Tvergastein Issue #8

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Issue 8/2016






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Tr y k rkyskakk s a k

Credit: Erin Dumbauld 2



Editorial board: Robert Bergström, Antoine de Bengy, Erin Dumbauld, Kaja Elise Gresko, Benedicte Gyllensten, Erika Heiberg, Hedda Susanne Molland, Outi Pitkänen, Sarah Shrestha-Howlett, Katrina Lenore Sjøberg, Staša Stojkov and Teresia Aarskog Design: Front page photo: Namibia by Kaja Elise Gresko Printer: Grøset Trykkeri Circulation: 300 Editorial review finished: 4th of November 2016 Date of publication: 1st of December 2016 ISSN number (online): ISSN 1893-5834 ISSN number (print): ISSN 1893-5605 Tvergastein has two annual issues and is distributed for free at UiO, UMB and several other locations. A digital version can be found at our webpage: We would like to extend our sincere gratitude and thanks to our contributors as well as to our sponsors: Frifond, Arne Næss Chair, and The Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM). Address: Tvergastein, c/oSUM, Postboks 1116 Blindern 0317 OSLO E-mail: Web: Facebook: Twitter: @tvergastein The article submission deadline and theme for the next issue will be announced on our web page and our Facebook page. Tvergastein accepts submissions in two categories: Shorter op-ed pieces (2,000 - 5,000 characters) and longer articles (10,000 - 20,000 characters), in either English or Norwegian.





Editorial Statement


Travel in a Changing Climate: “It’s a Small World (After All)” Karen O’Brien


Ferie med mening Nina Jensen


Silent Passengers: The Journeys of Trees Julia Szulecka


Reisekildringer en måte å forstå verden på Anne Helness


Travel Diaries: An Approach to the Environment Through Art, Emotions and Senses Pascale Argod (French original), Antoine de Bengy and Erin Dumbauld (Translation and adaptation to English)




Running for Unity Robert Bergström


The Traveler’s Impulse Richard Hansen


Arctic Reflections Benedicte Gyllensten


Paving the New Silk Road with Green Finance: Challenges and Opportunities Wei Guo


Retracing an Ancient Route: Flatbread Society´s Seed Journey Katrina Lenore Sjøberg


An Environmentalist’s Love Affair Jonathan Frænkel-Eidse


Back-Country Travel in the Age of Constant Communication Dave Olesen


About the Contributors / Editorial Board


Letter from the Editors I

n this issue, we have something to declare: there is an environmental cost of crossing borders. Unpacking our bags and staying at home is a solution, but not a tempting one for many. By unpacking our travel impulses and motivations, we can begin to engage with travel in a different way. While collecting and reviewing articles for this issue, the many contradictions of travel dawned upon us. Three of our board members were traveling, to Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica, doing fieldwork for our master’s theses. We were collaborating on the review process via e-mail and Facebook, the distance proved no challenge in this modern day and age. In fact, about half of our board members came from other countries, including the United States, France, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland, and have travelled to Norway to be students. Last but not least, as students of environmental issues and editors of an environmental journal we are united by our wanderlust, our quest to discover new places and immerse ourselves in different cultures. We certainly all feel that twinge of guilt whenever we buy a new airline ticket. We know all too well how high the carbon footprint of one individual flight is, and realize that it is probably not enough to be vegetarian five days a week or a super-recycler when most of us take several international flights every year. The topic of travel instantly resonated with all of us, and we were all secretly hoping that this issue of Tvergastein would provide us with the secret recipe of how to travel and feel less guilty about it. We questioned whether we could reduce our travel, or whether we (and the global system) have become overly dependent on it. If we reduce our travel, do we limit our ability to gain greater perspectives and understandings of the world? Does travel help us realize the need to advocate for places and people far out of reach? Now we cannot promise to solve all your dilemmas, but invite you instead to soak up new knowledge and different perspectives from a variety of contributors. 6


Karen O’Brien’s article about travel in a changing climate tries to answer some of the above questions while reflecting on our need to travel, our desire to see places before it is too late and the consequences this has on the environment. Nina Jensen offers advice on how to make your travels more meaningful, and shares examples of conservation projects around the world. Julia Szulecka reflects on how the travel of trees has shaped our landscapes and homes, while Anne Helness’ contribution gives an analysis of the history of travel writing, focusing on the 15th and 16th centuries. Pascale Argod talks about how travel diaries can help us reflect on travel in a different way, through observation and introspection, and encourages more environmentally sustainable tourism. In the article ‘Running for Unity’, Robert Bergström introduces us to Kristina Paltén who ran across Iran to challenge her own fears and prejudices, while Richard Hansen shares his story about what he learned about life goals and challenges while hiking the Pacific Crest trail. In Wei Guo’s article about China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ strategy we learn about the New Silk Road and its relation to the travel of things, while in Katrina Lenore Sjøberg’s article we learn about the journey of ancient seeds. Jonathan Frænkel-Eidse takes a critical look at the environmentalists’ paradoxical love of flying, and provides some explanations as to why it is so hard to change our habits. The final contribution, by Dave Olesen, reflects on our advances in communication and how it affects journeys and expeditions near and far. Travel is an enriching and stimulating experience for the individual, but aggregated, these behaviors are highly problematic. Finding the right balance between individual satisfaction and the best global outcome requires some reflection. What is it that makes you travel? How will it enrich you, and is it the only way to get what you are looking for? Asking these questions could not only be a way to contribute to a more sustainable world, it might also make your personal travel experiences more meaningful. Credit: ERWIN HASSELBRINCK 7


Travel in a Changing Climate: “It’s a small world (after all)” KAREN O’BRIEN

Travelling involves many paradoxes: sometimes going to see the beauty of the world can contribute to the destruction of that beauty and the ones traveling can be among the most concerned of such changes. But who in the modern world gets to travel or who even qualifies as a “traveller”? In the article Karen O’Brien examines the paradoxes, drawbacks and opportunities of modern travelling. —

Credit:© 9



ifty years ago, Walt Disney opened a 15-minute cruise around the world at the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California. Following its debut at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, “It’s a small world”1 became a successful Disney attraction that can be viewed today at its theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. Yet a cruise to view singing dolls from around the small world is no longer enough for most people – today they want to experience this world themselves. Global travel has increased dramatically over the half century since the small world attraction opened. The international travel sector is booming, particularly for city travel, cruise holidays and long-haul travel2. City holidays have increased by 82 percent since 2008 and cruise travel by 248 percent3. The travel boom includes visits to “last chance to see” destinations that are being impacted by climate change, such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Arctic4. A growing tendency for “binge travel” is considered by some authors as a new form of addiction that is threatening the health of the planet5. With over 100,000 airplane flights per day moving millions of people around the world, it has indeed become a small world, after all.

burning of fossil fuels and forests. Recognizing that there is a small window of opportunity to avoid dangerous climate change, the IPCC emphasizes that the stakes are high: “Without additional mitigation efforts beyond those in place today, and even with adaptation, warming by the end of the 21st century will lead to high to very high risk of severe, wide-spread, and irreversible impacts globally (high confidence)”.7 The leaders of over 190 countries have acknowledged both the urgency and potential irreversibility of climate change, and the 2015 Paris Agreement makes it clear that immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are needed. Article 2 of the agreement sets an ambitious target of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”.8 Given the risks associated with climate change and the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, what does this mean for travel? Climate change will undoubtedly influence patterns of travel, just as changing patterns of travel will continue to influence the climate system. However, the influence of climate change on tourism demand remains uncertain, as tourists are considered to have a very high adaptive capacity.9 Heat waves, droughts, flooding, and other extreme events can influence travel destinations, including infrastructures and experiences. Changing temperatures are likely to shift tourism destinations away from extremely hot areas and toward more temperate areas. Increasing sea levels are likely to affect coastal destinations, particularly (but by no means limited to) low-lying islands. Sandy beaches that dominate the world’s open coastlines and attract millions of tourists each year are threatened by climate change and other impacts of human activities.10 A changing climate may increase the demand for travel to some destinations. For

A warmer world Our small world is becoming a warmer world. Global temperatures increased by 0.85°C between 1880 and 2012, and are expected to continue to increase over the coming decades.6 Temperature increases will be accompanied by changes in rainfall, sea levels, and the frequency and distribution of extreme weather events, among other things. Climate change poses great risks to natural and social systems, and both people and other species are vulnerable. Climate change science is clear about the role of humans in the climate system, and research attributes much of the recent warming to greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the 10


The melting of sea ice in the Arctic, which is considered by scientists as a sign of trouble, may facilitate rather than discourage cruise ship tourism. example, there is a growing interest in visiting threatened locations, such as glaciers, coral reefs, and tropical forests.11 The melting of sea ice in the Arctic, which is considered by scientists as a sign of trouble, may facilitate rather than discourage cruise ship tourism.12 People may have to travel farther to find conditions suitable for skiing. As Dawson and Scott point out, “The irony in the projected contraction of ski area supply causing increased travel distances for skiers is the resulting increase in transportation emissions, which contributes further to climate change”. 13 Can society achieve the 1.5°C target in an interconnected world where people are traveling more than ever?

relative to the emissions associated with flights.16 Given the expansion of global travel, such actions alone are unlikely to contribute to the substantial emissions reductions called for by both the IPCC and the Paris Agreement.

Tourism researchers who calculate and project greenhouse gas emissions associated with travel for tourism have found that it accounts for at least five percent of greenhouse gas emissions, and possibly more.17 Yet tourism is only part of the problem. The carbon footprints of scientists, politicians, activists, business people and many others who are concerned about climate change are much higher than those of the people who are most vulnerable to the impacts. The environmental impacts of conference travel was raised as an environmental concern over fifteen years ago by Høyer and Naess,18 and there are growing efforts to raise awareness about academia’s climate impacts through reduced air travel.19 Nevertheless, travel for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions increased by 37 percent between 2007 and 2014, accounting for 54 percent of the business travel market.20 At the same time, traditional business travel has declined due to technological solutions. Travel has both negative and positive dimensions. In some cases, travel represents nothing more than an expansion of the

The world as a playground Travel has become a social norm, at least for a certain class of people, including many who are concerned about climate change. One study of Norwegians’ travel behavior indicates that those with incomes in the highest quintile have a climate impact that is 240 percent larger than those with incomes in the lowest quintile.14 A recent New York Times article suggested that people will never give up travel, but that there are ways to make it more “green” – for example, by not changing sheets and towels every day at hotels, taking buses, offsetting carbon emissions, using reusable bottles, and so on.15 However, these actions are largely symbolic 11


consumer culture, where the “see, buy, fly” mentality promoted in airport duty free stores is extended to experiences such as trekking in the Himalayas or wine-tasting in Italy, which are often devoured and then replaced by the next adventure.21 It contributes to a world where shopping, whether for bargains or luxury goods, becomes an international adventure, and where having a large global footprint is seen as an asset or a source of social capital (e.g., country counting). This approach to travel considers the world as a large playground. The playground may be fun for those who can participate, but it widens the disconnect between human actions and their impacts on social and natural systems.

intentions, also contributing to increased greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, it is a paradox that many people travel to disconnect from their daily routines on a vacation, often to fulfill a desire to experience something new, when they could have new experiences at home on a “staycation”.22 Yet travel can also connect people and processes by allowing them to directly witness the contrast between affluence and poverty, to experience the beauty of the biosphere, or to recognize the significance of both cultural and social context, whether through experiences with food, history, religion, nature or people. Travel can facilitate collaborations, expose people to new realities, widen perspectives, and expand circles of concern and care. Travelers may notice the commonalities among humans and across cultures, experience first-hand the consequences of environmental and social injustices, or identify new opportunities to make a difference in the world. Unlike “the world is my playground” traveler, this type of traveler makes connections and recognizes that “the world is our home.”

The world as our home There are numerous paradoxes associated with travel in a changing climate. It is, for example, a paradox that those seeking to explore and experience the world are degrading or destroying it, excluding others from enjoying the same experiences in the future. Another paradox is that those traveling the world to work in the name of climate change mitigation and social justice are, despite the best of

Adapting travel Metaphorically, we all travel with baggage – our assumptions and beliefs about the world around us, the other people and species in it, and our role in shaping the future. When we travel, what we pack and take with us in the realm of thoughts and emotions may differ dramatically from what we bring back. A single “a-ha” moment may change the way we engage with the world around us when we return. Travel offers us an opportunity to (re)discover others and ourselves, to lose our baggage, to lighten our load and to lessen the impact that we have on the planet. Yet it is not only through travel that we are offered opportunities to challenge our assumptions, release our prejudices, or explore the uncomfortable and unknown. Sometimes, all we need is a good

The playground may be fun for those who can participate, but it widens the disconnect between human actions and their impacts on social and natural systems. 12


A single "a-ha" moment may change the way we engage with the world around us when we return.

Credit: Matt Dempsey



book, a nice walk, or a small local adventure. Adaptation to climate change is about more than changing behaviors in response to new climate conditions. Adapting to the reality of a changing climate also involves questioning what we take for granted and seeing things from new perspectives. It is perhaps a cruel irony that we are likely to see a dramatic increase in the number of displaced people in the coming decades – people whose assets, livelihoods and homes will be diminished or destroyed by the impacts of climate change. Climate refugees will not be referred to as travelers and it remains to be seen whether they will be welcomed into societies that are themselves experiencing the impacts of climate change. This includes societies that currently pride themselves on their hospitality for tourists, their cosmopolitan outlooks, and their

international humanitarian concerns. Unless we make the connection between our actions and their consequences, especially in relation to the well-being of distant “others” and the fate of our favorite “last chance” tourist sites, we are all likely to feel displaced from the world that we know and love. Yet we have a window of opportunity to respond, and to do so responsibly. Traveling is unlikely to stop as the climate changes, but as we change, we may start to question the need to travel so much, consume so much, and experience so much at the expense of our own future. Perhaps we will recognize that there is no place like home, and that our home – Planet Earth - is worth taking care of. We do not need singing dolls at Disneyland to tell us that it is a small and precious world, after all. •



REFERENCES 1 The song “It’s a Small World” was composed in 1963 for Walt Disney by Robert B. Sherman & Richard M. Sherman. 2 IPK International. 2015. “ITB World Travel Trends Report 2015/2016.” Accessed October 24. http://www. dl_all_itbkongress_itbkongress365_itblibrary/itbk_dl_all_itbkongress_itbkongress365_itblibrary_studien/ ITB_World_Travel_Trends_Report_2015_2016.pdf. 3 IPK International. 2015, 8. 4 Eijgelaar, Eke, Carla Thaper, and Paul Peeters. 2010. “Antarctic Cruise Tourism: The Paradoxes of Ambassadorship, ‘last Chance Tourism’ and Greenhouse Gas Emissions.” Journal of Sustainable Tourism 18 (3): 337–354. doi:10.1080/09669581003653534. 5 Cohen, Scott A., James E. S. Higham, and Christina T. Cavaliere. 2011. “Binge Flying: Behavioural Addiction and Climate Change.” Annals of Tourism Research 38 (3): 1070–1089. doi:10.1016/j.annals.2011.01.013. 6 IPCC. 2014. Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team, R.K. Pachauri and L.A. Meyer (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, 151 pp 7 IPCC. 2014, 17. 8 UNFCCC. 2015. “Paris Agreement.” In Paris, France: United Nations. /essential_ background/convention/application/pdf/english_paris_agreement.pdf., 22. 9 Gössling, Stefan, Daniel Scott, C. Michael Hall, Jean-Paul Ceron, and Ghislain Dubois. 2012. “Consumer Behaviour and Demand Response of Tourists to Climate Change.” Annals of Tourism Research 39 (1): 36–58. doi:10.1016/j.annals.2011.11.002. 10 Schlacher, Thomas A., Jenifer Dugan, Dave S. Schoeman, Mariano Lastra, Alan Jones, Felicita Scapini, Anton McLachlan, and Omar Defeo. 2007. “Sandy Beaches at the Brink.” Diversity and Distributions 13 (5): 556–560. doi:10.1111/j.1472-4642.2007.00363.x. 11 Eijgelaar, Thaper, and Peeters. 2010. 12 Borgerson, Scott G. 2008. “Arctic Meltdown: The Economic and Security Implications of Global Warming.” Foreign Affairs 87 (2): 63–77. 13 Dawson, J., and D. Scott. 2013. “Managing for Climate Change in the Alpine Ski Sector.” Tourism Management 35 (April): 244–254. doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2012.07.009., 252. 14 Aamaas, Borgar, and Glen P. Peters. 2017. “The Climate Impact of Norwegians’ Travel Behavior.” Travel Behaviour and Society 6 (January): 10–18. doi:10.1016/j.tbs.2016.04.001. 15 Galbraith, Kate. 2016. “How to Travel the Earth And Protect It, Too.” The New York Times, April 21. Accessed October 18. 16 Burns, Peter, and Lyn Bibbings. 2009. “The End of Tourism? Climate Change and Societal Challenges.” Twenty-First Century Society 4 (1): 31–51. doi:10.1080/17450140802642424. 17 UNEP. 2016. “Climate Change.” United Nations Environment Programme. Accessed October 24.http:// WorkThematicAreas/ ClimateChange/tabid/78787/Default.aspx 18 Høyer, Karl G., and Petter Naess. 2001. “Conference Tourism: A Problem for the Environment, as Well as for Research?” Journal of Sustainable Tourism 9 (6): 451–470. doi:10.1080/09669580108667414. 19 “Flying Less: Reducing Academia’s Carbon Footprint.” 2016. Flying Less: Reducing Academia’s Carbon Footprint. Accessed October 24. 20 IPK International, 2015. 21 Burns and Bibbings, 2009. 22 Odland, Steve. 2016. “16 Things To Do On A ‘Staycation.’” Forbes. Accessed October 24. http://www. 15

Ferie med mening NINA JENSEN


Nina Jensen tar i denne artikkelen for seg økoturisme, og hvordan vi kan planlegge våre ferier slik at de bidrar positivt til dyreliv, natur og befolkning i områdene vi reiser til. Ved å velge smart, både når det gjelder transportmiddel og destinasjon for ferien, vil vi kunne bidra til en mer ansvarlig – og givende – form for turisme, skriver artikkelforfatteren. —


reisemål og operatører som baserer seg på bærekraftig økoturisme. Da sørger du for at pengene du legger igjen virkelig får merverdi. Økoturisme innebærer at turismen ikke skal ha negative konsekvenser for lokal natur og kultur. Dessuten skal den komme både naturen og lokalbefolkningen mest mulig til gode. Slik den gjør i det afrikanske landet Namibia. Namibia gikk fra koloni til selvstendighet en marsdag i 1990. Samtidig som den moderne staten ble født, stod også et banebrytende nasjonalt naturvernprogram i startgropen. Det kom til som et samarbeid mellom namibiske myndigheter og sivile organisasjoner, med støtte fra WWF. Kort fortalt handler det om at lokalbefolkningen i ulike naturvernområder forvalter bestandene av ville dyr, blant annet ved å legge til rette for turisme og fotosafari. Inntektene går i sin helhet til befolkningen. Pengene brukes til utbedringer i lokalsamfunnene eller blir fordelt på innbyggerne gjennom kontantutbetalinger. I 2014 brakte vernearbeidet inn så mye som rundt 50 millioner norske kroner. Når de ville dyra får en tilleggsverdi på denne måten, blir det også i folks interesse å jobbe for å passe på dem. Dette har bidratt til at krypskytingen har avtatt betraktelig i Namibia, og bestandene av ville dyr øker eller er blitt stabilisert. Det gjelder blant annet elefanter, løver, svart neshorn og fjellsebra. WWF har også vært med på å starte opp prosjekter i Sentral-Asia og Kaukasus, hvor

ør reiselyst skape mer enn gode opplevelser og minner? Hvis du velger destinasjon og turoperatør med omhu, kan du faktisk bidra til både naturvernresultater, fattigdomsbekjempelse og fredsarbeid. Verden krymper stadig. Vi drar til spennende, eksotiske steder i utlandet for en rimelig penge, og skreddersyr aktiviteter og overnattinger etter smak og behag. Det er en gave å kunne bli kjent med ulike deler av jordkloden vår på denne måten, men som vi alle vet, har det også sine konsekvenser. Ikke minst de høye klimagassutslippene som den globale flytrafikken står for. Det beste er om vi kan reise til fots, med sykkel eller med tog. I tilfeller hvor flyturer er uunngåelig, bør vi sørge for at utflukten vår blir så klimanøytral som mulig. En rekke organisasjoner tilbyr bedrifter og enkeltpersoner å kompensere CO2- utslipp gjennom kjøp av klimakvoter, så hvis du må fly, bør du kjøpe klimakvoter. Men å kjøpe kvoter må ikke bli en hvilepute, og det er viktig at kompensasjon for CO2-utslipp alltid er siste punkt på listen over tiltak en bedrift eller enkeltperson gjør for å bli klimanøytral. Vi må leve klimavennlig både i hverdagen og i feriene, og tenke igjennom hvordan våre valg kan være med å kutte utslipp eller bidra til det grønne skiftet. Kanskje leiebilen som bestilles i ferien kan være elektrisk? Men det går også an å gjøre en konkret innsats for dyr, natur og mennesker i de lokalsamfunnene du drar til – ved å velge

Krka Nasjonalpark, Kroatia - en del av Dinaric Arc. Credit: Nikola Gresko



Når de ville dyra får en tilleggsverdi på denne måten, blir det også i folks interesse å jobbe for å passe på dem. med vissheten om at både bjørn, gaupe og sjakal kanskje tasser like i nærheten. En tur til Balkan er også en kulinarisk reise hvor det er mulig å støtte opp under produksjon av lokale spesialiteter. Mine favoritter under et besøk for en tid tilbake var kajmak, som er lokalt, kremet smør, stedegne oster som Montenegrinsk njeguski og livanjski sir, og delikatesser som ørret, karpe og spekeskinke. Etterspørsel etter ekthet og nærhet til natur og kultur øker blant stadig flere reiselystne. Å dra til områder hvor du kan gjøre en forskjell for både dyr, natur og lokalbefolkning, står for meg som noe av det mest givende vi kan bruke ferien på. Tenk også på hvordan det å reise mer klimavennlig kan bli en del av opplevelsen. Selv om tog gjennom Europa, for å komme til for eksempel Balkan, er mer tidkrevende enn å fly, får du masse igjen for det: tid til å prate, lese, gjøre stopp underveis, eller bare sitte og nyte utsikten i ro og fred. Det er sjelebot og en virkelig ferie. •

naturvern kombineres med bedre levevilkår for lokalbefolkningen. Resultatet er en rekke nye nasjonalparker og reservater. For eksempel i Georgia, hvor du finner Europas eneste tempererte regnskog, Mtirala, og leveområdene til verdens mest sjeldne kattedyr, kaukasusleoparden. I Sentral-Asia kan du oppleve spektakulær og variert natur: ørken, steppelandskap, majestetiske fjellkjeder, elver og enorme innsjøer med en rekke sjeldne dyrearter som snøleopard, persiagaselle og Bukhara-hjort. Og noe ikke alle vet: Naturvern kan også være fredsarbeid. WWF har bidratt til et stort program på Balkan som har som mål å etablere et sammenhengende nettverk av 80 parker og naturvernområder. De mange naturskattene der er truet av ulovlig jakt, hogst og storstilt vannkraftutbygging. Dinaric Arc, som programmet heter, er også et fredsprosjekt – fordi det binder sammen land og folkegrupper som tidligere utkjempet eller ble trukket inn i blodige borgerkriger: Albania, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Kroatia, Kosovo, Makedonia, Montenegro, Serbia og Slovenia. Nå har landene underskrevet avtaler om at de skal samarbeide for miljøet. Vi kjenner ikke til noe annet prosjekt eller program som bringer de ulike balkanske nasjonene sammen på en så forpliktende måte som dette. Parknettverket som Dinaric Arcprogrammet etablerer er vel verdt vår støtte ved at vi legger ferieturen dit. Balkanhalvøya har den mest intakte naturen i Europa, og er av mange karakterisert som vårt Amazonas. Du kan oppleve ville fjell, ren sjø, solsvidde kyster og frodige, våte skoger. Eller kose deg

REFERANSER 1 vore_feltprosjekter_i_afrika/namibia___en_suksesshistorie/barekraftig_viltforvaltning_i_namibia/index.cfm Namibrand Naturreservat, Namibia. Credit: Kaja Elise Gresko 18


Å dra til områder hvor du kan gjøre en forskjell for både dyr, natur og lokalbefolkning, står for meg som noe av det mest givende vi kan bruke ferien på.


Silent Passengers: The Journeys of Trees JULIA SZULECKA

Trees have been transported internationally, their sedentary lives migrate across continents and take root in new lands. Our forests, houseplants and even home furnishings are foreigners. In an ever moving world of trade, travel and migration, what has been the impact on the landscapes we call home? —

Timber extractor, Indonesia, South Sumatra. Credit: Julia Szulecka 20



umans and animals need to move and leave the safety of their homes to collect food; to crop, to hunt, to gather, to explore, to meet others, or to see the new. Plants and trees, on the other hand, have roots that are entwined into the soil in which they grow, attached to their immediate surroundings and bound by their local environment. They continue to make determined efforts to colonize new habitats – disperse seeds and then hope they will flourish in distant lands. Moving with the wind, by water, through gravity, or in the bowels of animals, do they appreciate the additional assistance they receive from us? The possibility to travel by carriage or ships or even airplanes? Perhaps they simply cannot say no. When humans are on the move, they take their valuables with them. It is not rare that their valuables are of vegetative origin. When Léon and Mathilda (Jean Reno and Natalie Portman) in “Léon: The Professional” are on the run, they take his beloved houseplant with them. At the end of the movie, the plant is taken from pot to wild earth. It takes root in the ground and leads the sedentary life that Léon never had.

human civilization, illustrated by the stories of the three great monotheistic religions’ holy scriptures, is largely a result of intense travel, trade, and migration. There are diverse scenarios for tree-travel. Some relocated trees experience adaptation problems due to the absence of appropriate mycorrhizal fungi, mismatches between the sites and the species, risk of pests, different rainfall and temperature patterns, tolerance of impeded drainage and root penetration, and competition. Not all travelers are homesick though, some will assimilate well. Many trees are able to easily survive and adapt to their new environment. There are even those that will not only thrive in a new environment but overtake it, outcompeting native trees. Certain relocated trees (or any other plant) will reproduce and spread unaided at alarming rates, become invasive and threaten native biological diversity. The story of teak For centuries “tree travel” organized by humans were relatively small-scale. The main reason for this was that it was a challenging activity and there was an abundance of natural forests. Then came the era of the “initial globalization” – what the West came to see as the Age of Discovery and colonization. The sky was the limit, the Ocean was the link and the ship was the vessel that would take you where you wanted to go (and bring back what you went to seek). The marvelous galleons, frigates and caravels that ruled the seas from the late 15th century onwards had one problem though. They were all built from hardwood, normally oak, which as demand mounted, was in short supply in Europe. Many colonial powers that explored the Tropics fell in love with teak, found to be superior to European oak. Due to its excellent timber quality, good growth, good water and insect resistance, it was the perfect material for shipbuilding.

Ab ovo The fate of Léon’s pet plant is shared by many other weeds, vegetables, bushes, and trees across the world. Trees seem to be the most unlikely free riders and fellow passengers, so let me focus on them. One of the first valuable tree species that humans planted and replanted while traveling was probably the olive tree, which has been cultivated in Greece since the dawn of Minoan civilization around 3000 B.C.1 Migration, colonization and trade development of ancient peoples moved many species about: myrrh trees in Egypt; frankincense in Arabia; fruit, pine and fir in China; poplars and date palm in Mesopotamia.2 What we now take to be the traditional landscape of the cradle of 21


Bon voyage… If teak could be considered the first tree masstraveler of our times, the 20th century brought a new leader – eucalyptus - with two major travel companions – acacia and pine. Now, we have to mention that many trees start their greatest voyages post mortem: as pulp, paper or wood products. Areas of competitive advantage for production, processing, and end-use are often in different parts of the globe. Global trade in forest products is worth more than USD 300 billion per year.7 The top global trade flow in tropical logs is from Papua New Guinea to China.8 One of the major wood pellet routes is Vancouver to Antwerp-RotterdamSweden.9 Vast amounts of paper pulp travel from Indonesia to Japan for processing to enter the global markets. Tropical wood from Asia, Africa and South America is imported to Italy, manufactured into furniture, and further exported to North America and… back to Asia. With that in mind, look at your floor parquet, home furniture, wooden kitchen utensils, books and magazines, toilet paper, doors and frames, wooden toys, or the garden sitting set. Perhaps they make you feel sedentary – as if it was you who had roots, not your neighbor’s birch and pine.

Molecular studies show that teak forests occur naturally in India, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos.3 However, today they can be found in many tropical and sub-tropical countries, namely Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and China in Asia; Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Togo and Benin in West Africa; Sudan and Tanzania in East Africa; Trinidad, Puerto Rico and Panama in Central America; Brazil and Ecuador in South America.4 One of the biggest teak estates today is in Indonesia, where it was brought by the Dutch East India Company in around 1650.5 It is not known if teak came to Java as seeds or stumps and how much of it was transferred outside of the natural range. The scientific community agrees that teak has been naturalized in Java for several centuries, became well acclimatized to local ecological conditions, and has regenerated naturally throughout the area.6 Teak was issued a residence permit and eventually an Indonesian citizenship. It has now become part of the Javanese cultural identity. In the late 19th century, teak plantations were so popular that they started to change from strategic to commercial purposes. Today, teak is perceived relatively unimportant in terms of global quantity, but its quality and very high prices make it extremely important in economic terms.

Teak was issued a residence permit and eventually an Indonesian citizenship. It has now become part of the Javanese cultural identity.



80 years old teak, Indonesia, Central Java. Credit: Julia Szulecka

REFERENCES 1 FAO. 2010. Planted Forests in Sustainable Forest Management. A statement of principles. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization. 2 Sargent, C. and S. Bass (Eds.). 1992. Plantation Politics – Forest plantations in development. London: Earthscan Publications. 3 Verhaegen, D., Fofana, I.J., Logossa, Z.A. and D. Ofori. 2010. “What is the genetic origin of teak (Tectona grandis L.) introduced in Africa and in Indonesia?” Tree Genetics & Genomes 6 (5): 717–733. 4 Kaosa-ard, A. 1995. “Management of teak plantations. Overview of problems in teak plantation establishment”. TEAKNET Publication No. 1. Accessed October 9, 2016. DOCREP/005/AC773E/ac773e08.htm (23.09.2016) 5 Bass, S. 1992. “Building from the past: forest plantations in history”. In: Plantation Politics — Forest Plantations in Development, edited by C. Sargent and S. Bass, 41–75. London: Earthscan Publications. 6 Verhaegen, op. cit. 7 Achard, F. 2009. Vital Forest Graphics. Nairobi: UNEP. 8 Dauvergne, P. and J. Lister. 2011. Timber. Cambridge: Polity Press. 9 Thek, G. and I. Obernberger. 2012. The Pellet Handbook: The Production and Thermal Utilization of Biomass Pellets. London: Routledge Earthscan. 23

Reiseskildringer – en måte å forstå verden på ANNE HELNESS

Humans have travelled for centuries, and the cultural, social and historical baggage they carried with them meant that they saw the world in different ways. In this article, Anne Helness, university lecturer in history of ideas at the University of Oslo, discusses travel journals as sources, and she presents some of the different perspectives travelling in early modern times had to offer, as well as the motivation behind these perspectives. We get a discussion of nature, people and monsters, and, perhaps fittingly, one of the most famous travelers in Western history, Christopher Columbus. —


25 Landing of Columbus. Credit: Creative Common, John Vanderlyn (1775-1852)


Credit: Creative Commons, original source: unknown


va er en reiseskildring? Reiseskildringer dokumenterer menneskers forflytning i tid og rom. Reiseskildringer kaster lys over hvordan vi definerer oss selv og hvordan vi definerer andre. Jeg har hørt reiseskildringen definert som en av de viktigste litterære sjangrene vi har. Reiseskildringer konstruer vår forståelse av «meg» og «deg», av «oss» og «de andre».1 Selv om det også fins mange fiktive reiseskildringer, så forutsetter nesten begrepet reiseskildring at det er en virkelig beskrivelse av en reise som forfatteren – jeg-personen – har foretatt.2 Vi forventer at reisebeskrivelsen skal være fakta, ikke fiksjon. Denne teksten heter «Reiseskildringer – en måte å forstå verden på.» Men hvis verden er det reiseskildringen presenterer oss for? Jegpersonens? Eller dem jeg-personen besøker? Og hvilken verden? Er det et sted i den ytre verden, en geografisk lokaliserbar kultur? Eller er det forfatter-jeg-ets indre verden leseren presenteres

for? Svaret varierer fra forfatter til forfatter, men også fra epoke til epoke. Moderne reiseskildringer er ofte en personlig beretning om en reise forfatteren har foretatt like mye i det indre som i det ytre, og leseren følger forfatterens strabasiøse ferd mot en slags forløsning. Denne typen reiseskildring har sin opprinnelse i romantikkens dannelsesromaner. Den andre typen moderne reiseskildringer er mer journalistiske og dokumentariske og forsøker å gi leseren et bilde av den kulturen forfatteren har reist i. Slike reiseskildringer har sin opprinnelse i opplysningstidens vitenskapelige reiser som hadde som mål å kartlegge verden, og det gjelder enten forfatteren var journalist, forfatter, arkeolog, antropolog eller noe annet. Men det finnes en annen type reiseskildringer også, nemlig reiseskildringer skrevet mye lengre tilbake i tid. Jeg jobber med reiseskildringer fra 1400- og 1500-tallet. Reiseskildringer fra denne tiden er ofte atskillig 26


kortere, mer prosaiske – til og med drepende kjedelige å lese hvis man forventer den dramatikken som ofte delvis preger moderne reiseskildringer. I denne artikkelen vil jeg hovedsakelig fokusere på slike tidligmoderne reiseskildringer. Jeg ønsker å få frem både hva slike reiseskildringer kan lære moderne lesere om en fortidig epokes forståelse av verden, og vise hvordan en sammenlikning mellom moderne og tidligmoderne beskrivelser kan fortelle oss noe om endringer i de reisendes interesser.

Det var på denne måten Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) beskrev sitt første møte med Sør-Amerika slik han så det fra dekket på fregatten Pizarro 16. juli 1799 om morgenen. Til sammenligning skriver Columbus dette i sin dagbok om sitt første møte med Amerika om morgenen 12. oktober 1492: As I saw that they [menneskene som stimlet sammen når Columbus og hans menn gikk i land] were very friendly to us, and perceived that they could be much more easily converted to our holy

En sammenlikning av reiseskildringer Før jeg går videre til å diskutere tidligmoderne reiser, la oss ta et eksempel på to ulike beskrivelser av det samme:

faith by gentle means than by force, I presented them with some red caps, and strings of beads to wear upon the neck, and many other trifles of small value, wherewith they were much delighted, and became wonderfully attached to us. … It

… at break of day, we beheld a verdant coast,

appears to me, that the people are ingenious, and

of picturesque aspect. The mountains of New

would be good servants; and I am of opinion

Andalusia, half-veiled by mists, bounded the

that they would very readily become Christians,

horizon to the south. … the sick dragged

as they appear to have no religion. They very

themselves on deck to enjoy the sight of a land

quickly learn such words as are spoken to them. If

which was to put an end to their sufferings. Our

it please our Lord, I intend at my return to carry

eyes were fixed on the groups of cocoa-trees which

home six of them to your Highnesses, that they

border the river: their trunks, more than sixty feet

may learn our language. I saw no beasts in the

high, towered over every object in the landscape.

island, nor any sort of animals except parrots.4

The plain was covered with the tufts of Cassia,

Vi legger merke til to ting: for det første at Columbus i 1492 hovedsakelig er opptatt av å beskrive menneskene, mens Humboldt i 1799 er mest opptatt av å beskrive landskapet. Humboldts beskrivelse fins i dagboken hans som han publiserte ved hjemkomsten. Columbus’ beskrivelse fins også i dagboken, men den var ikke ment for publisering. I stedet gav han den til dronning Isabella, som jo delvis hadde finansiert reisen. Selv uten å vite når disse to tekstene var skrevet, ville vi likevel skjønt at de måtte stamme fra to forskjellige epoker, i og med at det forfatterne fokuserer på er forskjellig. Humboldt tilhører epoken vi kaller romantikken, mens Columbus tilhører renessansen.

Caper, and those arborescent mimosas, which, like the pine of Italy, spread their branches in the form of an umbrella. The pinnated leaves of the palms were conspicuous on the azure sky, the clearness of which was unsullied by any trace of vapour. The sun was ascending rapidly towards the zenith. A dazzling light was spread through the air, along the whitish hills strewed with cylindric cactuses, and over a sea ever calm, the shores of which were peopled with alcatras, egrets, and flamingoes. The splendour of the day, the vivid colouring of the vegetable world, the forms of the plants, the varied plumage of the birds, everything was stamped with the grand character of nature in the equinoctial regions.3



Griffin Credit: Creative Commons, Martin Schongauer (1435/50–1491)



De reisende kommenterte gjerne de folkene som bodde i de fremmede områdene, eller anga hvordan europeerne kunne utnytte stedene i egen økonomisk vinning.

Å se natur, mennesker og monstre Tidlig jødisk-kristen tenkning var grunnleggende antroposentrisk, noe som medførte noe helt spesielt i menneskets samhandling med jorden: Naturen var verdiløs så lenge den ikke var menneskeliggjort (humanized).5 Og så sent som på 1700-tallet mente opplysningstenkeren Buffonat «Wild nature is hideous and dying; it is I, I alone [dvs. mennesket], who can make it agreeable and living.»6 Dette var et syn som skulle dominere helt frem til romantikken, og ved å se på beskrivelsene av henholdsvis Humboldt og Columbus kan vi konkludere med at i romantikken var man opptatt av naturen; for romantikerne hadde naturen egenverdi. Romantikken innebærer dermed et brudd med det tradisjonelle jødisk-kristne synet. Dagens syn på naturen som noe vakkert, noe vi søker til for å finne fred og ro eller hente nye krefter, er derfor en arv fra romantikken. I renessansen, da Columbus levde, hadde ikke naturen egenverdi. Her er det menneskene som er betydningsfulle. For det første er menneskene viktige for Columbus fordi de kan gi ham en indikasjon på hvor i verden han er ankommet. Columbus valgte jo som kjent å reise vestover, over havet, i et forsøk på å nå frem til Kina, og han støtte på land omtrent der hvor han hadde forventet å finne land. Problemet var jo bare at det ikke var det landet han forventet å finne. Dette forstod for øvrig Columbus aldri i løpet av de hele fem reisene han foretok. Han holdt hele tiden fast på at han var kommet til øyer utenfor det kinesiske fastlandet. De fleste tidligmoderne reiseskildringer ble skrevet av menn som enten var handelsmenn (slik som for eksempel Marco Polo), militære eller diplomatiske utsendinger. De reiste alle av pragmatiske årsaker, og det som opptok dem var praktiske spørsmål. Det smittet selvsagt også over på hvordan de så på den verdenen

de møtte. Slike reisende kan deles inn i to hovedgrupper; på den ene siden de som reiste innenfor den kjente verdenen – altså Europa og Middelhavsverdenen – og på den andre siden de som reiste utenfor den kjente verdenen. Reiser innad i den kjente verdenen refererte sjelden til naturen hvis det ikke var for å kommentere at de reisende fortet seg for raskest mulig å komme bort fra et krigsherjet landskap eller liknende, eller det motsatte, nemlig at de reisende stoppet opp ved antikke ruiner de kom over i landskapet – begge deler er å finne i dannelsesreiser fra 1600-tallet av.7 Reiser til andre deler av kloden henviste derimot ofte til naturen, men slike henvisninger var gjerne tett knyttet opp til menneske og samfunn. De reisende kommenterte gjerne de folkene som bodde i de fremmede områdene, eller anga hvordan europeerne kunne utnytte stedene i egen økonomisk vinning. Columbus’ forventinger til de menneskene han møtte over havet var farget av den tradisjonen han kom fra, og var en blanding av erfaringskunnskap delvis fra egne reiser, men ikke minst fra andres reiser – både det han var blitt fortalt og det han hadde lest. Og så var det mer teoretisk kunnskap, altså kunnskap han hadde fra bøker som ikke var reiseskildringer. 29


På engelsk omtales gjerne dette feltet som «monsters and marvels», også betegnelsen «the Plinian races» er vanlig. Tematikken er omfattende og spenner over alt fra det fantasifulle til det prosaiske, og berører en lang rekke fagområder og temaer: teologi, medisin, antropologi, zoologi, botanikk, folklore, mytologi, naturhistorie, bestiarium (oversikter over alle mulige (fantasi)dyr), Wunderkammer, teratologi, værenskjeden, vitenskapenes oppkomst, filosofi, samfunnssyn, geografi, kartografi – for å nevne noen. Og alt handler om det som det er verdt å undre seg eller forundre seg over, det er knyttet til forståelser av naturen, inklusive skapelsen, og undersøkelser av denne.9 Ved siden av afrikanere og asiater så var som nevnt monstre den tredje muligheten Columbus kunne tenke seg. Nå betydde monster ikke helt det samme i tidligere tider som det gjør i dag – begrepet ble brukt også om alt som brøt med den normale erfaringen, enten denne erfaringen var knyttet til utseende eller vaner. Et menneske som var født med seks fingre eller tær ville således vært karakterisert som et monster, det samme var kvinner med skjegg, eller de såkalte iktiofager, dvs. fiskespisere (egentlig ulike kystfolk rundt om i verden). Columbus, derimot, skriver eksplisitt at han ikke traff monstre. Riktignok ble han fortalt at det skulle eksistere mennesker med hale, kannibaler og amazoner på andre øyer, men selv stilte han seg noe tvilende.10 Det at de har tilholdssted på andre øyer stemmer i og for seg overens med beskrivelser av monstre, som når de beskrives i den geografiske og naturhistoriske litteraturen fra antikken av, alltid har tilholdssted helt i ytterkanten av den kjente verdenen. Men det følger sjelden eksplisitte moralske eller normative betraktninger med slike beskrivelser, de er ofte rent deskriptive. Dette henger sammen med at man mente at selv monstrene hadde sin plass i værenskjeden og at de var eksplisitte eksempler

Slike bøker omfattet Bibelen, antikkens og middelalderens forfattere av vitenskapelig litteratur. Befolkningen han møtte var jo helt opplagt ikke europeere. Heller ikke var de afrikanere – han kommenterte eksplisitt senere i dagboken at de ikke hadde samme type hår og de var lysere i huden. Han beskrev dem som vakre og velformede, og helt annerledes enn de afrikanerne Columbus kjente til av egen erfaring fra ungdommen da han hadde deltatt i den portugisiske handelen med Afrika. Tidligere erfaring var derfor ikke til hjelp for Columbus når han prøvde å finne ut hvor han var kommet. Lesingen av Marco Polos reiser til Kina hadde gjort Columbus oppmerksom på at kineserne hadde en høyt utviklet sivilisasjon – og det var det tydelig at Columbus mente at den befolkningen han møtte, ikke hadde det.8 Columbus konkluderer med at han ikke vet hva slags folk det er, men at landområdet nok er Asia (eller India som det ble kalt på hans tid), og muligens land som var underlagt den store Khan. Slik ser vi også at Columbus var opptatt av mennesker, ikke av natur. Det var menneskene som hadde verdi. Og selv om han ikke helt klarte å bestemme hvor i verden han var på bakgrunn av disse menneskene, så beskrev han dem positivt. De var vennlige, barnlige, flinke og lærenemme. Og Columbus slo derfor fast at det ville være enkelt å kristne dem og at de ville bli gode tjenere. En tredje mulighet som Columbus kjente fra reiselitteraturen var at han kunne ha støtt på monstre. Forestillinger om det monstrøse og det forunderlige hang på mange måter sammen med forestillinger om verdensbilde og natursyn. I forskning om det monstrøse og det forunderlige er det ikke uvanlig å finne påstander av typen «i reiseberetninger fra tidligmoderne Europa vrimler det av monstre». Men gjør de egentlig det? Det kommer i så fall helt an på hvordan vi forstår disse begrepene. 30


Sea Monster. Credit: Creative Commons, Chet van Duzer

på Guds uendelige skaperkraft og skaperverk. Med kristendommen ble likevel kannibalene normativt fordømt – ikke bare som monstre, men fordi de forbrøt seg mot selve naturloven. De kunne dermed betraktes som hinsides frelsesmuligheter og dermed fritt drepes.

hadde oppdaget strakte seg sør for ekvator og at det var mulig å ferdes der). Den største av antikkens geografer og astronomer, Ptolemaios (90–168), var den man festet størst lit til. Men renessansens lærde diskuterte også andre av antikkens geografer, og renessansen lærde arvet derfor de antikke uenighetene. Ett av problemene var at man ikke var enige om hvor stor jordens omkrets var. Columbus’ selv holdt seg til den florentinske geografen Paolo Toscanelli (1397–1482), som hadde sendt ham et kart som viste avstandene slik Toscanelli tenkte seg dem, og som plasserte Asias østkyst omtrent der hvor Columbus fant Amerika. Geografer før Columbus’ tid opererte også

Det kjente og det ukjente Hva var så den kjente verdenen på Columbus tid? Man visste egentlig svært lite, og det man visste var knyttet til det som ble kalt økumentet (middelhavsverdenen), som inngikk i orbisterrarum (den delen av jorden man kjente, altså den nordlige halvkule), nemlig Asia, Europa og Afrika (som portugiserne nylig 31


Både portugiserne og spanjolene var opptatt av å fravriste venetianerne kontrollen over krydderhandelen. Det var derfor portugiserne beveget seg ned over kysten av Afrika.

med «soneteorien». Siden antikken hadde man ment at det bare var den tempererte sonen på den nordlige halvkulen som var beboelig (orbisterrarum). Mesteparten av det ukjente Afrika befant seg, derimot, trodde man, i den ekvatoriale sonen, og dette var en sone som ifølge nedarvet kunnskap var brennende varm – så varm at man faktisk ville gå opp i flammer hvis man kom over i den. Derfor var det svært skummelt å skulle bevege seg nedover kysten av Afrika. Og når man så visste at skip hadde forsvunnet etter Kapp Bojador (litt sør for Kanariøyene) og senere etter Kapp Blanco (litt nord for KappVerde-øyene), og så videre, så knyttet sjøfolkene dette gjerne til nettopp denne farlige ekvatoriale sonen hvor ikke noe levende kunne overleve. Portugiserne hadde bare de siste 50–60 årene greide å komme et stykke nedover langs den afrikanske kysten (men de rundet ikke sørspissen før 1498). På Columbus’ tid visste man altså at soneteorien ikke stemte, men det betydde ikke at man hadde mistet lit til andre ting antikkens og middelalderens naturfilosofer og

kosmografer hadde hevdet. Som for eksempel at mennesker (og dyr og klima) på samme breddegrad burde være noen lunde like; Aristoteles, for eksempel, hadde argumenterte for at livsformer på samme breddegrad var de samme. Da Columbus bestemte seg for å dra vestover skyldtes det at han tok feil av avstanden – Kina var mye lengre unna enn Columbus var klar over. Men hvorfor var Kina så viktig? Jo, fordi Kina var det østlige ytterpunktet av India, og det var fra dette området at man fikk en del ettertraktede handelsvarer som silke, porselen, og ikke minst krydder. Krydder kom til Europa enten via karavaner over det asiatiske fastlandet – det var disse karavaneveiene Marco Polo (1254– 1324) hadde fulgt på reisen til Kina – eller det kom med båt til Arabia og deretter med karavane til middelhavskysten. Araberne var mellommennene og skipstrafikken mellom Levanten (tilsvarer dagens Midtøsten) og resten av Europa var for en stor del kontrollert av Venezia. 32


Både portugiserne og spanjolene var opptatt av å fravriste venetianerne kontrollen over krydderhandelen. Det var derfor portugiserne beveget seg ned over kysten av Afrika. Denne ferden gikk langsomt og det tok lang tid før man rundet Afrika. Vasco da Gama fant sjøveien til India først i 1498, altså seks år etter at Columbus oppdaget Amerika. I 1492 var Columbus i spansk tjeneste og spanjolene og portugiserne kivet om makten på havet. Portugiserne som hadde befestet seg langs kysten av Afrika, angrep alle andre hvis de kom over dem. Det var likevel klart at det ikke var mulig å reise fra Europa til India via sjøveien uten å bunkre i Afrika – hvis det i det hele tatt var mulig – og det innebar at man ville få problemer med portugiserne. Columbus foreslo derfor å reise vestover. Da unngikk man problemet, samtidig som han dessuten mente at det ville være en mye kortere reise, noe han jo i og for seg fikk rett i.

etter slik at de kunne bunkre vann og andre nødvendigheter på de lange avstandene.11 Eller: Vi seilte langs kysten og på avstand så vi noen innfødte i kanoer, de stakk da vi prøvde å få kontakt. Vi seilte videre og neste dag kom vi over noen andre innfødte i kanoer, de vinket til oss. Vi tok det som et tegn på at de ville handle og sendte en båt inn mot land. De ville ha kopperkjelene, men ikke tøystoffet i bytte for 3 unser gull og 10 elefanttenner. Informasjonen er med andre ord prosaisk og enten handelsorientert eller navigasjonsorientert.12 Hvis reiseberetningene gir mer utfyllende beskrivelser er det ofte som en kommentar til forfatterens forventinger. Eksempelvis: Det er veldig varmt, men det er svært fruktbart her, selv om vi befinner oss 6 grader over ekvator.13 Det en eventuell forfatter indirekte ville vist med en slik setning, men ikke sa eksplisitt og dermed overlot til leseren å forstå, var at soneteorien ikke stemte. Det var ikke slik at mennesker og dyr og planter ikke

Et annet kunnskapsunivers Når vi leser tidligmoderne reiseskildringer må vi forholde oss til et helt kunnskapsunivers rundt reiseskildringene, et univers og et verdensbilde som i dag er foreldet, slik de tidligmoderne reiseskildringene jeg har diskutert viser. Og det betyr at man må sette seg inn i mange forskjellige ting for å forstå de små og korte hintene som dukker opp. Veldig mange tidligmoderne reiseskildringer består ikke av så mye mer enn vindretninger og himmelretninger og hvor lenge og hvor langt man antok at man hadde seilt, og landkjenningsmerker. Eksempelvis: Etter å ha seilt så og så mange døgn i den retningen og så og så mange døgn i den retningen vil man se land i den og den retningen. Ved å holde landet i sikte så vil man etter så og så mange døgn se noen palmetrær som står høyt over landskapet. Rett til vest for disse vil man finne en god havn og muligheter for å finne ferskvann. Slik informasjon var livsviktig for skip som fulgte

Når vi i dag leser slike beretninger, så må vi ha utstrakt kunnskap om det verdensbildet de reisende hadde på 1400- og 1500-tallet, for ikke å gå glipp av hva det er som faktisk kommenteres. Det er det som gjør det så spennende å jobbe med dette materialet. 33


overlevde langs ekvator. Når vi i dag leser slike beretninger, så må vi ha utstrakt kunnskap om det verdensbildet de reisende hadde på 1400og 1500-tallet, for ikke å gå glipp av hva det er som faktisk kommenteres. Det er det som gjør det så spennende å jobbe med dette materialet.

å påpeke at han har gjort det på en juridisk korrekt måte: Han har erklært at han tar dem i besittelse, han har plantet banneret og det var ingen som protesterte. Dessuten så ga han øyene navn. Poenget er at dette er en juridisk handling som andre europeiske land ville måtte anerkjenne. Derfor er det denne juridiske handlingen – det som var aller viktigst – han innledet disse brevene med. Ministrene sørget for at brevene ble trykt nesten umiddelbart og spredd over hele Europa. Det er på denne måten mulig å bruke tidligmoderne reiseberetninger som kilder til å forstå hvordan europeerne forsto verdenen rent fysisk (som geografisk klode) – en kunnskap som da ble kalt kosmologi. Det de sier om dyr og mennesker og klima hører til fysikk og naturfilosofien. Men også utenrikspolitiske og juridisk folkerettslige temaer tas opp i tillegg til handel. Slik handler tidligmoderne reiseskildringer vel så mye om europeerne som de gjør om ikke-europeere. Dagens syn på naturen som noe som står over mennesket er veldig nytt og har først dukket opp med miljøbevegelsene de siste tiårene, selv om også den til dels hadde sin begynnelse i romantikken. Til tross for at den jødisk-kristne tradisjonen anså naturen som noe svært fremmedartet og til dels skremmende, så var naturen likevel en del av Guds skaperverk. Mennesket var riktignok plassert i midten av værenskjeden og hadde del både i det dennesidige og i det hinsidige, og var dessuten den som stod øverst i det materielle skaperverket. Naturens mål ifølge Aristoteles var det menneskelige samfunn, og jødiskkristen tradisjon var antroposentrisk, men det var likevel menneskets oppgave å forvalte Guds skaperverk, som var mangfoldig og forunderlig og fylt til randen med både monsters and marvels. Selv om renessansens reisende først og fremst var opptatt av mennesket og ikke naturen, så førte disse undersøkelsene – selv om de i utgangspunktet hadde pragmatiske

Avsluttende bemerkninger Helt til slutt – vi har sett hva Columbus skrev i dagboken sin. Da han kom tilbake til Europa sendte han brev til de to viktigste rådgiverne til kongen og dronningen av Spania, henholdsvis Don Raphael Sanchez og Luis de Santangel, og rapporterte. I brevene beskriver han det samme som han gjorde i dagboken, men her er han svært kortfattet, og skriver: Knowing the pleasure you will receive in hearing of the great victory which Our Lord has granted me in my voyage, I hasten to inform you, that after a passage of seventy-one days [fra Palos 3. august], I arrived at the Indies, with the fleet which the most illustrious King and Queen our sovereigns committed to my charge, where I discovered many islands inhabited by people without number, and of which I took possession for their Highnesses by proclamation with the royal banner displayed, no one offering any contradiction. The first which I discovered, I named San Salvador, in commemoration of our Holy Saviour, who has, in a wonderful manner, granted all our success. The indians call it Guanahani.14

Brevene, det ene sitert her, er ikke helt identiske. Blant annet er lengden på reisen forskjellig; i det ene 33 dager og i det som er sitert her 71 dager, noe som skyldes at den ene er målt fra da de forlot Kanariøyene, den andre fra da de forlot Spania. Rent bortsett fra reisetid fokuserer Columbus i begge brevene på det som var viktigst politisk sett: Han fant bebodde øyer som han på vegne av Isabella og Ferdinand tok i besittelse. Og Columbus er nøye med 34

Det var først fremveksten av den vitenskapelige revolusjon og filosofer som Francis Bacon og René Descartes på 1600-tallet som legitimerte ikke bare menneskets herredømme over naturen, men også at mennesket utnyttet, snarere enn forvaltet naturen.



siktemål – til at europeiske lærde iherdig prøvde å forstå Guds skaperverk, og i den europeiske kristne kulturen var det bare en annen måte å prise Gud på. Det var først fremveksten av den vitenskapelige revolusjon og filosofer som Francis Bacon og René Descartes på 1600tallet som legitimerte ikke bare mennesket herredømme over naturen, men også at mennesket utnyttet, snarere enn forvaltet naturen. I denne artikkelen har jeg ønsket å vise at ulike historiske epoker har forholdt seg svært forskjellig til både natur og mennesker. Selv om jeg hovedsakelig har fokusert på å presentere hva 1400- og 1500-tallet reisende var opptatt av, så ønsket jeg også ganske kort å peke på forskjellen i hva reisende i to helt forskjellige epoker oppfattet da de så land etter flere uker til sjøs – Humboldt 300 år etter Columbus.

Det er flere ting vi i dag kan lære av å lese fortidens tekster og prøve å sette oss inn i og forstå det verdensbildet tekstene ble til i. For det første at ingen tid forvalter sannheten. Sannheten endrer seg hele tiden, og dermed også løsningene på en tids problemer. For det andre, hvordan vi som mennesker og samfunn er kommet hit vi har kommet, men det fordrer også at vi aksepterer at vår tids politiske korrekthet ikke var fortidens politiske korrekthet. Med all sannsynlighet vil dagens løsninger, dagens sannheter, dagens politiske korrektheter ikke være fremtidens. Men vi oppdager også at mennesker til alle tider har søkt å gjøre så godt de har kunnet for å løse sin tids problemer, og finne svar og løsninger på sin tids spørsmål. Her har jeg forsøkt å gi en liten smakebit på hvordan det kan ha artet seg. •



SLUTTNOTER OG LITTERATURLISTE 1 Youngs, Tim. 2013. The Cambridge Introduction to Travel Writing. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1. 2 Youngs 2013, 3. 3 von Humboldt, A. 1869. Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of America. Vol. 2. 3 vols. London: H.G Bohn, 147. 4 Colombo, Christoforo. 1827. Personal Narrative of the First Voyage of Columbus to America. From a Manuscript Recently Discovered in Spain. Boston: Published by Thomas B. Wait and Son, and sold by Wait, Greene and Co. Boston, G. and C. Carvill, New York, and Carey and Lea, Philadelphia, 35–37. 5 Oelschlaeger, Max. 1991. The Idea of Wilderness: From Prehistory to the Age of Ecology. new Haven: Yale University Press, 33. 6 Glacken, Clarence J. 1960. «Count Buffon on Cultural Changes of the Physical Environment». Annals of the Association of American Geographers 50 (1): 3. 7 Brennan, Michael G. 2004. The Origins of the Grand Tour: The Travels of Robert Montagu Lord Mandeville (1649-1654) William Hammond (1655-1658) and Banaster Maynard (1660-1663). London: The Hakluyt Society; Chaney, Edward og Timothy Wilks. 2014. The Jacobean Grand Tour: Early Stuart Travellers in Europe. London: I.B. Tauris. 8 Rent generelt erkjente europeerne på denne tiden at landområder østover fra Europa, slik som Kina og India, hadde utviklet store sivilisasjoner som på mange måter kunne måle seg med Europa, med ett unntak: nemlig at de ikke var kristne. Sør for den kjente verdenen (altså Afrika, og da særlig det svarte Afrika) manglet et liknende utviklingsnivå og dermed sivilisasjon som kunne måle seg med europeernes. Mens «barbar» opprinnelig hos grekerne bare betydde en som ikke snakket gresk, så kom «barbar» på 1400- og 1500-tallet til å bety mangel sivilisasjon. 9 Se f.eks. Daston, Lorraine og Katharine Park. 2001. Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150-1750. New York: Zone Books; Daston, Lorraine. 1991. «Marvelous Facts and Miraculous Evidence in Early Modern Europe». Critical Inquiry 18 (1): 93–124; Wittkower, Rudolf. 1942. «Marvels of the East. A Study in the History of Monsters». Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 5: 159–97; Friedman, John Block. 2000. The Monstrous Races in Medieval Art and Thought. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press. 10 Columbo 1827, 10, 13–14. 11 Se f.eks.: Gainsh, Robert. 1965. «The Second Voyage to Guinea, Set out by Sir George Barne, Sir Iohn Yorke, Thomas Locke, and Edward Castelyn, in the Yeere 1554». I: The Principal Navigations, Voiages and Discoveries of the English Nation, red. av Richard Hakluyt, fol. 89–98. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Facsimilie av originalen fra 1589.); Annonym.1965. «A Voyage Made out of England into Guinea in Affricke, at the Charges of Certaine Merchants Aduenturers of the Citie of London, in the Yeere of Our Lorde. 1553». I: The Principal Navigations, Voiages and Discoveries of the English Nation, red. av Richard Hakluyt, fol. 83–84. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Facsimilie av originalen fra 1589). 12 Se f.eks.: Annonym 1965; Gainsh 1965. 13 Se f.eks. Cadamosto, Alvise. 1970. «Delle Navigationi Di Messer Alvise Da ca Da Mosto Gentilhuomo Venetiano». I: Navigationi et Viaggi, red. av Giovanni Battista Ramusio, bind 1,folio 96vD-111vD. Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. (Facsimile av originalen fra 1550). 14 Colombo 1827, 253; se også: Colombo 1827, 240. 37

Travel Diaries An approach to the environment through art, emotions and senses PASCALE ARGOD (FRENCH ORIGINAL), ANTOINE DE BENGY & ERIN DUMBAULD (TRANSLATION AND ADAPTATION TO ENGLISH)

Travel diaries, by combining artistic and literary expression, appeal both to reason and emotions. They have been seen by museum and natural parks as a powerful communication medium to raise awareness on biodiversity and the environment. Travel diaries can also be instrumental to explore different ways of travelling. —



Credit: Pomopress


hrough text, sketching, painting, and collage, travel diaries allow artists to express their personal perceptions and emotions while they travel. They have been defined as “the autobiographic narrative of an illustrated journey (in its geographical sense) where the image plays a central – even predominant – role in comparison to text”.1 Travel diaries are considered to be a learning process for the artist. They start with the exploration of new surroundings and cultures and are born of the artist’s observation of moments in deep reflection. The combination of artistic and literary expression in the subjective perception of the artist is the culmination of a travel diary. Travel diaries can raise awareness about

biodiversity in an original way, by bringing together arts and the natural world: an artist can use plant materials from the wilderness (in a herbarium or a harvest book) and integrate them in an artistic way into his or her work. In this way, texture and form are incorporated in order to engage the reader in a new way. In her book The Art of Sketching: 400 years of travel diaries,2 Pascale Argod discusses the originality and importance of this artistic, literary and media genre. The book explores the characteristics and principles of over 30 different types of travel diaries with illustrations from several French and other European travel diary artists. Some of her arguments are presented hereafter. 39



hybrid piece of art: appealing to

past of the colonial port of Alexandria. To do so, he gathered and inserted pieces of archived material: old stamps and labels, product packages, bank notes, etc. Venturing to be as authentic as possible, he gives the illusion of going back in time and discovering the diary of an explorer from the beginning of the century. He leads the reader on a journey, during which both the artist’s and the reader’s imaginations are intertwined to create a fantasized reality of this history.

reason, emotions and the senses

Travel diaries are a hybrid piece of art: they mix text with visual art (and several artistic techniques, such as drawings, images, collages), offering different levels of interpretation of the images, texts, and the connection between the two. They appeal thus to the reader’s rationality, emotions and even sensations through the use of varied materials that provide a diversity of forms and textures. A hybrid piece of art Different types of images are chosen by the author depending on the intended purpose: to move the reader with a work of art, to narrate a story through sketches, to inform with documentary images, to explain with illustrations, maps or diagrams, or to highlight change over time with advertisements from different eras. A travel diary is thus an alliance of different artistic techniques:3 calligraphy, typography, drawing, use of both natural and non-natural materials, photography – all used with the intention to capture the experienced moment through the lens of the artist. In some cases, a travel diary is enriched in the artist’s studio later with memory as a filter, selecting for certain impressions. The layout, collages, symbols, colors, and the location of text and images are all crucial elements of the graphic design of a diary. The travel diary structure is intended to illustrate the journey through three interpretative levels: the image, the text and the connection between the text and the image. Whereas a painter captures a moment, a travel diary artist can tell a more complex story by capturing the successive moments page after page, conveying various moods and emotions of their journey. The Italian artist Stefano Faravelli in his travel diary “Egitto: cercando l’Aleph, carnet di viaggio” attempted to evoke the commercial

Credit: Stefano Faravelli

An approach based on senses Travel diaries attempt to awaken several senses. The great naturalist travelers following the spice road along the Indian Ocean, gathered plant material not only to document the flora, but also to have something to touch, smell and share with others: spices, pistils, seeds, color fibers, fruits and vegetables rinds. Travel diaries have borrowed the traditions of the naturalists and insert natural elements in their work - but with an artistic intent, developing, over time, sketching and tracing techniques that make one dimensional drawings take on a threedimensional look.4



Art, communication, education & alternative tourism Because travel diaries appeal both to reason and emotions, they have been seen as a powerful communication medium and educational tool by natural parks, museums and networks that promote alternative forms of tourism that raise awareness about environmental and heritage issues. Communication & Education Travel diaries are a communication medium for natural parks and protected areas.5 Naturalist drawings have been used to illustrate what is at stake in the protection of the landscape and to inform others about the actions taken to address this. This has been done for instance by two French artists, Stéphanie Lafitte and Sophie Bataille (Brin d’île: carnet de voyage sur l’île de Raymond and Dessus Dessous: carnet de voyage dans les paysages du Larzac), whose work has been published by French natural parks to offer visitors an alternative perspective on the landscape and the park’s activities. Travel diaries can also be used to draw attention to heritage issues.6 The National Museum on the history of Bordeaux hosted

Credit: Paroles et Pinceaux

Credit: Paroles et Pinceaux



an exhibition in 2007 titled Le voyage en Laponie de Carl Von Linné (Carl Von Linné’s Journey to Lapland) displaying work from his travel diary Iter lapponicum. Using taxidermy animals, plant fragments and archaeological tools, this event revealed Sami people’s lives and their culture in an original way - particularly fascinating for children. Finally, travel diaries have been seen as an educational tool for students at the university level. For instance, the University of ClermondFerrand, France, organizes travel diary contest every year for exchange students.7 It invites them to communicate their experiences abroad by taking a step back, reflecting on what they discovered (a new culture, a new language, unknown places and landscapes…) and express it in an artistic way. Alternative tourism With a travel diary in hand, a different relationship to travel and time is created: observers likely sit in one place for many hours in order to observe their surroundings. This is a different way of travelling, one that is contrary to “check-list” touring in which large groups of people are shuttled from one site to another with the aim of seeing as many sites in each day as possible. Travel instead becomes a learning process in which the combination of introspection and observation leads both the artist and reader through their own cultural, social, and individual frames of references. This approach to slow tourism encourages people to meet oneself, others, and unknowns in a new space; passive observation is insufficient. One has to take actions to record the essence of the experience. Some companies have commercialized this way of traveling, with travel diaries as the main objective of the journey.8 These companies often follow principles of sustainability and responsibility in the organization of their tours by promoting human ethics and ecological values.

Credit: Stefano Faravelli

Conclusion Travel diaries are used by researchers and travelers in all disciplines. They become a passport for others, with mementos, drawings, and artifacts that guide the reader on a journey of journeys. It invites travelers to slow down during their trip, take time to observe and keep an artistic record of special moments. Travel diaries are a communication medium that can be used to heighten environmental and heritage awareness, awaken the senses and encourage creative work. Through artistic expression, close observation, and a willingness to explore oneself – as a culturally, socially, and historically situated human being - travel diary artists create a medium through which a story is told to another, page after page, to reach beyond reason and tap into more deeply felt experiences. • 42


With a travel diary in hand, a different relationship to travel and time is created. REFERENCES


1 Argod, Pascale (2005) Carnets de voyage, du livre d'artiste au journal de bord en ligne. SCEREN CRDP d'Auvergne 2 Argod, Pascale (2016) The Art of Sketching: 400 years of travel diaries, Promopress First edited in French: Argod, Pascale (2014) L'art du carnet de voyage, Gallimard 3 For a fully detailed map of travel diaries’ complexity and hybridity : Hybridité du carnet de voyage : une palette médiatique, Pascale Argod, octobre 2012 : mindmap/a54fff0a17784ac9bd26367733518358 4 See for instance the work of French artist Claudie Baran (2004) Carnet d’Amazonie, Flammarion 5 Argod, Pascale (2016) “Naturalist diaries and natural parks’ environmental mediation” in Actualités du carnet de voyage, Bulletin d'information trimestriel, n°29, Juillet 2016 [online]: 6 Argod, Pascale (2016) “Travel diaries, an educational tool for museums” in Actualités du carnet de voyage, Bulletin d'information trimestriel, n°29, Juillet 2016 [online]: 7 Blaise Pascal University of Clermont-Ferrand, Prix Universitaire du Carnet de Voyage - Contest organized every year since 2012, on an orginal idea of Pascale Argod and Catherine Morgan-Proux. 8 See for instance the third part of the newsletter Actualités du carnet de voyage, https://cdevoyage.

Campanario Gabriel. 2014. The Urban Sketching Handbook. Quarry Books Hobbs James. 2014. Sketch Your World: Essential Techniques for Drawing on Location. F+W Media. Some travel diaries on Scandinavia : Gout, Alain. Joubert, Pierre. 2009. Les carnets de voyage de Pierre Joubert : itinéraires d'un peintre voyageur, avec sa famille & ses amis. Delahaye Fernandez, Fabien. 2011. Voyage polaire : Laponie. Editions nomades Von Linné, Carl (traduit par Vincent Fournier). 2009. Carnet de voyage en Suède. M. De Maule Abdelouahab, Farid. 2006. L'aventure des pôles : carnets de voyages de grands explorateurs. Sélection Reader's Digest Fridtjof Nansen (traduit par Charles Rabot). 2014. Vers le pôle : 250 illustrations originales. Paulsen Charpentier, Jean-Michel. 2008. Fins tragiques d'expéditions polaires : carnets retrouvés d'explorateurs des pôles. Elytis Editions Macaire Pierre. 2009. Destination cap Nord : carnet de voyage illustré. Le plein des sens Two photographic travel diaries : Loubes, Jean-Paul. 2006. Du bon usage des îles. Fédérop Hilaire, Vincent (préface Isabelle Autissier). 2009. Nuit polaire, été austral : carnets des pôles. Magellan & Cie 43

Running for Unity ROBERT BERGSTRÖM

This contribution is an example of a peculiar form of travelling which challenges our conception of what traveling can be. Running for unity tells the story of Swedish woman Kristina Paltén and her inspiring run across northern Iran. The run was Paltén’s way of challenging prejudice and build bridges between cultures, while sending a powerful message to her home country; a message of trust, openness and curiosity. The journey transformed her perspective on Iran – both its people and its politics – but also on her home country and her own life. —



bit like cursing in church to run through Iran as a woman”, she says, and friends and family now feared for her safety. Many sponsors didn’t want to participate due to a fear of her getting hurt, giving them bad publicity. Paltén explained how she was also scared in the weeks prior to departure:

Alone through Iran – 1144 miles of trust’ is the name of a recently finished documentary1 about Kristina Paltén’s journey, and despite her talking and writing extensively about the trip since coming home, she eagerly tells her story again: “For me, running through Iran was like living out my values”, she concisely summarizes it, as we sit down for a chat over Skype. Kristina Paltén was born and raised in Piteå, a small northeastern city in Sweden perhaps most famous for its “national dish” pitepalt2 . She would stay there until the age of 17. By then, she was tired of high school and decided to drop out in favor of moving down south to enroll at a folk high school instead. She later moved on to technology studies at KTH3, which in turn opened the door to the telecommunications company Ericsson, where she worked for eighteen years4. It was during the years at Ericsson that she was introduced to running when she was invited to run her first ‘Tjejmil’5 in Stockholm in 2002. Running has since become an integral part of her life, and she tries to get out more or less every day to do it. A few years prior to the run through Iran, she embarked on her longest trek yet, between Istanbul (Turkey) and Tenala (Finland), accompanied by a friend. She tells me how people around her didn’t have any strong objections to this trip; to most, it just seemed like an odd thing to do. But running alone through Iran was a different story: “It’s a little

My logical thinking told me that traffic is likely to be the largest threat. But logic doesn’t really apply in these situations – in the end our emotions decide. So two or three weeks ahead of departure I was terrified. At that point it was like “someone wants to hurt me; someone is going to dislike what I’m doing and try to hurt me. But a few days before leaving, I simply couldn’t bear being afraid anymore”

And the fear disappeared. Prejudice

alongside romanticized

travel images

Iran is a country that gets its fair share of attention in Western media, but very rarely for positive reasons. It is usually portrayed as a threat, not least due to its strained relationship with Israel and the United States, even though some fears have been alleviated since the signing of the Iranian nuclear deal in July, 2015. Paltén believes that people in general are ignorant about Iran and the adjacent region, and that this ignorance constitutes fertile breeding ground for prejudiced views.

A few days before leaving, I simply couldn’t bear being afraid anymore. And the fear disappeared.



She attributes a lot of the prejudice that people hold on Iran to simplified and negative depictions of the country in Western media, along with a willingness in people to draw hasty conclusions:

powers to legitimize colonial, imperialist and postcolonial undertakings of ‘the East’. Perhaps Paltén knew that she was on the receiving end of Orientalist stories, knowing she actually had to go to Iran to remedy any preconceived notions – whether positive or negative – that she held about the country.

I think people simply envision a Muslim country with Sharia law, and that Iran is generally

From Bazargan to Bajgiran Starting out in September 2015 in Bazargan, a small city close to the Turkish border, Paltén would go on to run for 58 days across a diverse array of captivating landscapes: “It was simply fantastic”, she says, when describing the Iranian nature that she had previously heard so much about. Early on, in the northwestern part of Iran, the heat was immense (fluctuating at around 45°C). The landscapes she encountered here were dry and sandy and she could see camels roaming about. The temperatures were even warmer than she had expected, and the fact that she had to cover her body with fabric all the way to the wrists and ankles did not help. Even for an avid runner like Paltén, the less than optimal conditions were taking their toll. With her sight set on the Caspian Sea, she passed snow-covered mountains and experienced milder temperatures, reminiscent of Swedish summers. Arriving at the Caspian coastline, she ran with the Elburz Mountains on her right side and the sea on her left. Sadly, a combination of heavy road traffic and extensive littering spoiled some of the scenic potential of this area. Additionally, high humidity made running more unpleasant. Moving past the Caspian Sea, she encountered dry mountains again, but also jungle-like environments with palmws and thriving wildlife. During the last days of her journey, temperatures had dropped to 3°C, and there was even some snowfall before the joyous finale in Bajgiran, at the border with Turkmenistan.

perceived as being more violent. I also think people confuse countries. There’s a war in Iraq and Syria, but not in Iran. People sort of don’t know which one is which. And a lot of people believe it is Saudi Arabia, that you have to run in a burqa, and that it would be illegal to run alone.

She does not say any of this in a self-righteous way. In fact, one of the main reasons for the trip was to challenge her own prejudice. She expected the country’s population to be very conservative and homogenous: “I had seen Iran as a large, indistinguishable group of people”, she admits as we talk. But unlike some, she did distinguish Iran from its neighbors; more precisely the Persian from the Arabic. Colleagues had told her repeatedly about the friendly spirit of the Iranian people and they showed her pictures and shared stories about its magnificent nature. Her Iranian friends told her that she would be received like a hero in the country. In addition, she felt an attraction to Iran due to fairy tales such as One Thousand and One Nights6 , stories that she still enjoys to this day. Even though some of Paltén’s preconceptions about Iran were positive, some would argue that they might also have been misguided, exaggerated and even detrimental. For instance, the late professor of literature Edward Said, in his work on orientalism7 , critiqued how ‘the East’ in general, and the Middle East in particular, has been simplistically constructed and romanticized as ‘the other’ in Western storytelling. He decried how stereotypes have been used by Western 46


Credit: 2016©Google Maps, Mapa GISrael, ORION-ME

Credit: Soroush Morshedian



I want to believe that most acts between people are good no matter where I am, and that was the case. They were extremely good.

Exploring Iran

The world seems to be quite scared. The more


vulnerability and trust

newspapers write about terrorism, bombs and

As intriguing as the above route description may sound, the journey was not without distress. In the documentary trailer8 , Paltén can be seen crying shortly after starting out. Not knowing anyone and not knowing the language overwhelmed her, and her fears came back. But something inspired her to persevere: “For me, running through Iran was like living out my values. I want trust? Well, then I’ll have to practice it too! I’ll make myself as vulnerable as possible, and you strangers can take care of me”. She used a baby stroller to transport her belongings, which naturally increased the impression of vulnerability. Running like that also made her more accessible. It made people talk to her. Paltén describes it as an unbelievable way of reaching out to people. Besides vulnerability, a reoccurring theme for Paltén is trust – the importance of which she attributes to what she sees as an increasingly afraid world:

threats, the more afraid people become and they start withdrawing. And then I thought: that’s not how I want the world to be. I want a world where I can trust my fellow human beings. I also want to be curious about other people because it is through viewing others that I can see myself.

Putting trust into practice implied that Paltén would stay at the homes of strangers along the way. More precisely, she ended up staying with 34 different families. Many of the stops were arranged for her in advance, through the help of a contact of hers, Mehrdad Kashani. Kashani set up a group conversation on Telegram9 and added acquaintances that were on Paltén’s route. In the end the group contained some 50 people – all helping her find places to stay. Some stops were more spontaneous. Families she met along the way, sometimes several ones at a time, invited her to their homes. At times people were almost fighting over where she 48


would stay - putting Paltén in the awkward position of having to turn some of them down. In less densely populated areas, she could usually stay at the Iranian Red Crescent Society10. It quickly became clear to Paltén that the family unit is of utmost importance in Iran. Unlike her home country, Iran has a weak welfare system and people tend to depend on their families in the event of unemployment or disease. Trust and support is found almost exclusively within the family, whereas the state is treated with great suspicion. Secret agents are assumed to be spying on its own population. Not even other families are granted trust:

anything happen?” It was then I understood that trust is limited to the family. But when they found out that I’m moving from family to family, an enormous sense of pride actually started spreading in Iran. “Look what a fantastic people we are; how friendly we are”

One family was so inspired that they decided to rent an entire restaurant in Tehran to throw a party for all the families that had hosted her. Even the Swedish ambassador joined in. Paltén thus managed to bring people together and foster some sense of unity in Iran through her practice of vulnerability and trust: “Or as they put it: If you as an outsider can trust us, then we can trust ourselves”.

As soon as I was with a family, they were really

Ta’arof and visions of the good life A culturally distinct Iranian custom is the practice of Ta’arof. Even though it is something

scared that I would get hurt, and I couldn’t understand why. I thought that “the next family will be just as nice as you are, so why would

Credit: Kristina Paltén 49


of a perplexing practice (even natives struggle to explain what it is) it can generally be understood as the Persian art of etiquette - a set of pleasantries used in everyday life. For instance, Paltén heard the phrase ‘Khaste nabashid’ repeatedly when running. Word for word it translates to something like ‘don’t be tired’, but it is more of a way of showing respect for someone’s perseverance or hard work – perhaps a bit similar to the English phrase ‘way to go’. Paltén also interpreted it as a way of saying “don’t strain yourself - take it easy!” People kept telling her not to work too hard, and when she arrived at the homes of different families they always wanted to make sure she got enough rest. Paltén sensed that Iranians allowed themselves to rest in a way she wasn’t used to11. She also felt that Iranians stressed less than the average Swede. In this sense, Iran became a mirror for Paltén which allowed her to reflect on different cultural practices and her own life:

Paltén tried to move more towards “the Iranian way” of a less stressful lifestyle when she returned home. She says that she has partially managed, but also recognizes that the cultural surroundings at home make the effort an arduous one. It has been difficult to resist falling into old habits. She believes that the Iranian and Swedish people, in general, prioritize differently with regards to what is usually termed ‘work-life balance’12: They lead a completely different life from us. I sense that working tasks are generally deprioritized in favor of socializing; that it’s okay in Iran to say “I can’t do ‘this or that’ at work because my cousin is coming here so I have to take care of him. They also hang out a lot. If you live nearby you visit each other two or three times a week. We don’t do that in Sweden – at least I don’t.

Another part of Ta’arof is that guests are shown reverence and are afforded an elevated status, captured through proverbs such as ‘mehman habibe khodast’ – ‘the guest is a friend of god’. Paltén was amazed by how generous people were, despite being told beforehand that that was to be expected. She recounts how she was given food by those who could not easily afford food themselves; how a family helped her fix a broken tire on the baby stroller and covered all

So for instance, in Iran, I only met one stressed out person. They have so much time! In Sweden – Stockholm especially – no one has time! Everybody’s stressing. So I started thinking; “this can only be a matter of mindset”, and it seems so much healthier. By them doing things differently I also thought “well, then I can do it too!"

Personal development sounds nice, but it often implies throwing yourself out into the unknown, into that which frightens you, that which hurts.



Life is in constant motion; a journey within, in others, and the outer world.

of the expenses; how business owners refused to accept payment for goods as she was a guest in their country: “These things happened several times a day. So it’s really a general, cultural distinctiveness I would say, it’s in their blood to be friendly. The friendliness is enormous!” All the pleasant encounters Paltén had during the trip confirmed one of her warmest held beliefs: “I want to believe that most acts between people are good no matter where I am, and that was the case. They were extremely good”. She also learned that, even though there is cultural variance between Iran and Sweden, there are more things that unite us:

used a canoe hat (basically a cap with neck protection that partially covered her hair), but felt she had to switch over to a running hijab for two days because of a police officer that was harassing her. Then again, such incidents were mere exceptions to the rule; most of the time she was left to her own devices. Perhaps counterintuitively, most of the political controversies that Paltén has been forced to wrestle with surfaced once she returned from Iran: “I’m also in the process of writing a book about the trip”, she mentions, “and when one writes about it a whole new range of questions starts popping up”. Will political criticism not be counterproductive to her goal of fostering unity? Will certain opinions in her documentary and book endanger any of the people involved? When we talked, she was noticeably torn on what she would end up publishing:

I basically got to learn that ‘people are people’. People there are exactly like people here. We are different and we are similar, there are rich and poor, believers and non-believers. Iran has different ethnic groups and it’s very different living as a poor person in the rural areas compared to a rich doctor’s son in a city.

Politics and tough choices When Paltén decided to go to Iran, she was hoping for a counternarrative to some of the negative portrayals in media. And while most of her experiences during the trip were indeed very positive, Iran, like any other country, does not conform to a fairy tale story. It is a highly repressive country, especially so for women. Iran ranks as one of worst countries in the world when it comes to freedom of the press, according to Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders. Freedom of expression is strictly controlled, and women are by law required to cover their heads in public. In 2016, thousands of Iranian women have protested against this law by removing their hijab while snapping photos. Conversely, Iranian men protested by wearing the headscarf. Local campaigns have also encouraged female tourists to disobey the law. Paltén normally

And then I get really pissed off, since I feel that nobody has the right to say what I can or cannot say. But could I, for instance, endanger our filmmaker in Iran13? At the same time, I want these things to come to the surface since this is what happens when we don’t have freedom of expression.

Travelling a country devoid of fundamental human rights has allowed Paltén to see Europe in general, and Sweden specifically, in a new light. With the rise of right wing populism she has a newly found sense of urgency when it comes 51


to defending rights that many might take for granted today: “I want people to take notice – freedom of expression is worth defending!”

also a political act15. It was a way to demystify a country and its population - a way to break with Orientalist stereotypes. More than anything, it could perhaps be understood as an example of direct action - a practice that foreshadows and anticipates a different world; a world of openness, trust and curiosity. But it was also something thoroughly personal for Paltén. Throwing herself out into the world in the way she did gave her the chance to have experiences that would have been difficult to obtain otherwise. It enabled her to learn things about herself and others. And by covering so much ground, Paltén experienced a surprising diversity of natural environments in Iran, but she also got to see the diversity of the Iranian people – far from the mental image of an “indistinguishable group of people” that she started out with. “Life is in constant motion; a journey within, in others, and the outer world”, Paltén neatly says on her webpage, capturing the essence of her journey. She has already started spreading her message, and judging by the reactions to her talks about the trip, it is being received: “People start crying out of sheer happiness”, she declares, “because they get confirmed their belief in the goodness of the world”. •

Concluding remarks “I feel that Iran has been very special”, Paltén says in retrospect, “because it is such a simple thing. I run, I happen to be a woman and I run through a country that is subjected to a lot of prejudice”. But as simple as the idea itself may have been, running alone through Iran is certainly not for everyone. It is anything but simple. Paltén says that she is still processing all the impressions from the trip14, and she clarifies why in almost poetic terms: “Personal development sounds nice, but it often implies throwing yourself out into the unknown, into that which frightens you, that which hurts”. Travelling can be and mean many things. While the word ‘travel’ generally gives us connotations of leisure, adventure and cultural exchange, most would agree that this trip had little to do with leisure. On the other hand, it was clearly adventurous. And while cultural exchange (or ‘learning from other cultures’) may be a sales point that is excessively touted in travel advertisements, the act of running through Iran certainly contained such a component for Paltén. Furthermore, it was



REFERENCES AND NOTES 1 At the time of publishing this journal, the documentary will be exhibited to potential buyers (TV, festivals etc.). Private individuals will have to wait to see it. 2 Pitepalt is a dumpling with a base of potatoes, wheat and barley flour, and usually contains a filling like pork or minced meat 3 Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan – a university in Stockholm 4 Besides Ericsson, she started lecturing on her spare time on a range of topics; about running, on how to set objectives for oneself, but also more generally on “what we can achieve as humans”. She now manages her own company where she continues that work fulltime. This year a lot of time has been devoted to talking about her travel experiences in Iran. 5 A ‘girls-women only’ running event 6 One Thousand and One Nights is a collection of mainly Middle Eastern and Indian stories, including the tales of Aladdin, Ali Baba and Sindbad the Sailor 7 Said, Edward W. 1978. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon Books 8 To see the documentary trailer, go to ‘’ 9 Telegram is a messaging app that emphasizes the protection of personal data from third parties. It has 100 million users worldwide, of which 20 million are in Iran. It has become an important tool for collecting and disseminating information in Iran, used by activists, journalists, and citizens to work around stringent government media control. 10 The Iranian Red Crescent Society is a large relief, rescue and medical aid organization in Iran, recognized by the International Committee of the Red Cross 11 Paltén admits that this very likely, at least partially, was the result of a warmer climate 12 Work-life balance stands for the balancing act in peoples’ lives between time spent at work and time spent with, for instance, your family 13 As a compromise, Paltén had a local camera man, Soroush Morshedian, follow her for 8 days during the trip in order to get higher quality footage than she could create on her own. The other 50 days she was alone and used her own video camera 14 The interview was conducted around nine months after Kristina Paltén returned home 15 ’Political act’ is a formulation that Paltén disagrees with, but here it is understood in broad terms as “any act which is intended to have an effect on the established social order” 53

The Traveler’s Impulse RICHARD HANSEN

Richard and his partner Erin left everyday life behind to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, a hiking trail that runs 2,650 miles/4,265 km from Canada to Mexico through the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges in the United States. Winding his way along the trail, Richard reflected upon the journey’s meaning and the broader search for oneself in new landscapes. —

Devil's Peak, Washington. Credit: Richard Hansen 54



hy do we so desperately seek to remove ourselves from our day-to-day existences through travel? If we deeply examine the oftenirresistible impulse that so many of us have to visit new lands and participate in extraordinary experiences, we may find that the answer is squarely at odds with the heroic mythologies that we construct about ourselves. We had finally hit our stride after barely managing 10 miles per day in the miserable, interminable snows of the North Cascades. As Erin and I cruised through the relatively flat, unvarying terrain of Oregon, it was clear that we had managed to hone our bodies into hiking machines that were capable of 20, sometimes 25 miles per day without the amount of effort that such a grueling pace would have implied a mere two months before.

It was clear to both of us that, despite the unexpected slowdown at the beginning of our journey, we would have no trouble physically managing to reach the High Sierra before the first snowfall and would certainly not encounter any difficulties traversing the deserts of Southern California as we stretched toward the Mexican border around the end of October. This certainty dawned on me as we scurried through the snow-melted mosquito pits of central Oregon and had the effect of filling me with a sense of ease and accomplishment. This sense of accomplishment was simply a mental fiction, of course, and a curious one at that. As a committed liberal, it was difficult to imagine seeing the dull, corrugated metal of the Mexican border fence as anything but a cruel gash across the ideals of a country largely built



Every day, from dawn until dusk, we used our ice axes to hack our way up treacherous cornices, stumbled through labyrinthine snow-bound forests and battled hunger as our provisions dwindled to powdered protein and peanut butter.

hikers who would be making the trek north from Mexico, we decided to begin our hike in Canada. Most hikers decide to hike north from Mexico because the warm-weather window to complete the PCT stretches from April to early November in that direction. Going south, we had to begin in mid-June while still having to finish by the time November began. This constricted timetable meant that we were in for longer, more intense days than the average NoBo (northbounder), but we were convinced that the experience of a “wilder” trail would more than compensate for the grueling schedule. There was no doubt that we did indeed experience a wilder trail than the average NoBo. Our first 200 miles from Canada through central Washington were marked by nothing save an endless and surprising panorama of thigh-deep snow. Because we had to, we managed to trudge through this unchanging landscape, constantly checking our GPS unit to keep ourselves on course and occasionally pausing to admire stunning mountain vistas. Every day, from dawn until dusk, we used our ice axes to hack our way up treacherous cornices, stumbled through labyrinthine snow-bound forests and battled hunger as our provisions dwindled to powdered protein and peanut butter. To be sure, we were foolhardy to attempt such a long snow hike with no previous backcountry experience, but we did it. While managing to hike through so much snow filled us with immense pride after the fact, the major downside to it was that our slow pace severely cut into the window of opportunity we had to successfully finish the trail. We pressed on out of the snow, utterly convinced of our badassery and ready to tackle the “green tunnel” of Oregon. Had we done a closer read of Wild, it should have become obvious to us that we were approaching the PCT in a completely backwards way. Even as we were hiking, we

by the hands of immigrants. Nevertheless, as the 20-milers ticked on, day-by-day, this fence became a beacon that inexorably drew us in. With this totemic fixation on reaching Mexico firmly in mind, why then did we decide to walk out of the forest scarcely two weeks later, never to return to the trail? My partner and I began our earnest preparations for our through-hike of the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) from the Canadian border all the way down to Mexico approximately six months prior to hitting our stride in Oregon. Though the notion of leaving everything behind and hitting the trail had long appealed to both of our wanderer’s impulses, our commitment to hiking the PCT truly took root after reading Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. As the skyrocketing number of people who seek out permits to attempt a through-hike of the PCT attests, we were not alone in our inspiration. Equally because of work commitments and in an effort to avoid the anticipated crush of 56


began to denigrate Cheryl Strayed for not completing more than half of the trail. When we crossed the Bridge of the Gods across the Columbia River and entered Oregon, we openly scoffed at the fact that Strayed did not continue into the true wilds of the Washington Cascades. Because we went through greater physical deprivations and hardships (we thought) than she experienced, we cast our former idol into the abyss and elevated ourselves as our own heroes. Though we thought that we were approaching a throughhike with the aim of “finding ourselves,” it became increasingly evident to us that getting in touch with ourselves and through-hiking the PCT were completely incompatible goals. What is a through-hike, aside from an artificial metric designed to show everybody how tough and accomplished you are? There is nothing about embarking on a through-hike that has anything in common with the ideal of selfactualization through communing with the natural world. This fetishization of the through-hike (or the passport stamp, or the Instagram picture from an exotic locale) represents nothing noble in our natures. In fact, it’s emblematic of the kind of egotism that makes real personal growth all but unattainable for so many of us. When we deeply examine our motives for removing ourselves from our humdrum, quotidian existences through travel or other peak experiences, what will we find? Are we merely collecting experiences the same way that my grandmother collected spoons from

every state she visited? We might cloak our traveling spoon collecting in terms of “meeting new cultures” or--if we’re feeling particularly new age-y--”seeking enlightenment,” but is the deeper motive anything more profound than spoon collecting? Cheryl Strayed hiked the PCT because she needed to confront the unresolved demons that were haunting her every day. She didn’t need to complete the through-hike because she was on an intensely personal quest and the through-hike was an irrelevance. It took us more than two months of hiking to realize it, but almost all of the growth that we did on the trail happened on the day we mustered the courage to walk to the highway, stick out our thumbs and watch the trail disappear in the rear-view mirror. •

Trudging through the snow. Credit: Richard Hansen

When we deeply examine our motives for removing ourselves from our humdrum, quotidian existences through travel or other peak experiences, what will we find? 57



A sunny day in Ny-Ă…lesund. Credit: Benedicte Gyllensten 59


was floating around in the Arctic Ocean on a small rubber boat, 81 degrees North. As the boat made its way around I could hear the ice breaking; other than that it was silent. It was a type of silence I have never experienced before and might never experience again. The silence of a piece of the world still not conquered by humans. At one moment, a family of seals popped their heads out of the water to check us out. Like them, I was on the watch for polar bears. One had been spotted from the boat earlier that morning, far out on the ice. I was half scared, half curious, wanting to get a closer (but not too close) look at the king of the ice. At the same time, I understood that we had no right to chase him; this was his kingdom and we were the visitors.


Summer in the Arctic. Credit: Benedicte Gyllensten 61

Glacier walking at Esmarkbreen. Credit: Benedicte Gyllensten


The ice at 81 degrees north. Credit: Benedicte Gyllensten 63


During the weeklong cruise around Spitsbergen I often thought about this. Did we have the right to be there? But the adventurous spirit in me won over the environmental critic. It was magical to experience the silence, the solitude, and the loneliness of life in the high North. To sit on a rock waiting for a glacier calving, to discover tiny little flowers among the rocks, to learn that ice crackles when it melts.

To see birds, walrus, whales and polar bears from a respectful distance in their natural environment. A week away from the world heightened my senses and allowed me to appreciate every detail, and the trip only increased my environmental awareness and desire to conserve the Arctic for the future. It was my second visit to Svalbard, and I am already longing to go back. •

The mountains and glaciers of South East Spitsbergen. Credit: Benedicte Gyllensten 65


The magical colors of a glacier in Magdalenefjorden. Credit: Benedicte Gyllensten 67

Paving the New Silk Road with Green Finance: Challenges and Opportunities WEI GUO

China’s President Xi Jinping recently launched the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, a grand scheme to improve land and sea connectivity across continents. In an attempt to revitalize the ancient Silk Road, the initiative aims at boosting trade, travel, and cultural transfer between regions. However, as Wei Guo argues in her article, there are several environmental and social challenges connected to OBOR. To limit the damaging potential consequences of infrastructure investments in vulnerable regions, the author thus calls for an innovative and dedicated approach to green financing mechanisms for the initiative. —



OBOR - revitalizing the ancient Silk Road. Credit: Kaja Elise Gresko

New Silk Road Initiative The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes that went across land and sea, connecting West and East, Europe and Asia, from China to the Mediterranean Sea. The Silk Road’s name derives from the lucrative Chinese silk trade, and in earlier history the Silk Road played a significant role in promoting political, economic, and cultural exchanges between regions, contributing to the development of civilizations of Eurasian people.1 In September 2013, China’s President Xi proposed the New Silk Road Initiative with the slogan of ´One Belt, One Road´ (OBOR), in an attempt to develop the Silk Road Economic Belt through central Asia by land and the Maritime Silk Road along south East Asia’s

sea-lanes. In 2014, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was established with the purpose of providing funds to strengthen infrastructure development in developing countries. A major function of the AIIB is to serve as a financial instrument of the New Silk Road Initiative, which aims to promote regional and cross-continental connectivity between China, the rest of Eurasia, and Africa. This connectivity operates in five major areas, including policy coordination, infrastructure construction (mainly railways and highways), unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people ties. Among these, infrastructure is the main investment category of the New Silk Road Initiative.2



China’s Interests One Belt, One Road (OBOR) reflects China’s growing interests in increasing its political and economic power. Politically, China will potentially increase its power in the countries it invests in, gaining support which in turn can strengthen the country’s capacity for competition with the US-Japan Alliance. Economically, OBOR can provide a channel for China to relocate its labor intensive and low value-added manufacturing facilities overseas, reducing the economic pressure due to the domestic over-capacity of some heavy industries. Furthermore, China’s Western inland regions, which border Central Asia, can economically benefit from OBOR investments.

on climate change mitigation and sustainable development has taken place. In this context, China pledged at the COP21 Paris climate conference in 2015 that its CO2 emissions would peak around 2030. China’s top leaders also committed to deliver clean energy and low carbon infrastructure for developing countries.5 Recently, China has shown interest in promoting the development of green finance. This September, at the Hangzhou G20 summit conference, G20 leaders for the first time recognized green finance as an important agenda for global economic development and financial stability, recognizing that climate change and environmental crisis threatens economic growth and financial

The major strategy of OBOR will develop an infrastructure network of ports, roads, railways and pipelines, increasing trade, investment and cultural exchange between the countries involved. stability. Thus, global financial policies need to mobilize private capital for investment in green sectors, and more capital is needed to fund the transition to a low carbon economy.6 In addition, China contributed to promoting the concept of “green finance” for global governance at the G20 summit, which may have a good effect on China’s international image. As Erik Solheim, Head of UNEP said, “the G20 is a leader on bringing together the goals of economic performance and environmental preservation, thanks in large part to China’s presidency”.7 However, in practice, China faces severe challenges in scaling up “green finance” policies for environmentally sustainable investments, particularly in terms of OBOR.

Under the leadership of President Xi, China has included untraditional national security and responsible governance measures into its grand strategy, such as recognizing climate change and public health, both domestically and internationally, as a security issue, taking social impacts into concern, and increased emphasis on soft and moral power for good governance.3 Under this strategy, Beijing hopes that OBOR will help enhance its international image and contribute to the recognition of China as a responsible global power.4 However, questions remain about its capacity for achieving China´s political, economic and cultural interests. At the same time as the OBOR initiative is being implemented, a global call for action 70


China needs to pave the New Silk Road with green finance, which advances green infrastructure development. A Road of Challenges and Opportunities A need for green infrastructure

challenged in the region. Local communities, especially poor people, would face greater challenges in coping with increased resource degradation and natural disasters. From an environmental perspective, this New Silk Road plan would downplay the effects on the aim of strengthening social, economic, and cultural development among Euro-Asian regions. In addition, such consequences may harm the credibility of this initiative and China’s international reputation could suffer. Thus, much work needs to be done in increasing environmental standards and concerns for investments. In a sense, China needs to pave the New Silk Road with green finance, which advances green infrastructure development.11 OBOR has an opportunity to redirect China’s investment and infrastructure development strategy, promoting green investment and developing green infrastructure that is designed to be low carbon as well as climate resilient. The AIIB and Chinese overseas investment companies have important roles to play in building a green silk road and improving China’s international reputation. However, great challenges remain.

The major strategy of OBOR will develop an infrastructure network of ports, roads, railways, and pipelines, increasing trade, investment, and cultural exchange between the countries involved. This will make it more convenient for people and goods to travel across the regions, and the initiative thus holds the potential to have beneficial social, economic, and cultural impacts. On the other hand, as we know, conventional infrastructure construction involves massive use of concrete, steel, chemicals, and base metals, which would bring tremendous negative environmental and climate impacts to developing countries in Asia, one of the most vulnerable regions to climate and resource scarcity.8 According to the Chinese Academy of Science, such intended infrastructure projects between China and hosting countries would generate huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.9 OBOR is likely to expand desertification in Asia, resulting in large numbers of environmental refugees,10 and as climate impacts increase, the availability of resources would become more 71


the development of their company. They also need to have a good understanding of local political, economic, social, and environmental conditions, and incorporate them into their investment analyses.

The struggles of Chinese overseas investment companies China´s foreign investment has increased ten times over the last decade and it currently ranks as the third largest source of overseas investment.12 It is welcomed by many developing countries as an important source for their economic growth, especially with regard to infrastructure development. However, Chinese overseas companies have been criticized for local pollution, resource grabbing, poor community relations, and a failure to use local labour. Their reputation has suffered a lot, which has a negative effect on their longterm economic activities.13 Many Chinese overseas companies may lack capabilities in implementing green and sustainable infrastructure investment overseas. One reason is due to the fact that China lacks clear environmental rules and oversight for its firms working overseas. Another reason relates to the Chinese way of thinking and doing business. According to Edwin Lee, an experienced China overseas investment consultant, many Chinese companies focus on their own aims, ownership, and control, ignoring local stakeholders’ interests. On the other hand, they lack knowledge and understanding of local ecosystems and the local way of managing business operations.14 In recent years, Chinese companies investing overseas have shown more concern towards improving their investment strategies and corporate image. A UNDP report shows that 49 percent of Chinese companies operating overseas have corporate social responsibility (CSR) management systems, and 46 percent of companies have a leading or average level of CSR performance.15 However, there is still a lot room for these companies to improve their CSR performance and reputation in local communities. In order to do so, companies need to take local interests into account, and link local development to

Can AIIB scale up green finance? AIIB, as the major financial instrument of OBOR, may face a number of challenges in the development of green finance, including lack of clarity in green definitions, making reliable green lending criteria, and in the implementation of these, information transparency and dissemination, and inadequate analytical capacity. However, the AIIB has the potential to scale up green finance, and input new fresh blood for local sustainable development along New Silk Road regions. AIIB has the opportunity to advance green finance through working with private sectors, NGOs, and national governments and development banks. OBOR demands a huge amount of capital (1.4 trillion US dollars), and with slowing economic growth and fluctuating foreign exchange rates, there is a real challenge to get enough funding for OBOR projects. Public sectors find themselves in a situation of financial limitations, and most funds must therefore be secured from private sectors. AIIB plays a crucial role in providing funds by mobilizing capital from private sectors for green investment. At the same time, AIIB needs to work closely with international and national environmental NGOs in communicating with local communities and applying a credible and green lending policy. When AIIB was launched, the Bank president Jin Liqun stated that AIIB would contribute to the SDGs 2030 and the Paris climate agreement. How can AIIB ensure that the infrastructure built today supports the COP21 agenda and the development of a genuinely green financial 72


Silk Road display centre at a Guangzhou subway station. Credit: Kaja Elise Gresko

With an innovative thinking in scaling up green finance and green infrastructure development, China can meet its interests through working together with other countries to build a green silk road.



system? AIIB has formulated an environmental and social framework, and been open to comments and feedback from environmental groups and civil societies on the framework, making it available online. The bank has made some reviews and changes according to external suggestions.16 However, there is still room for improvement of the framework by clarification and prioritization of environmental regulations and governance. One problem that has been pointed out in the revised framework is that the AIIB does not present more specific and concrete strategies, particularly in dealing with energy transition and climate change. Greenpeace China performed an experimental study with the AIIB framework by applying it on four other Multilateral Development Banks (MBDs) infrastructure development projects.17 According to the findings, the framework cannot effectively prevent and reduce environmental damage from these projects. In addition, Greenpeace China warned the AIIB of a potential risk shared by other MDBs’ experience: the implementation of environmental policy at a local level. As Greenpeace China reported, many MDBs’ investment projects have good environmental policies, but fail with local policy implementation. So how can environmental policy be implemented more effectively at the local level? One strategy suggested by Greenpeace China, as well as several other environmental NGOs, is that AIIB should make its investment operation more

transparent and information more accessible to the public, and improve consultation with local people during project planning and implementation. To do this, AIIB can work with environmental NGOs to develop good communication channels with local communities and people. Another opportunity that lies ahead of AIIB is to work with the national governments and development banks of receiving countries. These are mostly developing countries, often with weaker environmental standards and governance. The AIIB has the opportunity to help improve their environmental policies and governance through its funding projects. As discussed above, the New Silk Road Initiative could cause severe environmental damage if it follows traditional ways of infrastructure development and investment. However, with innovative thinking when scaling up green finance and green infrastructure development, China can meet its interests by working together with other countries to build a green silk road that is lowcarbon and climate resilient. In this scenario, the New Silk Road Initiative would contribute to social, economic, and cultural exchange between the Eurasian peoples. •


REFERENCES development-of-chinese-enterprise.html. Accessed on 16.10.2016. Liu, 2016. show/single/en/8554-Pressure-mounts-on-AIIBfor-greater-clarity-on-green-lending. Accessed on 15.10.2016. Liu, 2016. show/single/en/9167-China-led-developmentbank-careful-to-co-operate-with-critics. Accessed on 15.10.2016.

UNESCO. Accessed 10.10.2016 Zhang, 2016. http://www.eastasiaforum. org/2016/09/02/whats-driving-chinas-one-beltone-road-initiative/. Accessed on 15.10.016. Wang, 2011. articles/china/2011-02-20/chinas-search-grandstrategy. Accessed on 10. 10. 2016 Zhu, 2015. article/show/single/en/8231-China-s-AIIB-andOne-Belt-One-Road-ambitions-and-challenges. Accessed on 10.10.2016. Walker, 2016. article/show/single/en/9264-China-stokes-globalcoal-growth. Accessed on 15.10.2016. UNEP. 2016. uploads/2016/09/Synthesis_Report_Full_EN.pdf. Accessed on 10.10. 2016. UNEP. 2016. Accessed on 10.10. 2016 World Bank, 2013. news/feature/2013/06/19/what-climate-changemeans-africa-asia-coastal-poor. Accessed on 12.10.2016. Liu, 2016. show/single/en/8532-China-needs-to-pave-OneBelt-One-Road-with-green-finance-say-experts-. Accessed on 12.10.2016 Liu, 2016. article/show/single/en/9230-China-s-new-SilkRoad-could-expand-Asia-s-deserts. Accessed on 12.10.2016. Liu, 2016. show/single/en/8532-China-needs-to-pave-OneBelt-One-Road-with-green-finance-say-experts-. Accessed on 12.10.2016 IISD, 2016. Accessed on 14.10.2016. Zhang, 2014. article/show/single/en/7299-Why-doesn-t-anyone-like-Chinese-companies-overseas-. Accessed on 14.10.2016. Zhang, 2014. article/show/single/en/7299-Why-doesn-t-anyone-like-Chinese-companies-overseas-. Accessed on 14.10.2016. UNDP, 2015.

NOTES AIIB. Accessed on 10.10. 2016 Liu, Qin. 2016. “China needs to pave ‘One Belt One Road’ with green finance, says experts”. Published 07.01.2016 /article/ show/single/en/8532-China-needs-to-pave-OneBelt-One-Road-with-green-finance-say-experts-. Accessed on 12.10.2016 Liu, Qin. 2016. “China-led development bank careful to co-operate with critics”. Published 03.08.2016. Accessed on 15.10.2016. Quek, Calvin and Baxter, Tom. 2016. “ ‘Lean, clean and green’? The AIIB’s first weigh-in”. Published 8.07.2016. blog/9065--Lean-clean-and-green-The-AIIB-sfirst-weigh-in/en. Accessed on 19.10.2016. Robins, Nick. 2015. “Financing the transition to a low carbon economy”. Published 07.12 https:// en/8401-Financing-the-transition-to-a-low-carbon-economy. Accessed on 19.10. 2016. Zadek, Simon. 2015. “How to pay for low-carbon development”. Published 04.12.2015. https://www. Accessed on 19.10.2016. Zhu, Shouqing. 2016. “China Champions Green Finance in the G20”. Published 20.09.2016. http:// Accessed on 19.10.2016. 75

Retracing an Ancient Route: Flatbread Society’s Seed Journey KATRINA LENORE SJØBERG


Artist Amy Franceschini tells Katrina Lenore Sjøberg about her permanent public art project in Oslo, Flatbread Society and their motives for sailing to Istanbul on a Colin Archer rescue boat with a cargo of ancient grain seeds. —

Seed journey sendoff. Losæter September 2016. Credit: Monica Lovdahl 77


“….we can speak of this voyage as return or a re-tracing of a very ancient route combining human and non-human initiative by which wheat was domesticated from the wild and then slowly made its way through gifts, trade, winds, and sea currents, from the highly cultured Middle East to the barbarians of the north.” –Michael Taussig


etween the middle aged ruins of Middelalderparken in the old district of Oslo and the ultramodern seaside development Sørenga, there was once a useless urban wasteland beside the motorway. Two Lego-like chimneys protrude from the underground tunnels that connect the east and the west of Oslo. For many they are a concrete eyesore that is met upon entering and exiting the Norwegian capital. However, for an increasing amount of city dwellers, these monolithic structures have become a symbol of community, fellowship, ecology and culture. The space surrounding these chimneys was once a non-space; it was off the map of registered commons that were suggested to become the home of a permanent public art program hosted by Slow Space Norway. It was considered uninteresting and irrelevant, not to be developed for years. However, when artist Amy Franceschini and her nomadic art collective Futurefarmers were invited to curate this public artwork, it was precisely this fact that was significant. Franceschini thought it would be interesting

to make roots there before any master plans for the area emerged, “we knew that if people were here and farming that they wouldn’t want to leave and that we could have a better chance of becoming a productive landscape rather than a grassland recreation area.” Futurefarmers established the artwork as “Flatbread Society”, sowed grain fields of ancient varieties and recently finished the public bake house where locals can celebrate a local food economy. Since the first grains were planted, many other local food initiatives have been invited to the area, which has become an oasis in the city for art and food projects known as Losæter. The grain seeds are the centerpiece of Flatbread Society, speaking to us about our relation to the land, biology and knowledge production. In Amy’s words, “these seeds are still not intellectual property owned by companies, they are seeds that are shared and exchanged by a small circle of farmers, they are a symbol of the commons.” Once growing wild, these grains have been domesticated and cultivated by hand from generation to 78

... these grains have been domesticated and cultivated by hand from generation to generation. They have endured a journey through time and space.



Bakehouse, Losæter. Credit: Monica Lovdahl

generation. They have endured a journey through time and space. The idea of a reverse seed journey began when Amy began to learn about the stories from the farmers of the origins of their grains, and she says, “Every farmer has a different story.” Grains are thought to have been domesticated in Mesopotamia, what is now Northern Syria and Southern Turkey. It is believed that these grains have traveled hand to hand through Siberia and Finland to Norway. Others claim that the seeds came from the south through Italy and the west coast up to Norway. The aim of the Seed Journey is to take the grains back to their origins, hear people’s theories and unravel the mystery of these seeds.

are “returning to their homeland” on one of the fourteen rescue boats designed by Colin Archer, the RS-10 Christiania. This boat is the tenth of fourteen in a fleet that was designed to rescue boats in distress. In her career as a rescue boat for the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue, the RS-10 Christiania has saved 257 people, 90 ships and assisted 2,881 boats with only sail and oar power. The design of the bakehouse at Losæter is inspired by the Colin Archer rescue fleet. Now the RS-10 Christiania is returning the seeds which generations of farmers have “rescued” from distinction. One of these rescue stories is that of the Svedjerug or Forest Finn Rye which was found in the board of an old rihii (sauna and barn) which was traditionally used to dry grains. Historian Per Martin Tvengsberg found nine grains which a local church planted in their herb garden. Seven of the nine grains

The Latin word for rescue literally translates as to return. It is thus fitting that the grains 80


sprouted and it is from these seven seeds that the Svedjerug was reintroduced and is now grown on several farms near Oslo. Nine different varieties of grain departed the port of Losæter on the morning of September 17th 2016 onboard the RS-10 Christiana. Among the cargo is a rotating crew of sailors, artists and researchers who will perform various tasks throughout the journey. The crew will stop at several ports along the way to exchange seeds with seed savers and curate public art programs. When the boat reaches its final destination, Istanbul, in September 2017, the crew will plant a grain field in a bostan, an inner city garden. Thus the journey will end in a similarly endangered urban space to that which it began. The origin and the destination are both marginal urban commons threatened by the forces of urban development, just as the ancient grain varieties have been threatened by industrial agriculture. Flatbread Society and their Seed Journey are reintroducing the commons and the heritage grain varieties. At the same time they are also sharing the knowledge and forgotten stories of our ancestors by re-tracing their routes of travel: the movement of people, plants, ideas, and knowledge through time and space.

The origin and the destination are both marginal urban commons threatened by the forces of urban development, just as the ancient grain varieties have been threatened by industrial agriculture.

NOTES Sjøberg, Katrina. Interview with Amy Franceschini. Losæter Oslo, Norway 16.09.2016. Futurefarmers. Seed Journey Pamplet.Oslo, Norway. 2016 McNay, Anna. Amy Franceschini: ‘It’s kind of simple: I want to be alive and I want to be’ in Studio International. 21.09.2016 81

An Environmentalist’s Love Affair JONATHAN FRÆNKEL-EIDSE

Credit: Jonathan Frænkel-Eidse 82


Bike lanes proliferate throughout town, recycling has become second nature, solar cell roofs and wind farms are becoming common place – in many places and in many ways, it seems that environmentalists are making astounding strides towards the Green Shift. But when it comes to flying habits, environmentalists are the ones dragging their feet. —


Social Research There are numerous studies that have found the aviation emissions of environmentalists to be generally far greater than the average person in their respective nations.4 Celebrity environmentalists tend to reinforce this finding: Organic activist Prince Charles enjoys jet-rides to watch polo matches 70 miles away;5 Vice Chair of Conservation International, Harrison Ford, talks warmly of evening flights to the coast (in one of his six private planes) to visit his favorite hamburger joint;6 and UN Messenger of Peace for the Climate, Leonardo DiCaprio, took six trips in six weeks by private jet from New York to LA7 – all are renowned, and criticized, for both their environmental activism and their appetite for altitude. When even the foremost individuals in the environmental movement cannot rein in their travel emissions, what is the likelihood of the rest of the population doing so? How is it that even those who know better act contrary to their convictions? A brief look into Practice Theory can provide the terminology and a useful framework for understanding the social behaviour that creates this apparent disconnect between knowledge and action, and how this could be effectively corrected.

ir travel currently accounts for 2.5 percent of global annual CO2 emissions, but when accounting for additional warming caused by contrails, this number is closer to 5 percent. It is one of the fastest growing emitters, and stands to reach 15 percent by 2050 – all else being equal, it will then become the number one contributor to global warming.1 Yet aviation emissions were conspicuously absent during the Paris climate negotiations last year, with negotiators opting to tackle this issue during the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) talks that at the time of writing have just concluded in Montreal (October 2016). Here, ICAO’s 191 member states agreed to implement the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). Supported by the UN, governments across the world, and the aviation industry itself, this plan may stand a pretty good chance of actually being executed. But it also has many NGO’s crying foul, dubbing the deal a “weak start”,2 and one that is unlikely to even meet its own meagre goals.3 Moreover, a scheme that places most emphasis on off-sets rather than reductions risks giving individuals and the aviation industry a license to continue their escalating emissions instead of reducing them. 83


reasons or a logical basis for a course of action or belief ”,11 is a suitable term for such sets of norm-based, contextual reasoning. Norms, contexts, and the broader frameworks of norm-based reasoning, rationales – these concepts are at the core of practice theory. Pierre Bourdieu, one of the key founders of practice theory, likens the process to one’s learning and understanding of a game, an example of which may help to clarify the theory: Many of us have probably been in the following situation: arriving at a friend’s house, somebody suggests a round of cards – perhaps a game that you have never heard of, such as Wizard. Those who have played before try to teach you the rules, but there is no way you can absorb all of the complexities right away so you say that you are ready to play before you fully understand. You practice various strategies that you deem may be successful in attaining a winning hand – according to your limited understanding of the game. Certain strategies are successful and others not, leading you to transform your strategy as the game continues. You begin to get by as a somewhat competent player, and eventually may be given the opportunity to instruct a beginner according to your (imperfect) understanding of the game, thus completing the cycle of social reproduction. Now the reasoning used here represents the rationale of just one game/context – were you to switch to Poker or Monopoly, a different set of rules would apply.12 At the risk of overgeneralizing, flying is likely a normal activity for many readers of this journal. Thus, as long as they remain in their native context, they most likely do not need to rationalize this behaviour to others. For example, flying on business would entail one sort of socially accepted rationale (i.e. financial necessity) while flying for pleasure another (i.e. family reunification), and virtually nobody

When even the foremost in the environmental movement cannot rein in their travel emissions, what is the likelihood of the rest of the population doing so? Norms, contexts and rationales From birth onward, we are socialized to internalize the various norms of our society. These can be seen as expectations on how we should act, reinforced by rewarding appropriate behaviour and sanctioning inappropriate behaviour. Consistent observation of these expectations endows an individual with the status of “normal”. But that which is considered normal in one social setting may differ from context to context.8 Thus, within each social context, a unique blend of norms is learned, practiced, transformed and instructed to the next generation.9 We employ these contextual norms to functionally define whatever situation we find ourselves in and select different types of socially appropriate action. So long as we employ one set of norms recognized by our peers, we can then rationalize our actions after they have taken place. Frameworks, cultural schemas, habitus10 – this is a comparable concept, known by various labels and definitions depending on the theorist. I suggest that the layman’s term rationales, defined as “a set of 84


would challenge these normal justifications; however, only a fraction of the world’s population has actually flown on an airplane, making this activity quite ab-normal in a global sense.13 The non-flying population includes many of the poorest inhabitants of the poorest nations, who are disproportionately adversely impacted by climate change. If a frequent flyer suddenly found herself in this context, questions would ensue regarding, say, the financial or ethical justification of air travel. Rationales, along with unconscious internal motivations, are at the very core of our decision-making process; however, though the internal motivations of action may never be known, rationales can be.14 We can ask a person to justify their action and they can do so in terms that we may understand, though perhaps disagree with. This is because each person perceives the context of their decision differently, and as such their actions may not always appear rational to an outside observer. Different perceptions of the context will result in varying implementation of rationales and unexpected actions may result.15 This is where we find the apparent disconnect between stated belief and action.

Skype. Credit: Jonathan Frænkel-Eidse

Flight. Credit: Jonathan Frænkel-Eidse

Discussion So why do environmentalists, when presumably knowing better, choose to degrade the environment through their actions? At first glance this appears to be a clear contradiction to their alleged conviction. But a closer look might reveal that their air travel is in fact quite justifiable. Maybe the burned out executive needs a break, the family is going to introduce Grandma to her grandchild for the first time, etc. Each passenger on an airplane could undoubtedly justify their actions according to one rationale or another – they did not get on that plane without some reason – but when pressed to justify their flight from an environmental rationale, only a few might

Arrivals. Credit: Jonathan Frænkel-Eidse

Grandma. Credit: Jonathan Frænkel-Eidse 85


attempt to construct a defence (e.g., Al Gore travelling to present “An Inconvenient Truth”). Rationales are the outcome of habitualization, whereby the individual employs relatively few frameworks of understanding/acting upon a multitude of complex situations.16 Theoretically, every human activity is subject to habitualization, and this process is not inherently bad. Indeed, we would be overwhelmed without some degree of habitualization, as the process narrows choices and frees individuals from a plethora of case-by-case decisions. While habits enable us to act, they also limit our conduct by setting up pre-defined courses of action.17 Even when dealing with what seems to be a novel occurrence, we utilize rationales normally used in other contexts whether they are socially appropriate or not. Employing our “trusty, old” rationales in contexts where they are poorly equipped often leads to undesirable, and often unintended, consequences. If we recall Bourdieu’s game metaphor, we left our character as a competent Wizard player. She could win the odd round, bluff with the best of them, and teach the novices. She knew the rules. Now suppose she visited another friend’s house, where suddenly the game was Poker and nobody told her – now aces are high, not low. She would continue to play as if it were Wizard and unless a sympathetic friend clued her in, she would play terribly. This is exactly the case when we apply the wrong rationale for the wrong context. Once, we could play the game of unlimited, unabashed consumption – consumption was after all good for the economy, and there was always a frontier to expand into if need be. But today’s ecological crisis has made us painfully aware that we have been playing a losing strategy to the wrong game all along. The above arguments may seem to have vindicated humans entirely of our role in environmental degradation – and indeed

that is half of the point! We are in control of our actions, but often many of the choices presented to us, as we perceive them, preclude the possibility of acting otherwise. On the other hand, it is probably not unfair to say that we often select a rationale that we know to be inappropriate, but do so because it better satisfies our own desires. In any case, once the rationale is selected it becomes our filter, sorting information – both external social pressures and our own internal motivations – and in turn generating responses that are deemed appropriate based on that particular rationale’s logic. One can exclusively purchase biodegradable diapers and then fly to Italy for a ski-trip, and while some may call this hypocritical, both behaviours can be rationalized. The difference between them is simply that different rationales are being employed (e.g., “Reduce waste” and “Reduce stress”). And nobody is telling us to act differently… Rationales are special types of social constructs suited to certain human needs and as such can be altered or abandoned if they fail to meet our needs.18 What can be made can be unmade. There are undoubtedly countless examples where the modern world has taken us from environmental norms to un-environmental ones, but there are also instances where the opposite is true. For example, the age-old practice of using the ocean as a garbage dump. Your grandfather may not have blushed when dumping his old sofa and a couple cans of paint off the quay in broad daylight – out of sight, out of mind. Yet most people would not dare to do this today as it has become an inexcusably abnormal behaviour that would be met with harsh condemnation by one’s peers. Such condemnation, or risk thereof, has an extremely powerful effect on how we choose to act. 86


The CORSIA Returning to the aviation deal adopted this October: In its current form the CORSIA will seek to mitigate international aviation’s emissions by using a “basket of measures” to achieve net carbon neutral growth from 2020 levels. In other words, it will set a cap on emissions at 2020 levels and all emissions that exceed this cap will need to be off-set. While this basket of measures will include incentives for efficiency improvements and alternative low CO2 fuels, a Global Market Based Measure (GMBM) will take on the bulk of aviation’s CO2 emissions growth. The market in this case is a carbon market and the commodity traded is emissions units. The GMBM will employ two main types of emissions units – trading allowances between sectors and purchasing offset credits from crediting mechanisms – to achieve net carbon neutral growth. The CORSIA’s ability to meet its stated goal, as referred to earlier, is unlikely according to critics. It will need to ensure broad participation and employ effective off-sets in order to stand a chance of success. This aside, it also may prove ineffective based on basic social theory. Recalling the above theoretical framework, undesirable behaviour is sanctioned, even condemned, and desirable behaviour rewarded through norms. So long as any social reprisal resulting from our flight is absent, or as long as we can convince ourselves that emissions are nullified due to the UN ICAO off-set scheme, we can continue flying as before without being pressed to re-examine the rationale we choose to use. In other words, so long as flying is seen as normal we will not need to try very hard in order to rationalize it. By not seeking to actually reduce emissions, the aviation deal risks legitimizing our current habits. Emissions will continue to skyrocket deal or no deal, and if the critics of CORSIA prove right and the off-sets do not nullify net emissions growth, aviation will become the

But today’s ecological crisis has made us painfully aware that we have been playing a losing strategy to the wrong game all along.



A meaningful reduction in aviation emissions would, for many, require that they forego seeing the people and places they care about most…

number one contributor to global warming in three decades – likely still filling its seats with environmentalists. In light of the above social theory, it could be more effective to brand air travel as categorically unenvironmental behaviour, promote more environmental methods of transportation, and use global, binding agreements to actually reduce emissions. The solution to this and so many other environmental problems is really quite simple: Stop. Stop flying – each day of increased emissions brings us a day closer to hell on Earth. However, while they do make good headlines, the current flight habits of environmentalists and otherwise are, of course, not solely premised on trivial hamburger runs or polo matches. We have created countless good reasons to fly. Whilst out globetrotting, we have also been making connections with people and places across the world. When faced with a choice between environment or family,

it is not strange that the tangible embrace of family wins over the intangible statistic of its impact. A meaningful reduction in aviation emissions would, for many, require that they forego seeing the people and places they care about most… Many of the rationales that we use daily stand in the way of effectively halting climate change and environmental degradation. They are also rationales to which we desperately cling, as they allow us to pursue the things in life that we deem too important to do without. Even with knowledge that suggests the irrationality of our actions, out of habit and deepseated wants we consistently choose environmentally destructive rationales. Whether the CORSIA will be effective in curbing emissions remains to be seen, but it becomes clear that when it comes to our travel habits, something is needed to save us from ourselves. • 88


NOTES AND REFERENCES 1 Lee, David S., David W. Fahey, Piers M. Forster, Peter J. Newton, Ron CN Wit, Ling L. Lim, Bethan Owen, and Robert Sausen. “Aviation and global climate change in the 21st century,” Atmospheric Environment 43, no. 22 (2009): 3520-3537. 2 Transport & Environment, “Aviation offsetting deal is a weak start – now countries must go further”. Accessed October 10, 2016. 3 Transport & Environment, “Aviation ETS – gaining altitude”. Accessed September 30, 2016. https://www. 4 See for example McDonald, S. et al. (2015) and Barr, S., et al. (2011). 5 Grant, Katie, “Prince Charles branded a ’serial hypocrite’ after flying less than 70 miles to attend polo match”. Independent, July 31, 2015, accessed September 30, 2016, uk/home-news/prince-charles-branded-a-serial-hypocrite-after-flying-less-than-70-miles-to-attendpolo-match-10428617.html 6 Daily Mail Reporter, “Not-so-green Harrison Ford flies in on his private jet (Hans) solo,” Daily Mail, July 30, 2010, accessed September 30, 2016. 7 MAILONLINE REPORTER, “Leonardo DiCaprio the ‘eco warrior’ flew on a private jet from NY to LA SIX times in SIX weeks, Sony hack documents reveal”, Daily Mail, April 17, 2015, accessed September 30, 2016. 8 Bourdieu employed the term field (champs), while cultural schema theory uses the term situation. These concepts refer to a partially independent region of social activity limited to time and space. 9 Lovell, Terry. “Thinking feminism with and against Bourdieu”. Feminist Theory 1, no. 1 (2000): 11-32. 10 Known as habitus by Bourdieu, and cultural schemas in cultural schema theory. These concepts refer to context-specific frameworks of understanding and acting, based upon various commonly shared paradigms of rationality. They can be seen as the point where agency and structure intersect. Anthony Giddens’ “Structuration” is also worth noting here. A key difference is that while habitus is seen to be largely beyond the actor’s awareness, structuration sees actors as more reflexive in their capacity to select their actions. 11 Google Search “Rationale”. Google. 29 September, 2016. 12 Bourdieu, Pierre. Outline of a Theory of Practice. Vol. 16. Cambridge University Press, 1977. 13 Concrete figures are hard to come by, but in India, for example, only two percent of the population has flown in their lifetime ( 14 Giddens, Anthony. The constitution of society: Outline of the theory of structuration. Univ of California Press, 1984. 15 Sen, Amartya. “Internal consistency of choice”. Econometrica: Journal of the Econometric Society (1993): 495-521. 16 Gamer, R., ed., quoting Bourdieu in Social Theory (Peterborough, Broadview Press, 2007), 2nd edition. 17 Berger, P., Luckmann, T., The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. London, Penguin, 1966. 18 Vatn, Arild. “Rationality, institutions and environmental policy”. Ecological Economics 55, no. 2 (2005): 203-217. 89

Back-Country Travel in the Age of Constant Communication DAVE OLESEN

Back-country travel has been a part of engaging with wilderness for hundreds of years, but the development of modern communication tools has changed how we travel in the back-country. Not only that, but how have these advancements changed the way we engage with wilderness? —

Credit: Kristen Olesen 90


“We decompressed into wilderness and silence, spewing residual tension and noise in all directions until we approached the emptiness of our surroundings and could feel again. Absorb again.” –Doug Robinson, from A Night on the Ground, A Day in the Open


matter of inquiring politely as to which of the tools the party is carrying and will be depending upon. And -- this is the subtle clue I am seeking as I hear their answers -- what is their attitude toward these devices on their journey? Too often (to my way of thinking) these days, my question is answered with a laundry list of devices and technologies: SPOT, DeLorme InReach, Iridium, GlobalStar, VHF, ELT, PLB, WeatherLink, and every year or two a new one I have not heard of. These whizbang communication tools have made the HF radio (not to mention Morse code, semaphore, and smoke signals) obsolete, and they allow constant two-way satellite-linked tracking and message-sending and weather forecasting, all in places where only a short time ago a weekly check-in on a static-buzzing radio channel was considered downright extravagant. Hearing the list, gauging the tone and inflection of the description, I glean some notion of the party’s motives and philosophy, and their perception of the nature of their journey. I make a silent guess as to how often I, and others, will hear from them, and under what circumstances, in the weeks ahead. I only speak up strongly, in response, if I gather that everything might wind up depending upon these tools of communication. For despite all these ways and means, the itinerary for a trip in a landscape as vast as the tundra

ver the past forty years I have lived and worked and made long expeditions in Canada’s North, and I have seen many changes in the core elements of wilderness travel. The gear has changed, yes, and in some ways it has improved. Canoes, dogsleds, tents, stoves, clothing... the quest for improvement and innovation never ends. The cleverness of our tool-making is a wonder, and a caution. Most of these refinements and innovations are not harbingers of a “sea change” in the realm of back-country travel. What does constitute a sea change -- an upheaval, a revolution -- (for no word seems too strong) is the steady infiltration, by an insidious category of innovations and tools, into the daily rhythms (and blues) of expedition life and wilderness travel. I refer of course to the tools of communication. I work as a bush pilot and guide, based in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Nowadays when I drop off a small canoe party out in the vast barren lands, at the jumping-off place for a long journey down a remote Arctic river, we chat as we unload the packsacks and the canoes and the food barrels. As we finish, and I prepare to fly away, there always comes the question: “And what are you carrying, for communication?” It is no longer the older question from years past: “Do you have any means of communication?” Rather, these days, two-way communication is assumed, and it is only a 91


Credit: Kristen Olesen

(think ocean, large empty ocean) should never be summed up by “Well, we are just going to see how it goes and call for a pickup wherever we are when we get close to our end date.” “Not good enough!” I blurt out. There must be a place the party will try to reach, or where they will remain, a date when they are to be considered overdue, and this must all be written down and handed to someone so that when the -- SPOT Iridium InReach Global Talkie Walkie Digital Doo Dad -- is crushed beneath a boulder or lost to the river or chewed by a wolverine, we who will be starting to wonder will know where to begin looking, and when. There is that workaday aspect of all this, and then there is another aspect. I will not try here to answer for others, but will only pose this question: How does this new realm and reality of “constant connectedness” change the spirit, the mystery, the intangible essence, of our journeys out into the wild silent spaces of the world?”

As you pack your gear, take a moment to heft all those parts and pieces of this wondrous technology, one at a time, in the palm of your hand. Consider how you will use these tools, and how you may in fact be used by them. Think about what you will allow – or not allow – this new option of “connectedness” to become, for you, on your journey. Your journey! •


Robinson, Doug, 1996. A Night on the Ground, A Day in the Open, p. 61. Mountain N’ Air Books, LaCrescenta California. 92


These days, two-way communication is assumed, and it is only a matter of inquiring politely as to which of the tools the party is carrying and will be depending upon. And ‌ what is their attitude toward these devices on their journey?

The author (right) with back-country travellers. Credit Kristen Olesen 93

Contributors Jonathan Frænkel-Eidse is a freelance writer who covers Nordic environmental issues. He is also a recent graduate of the Norwegian Center for Development and the Environment’s MA program.

Pascale Argod holds a PhD in information and communication sciences. She holds lectures for future teachers at Bordeaux University and has been leading research projects on intermedia and the connection between image and culture since 2005. Over the past sixteen years she has organized the artistic and literary event “Les Rendez-Vous du Carnet de Voyage”, an event focused on travel sketchbooks.

Wei Guo currently works as an intern on Sustainable Finance Project at WWF Norway. She has a master’s degree in Culture, Environment and Sustainability at Center for Environment and Development, UiO. She holds a bachelor degree of International Politics from Beijing International Studies University. Wei did her master thesis in an ecological rehabilitation and rural development project in China with the fieldwork in Inner Mongolia. She is a contributor to Arne Næss Project. Wei is also a lover of culture and arts. She spends her free time on theater, dance and outdoor activities.

Robert Bergström is from Gothenburg, Sweden. He is currently studying Culture, Environment and Sustainability at SUM. He writes his master thesis on Oslo’s bike sharing system - Oslo Bysykkel - where he investigates what implications the governance model (a public-private partnership funded partly by advertising revenues) has for the functioning of the system.


Benedicte Gyllensten is from Oslo, Norway. She studies Culture, Environment and Sustainability at SUM and is also a member of the Tvergastein editorial board. Benedicte loves to travel and is currently writing her MA thesis about Costa Rican coffee, but is also passionate about the cold and mysterious Arctic.

Karen O’Brien is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo. She is currently leading the AdaptationCONNECTS project, which explores the relationship between climate change adaptation and transformations to sustainability.

Richard Hansen is a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Georgia. He enjoys rambling around life with no particular aim, preferably in places with delicious coffee.

Dave Olesen is a pilot and dogsled expedition guide who lives on Great Slave Lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Dave has a B.A. in Humanities and Northern Studies. His most recent book is Kinds of Winter, published in 2014 by Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Waterloo Ontario. A new edition of his 1994 book North of Reliance is to be published in November by Raven Productions, Ely, Minnesota. Dave posts a monthly dispatch on his blog at www.bushedpilotblog.

Anne Helness, cand.philol., is a university lecturer in the history of ideas at IFIKK, University of Oslo. Her scholarly interests are especially tied to early modernity. She works on a project concerning travel journals and early modern science production, with a focus on Venice and the publishing of Giovanni Battista Ramusio’s Navigationi et viaggi, in three parts, published between 1550 and 1559.

Katrina Lenore Sjøberg is Norwegian/ American, originally from California. Aside from studying Development, Environment and Cultural Change at SUM, Katrina is also a member of Tvergastein’s editorial board. In addition, she is the founder of Herbanists, an urban herb garden and aspiring social enterprise at Losæter, the urban commons that she writes about in her article in this issue “Re-tracing an Ancient Route: Flatbread Society’s Seed Journey.”

Nina Jensen (born November 22, 1975 in Oslo) is a marine biologist and Secretary General of WWF-Norway. Jensen has a degree in marine biology from James Cook University in Australia and arctic marine biology from the Fisheries College of Tromsø. As a volunteer, Jensen started in the WWF in 2003. She got a permanent position as marine advisor in 2005, and later became the leader for the conservation department and technical manager. Jensen took over as the Secretary General for WWF-Norway March 1, 2012. As Secretary General, Jensen is a notable contributor to the public debate, and argued early that the Government Pension Fund of Norway should withdraw from coal, and rather invest in renewable energy. She is an advocate for better management of the Norwegian maritime zones, and has fronted WWF-Norway’s long standing efforts for a separate Norwegian climate law.

Julia Szulecka is a visiting postdoctoral fellow at SUM, currently researching forest policy and environmental governance. She holds a Ph.D. degree in Tropical Forestry and Forest Economics and a Master’s degree in Political Science.


Editorial Board Kaja Elise Gresko, from Drammen, Norway, recently received her master’s degree in Culture, Environment and Sustainability, with her thesis entitled “CSR with Chinese Characteristics. On a Silk Road to Convergence?” She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Oslo/University of Zagreb, and has studied CSR management and Spanish at the University of Buenos Aires. Kaja currently works as a research assistant and project coordinator at the Centre for Development and the Environment

Outi Pitkänen is from Loimaa, Finland. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Culture, Environment and Sustainability at SUM. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Psychology from University of Helsinki and a second bachelor’s degree from Aalto University in Finland.

Hedda Susanne Molland is from Oslo, Norway, and is currently studying Culture, Environment and Sustainability at SUM. She received her bachelor in the History of Ideas at the University of Oslo. Her current research focuses on the meeting of science and politics in climate discourse.

Erika Heiberg from Alberta, Canada studies Culture, Environment and Sustainability at SUM. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education, Psychology and Scandinavian Studies from the University of Alberta. Her master’s research focuses on culture in sustainable farming practices.

Erin Leigh Dumbauld is from Tucson, Arizona. She is currently studying Culture, Environment and Sustainability at SUM. She received her B.A. in Anthropology at Arizona State University.


Antoine de Bengy, from Limoges, France, studies Culture, Environment and Sustainability at SUM. He holds a master degree in International relations and European affairs from Sciences Po Lille, France. His current research focuses on the Norwegian response to the Ebola epidemic on the international scene, from 2013 to 2015.

Sarah Shrestha-Howlett, originally from the UK, holds a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from The University of East Anglia, UK. She has been living in Nepal for the past five years and now resides in Oslo, currently studying a Masters in Development, Environment and Cultural Change at SUM. She intends to focus her Masters research on Nepali migrant workers.

Benedicte Gyllensten from Oslo, Norway studies Culture, Environment and Sustainability at SUM. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Politics and Spanish from the University of Aberystwyth in Wales and a Master of Public Administration from the Monterey Institute for International Studies in California. She has also studied photography at Bilder Nordic School of Photography.

Stasha Stojkov is originally from Serbia and has lived in Egypt and Norway in the past. Now she is again residing in Norway and pursuing a master’s degree in Development, Environment and Cultural Change at SUM. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Arabic language, culture and literature from the University of Belgrade. Teresia Sætre Aarskog, from Bergen, Norway, holds a bachelor’s degree in Development Studies with a focus on Human Geography from the University of Oslo. She is currently studying a Masters in Development, Environment and Cultural Change at SUM.

Robert Bergström is from Gothenburg, Sweden. He is currently studying Culture, Environment and Sustainability at SUM. He holds bachelor’s degrees in European Studies and Human Ecology, both received from studies at the University of Gothenburg. Katrina Lenore Sjøberg is Norwegian/ American, originally from California. She holds a bachelor’s degree from UiO in Aesthetic Studies as well as an interdisciplinary masters from the University of Essex in Wild Writing: Literature and the Environment. Currently she is studying Development, Environment and Cultural Change at SUM.


Do you want to contribute to Tvergastein? We accept contributions in Norwegian and English in two categories: Op-ed style (2,000-5,000 characters) Academic style (10,000-20,000 characters) If you have a finished text, an old exam paper that can be edited, or simply a good idea for an article, send us an e-mail. We promise you fair feedback and help in the editing process before publication. We are also looking for illustrations, drawings, photos, for our texts. Please contact us if you have a finished work, a sketch or an idea. Stay up to date on what’s happening with Tvergastein: Web: Facebook: Twitter: @tvergastein

Nord-Norge Credit: Benedicte Gyllensten 98

Tvergastein is grateful for all of the help and support received from:


Tvergastein bears the name of Arne Næss’ cabin retreat in the mountains of Hallingskarvet. It was there that Næss, an activist and one of the most wide ranging philosophers of the last century, wrote the majority of his work. These writings, his unique ecophilosophy, and his life of activism continue to inspire environmentalists and scholars in Norway and abroad. In making this journal its namesake, we aim to similarly join academia with advocacy for the environment. We aspire to the ”enormous open views at Tvergastein” the perspective Næss found there.

© 2016 Tvergastein ISSN 1893-5605

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