Tomorrow is my grandma’s birthday.
She becomes 86.
Not much more than a hundred years ago her father, Magnus, decided to move from Sweden to the promising land on the other side of the Atlantic. Actually he crossed the ocean several times during his lifetime. Part of his family stayed on the farm back home, part of it started anew “over there”. Life surely was hard on both sides.
My grandma didn’t visit USA until quite recently. And now the relatives have increasing contacts in several ways.
The journeys that Magnus did probably consumed more energy than any generation before him ever could spend in a lifetime. It was during his time on earth the oil era begun, and the use of electricity started to spread. Cars and machines slowly replaced the use of horses and muscles.
Since Magnus we have rapidly increased the use of natural resources to levels no one even could imagine a hundred years ago. And mankind adopts very fast. We get used to new conditions and hardly remember any other way of living.
Modern life seems to be defined by its hunger for energy. At least so far.
Now we see that the resources we use are not infinite and that we affect the balance when it comes to biological multitude and global climate.
Hope for the future is essential for our wellbeing, but let’s also be realistic. We have past the point of no return. It will never be possible for us to heal all the wounds we have caused our planet. So what is there to hope for? A lot!
We still can change the future for the better. We can transform the greed for materialistic welfare to a strive for actual wellbeing. We have by far passed the limit for what is needed to live happily. More of the same actually results in less quality in life, that is scientifically proved. We have to relearn – to discover what to value, and what could be relinquished. If we are more careful with our time, the use of finite resources, more focused on our hearts and relations, and wisely uses modern knowledge and technique we can make good life possible. Not only for ourselves, but also for coming generations.
The western world should rather change its lifestyle than exporting it.
In our part of Sweden, the Kalmar region, we have decided to free ourselves from fossil energy. NoOil is a motto to reach in our generation. That can be a good starting point. We all have to do this – it is a matter of survival, and when making the change we will find that we will benefit in several ways from doing it.
Our project with Climate Pilots has given families the chance to try this change of lifestyle, and many has started to discover more sustainable values. In a globalized world it seems more and more important not to let go of the local perspective. Accessibility with less transports, close relations and increasing self maintenance make sustainable societies.
Environmental issues know no borders, and so shouldn’t solidarity. Global cooperation and exchange of ideas and knowledge can make the world a better and more fair place. Therefore it is an honour for me to be a part of the initiation of the US version of Climate Pilots, not by travelling halfway around the world, but by reaching over the ocean with this far more environmental friendly opening post in the Climate Pilot Blog.
To me this is a manifestation of needful cooperation beyond borders. I really look forward to following the experiences and results the Climate Pilots in Washington D.C. will bring about.
You are able to make a change!
My best wishes to you, and to all of us
Jonas Löhnn, City commissioner in the Municipality of Kalmar, Sweden