Commitment

One of the characteristics of Lars T Fadnes, is a strong commitment for various topics. This includes environment and climate, global development and equity.

Climate changes is not only about temperatures itself, but about our future and life – both for humans and for other living creatures. In order to inform the society about consequences of climate change, the ‘Norwegian network on climate and health’ has been established, where I am one of coordinators and founders. To read more about this, visit the web pages of http://english.klimaoghelse.com.

The Norwegian network on climate and health is publishing an electronic journal with the name Bærekraftig helse (Sustainable Health) where I am the editor. To visit the journal, go to http://tidsskrift.klimaoghelse.com

After having seen several of the Norwegian political parties who claim to focus on environment have failed to keep their promises, I realised that green politics is also necessary to have a good and a sustainable future. To see more about the Norwegian Green Party, visit http://www.mdg.no/politikk/.

Even if politics is important, our actions as individuals is just as essential. The climate and environment challenges cannot be solved by some few alone, but will require that we all put our efforts together and change our life style. Personally, I have tried to adopt my life style to be as environment friendly as possible. This includes using green transportation as biking and walking, and public transportation over larger distances. I also try to reduce my flights as much as possible. A vegetarian diet is also a good way to reduce both the carbon footprint as well as not treating animals as meat factories, but rather as living creatures with their own value. A vegetarian diet also has health benefits including lower risk for cardiovascular morbidity, less problems with overweight and obesity, lower risk for diabetes – just to mention some. Eating vegetarian food will require much less of the land and resources than eating meat, and will make it possible to have enough food for all people – in contrast to if people ate meat in the amounts which is consumed in many high-income countries. Read more about vegetarian diet from this link.

Today’s society is dominated by a consumption that is threatening both the environment and climate. Still, it is possible to opt out of the consumption spiral. The following verbs summarise an alternative way of thinking: refuse (to buy), reduce (consumption), re-use, recycle and bicycle.

Do we all need all the stuff that are available including egg timers, electric tin openers? Do we need to print out all the documents? Why buy new plastic bags from the supermarkets when re-usable alternatives are just as good for us and better for the environment? Why not try to make best use of the waste through thorough recycling to turn it into a resource rather than only waste disposal? And why not buy clothes etc from second hand shops rather than buying everything new? If you would like to see an eye-opener about consumption, you can take a look at http://storyofstuff.org/.

The ubuntu- philosophy with its roots in the Southern part of Africa is summarising my way of thinking. This philosophy is grounded in the fact that we are all part of a larger community, and the commuity is the focus rather than the individuals – a bundle of sticks are much stronger than a single stick. Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu are two examples of people living in line with this philosophy.

‘We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.

– Desmond Tutu

If you would like to hear more about the ubuntu philosophy, the following one minute presentation can be recommended:

Today much energy is used to avoid innovations and knowledge to benefit all people. This is true for both medicines, program development and new knowledge to mention a few examples. Patent regulations are in many cases the obstacles for medicines to reach the people who would need them most. Does it really need to be like that? There are already good alternative systems to both reach those who need new developments most as well as giving good incentives for innovation. The Health Impact Fund is probably one of the best alternative strategies to the current system with numerous advantages both for the societies as well as the innovators. To read more about this, follow this link.

Knowledge is also an essential resource that should be available for everyone. This can be done through Open Accesspublishing of scientific work, make knowledge available as Creative Commons, and to use Open Sourcestrategy for programming. Wikipedia, PLoS, BMC (biomedcentral) are all good examples on this, not to forget the gold mine of programs among the Linux operative systems, as for example Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a top quality operative system both with regards to user friendliness, an almost uncountable number of high quality programs available for free, excellent performance as well as much smaller risk of virus- and worm-infections than many of the alternatives that people pay money for. If you haven’t yet realised the potentials of Ubuntu, why not take a look on the following web page: http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/why-use-ubuntu

Much suffering and many problems are today grounded in inequity and injustice. It is not only a moral imperative to improve the conditions for the poorest, but also a necessity to could for a good, safe and sustainable future. To work with international health and have the opportunity to contribute to development for poor societies feels like a privilege and a big responsibility. Much good work is today done by various organisations, but much of the overarching work is characterised by the interests of single nations rather than what is best for all. Of this reason, I believe it would be a better world with a strengthened and democratic United Nations without the impediment of nations having a right to veto. If this should happen, people in many nations will need to require this change.

In the spirit of sharing, we are two researchers from Centre for International Health that have started the initiative ideabasket.org to share good research ideas. Ideas will be published on the web pages as Creative Commons and all are free to share, brain storm, and to be inspired and put good ideas into action. Many could have a great advantage of this forum, and you are warmly recommended to visit http://ideabasket.org.

The following two minutes clip is fascinating and can be warmly recommended:

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