Swedish zoo ends dolphin shows, plus Sweden includes overseas emissions in climate targets. West Virginia coal mines repurposed, and Australia’s aboriginal fire management mitigates climate change.
Swedish Zoo Ends Dolphin Shows, Sweden Includes Overseas Emissions in Climate Targets, West Virginia Coal Mines Repurposed, Aboriginal Fire Management Mitigates Climate Change
SWEDISH ZOO TO END DOLPHIN SHOWS
Sweden’s Kolmarden Zoo—the largest in Scandinavia—has announced the end of dolphin shows. Kolmarden opened in 1969, with a variety of animals, including dolphins. Since its opening 60 dolphins have died, experts believe as a direct result of confinement in small, indoor chlorinated tanks.
In a statement released by the zoo, its decision to eliminate the dolphin exhibit is based on an effort to focus its attention on endangered animal species. Daniel Rolke, founder of The Animal Rights Alliance in Sweden, said in an interview with DolphinProject.com, “Now I hope we can find a solution for the remaining twelve dolphins so that they may spend the remainder of their lives with some quality and dignity.”
Kolmarden currently houses one dozen dolphins, varying in age from 3 to 40 years old. With Kolmården’s decision, the Nordic countries will finally become a totally dolphin-free region.
Why does Kolmarden’s decision to end dolphin shows matter to us? First, it brings attention to the unnecessary exploitation of dolphins, often sold into captivity for profit. Second, it highlights the reality that dolphins are victims of Big Fishing. They’re routinely captured in massive trawler nets, harassed and slaughtered by the thousands annually.
SWEDEN INCLUDES OVERSEAS CONSUMPTION-BASED EMISSIONS IN ITS CLIMATE TARGETS
Last month, Sweden became the first nation on the planet to include consumption-based, overseas emissions as part of its climate targets. More significantly, Sweden has become the first nation to attempt to incorporate overseas emissions reporting to their own climate mitigation and adaptation goals.
What are overseas emissions anyway, and why should Sweden’s move matter to us? Overseas emissions are CO2 emissions derived from goods produced in one country and consumed in another. You can see how their reporting quickly becomes a complex labyrinth, not in small part because it exposes manufacturers to liability, primarily manufacturers in G-20 nations.
In an interview with Climate Home News, climate scientist Zeke Hausfather said, “Sweden adopting thistarget would hopefully set a new standard on how to address consumption emissions and spur otherEuropean countries to follow suit.”
One could argue that Sweden, a nation that takes pride in its leading position in climate change strategies, runs the risk of ruining that country’s green cred by incorporating overseas emissions in their domestic data. In fact, an organization called the Global Carbon Project calculates that around 60% of Sweden’s total emissions originate abroad and are embedded in imports.
One could also argue with this move, Sweden is upping the ante to make producers more responsible for how they make products. Associate professor Jorgen Larsson of Chalmers University of Technology added, “If we are to achieve really low emission levels, we need to make significant changes to our behavior when it comes to the goods and services.”
According to a 2021 European Investment Bank survey, 76% of Swedes are in favor of stricter government measures aimed at changing behavior patterns. That suggests that the Scandinavian country is well placed to at least trial the consumption target.
WEST VIRGINIA COAL MINES REPURPOSED
A couple of months ago, The Climate Daily reported on a British company, Lancaster Wines tapping into old, abandoned coal mines in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England to provide them energy. Perhaps Green Forests Work, a US-based non-profit tree-planting organization, heard our reporting and became inspired to repurpose abandoned West VA coal mines to become carbon sinks.
Just kidding. Green Forests Work has been doing this work since 2009. The group’s vision is to create a renewable and sustainable multi-use resource that will provide economic opportunities while enhancing the local and global environment. Its mission is to restore healthy forests and increase carbon sequestration on lands that have been impacted by coal surface mining projects.
The group works primarily in Appalachia. There forests that were first cleared for surface mining were converted into non-native grasslands after mines closed. Green Forests restoration work in the Monongahela National Forest helps reestablish habitat for numerous endemic species. Its projects create jobs for seed collectors, equipment operators, and tree planters while improving the local and global environment.
Why do the efforts of Green Forests Works matter to us? Restoring the natural habitat for wildlife, improving water quality, planting trees to capture carbon, and educating youth on sustainability.
So far, Green Forest Works has over 6,000 acres under restoration in West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest where they’ve planted over 4 million trees. Their work is part of the larger 2021-2030, UN “Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.”
AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL FIRE MANAGEMENT MITIGATES CLIMATE CHANGE
Victor Steffensen, an Indigenous Australian, started an NGO called Firesticks Alliance 2018 to teach traditional methods of burning. One of the techniques being advanced by the group is called cool burning. Cool burning fires are shorter, usually get no higher than the knee, and get less hot than summer wildfires. As these fires burn through the landscape and leave a patchwork of vegetation in different stages of regrowth, this enables a variety of habitats to develop.
According to Shannon Foster, an Aboriginal knowledge keeper, “the ash fertilizes and the potassium encourages flowering. It’s a complex cycle based on cultural, spiritual and scientific knowledge.” Australia’s northern grasslands are the largest intact tropical savanna ecosystem on Earth. The cool burns are a means to mitigate the inferno wildfires caused by longer dry seasons brought on by rising temperatures.
Why does Aboriginal fire management matter to us? Seeing Aboriginal knowledge as truth is not only right but essential to fighting climate change. And, according to The Nature Conservancy in Australia, the work of 32 Indigenous-owned and operated savanna fire projects in 2021 abated around 1.1 million tons of emissions in 2021.
The Firesticks Alliance also refers to cool burns as cultural burns. This is because in Aboriginal culture, human beings are interconnected with nature.