Saturday, December 12, 2009

Climate demonstration

Today I attended the big climate demonstration in Copenhagen with up to 100.000 other participants. I had an absolutely great time and there was an awesome and peaceful atmosphere. More than 500 organisations had organized the demonstration among which Greenpeace was a major and very visible player. As a longterm member of Greenpeace I joined their delegation which was great fun - they had the best bongo-drum band of the whole demonstration!

Starting out at the Christiansborg Parliament Square.

The front of the Greenpeace delegation.

Yours truly with a Greenpeace slogan at the end of the demonstration at the Bella Center where the Climate Conference is taking place.

Video of the Greenpeace delegation.

See the official video from Greenpeace here:


Friday, December 11, 2009

Change the future!

The World Climate Summit is currently taking place in Denmark. Our apartment is directly across Hotel Scandinavia which host the Brazilian delegation which as the fourth largest polluter of CO2 has a crucial role in the climate negotiations.

In order to remind them of their need to act now to change the future of the melting ice climbing routes (!) I am displaying a backlit Greenpeace poster on my balcony.

If you want to be part of changing the future I encourage you to take part in the peaceful Climate demonstration on December 12 at 1 PM at the Parliament Square. More than 50.000 participants are expected which will be the biggest demonstration in Denmark ever.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Home from Greenland - a mixed experience

I am back home after a 3-week trip to
Greenland, which turned out to be quite a mixture of experiences.

On the positive side, I
  • got married :-)
  • saw lots of beautiful icebergs and the Ilulissat ice fjord
  • saw wildlife (muskoxen, arctic hares, reindeer, Canadian geese, ptarmigans, snow buntings, seals and humpback whales) albeit not as much as I had expected
  • tried riding in a dog sledge
  • saw some beautiful nature scenery, which however was not as stunning as I had expected
  • experienced the hospitality of the Greenlandic people

On the negative side, I was shocked
  • seeing how the Greenlandic people trash their pristine nature. There was rubbish everywhere (both within the townships, but also after several days hike into the mountains)!
  • seeing rubbish dumps on township- and ocean borders where rubbish was burned in the open!
  • reading reports from the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources ( documenting that hunting of walruses, polar bears and some whale and bird species in Greenland is not sustainable!
  • seeing how some sledge dogs were treated disrespectfully (laying chained in mud/their own faeces without the possibility of laying on a clean and dry surface)!
  • seeing domestic drainage and fishery spillage being led untreated into nature!
I guess I have been naively misled by the nice photographs in the travel brochures and the old myth of the Inuit's living in harmony with nature. What I saw reminded me of Europe in the 80'ties when pollution was dumped directly into the oceans and we were emptying the oceans for fish etc with the slogan "out of sight - out of mind". In my view, Greenland will have to see the light and make dramatic changes - especially if they want to thrive of tourism in the future. I met several other travelers from Denmark and as far away as Vietnam who were also shocked and saddened by what they had seen.

Greenland should learn from countries like New Zealand and Spitsbergen (Norway) which have realized that they can earn more money from displaying thriving wildlife and clean pristine nature than by trashing it and killing endangered wildlife.

I came to Greenland with a lot of great expectations and left with the promise never to return. I have traveled quite a bit and haven't previously left a country with that impression......

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