Can we change the world?

The Norwegian dilemma

I sat down and wrote my regular column for a Norwegian newspaper the other day. I wrote about how we are in a post honeymoon-phase at the moment. That is a phase where you see all the things that are not like at home. You kind of find arguments for why things should change here in order for yourself to feel more comfortable living away from home. I wrote about how it is so much easier for us to live an environmentally sustainable life back in Norway. How clearly we now see how lucky we are to belong to the Norwegian welfare system.

Beach in Amed
Searcing for seashells on the beach of Amed

The irony of being Norwegian

Ironically, as I wrote the column I simultaneously kept grappling about the backside of that story. The backside is that the Norwegian system and wealth is built on dirty money. The fact that we have been able to build up an infrastructure that allows each and every Norwegian to sort their garbage, eat healthy and organic, receive healthcare for free and go to school, just to mention some. All that comes from a wealth built up from extracting and refining oil. Oil that turns into all the plastic I now see as trash all over the beautiful island of Bali. Oil that is used as fuel for all the vehicles, boats and airplanes that constantly release the carbondioxide that eventually will kill us.

Mother Earth doesn`t need us humans you know, but we need her resources and we need her to behave the same way she has done since the rise of human beings!

-And the money we earn; we spend them on more fuel, air tickets, low quality items, disposables and non sustainable products like cheap, synthetic clothes and tons and tons of (red) meat. All of which add tremendously to the carbon footprint of each and every one of us.

Waterfall in Bali
Bali`s waterfalls are stunning

Heading towards the point of no return

The global warming of this planet is galloping towards a point of no return. Once we`ve reached a certain point there is no longer a chance in the world we can stop the polar ices to melt. The less white surface there is on the planet (snow/ice), and the more dark surface there is (soil/water), the less of the sun`s energy will be reflected back to the universe. The energy will rather be soaked up and add to the global warming. Once that point is reached, and we have ten years to avoid it, there is no way we will be able to make the water freeze back to ice. In other words; at that point we`re screwed.

Bali mountain
Bali lush nature is beautiful- and our impact on it is unfortunately huge

-And fact is; Norway is a major contributor to that. The carbon footprints of the Norwegians are amongst the highest in the world. We release the same amount of CO2 from our oil and gas production as we do from transportation! Not to forget what the oil will produce of plastic pollution or carbon emission once refined and turned into plastic or fuel.

Preparing a coconut
This guy, who gave us fresh coconut to drink when we were on a hike, lives as a rice farmer. His carbon footprint is microscopic compared to mine

Feeling torn

Now that`s something I can`t quite wrap my head around. Here I am, with five years behind me working in businesses directly related to the oil business. Companies that I loved working for and which I pretty much see myself working for again. -And I benefit every day from the wealth that this business has given our country. But when people here on Bali express how lucky I am who come from a country that is such a role model for the rest of the world. Well, that is when I feel torn. Cause our Norwegian hands are dirtier than most hands in this world.

Bambu Indah
These girls with Norwegian passports won a one in a million lottery when they were born -a lotteryticket that comes with quite a backpack and responsibility

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