Environmental Challenges in Scandinavia

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2004

Scandinavia is blessed with vast uninhabited landscapes, and a small, environmentally-aware population who recycle, have a passion for bicycles and public transport, and see their countryside as a national asset that must be protected.

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In December 2009, Oslo received the distinction of the third greenest city in Europe (after Copenhagen and Stockholm). Always aware of the wealth of their fisheries, water and fossil fuels, the Norwegians were among the first Europeans to feel concerned by the protection of the environment. Beyond the postcards of mountains plunging into the sea, fjords and spectacular northern lights stands a modern country that strives to protect its natural heritage.

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Although there are challenges in Scandinavia, Scandinavia’s environmental record puts the rest of Europe to shame. Stockholm was designated Europe’s first Green Capital in 2010, Sweden plans to be carbon-neutral by 2020, and Norway by 2030.

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Scandinavian nations invest heavily in their clean environments, and Sweden tops the list for Northern Europe. Count clean energy sources, efficient public transportation (like green-friendly rail networks) and top notch health care as reasons for the high ranking.

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Sweden and Norway are backing a green free trade agreement that will open up trade in environmentally friendly products. The agreement was signed last January in Davos by the EU, the US, China and Japan, along with a number of other countries that agreed to move ahead with the initiative to promote green trade.

Norway is a land known for its natural beauty and glorious fjords, but they keep it pristine with their public policy. That dramatic scenery is an invaluable national treasure which is well protected by progressive environmental legislation across the board!

Løv Organic has created a range of 22 high quality organic packed whole leaf teas that are both irresistible and environmentally friendly. The tea is french, but inspired by Scandinavia.

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The Swedish artist Carina Björck has hand painted all pillowcases with environmentally friendly watercolours.

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Wind supplies 20 percent of Denmark’s electricity, and the world’s biggest solar power station is on the island of Aero.

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There are some headaches though. Nitrogen run-off from Sweden’s southern farmland contributes to Baltic Sea pollution and in Denmark, overfishing is a serious concern. The demands of a greedy 21st century are seen most clearly in Greenland, whose melting icecaps and stranded polar bears are shorthand for global warming.

In 2010 oil reserves were discovered in Baffin Bay; and Greenland’s first aluminium smelter will open this year.

Denmark and Norway have no nuclear power stations. Sweden is reassessing its following the failure of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant in 2011.