Every Sinner has a Future…

Although I live in a country (Finland) where WWF’s Earth Hour every year falls onto a date when it is already so light outdoors that you do not need any artificial lights, I have in my heart and in my mind celebrated Earth Hour for as long as I can recall WWF having started its campaign for spreading awareness about important topics including environmental wellbeing and the protection of animal species, which all are under some kind of threat due to human activities on this common planet that we share.

 

Each year, Earth Hour has been more of an ideology to me:

 

I do not need a separate Earth Hour, because since many years I aim to live in a way that harms the planet as little as possible.

 

That includes cutting down on “luxury” basically to a minimum level.

 

I sold my first (and probably last) car 12 years ago.

 

I have not used an airplane for more than four years. Not for business, nor privately.

 

I have made it my priority to consume more wisely, including my eating habits and the clothes I wear.

 

I only buy what I need.

 

I use as little electricity as possible.

 

I walk or bike most of the time.

 

I clean up the nature around me every day, 365 days a year.

 

To me, real luxury in life is to have awareness, and be conscious of what is taking place around me.

 

I am not saying that I will never again drive a car or fly around the world. That is something I have done already, in my past.

 

There is a saying: “Every sinner has a future, and every saint has a past”.

 

None of us is perfect. We all have our flaws and weaknesses.

 

As human beings, we all destroy the environment. We all consume too much.

 

But what makes a difference are those small everyday choices.

 

Make smarter choices.

 

You don’t have to give up on all “luxuries” in your life, but you can try to make small efforts to improve your way of living and your impact on this planet that we share together, with now around 7.5 billion other human beings, and millions of animal species that suffer from the consequences of human greed.

 

WWF’s Earth Hour is really not about turning off the lights for one hour per year.

 

It is about turning on your inner light for 8750 hours per year, and for becoming increasingly conscious of what needs to be done for the well-being of our environment.

 

Anne-Maria Yritys 29.3.2019

 

Chanterelle Season. Anne-Maria Yritys 2018.

What is The Climate Impact of Food Production and Agriculture?

When I first started to replace specific meat products in my regular diet many years ago, my decision was not based upon the impact of food (and meat) on the environment or the fact that the production of specific products (such as cheese and beef in particular) have a far greater impact on our environment than many other options of food that can replace an excessive consumption of food products with a heavier CO2 footprint. I moved away from using certain meat products due to the fact that I thought these would be healthier options, such as using textured soy protein granules instead of minced meat when cooking at home. As opposed to minced meat, the consistency of soy protein granules is far less fatty (0,8g fat/100g) and includes much more proteins (53g/100g).

It has been delightful to notice how the out-of-home and retail food markets for instance in Finland have developed in recent years, with more and more vegetarian or even vegan product launches from traditional “meat brands”. While meat consumption per capita in Finland and in Europe is still very high (Eurostat 2019), meat consumption per capita is slowly decreasing although the European Commission forecasts a growing world demand for meat by 2025 while at the same time seeing a slight decline in the GHG´s  (greenhouse gas emissions) caused by meat production and consumption in the EU.

According to both EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in the USA and the EC (European Commission) in Europe, agriculture alone accounts for between 9-10% of all global greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide CO2 and methane CH4, whereas industry, electricity and transportation today all account for between 20-30% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Although agriculture alone accounts for “only” around one tenth of all global greenhouse gas emissions as per today, it is a fact that industrial agriculture and animal farming require both electricity and transportation in addition to the fact that industrial agriculture/farming with poor land, waste and water management practices in reality cause far more harm to our environment leading to changes in not only landscapes around the world but also impoverishment and erosion of soils.

This is a far too complex issue to be addressed in one article, although an idealist could state that in an ideal (utopian) world we should all be growing our own food on small plots of land and give up the idea of any commercial food production or industrialized agriculture and farming. People would consume increasingly much fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and less (or zero) animal products, including any dairy or meat.

With a growing number of vegetarians and vegans around the world and many developed countries focusing upon a growth of overall food consumption from close food production (i.e. a food chain whereby the food has been produced locally), urban farming and other ideological attempts to reduce one´s carbon footprint (or, more precisely: greenhouse gas footprint since carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas) through eating habits, this ideology of a utopia has become a reality for consumers who know better and who try to save the world or perhaps themselves through better choices both in terms of personal health, the well-being of animals and the well-being of our environment.

However naive idealists may be in their attempts of saving a collapsing world or a collapsing environment, it is a fact that our current way of living on this planet is unsustainable. People in developed countries are consuming at a rate where we would need at least three or more planet Earth´s although we actually live on the only planet of this capacity in our entire galaxy, and no one has yet managed to find another planet in the entire Universe where all of humanity can pack their bags and move if and when we manage to destroy our current ecosystem, a good and realistic possibility and a vision in the upcoming few decades if we keep destroying our home planet at this rate.

 

There is no Planet B.

If you are unsure about what actions you can take in terms of protecting the environment and our only home planet, start by searching “carbon footprint calculator” on the Internet. I would rename all existing carbon footprint calculators to “greenhouse gas emission footprint calculators” due to the somewhat misleading name, since carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas that has a negative impact on our environment, causing us humans to change the Earth´s climate through the greenhouse effect, where all greenhouse gas emissions combined form an artificial greenhouse that is year by year warming the Earth´s atmosphere unless we manage to stop or even reverse this development and which is the reason behind the Paris Agreement from 2015.

One very simple way of individual climate and environment action is to start eating and consuming for instance food products in a wiser manner. Cut down on (red) meat consumption, and cut down your overall consumption of dairy products. Eat more locally produced food. Eat at least half a kilogram of fruits and vegetables every day (good for your personal health too). Replace some of your meat consumption with vegetarian or vegan alternatives. Eat a handful of nuts or seeds (unless you have an allergy of course) on a daily basis. Do not throw away food or if you do, please see if you can place it in the biodegradable waste. Improve your overall recycling habits. If recycling in your home city/country is at a poor or non-existing level, do something about it! There are many business opportunities involved within for instance the recycling sector, such as using certain waste materials to produce energy and heat.

Anne-Maria Yritys 16.2.2019.

All rights reserved.

 

GCC Think Act Tank cover 2019

Sustainability is a Matter of Wise(r) Choices

During this era of climate change awakening and a realization of what is going on in terms of climate change and environmental destruction around the world, it would be very non-kaizen not to individually contribute to increasingly much sustainable economic development. Kaizen is Japanese, and can be recognized as one of the basic ingredients for the success of Japanese products on the world market. Not only the term, kaizen is actually a life and business philosophy of continued improvement, personal development, and efficiency.

 

Implementing kaizen into one’s personal life, and business, is simple. Since radical change is often challenging for anyone, methodologies such as kaizen can be implemented as a part of both personal life values and core business values. Leading an increasingly much sustainable life both in business and privately does not mean that we have to give up on everything or drastically change our consumption habits. We can, however, contribute by reconsidering our consumption and through changing some habits. For many businesses worldwide, sustainability already is a competitive advantage and at the very core of the brand. 

 

Environmentally healthy choices are in fact often better for our health too, such as biking (exercising) more, using public transportation instead of sitting for hours in traffic jams (which is very stressful), eating less red meat, eating less cheese and so on. Many people today go vegan and protest all animal farming. It is up to each one of us to decide how far we are willing to go. Even small changes matter. Instead of eating beef every day, why not just once or twice per week and consider some other options, such as having one vegetarian day per week, or replacing beef with chicken or fish. Letting go of old habits can be extremely difficult, especially if the change is forced upon us or if we are unwilling to change.

 

The bigger the change, the more important it is to take baby steps and not to force yourself or other people to change. Guilt-tripping only makes things worse.

Nevertheless, considering the fact that the vast majority of world population cannot even afford buying meat, it may be helpful in understanding that to many people, meat is in general a luxury product that they cannot afford. And while overweight has become a larger problem worldwide than hunger and malnutrition, millions of people in this world actually go hungry every day and do not get all the essential nutrients such as proteins and different vitamins.

 

Except for Europe and North America, the whole world has been eating insects as a part of culture. Not until recent years have insects made their way to European tables, supermarkets, and restaurants too. Food is one of the biggest single anthropogenic factors worldwide contributing to an increase in CO2 and methane levels. 

 

Some people and sources claim that it is too late to plant trees and vegetation to stop human-caused climate change and to prevent CO2 levels in the atmosphere from increasing. 

 

I disagree.

 

Now, more than ever, do we need to plant more gardens, more trees and more vegetation to save this planet from toxicity. Trees and plants play a significant role in the environment, absorbing large amounts of CO2, helping the environment to stay cooler than it would without any greenery or trees, and helping the environment to prevent for instance erosion. 

 

In his book “*Puukirja: puut osaratkaisuna maailman nälän ja ilmastonmuutoksen ongelmiin” (1997, Ympäristö ja kehitys), Finnish author Risto Isomäki writes about the importance of various trees not only as a source of protection for our Earth, but also as a source of food and nutrition to population all over the world. [Note:*”The Book of Trees: trees as a part of the solution to world hunger and the problems caused by climate change” (1997, Coalition for Environment & Development). The original text is in Finnish, and I have not found an English translation of this book].  

 

In terms of climate change and sea levels rising, the numbers for sea levels rising are announced very moderately and optimistically by mainstream media, meteorological institutions and research institutions perhaps since it is a) unsure how much sea levels will actually rise, if global average temperatures rise by more than an optimistically calculated three degrees Celsius (six degrees Celsius in certain regions on this planet can be more realistic unless global warming is stopped); b) the media or any scientific institutions do not want to cause panic which is understandable although the purpose and goal of quality journalism is to produce reliable information and stick to realism rather than to paint overly optimistic pictures to an audience wearing rose-colored glasses.

 

Rising sea levels are a threat to hundreds of millions, or even billions of people worldwide. A vast majority of the human population live in densely inhabited coastal areas, and coastal cities around the world are already preparing for rising sea levels. One of the main problems is that no one knows for sure how much sea levels will rise, and how fast it will take place. Due to a number of scientific factors, sea levels may rise in different proportions in various locations around the world.

 

The consequences of human-caused climate change are real and felt all around the world, in all industries and by every human being and animal.  

 

For instance in Finland much of specific crop was lost due to excess rainfall in 2017. A year later, in 2018, up to 40% of all crops was lost due to drought. Similar problems are being reported from many geographical regions worldwide. I saw with my own eyes how the environment suffered from drought just within a few weeks of time. Dead plants, trees and vegetation in forests and everywhere in nature. This is something you cannot see if you never or rarely spend time in nature, but the difference was huge e.g. in comparison between 2017 and 2018. To understand the effects of human-caused climate change and destruction does not require much more than common sense, but it is of course helpful to be interested in what is happening to our environment. 

 

If climate change is already endangering food security and food availability, imagine what will await us within a few years from now, if this development continues. The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) emphasizes in its updated strategy from 2017: We have a window of opportunity to act in terms of food security, but we must take action now.

 

Sustainable economic development is in fact no longer simply a choice, but a necessity, around the world. The sooner this is realized and concrete actions are being taken by ALL citizens, all governments, and all businesses worldwide, the better will we be able to cope with what this world will turn into in the upcoming decades. Although some people think it is too late to do anything, there is always hope and we can always do our best in terms of contributing to sustainable economic development on this only home planet that we have.

 

Anne-Maria Yritys 11.2.2019

 

All rights reserved.

 

Global Climate Change Think & Act Tank

What Do You Know About The Global Renewable Energy Market?

Worthwhile to notice that IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) is not recognizing nuclear energy as a source of renewable energy.

 

Renewable energy sources include hydropower, marine energy, wind energy, solar energy, and bioenergy: solid biofuels and renewable waste, including renewable municipal waste, other solid biofuels, liquid biofuels and biogas, although much of bioenergy can be problematic for instance since more and more forests are being cut down in order to produce biofuels.

 

Growing (eatable) crops in terms of biofuel production does not make any sense in a world where the vast majority of all land has already been overexploited and has thus suffered from intensive farming, in addition to the fact that immense amounts of forests around the world are being cut down daily just in order to expand production plantations for biofuels. This is very short-sighted, and unsustainable.

 

According to a number of sources, including The Guardian, one football pitch of forest is being lost EVERY ONE SECOND (2017)!!!

 

That makes 31.536.000 football pitches of lost forests worldwide every single year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Needless to say, this is extremely unsustainable, especially if and when these land areas are being used solely for the production of biofuels.

 

Anne-Maria Yritys 5.2.2019.

 

Read more at IRENA: Renewable Energy Statistics

 

How Can You Take Climate Action?

 

Combating climate change is not a political decision, although we could demand and hope for more concrete actions from politicians in order to prevent human-caused climate change and the increase of dangerous emissions such as CO2 and methane in our Earth’s atmosphere.

 

Combating anthropogenic climate change is a matter of personal choices in your everyday life.

 

How can you as an individual contribute to sustainable development and fight human-caused climate change?

 

Here are some examples:

 

  1. Learn more about what causes anthropogenic climate change and the destruction of our environment.

 

  1. Teach and share your expertise with others so that other people can take action in terms of climate change and environmental damage.

 

  1. Learn more about what various associations and global movements do in order to prevent anthropogenic climate change and environmental damage. These include organizations such as the WWF, Greenpeace, Maan Ystävät ry, Ympäristö ja kehitys ry, Ilmastovanhemmat, Global Climate Change Think & Act Tank etc. There are many organizations and nonprofits that work for good causes in terms of the environment and human-caused climate change.

 

  1. Get familiar with the climate policies of your own home country, and on a communal level. Learn more about EU climate policies. Learn more about global climate policies. Learn more about intergovernmental organizations such as UNEP and the IPCC.

 

  1. Learn more about different climate-related and environmental agreements, for example the Montreal Protocol, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement. Reflect upon the meaning of these agreements in your personal life, in terms of your home town/city, and in your home country.

 

  1. Do not expect other people or governments to solve environmental or climate change-related problems for you. Take action, at least in your personal life. If you are unable to lead change in your personal life, how can you expect other people on this planet to be interested in a climate-friendly life on Earth? Do not wait for other countries or even your own country to take action in terms of climate change. Political decisions are often too slow. Before politicians are capable of changing laws, our planet has already been destroyed.

 

  1. Innovate

 

  1. Recycle

 

  1. Consume less, and with more reason.

 

  1. Eat less, and with more reason.

 

  1. Decrease meat consumption. Become a vegetarian. Become a vegan.

 

  1. Decrease your usage of personal cars. Bike more. It is useful for your health as well.

 

  1. Stop using a car at all, if possible. Use public transportation or a bike. Walk as much as you can.

 

  1. Buy forest and invest it wisely. Plant trees.

 

  1. Buy sustainable products. Reuse and repair old clothes and products. Do not buy new things just for the sake of buying.

 

  1. Reduce your home temperature moderately. Even one degree makes a huge difference in terms of energy consumption.

 

  1. Sell service and expertise instead of useless products. Our world is already full of useless products and services that no one actually needs.

 

  1. Protect the climate and the environment in many ways, through smart decisions.

 

  1. Understand that you alone cannot change or save this world.

 

  1. What would you add here?

 

The word is free:

 

 

How Ecological is Your Food?

 

No one should be able to afford throwing food away but if you do, please remember to sort it separately as BIODEGRADABLE WASTE. Recycling is a MUST for all of us these days.

 

Throwing away food in a world where millions of people starve each year is a matter of poor choices and ignorance rather than a lack of food worldwide. With more than 7 billion inhabitants on our planet today, food for at least 10 billion people is produced, much of which is being thrown away.

 

Biowaste when ending up in landfills, unprocessed, causes methane emissions which in turn cause climate change and is a greenhouse gas at least 30 times as powerful as carbon dioxide (CO2) in the short run.

 

The Finnish Church in Tampere is setting an example by organizing free-of-charge ECOLOGICAL BRUNCHES from surplus/residue food products that have remained unsold by local supermarkets.

 

Today for instance oven-baked salmon, graved whitefish and many vegetarian/vegan dishes were served to citizens. Unless the church would arrange these ecological brunches, all of this food would most probably have been thrown away.

 

#ecobrunch #surplusfood #povertyreduction #climatechange #recycling #biowaste #foodsafety #socialresponsibility #churchinfinland #foodbanks #CSR

 

 

 

What Are Climate Change “Hot Spots”?

Most exotic visitor at annemariayritys.com so far this month: someone from American Samoa.
 
What do you know about American Samoa, or about geography in general?
 
American Samoa may be one of the many islands worldwide that will suffer from sea levels rising within upcoming decades/this century.
 
No one knows for sure how much sea levels will rise in different parts of the world, but many inhabited islands are at risk of becoming non-habitable.
 
Moreover, at least 60% of world population lives in coastal regions that are equally much vulnerable to sea levels rising. This is why coastal cities are called “climate change hot spots”.
 
In addition, the vast majority of our world´s currently around operating 450 nuclear plants are located in lowland coastal areas, making them extra vulnerable to e.g. sea levels rising and/or tsunamis:

What Are Climate Change Hot Spots?

Most exotic visitors at annemariayritys.com so far this month: someone from American Samoa.

 

What do you know about American Samoa, or about geography in general?

 

American Samoa may be one of the many islands worldwide that will suffer from sea levels rising within upcoming decades/this century.

 

No one knows for sure how much sea levels will rise in different parts of the world, but many inhabited islands are at risk of becoming non-habitable.

 

Moreover, at least 60% of the world ‘s population lives in coastal regions that are equally much vulnerable to sea levels rising. This is why coastal cities are called “climate change hot spots”.

 

In addition, the vast majority of our world ́s currently around operating 450 nuclear plants are located in the lowland coastal areas, making them extra vulnerable to e.g. sea levels rising and/or tsunamis:

 

CarbonBrief: Mapped: The world’s nuclear power plants

 

Carbon Market Definition

What is a Carbon Market?

What is a carbon market?
What are its pro’s and con’s?
 
EC. Climate Change Key Terms.
“Carbon market = Trading system through which countries may buy or sell units of greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to meet their national limits or emissions, either under the Kyoto protocol or under other agreements”.
 
#climateaction #carbonmarket
 
Mitä tarkoittaa hiilimarkkinat?
Mitä hyötyjä/haittoja hiilimarkkinoista on?
 
#ilmastotoimia #hiilimarkkinat
Paris Agreement 2015/Art. 12.

How Can You Act Upon The Paris Agreement?

The time to act is NOW.

 

Less empty words => more concrete actions.

 

Paris Agreement 2015/Art. 12:

 

“Parties shall cooperate in taking measures, as appropriate, to enhance climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information, recognizing the importance of these steps with respect to enhancing actions under this agreement”. (Paris Agreement 2015; United Nations 2015 Adoption of the Paris Agreement).