Oslo’s transition from car-focussed to people focussed transportation is well underway and is causing ripples around the world. Other cities are noting how the scandinavian city works with locals to get them out of their cars and onto the streets. Last year we saw how they started to ban cars downtown and it benefited everyone. Oslo is now full tilt into supporting bicycles by providing infrastructure to encourage cycling in hopes to get people out of cars and fully packed trams. If Oslo can support year-round cycling then there’s no reason other northern cities can’t do the same.
In addition to population pressures, environmental concerns are also driving the city’s newfound commitment to bikes. Norway may be famous for its pristine fjords and forests—it doesn’t take long for Aas and I ride to hit Oslo’s thick pine-tree edge as we ride along the water—but air quality in its cities can be remarkably poor, thanks to winter temperature inversions. According to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, air pollution causes 185 premature deaths in Oslo alone each year. Transport accounts for more than 60 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. Replacing more car trips with bikes would help clean that up, and in other cities too. This is why Norway is endeavoring nationally to reduce car use and fossil fuel consumption, with huge incentives for electric vehicles and a nearly $1 billion investment in bike highways around the country.
Norway will soon see a fully autonomous ship navigating its waters. A resource company in the country presently uses trucks to transport fertilizer from one port to another, the new ship will replace 40,000 of these diesel truck journeys. The ship is battery powered meaning that it will be zero emission if electricity comes from a renewable resource. The autonomous aspect of the ship means it can run at anytime while improving transportation safety by not needing trucks to go through normal streets. Autonomous technology is already used in the shipping industry to move containers around in port, so it’s only logical that more of the shipping industry operates independently.
“As a leading global fertilizer company with a mission to feed the world and protect the planet, investing in this zero emission vessel to transport our crop nutrition solutions fits our strategy well. We are proud to work with KONGSBERG to realize the world’s first autonomous, all-electric vessel to enter commercial operation,” says Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of YARA.
“Every day, more than 100 diesel truck journeys are needed to transport products from YARA’s Porsgrunn plant to ports in Brevik and Larvik where we ship products to customers around the world. With this new autonomous battery-driven container vessel we move transport from road to sea and thereby reduce noise and dust emissions, improve the safety of local roads, and reduce NOx and CO2 emissions,” says Holsether.
Online commentators that only have the goal of bothering other people may soon find that their goal is harder to achieve. The Norwegian public broadcaster, NRK, has implemented a simple solution: ask commenters if they read the article. NRK has put a short (and easy) quiz on some articles that is about the content of the article itself; if you answer correctly you can comment. If you get the answer wrong you will find you can’t contribute to the comment section.
Forcing users to take a little extra time to think about the comment they’re about to post also helps them think about tone, NRKbeta editor Marius Arnesen said. “If you spend 15 seconds on it, those are maybe 15 seconds that take the edge off the rant mode when people are commenting,” Arnesen said.
NRKbeta is one of the few sections within NRK that actually has a comment section, and the blog’s dedicated readership has built a community in the comments and typically has pretty positive conversations, Grut and Arnesen said.
However, when NRKbeta stories — such as the story on digital surveillance — are placed on the main NRK homepage, they attract readers who aren’t regulars, which can bring down the level of conversation.
Winter can be tough for some people. If you are a person who feels down and out during the colder months there is an easy thing you can do to improve the season: change your attitude. Seriously. Recent research into how Norwegians relate to winter can help you in the times of snow.
Don’t deny the troubles of winter, instead, think about all the great things winter brings.
Most likely you can’t cross-country ski straight out of your house, and while Norwegian sweaters may be catching on, restaurants and coffee shops in more temperate climates don’t all feature the fireplaces and candles common to the far north. Still, there are little things non-Norwegians can do. “One of the things we do a lot of in the States is we bond by complaining about the winter,” says Leibowitz. “It’s hard to have a positive wintertime mindset when we make small talk by being negative about the winter.”
Deforestation is killing the planet and has been linked to the current ebola outbreak. Still, many places (Canada included) cut down hectares of land as if it’s nothing. Norway is apparently sick of tho attitude and has made a deal with Liberia to protect their woodlands.
“We have funded efforts in Indonesia and Brazil, but I think this is the first time we have entered a deal on a country level.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Norway will help Liberia to initially build up the capacity to monitor and police the forests.
Liberia will refrain from issuing any new logging concessions until all existing ones have been reviewed by an independent body.
The country agrees to place 30% or more of its forest estate under protected area status by 2020. It will also pilot direct payments to communities for protecting the forest.