Blog by Eva Skårner, Advocacy Coordinator for Soroptimist International Sweden Union, and SI delegate at Stockholm+50.
“This meeting hit my mind like a wall, both in a good and happy, but also sad and bad way. It was great to see that a meeting could gather so many experts and representatives from so many countries, but were they the ones who can make the real decisions and changes?
Most of the sessions and speeches were great. John Kerry, Antonio Guterres, Magdalena Andersson were some of the over 200 speakers. Here’s my summary of some of the remarks:
- New technology has come far, but of which cost? Microsoft’s new office and server hall in Staffanstorp Sweden, use as much electricity per year as normal size city. Sweden has already shortage of electricity.
- Mining and extraction of metals and minerals for battery production destroys and poisons the ground water.
- Countries like China and India with a total of nearly 3 billion of people, are still under development and need more and more energy. They want to open up more charcoal mines and built more coal power plants. Those two countries have also most of the investors.
- The large international banks, enterprises and cooperation companies were not represented either 1972 or now.
- Men are still the mayor owners of companies and land, meaning: When more women are represented and more women are owners, we will also have a voice.
- The lack of higher education in underdeveloped countries for rural and indigenous people, especially girls, is a great obstacle for the future environmental work.
- Media has already stopped posting new articles about the meeting…. Does it mean that the readers are not interested? Was the meeting in vain?
- Unfortunately, Doomsday propaganda tends to make people irritated and making them do the opposite
- Everyone praised cooperation’s like EU. EU´s regulations tend to not help the environment. Farmers in Sweden gets entitlement to aid for not farming and cultivate their fields, meanwhile countries like France and Spain get aid to increase their farming. Instead of buying local produced food supplies Sweden is forced to buy quotes from other countries. Our own regulations make it also difficult for small farmers to survive. For example, pig breeders make more profit transporting the animals to Poland for slaughter and then import the meat back to Sweden.
- About eco friendly and sustainable consumption: It should not be cheaper to buy new items instead of repairing the old ones.
- Did you all know that if we didn´t produce or drink any carbonated soft drinks and water, we would reach the SDG goals for carbon dioxide?
Most of my remarks above can easily be optimised and changed for the better if Governments and decision makers could introduce international laws, regulations, and policies valid for all countries. The policies and laws should also motivate for development and not put up too much hinder for investors. New eco-friendly inventions and investments in green industry should be made lucrative for investors. We need to have the finance sector, stakeholders and shareholders with the movement, not against it.
Listening to many of the over 2,000 attendees, sharing the same words, quoting to the same speech (Olof Palmes speech from 1972), seemingly handing over all responsibility for financing environmental work to the finance sector and landowners, made me feel uneasy. We are all in this, and we share equal responsibility for our world and nature. We have to stop being individuals, start listening to each other and work as a team, all of us.
We also can´t preach in one second, and then next turn in to consumers. So to the final reflection:
All attendees got a gift, a reusable water bottle! So far so good….
- The bottle was made from aluminium (guess how many plastic bottle or preferable glass bottles you can make with the same amount of energy)
- Made in China (transported all the way to Sweden)
- They preached about reducing consumption
- The bottle can´t be used for carbonated drinks
- Can you believe what kind of water they served in the water dispenser…? CARBONATED!”