Could Austria be carbon neutral?
Climate change is a reality. It’s not a theoretical danger of the far distant future. It’s changing our landscapes and our habitats right now. As a global community, the damage we’re doing to our environment isn’t just increasing, it’s accelerating. With our current political climate, changing this trajectory seems unrealistic. And it is highly unlikely. But it’s not impossible.
Bhutan is the first, and only, carbon-neutral country in the world. While the entire country collectively produces 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, the immense forest covering 72% of the country acts as a carbon sink, absorbing more than four million tons of carbon dioxide every year. Costa Rica aims to be carbon-neutral in two years. Iceland is moving towards carbon-neutrality. The Carbon Neutrality Coalition is a group of 16 countries, 32 cities and many organisations who pledge to be net zero on emissions by 2050.
The Austrian government, meanwhile, has other priorities. Vice chancellor Heinz Christian Strache suggests that increasing sun eruptions, not human activity, could be responsible for global warming. This is untrue. By 2030, we need to reduce our emissions by 36% compared to 2005, in order to meet the promises we made in the Paris climate agreement. Currently, this seems highly unlikely, without any actionable plan or even honest commitment from people in charge. The problem isn’t just increasing emissions, it’s increasing ignorance. How will we reduce our carbon footprint without a change in mindset?
We won’t. Climate change is overwhelming. But if we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed with all the issues we’re facing right now, we’ll never change anything. For change to occur, we need to make room for it to do so. Changing our mindset is the first step in the right direction, but only if it is followed by action.
- Hold yourself accountable in your day-to-day life –
especially in the way you travel, eat, live and consume.
- Support business models that include a commitment to carbon-neutrality.
- Demand political action.
In a 2014 study, German scientists confirmed that by 2050, Germany could be emission-neutral, with every citizen emitting no more than 1t of CO2 (or equivalent) per year. Compared to 1990, this would constitute a reduction of 95%. Of course, this is merely a technical possibility, on a national scale. But maybe knowing about this possibility is all we need to take the first step. There is no equivalent study for Austria, but it’s clear the possibility is there.
If we want to make the possibility a reality, we need to start moving. And accelerate on the way. The finish line is moving further away as we speak. So let’s start now, to make sure we don’t lose our breath before we get there.
How Do You Move A Bookstore?
When October Books, a small radical bookshop in Southampton, England, was moving to a new location down the street, it faced a problem. How could it move its entire stock to the new spot, without spending a lot of money or closing down for long?
The shop came up with a clever solution: They put out a call for volunteers to act as a human conveyor belt.
Good design. It doesn’t have to be complicated, sometimes the simple ideas work the best. Love this!
7 Places in Lisbon for Creative People
Travelling is one of the best ways to keep your creative juices flowing. Whether you’re a photographer, designer, artist or anything in between, Lisbon has some beautiful spots you don’t want to miss.
(I’ve layed them out as a day plan, but feel free to visit them in any order you’d like.)
1. Hello, Kristof
Start your day with a coffee at Hello, Kristof – a cute little coffee shop that has some inspiring indie magazines on display. Lisbon doesn’t just have one city centre – and if you’re looking for arts & design without all the tourists, you’ve come to the right area. For the authentic Lisbon experience, take the vintage yellow tram to get there (look out for line 28 going to Santa Catarina and get off at the last stop).
Rua do Poço dos Negros 103
2. Artes & Letras
Just a quick walk away is Artes & Letras, a beautiful letterpress workshop with unique prints (great place to buy an unusual postcard!). Admire the machinery and chat with the young woman who runs the shop and creates the artworks together with her friends.
Rua dos Poiais de São Bento, 90.
And just on the opposite side of the street, make sure to check out APAIXONARTE, which features ever-changing art exhibitions and sells posters and other fun gifts.
3. Comunication Museum
If you’re into technology and interested in seeing how communication has evolved over time, take a nice and easy 10 minute walk down towards the river (with some awesome street art and vintage signs along the way) and check out the comunication museum, which features a permanent exhibition around communication technologies and the Portuguese postal service as well as temporary exhibitions. It’s likely you’ll be the only one there (and depending on the mood of the receptionist, you might not even have to pay 2,50€ for the ticket). But don’t be mistaken – the exhibitions are insightful and well-made, absolutely worth a visit for anyone interested in the evolution of the tools we use to communicate with one another.
R. Do Instituto Industrial 16, 1200-109 Lisboa
Open Monday through Saturday
This former industrial complex houses a wide array of arty retailers and unique restaurants. LxFactory is located below Ponte de 25 abril and a fantastic spot for some lunch and shopping. Buy some books at Ler Devagar and eat some delicious cake at Landeau Chocolate.
For the afternoon, take the tram or the bus out to Belém, where you’ll find many beautiful sights and museums. One prime spot for architecure lovers is the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, which houses thought-provoking exhibitions in a gorgeous space right next to the river Tejo. Head up to the roof (free access) for some great Instagram shots in front of the river and the bridge.
6. Museu Coleção Berardo
This museum houses a permanent contemporary art collection as well as temporary exhibitions. It is one of the best ways of learning about art of the 20th and 21st century, covering a large variety of genres, cultures and artists.
7. Nossa Senhora do Monte
And for the best sunset views, head up to Nossa Senhora (don’t forget to check out the incredible street art piece on the way there) and admire Lisbon from above. It’s one of the best viewpoints but usually not too busy.
“Blue Man” Street Art
R. Damasceno Monteiro 21A, 1170-252 Lisboa
I hope you enjoy your stay in this diverse, beautiful city. Follow me on Instagram for more creative travel content.
The Story of the Rainbow Flag
“Soon after, Gilbert was dancing at the Cow Palace with Cleve Jones and, amidst the swirl of colored lights, he was overwhelmed with the diversity of people out dancing and came up with the idea of the rainbow flag. I believe there was LSD involved.”
There are few places more joyful than a pride parade. Its symbol, the rainbow flag, was created by Gilbert Baker, whose story you can read on 99U.
Made in China
Most of us have heard about the town in China that replicates oil paintings, usually during a discussion on the value of art, copycats or the like. This beautifully made documentary tells the tale of one of those artists, who spent 20 years painting Van Gogh paintings. See what happens when he travels to Europe to see the originals for the first time.
“We are only painter-workers, you know? To change from being a painter to an artist and to whatever it is is very difficult.”
Are you a painter worker, or a painter? The value of one’s work is based on the difference between the two. What’s your difference?
The Beach House That Connects The Internet
There’s a small, unmarked beach house in Denmark, alongside two unsuspecting manhole covers by the sea. They are responsible for one of the most important and unusual highways of the world – they carry internet traffic from the US to Europe and back. Meet the man responsible for keeping us connected.
This month, I’ve been exploring Europe by train. In an effort to remember the experiences and locations (and also because some of these train journeys were really f*cking long), I made a playlist with some (for me) new music. Here are my travel companions.