dhabi. I was lucky enough to meet Spiderman in person during the gala dinner!

In my eyes, the climbing works as a symbol of what human beings are capable of doing. It shows that through ambitious goals, hard work, experience and never giving up, you can follow your dreams and make it happen. The principles from so many of the great presenters during the conference also went through these stages on their way towards humanitarian projects, establishing companies based on sustainability and renewable energy technologies or spreading solar energy- based lamps across Africa.

I´m aware of the stages you have to go through, the work you have to put into it and the
passion that needs to lie behind the project. The effort might seem too much to handle sometimes, but the rewards you get in the end are so much worth it! I got an impression of what Spiderman saw at midnight after completing his climb from the viewing point of the Burj Khalifa. But imagine the feeling of sitting at the 828th meter, at the very top of the world after having climbed all the way? Or the knowledge that your work has led to a better life for humans around you. That sustainability is within reach because of projects you lead, or new inventions you come up with.

I know for a fact that outstanding people all over the globe are working on global challenges every second as I write. That is maybe the greatest inspiration of all; the knowledge that we can solve problems together. We all have different qualities, so my vision is that everyone can use their strengths for positive change.

søndag 3. april 2011

Education Without Borders

For the past week I have attended the international student conference Education Without Borders (EWB) in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.
I never imagined it was possible to meet so many extraordinary people at once! The level of social and technical competence was awe- striking. Both students, organizers and presenters made a deep impression, giving me knowledge I will remember for the rest of my life.

I had an uncountable number of valuable conversations, both one by one and in groups with up to ten different nationalities. The great diversity added a dimension to the discussions I have never experienced before! With different historical, religious and cultural backgrounds, we all had a different approach to problems. We discussed the immense comprehension of the global problems we are facing, from poverty to pollution and climate change. In the end, we actually found some unbelievably creative solutions! The challenge now is to take a new step, and make these solutions become reality. So, as we leared during EWB: bless naivety and make it happen!

The students I met are hard workers, intelligent, ambitious, talkative and genuinely interested in making change for a better world. It´s been fantastic to meet so many openminded people with similar interests! I have made new friends from all over the world. 131 nations were represented at the conference, and out of 1000 students I managed to talk with maybe 300. We are already friends on Facebook, where we will keep in touch so that change becomes reality! It´s a great privilege to have access to technology that allows us to stay in touch with people accross continents so easily.

I would like to thank Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, the Higher Colleges of Technology and the organizers for hosting this outstanding event. Reaching out a hand to the world and bringing so many brilliant minds together from accross the globe is a fantastic initiative that can change the lives of thousands. It will definitely lead to innovative solutions to global challenges, just like targeted. I believe events like EWB can strengthen understanding and tolerence between nations and build bridges between religions. It inspires to working harder, reaching higher and pushing limits. But most of all, EWB has opened my eyes for the true value of comprehensive international communication and cooperation accross borders. I strongly recommend students worldwide to apply for EWB 2013, so you can experience the same!

onsdag 23. mars 2011

Home Trailer

When I became a Rainforest Guard through the Rainforest Foundation, I received this beautiful and thought- provoking film. "Home" is a brilliant movie, and I suggest you to take some time off to watch it.

"Home" is in the same category as Leonardo DiCaprio´s "11th hour" and Al Gore´s "An inconvenient Truth" (a great tip if you haven´t seen those either).

Seeing such films are necessary to get an overview of the global situation, which can be hard on a day-to-day basis. It´s easy to get lost in a narrow maze of chores and everyday routines.

It is indeed a wonderful world we live in. Watching the beautiful nature scenes makes me want to fight even harder to preserve the vulnerable ecosystems and natural habitats. For me, "Home" is a great inspiration, and I intend to make use of it.

If you would like to become a Rainforest Guard, you can go to the Norwegian Rainforest Foundation´s site here (in Norwegian mind you, I haven´t found an English version yet).

Watch the complete version of "Home" on YouTube here. It´s free, HD quality, lasts 1.33 hours.... Wow. I must say I love the web sometimes!

mandag 21. mars 2011

Etikken: green grocery store

"Etikken" is a non- profit concept store in Trondheim, focusing on social and ecological sustainability. They provide a broad range of ecological, Fairtrade and low-environment impact articles within groceries, clothing and household items.

As one of the largest and best green concept stores in Norway, I recommend you to visit Etikken if you get the chance. It´s located in the lower level in Kjøpmannsgata 51, between the two bridges across the river Nidelven.

Visit their Facebook profile here. Norwegian- speaking can also go tho their website.

tirsdag 15. mars 2011

Heroic efforts in Japan

I am deeply impressed by the way people in Japan have tackled the immense damages following the earthquake. Everyone are playing their part to make the best out of the situation, whether by action or patient contribution in any way possible. Just the fact that people choose to work instead of fleeing the cities tells you so much about the Japanese spirit. In the affected areas people walk for up to three hours to get to their work, due to the collapse in transport infrastructure. The society would crash completely and disaster relief would have been so much slower if people didn't keep going like now.

Some of the most extreme heroes still on post in their job are the 180 employees at the nuclear energy power plant in Fukushima. They are risking their lives to prevent the worst nuclear catastrophy in recent time. An ecological disaster will affect and ruin thousands of lives for decades. Balancing on the edge of a knife, the pressure on these men is extraordinarily intense. Not only regarding the fate of Japan, the global economy and natural inhabitant; but the constant threat of facing sudden death or lifelong injuries.

Sacrifice for the greater good has seldom been more visible and moving than scenes fra Japan right now. If you would like to make a donation for the cause, I recommend calling the Norwegian Red Cross at +47 820 44 00. After five seconds, 200 NOK will go directly to the Japanese Red Cross.

fredag 11. mars 2011

Earthquake and tsunami in Japan

My deepest sympathies go to the people of Japan, where a devastating earthquake hit this morning. The number of casualties passed several hundred, with thousands missing or injured. The damages are immense, both due to the earthquake itself and the following tsunami.
Such natural disasters are terribly powerful, making human lives and infrastructure seem fragile like matches in comparison. It makes me think of how vulnerable we really are; the powerlessness of the whole situation is staggering.

How do you outrun a massive ten-meter wall of solid water? How do you flee from the blocks of rock and concrete crashing over your head as the building you´re in collapses?
How do you seek refuge when everything in a ten kilometer radius will be swept clean by massive amounts of water?

The sadness of it all is that you can´t. Being at the wrong place at the wrong time will lead to an impossible trap. Only the sheer luck of a miracle is the only thing that can save you from certain death.

I hope the people in the areas that are hit will find hope in this dark situation, and glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel. My thoughts are with you!

Read more about the earthquake on BBC´s website here.

If you would like to support the disaster relief, you can call the Norwegian Red Cross at +47 820 44 000 to donate 200 NOK for the cause.

tirsdag 8. mars 2011

Solar airplanes going global

I wrote a post about solar airplanes two weeks ago. The concept is up and going with Solar Impulse, but is it possible for the airplanes to go intercontinental? As of today, the answer is: depends. In close future, I believe it is an overwhelming yes!
In order to make solar flights between continents possible, infrastructure has to be in place. Intercontinental air traffic would definitely require one or more stops with today´s battery capacity.

I imagine a
global network of solar- wind- and wave- based energy power plants placed underneath the air traffic channels between the continents. With landing spots at sea, airplanes in need of fuel (or should we say power) could make a stop to recharge the batteries with fast- charging cables.

The power plants can work independently, or be used by both ships and aircrafts. Domestic or international flights over land would recharge by using existing airports. They can produce their own renewable energy such as solar, wind or geothermal energy.

That being said, there is a little way to go before full- scale aircrafts are commercially available. The best would of course be solar panels so effective that landing would be unnecessary. Even more so because solar energy is more efficient at high altitudes, since the photons in sunlight don´t have to go through the atmosphere before they hit the solar panel. Going directly into the solar cells, a larger percentage of the photons are generating electricity.

Let´s find a way of utilizing this energy more efficiently! I´m on my way, just need a little more advanced education first...

lørdag 26. februar 2011

Future power survey and competition!

I would like to ask a favor of all readers interested in energy end environment. Would you like to contribute to changing the future? Here´s a chance I strongly advise you to grasp. Whether your background is technical or not, reading this document and answering the survey can help you making decisions regarding future studies or careers. You can even win an iPad in the process!

In Stavanger, I met Leon Prebeau-Menezes and Dan Zilnik at Statoil headquarters. Representing the World Petroleum Council Youth Committee, they are both distinguished personalities within their fields. I am deeply impressed by their knowledge, insight and ability to catalyze change in a what may be perceived as a conservative industry. They are the leading minds behind an excellent pre- read summary of possible future scenarios, followed by a survey sent out to provident and ambitious people worldwide. The results are to be presented at the World Heavy Oil Congress held in Canada in March.

The World Petroleum Council Youth Committee are making a huge effort to get a youth perspective into the congress. They will present the results of a survey they are running at the congress. With meaningful results, this could contribute in the process of influencing the future of the energy industry!

The target group of the survey is people studying or working in the petroleum sector. If you don´t, like me, I challenge you to fill in the survey based on the possibility of a future job within the industry. On my behalf, that would be possible if it means I would be able to contribute, working with projects that will influence the future to the better.

It takes about 20-30 minutes to read the pre-read and fill in the survey. Please take your time, enjoy the reading and let your thoughts come through in the survey. For anyone concerned or curious about the future, this is really great stuff to read. I found it amazingly interesting!

You can read and fill in the survey here (try copy-pasting the complete URL if you can´t access it directly: "http://www.worldheavyoilcongress.com/wp-content/uploads/CAWPC-IEA-Scenarios-Pre-Read_.pdf").

We hold the future in our hands. Use your chance to make it a good one! Good luck, and fingers crossed the iPad goes to you.

Statoil: sustainable company number one!

Forbes.com has recently published a list of the world´s most sustainable companies. Guess who ended up in the first place? Statoil! I´m a little surprised because Statoil is a Norwegian oil company. However, I´m not so surprised because I´ve been lucky enough to visit Statoil´s headquarters in Stavanger. I´ve seen some of the focus areas they lead aiming to improve the environment impact of the company and oil industry as a whole.

I came to realize that oil companies aren´t necessarily as black and white as people might think. After attending a meeting with two fantastic personalities in Statoil headquarters, I got a brief insight in the possibilities they get for working with environment related project. Working in the extractive industries can help understanding and improving the environmental and socio-economic impacts of developing natural resources.

In short: the energy sector will be dominated by hydrocarbons, even in decades to come with transition to cleaner energy. We need the immense competence and experience from people within engineering, finance and corporate strategy to be able to cope with comprehensive global challenges.

The human resources now working in the oil sector
will be part of the great effort of changing the course of the future. Even more so, some are already role models and lead the way into a more sustainable future. Both on a personal level like some of the wonderful people I met in Stavanger, and in larger scales like companies and whole industries, working hard to improve the environmental impact of energy production.

That being said, I think this attitude should be the rule, not the exception! Massive challenges are linked with production of fossil fuels, I suppose there´s no need to point at the emissions of greenhouse gases. The point is to face reality, accept where the world is headed and DO something to regain balance. We´re on the way already, but need to take some giant leaps to reach the final target.

Read more about Forbes.com´s rating here.

torsdag 17. februar 2011

Solar energy airplanes

Air traffic provides significant emissions of greenhouse gases. Because the aircraft is outstanding over long distances, I don´t think the traffic will slow down unless... we get another Eyjafjallajökull.

However, the change has already begun. Experiments with biofuels and solar airplanes like the solar airplane "Impulse" (photos) are some examples. I think we will witness an environmental revolution in the air traffic within a few decades!

I imagine that future aircraft fuel will be a hybrid of solar power and energy stored in batteries. As of today, solar cells and batteries are neither light nor efficient enough. The challenge is mainly to make batteries lightweight, with an excellent capacity for storing energy over time. The "fuel" will be both the excess energy from the solar cells and energy that is stored in the batteries before the start.

In the transition from gasoline to electricity, planes can be built as hybrid models in the same way as the hybrid cars are made today.

If enough resources and effort being put in the work of environmental technology in aircrafts, we could witness giant leaps forward in a short span of time. Just think about how fast the reduction of the computer's size and capacity developed!

søndag 13. februar 2011

Climate= Health

Climate=Health is a brilliant initiative run by the Norwegian Medical Association. It is a campaign focusing on how climate change will impact health, both worldwide and locally.

From January to March they are arranging a comprehensive competition with great prices for the winners! Suitable for everyone who has a good idea about how to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Globally or locally! Or maybe both?

If you're not so steady in Norwegian, I suggest you send in your idea in English or use Google Translate. Visit Climate=Health's website (in Norwegian) here!

tirsdag 8. februar 2011

Going to Dubai!

I am thrilled to be attending the biennial conference Education Without Borders in Dubai. It´s a great honor to be chosen as a delegate for the conference, which aims to find innovative solutions to global challenges.

I have been fortunate enough to work with three excellent engineers from the University of Calgary in Canada: Zakir, Krispin and Leon. Our paper is called "Rapid Disaster Relief Through Artificial Intelligence and Innovative Energy Supply Networks". In short, it´s about solving challenges related to disaster relief.

My expectations before my first meeting with the United Arab Emirates are high, and I have a feeling they are not exaggerated. From the start the organizers have been thoroughly professional; I´m impressed by their efficiency, quick response and elegant handling of the massive influx of requests and paper submissions for the conference.

onsdag 2. februar 2011

Stor konkurranse med Klima= Helse!

Klima= Helse er et strålende initiativ drevet av Norsk Medisinstudentforening. Kampanjen fokuserer spesielt på klimaendringenes effekt på global helse. Fra januar til mars holder de en stor konkurranse med masse spennende premier! DU kan vinne et unikt brekurs, tur til Klimaparken på Galdhøpiggen, utstyr fra North Face, kino- og operabilletter.

Både grupper og personer kan delta. Oppgaven? Finn et kreativt forslag som kan redusere utslippene av CO2. Les mer om konkurransen og innlevering her.

Det er bare å kaste seg på! Send inn et bidrag og bli med i kampen om å velges ut som månedsvinner og kanskje til og med hovedvinner. Kunnskapsrike og erfarne dommere står klare til å evaluere DITT bidrag: Einar Håndlykken (daglig leder miljøstiftelsen Zero), Hege Gjessing (leder Yngre Legers Forening), miljø- og utviklingsminister Erik Solheim og forfatter Jostein Gaarder vil kåre de endelige vinnerne.

Klima= Helse skaper engasjement rundt globale klimaendringer som får lokale konsekvenser i samfunnet. Dette er en gylden mulighet for at nettopp DINE ideer når ut til verden! Masse lykke til alle sammen. Jeg gleder meg til å se forslagene som kommer inn!

Og dere? Be the change you want to see in the world.