'; Gudmundur Hegner Jonsson | Flekke Glocal
I am currently the Rektor (principal) of the United World College Red Cross Nordic. I am keen to further develop our environmental, humanitarian and Nordic pillars, and reaffirming the relationship between the individual and the environment is the thread that ties these pillars together.
My challenge
To collect and recycle all plastic

Day 22: The ‘climate change’ debate

I’ve often felt that the climate change/global warming debate is misguided in many ways.  Whilst the evidence for man-made climate change is overwhelming, I feel the debate has often centred far too much on causation and the science.  Whilst this is of course centrally important, it is nonetheless difficult to argue against working for a world where the seas/lakes/rivers/waterways are cleaner, where the air we breathe is less polluted, where the resources we exploit are harvested to sustain not only current but also future generations.  These goals should underpin our daily work, regardless of the climate science.  The cartoon I have posted here pretty much summarises my thoughts for the day!

Day 20: Antoine Represse – 365 unpacked

Antoine Repesse’s latest project ‘365 unpacked’ presents powerful visuals that allow us to get to grips with the extraordinary amount of waste we generate across a year in our lives.  You can explore his work here: http://www.antoinerepesse.com/

Day 15: Not just plastics

My plastic challenge has made me think about how we consume resources in general.  The clothes we buy and renew on a regular basis form the basis for a huge global industry.  It is estimated that 100 billion new textile garments are produced every year.  Imagine the amount of human labour, water, land, pesticides and fertilisers needed to satisfy this seemingly insatiable demand for new clothing across the globe on a yearly basis.  On top of this imagine the extraordinary volume of transportation needed to supply these products from production to point of sale and the vast quantities of CO2 emissions generated as a result.

With the IPCC recently releasing their annual report, it is clear that fundamental changes need to be made over the next decade if we are to mitigate disastrous consequences for our environment and societies across the globe.

What is also clear is that how you choose to consume products and energy is a key factor in making positive change.  I think people far too often feel that they are powerless in the face of big business and they perceive themselves to have a lack of choice and power.  But you can make a significant difference! Eat less meat, use public transport more often, repair worn clothing and donate unwanted items, try and buy locally sourced food products (why do we need to buy bananas in Norway?), stop and ask yourself before you buy – do you really need the latest version of the next smartphone or laptop?


Day 12: #generationIB – projects tackling plastic pollution

As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the International Baccalaureate, the IB has invited students from all four IB programmes to participate in the #generationIB project.  You can see some remarkable student initiatives on tackling plastic waste here:


Day 9: Avoiding plastic!

I have just undertaken a journey to Vienna to attend the IB Global Conference.  On my journey I attempted to avoid any form of plastic when buying food. Travelling through airports this is clearly challenging! Most food items are wrapped in plastic, drinks come in plastic bottles and there seems to be little effort on the part of airport terminals to actively reduce use of plastics.  Oslo airport has recycling bins all through their terminal building which is to be commended, although there is usually not a dedicated bin for plastics, only bottles.  The airport does have water dispensers which allowed me to avoid buying plastic bottles and I carried a water bottle with me.  Sandwiches generally come in paper bags and thus my journey through the airport was largely plastic free!  Vienna airport does have similar facilities but it was more challenging to avoid food items wrapped in endless reams of plastic.  I’m now in my hotel room and good to see water being provided in glass bottles.  Undertaking this challenge has proven to be a real wake up call – there is clearly a real need for collective action in terms of plastic avoidance and offering consumers alternatives when it comes to buying products that are plastic free.  And of course the simple act of travelling here has added to my carbon footprint considerably!

Day 9: Recyclable plastics

Part of this journey has been to think about the different types of plastics that are found in our households on a day-to-day basis.  This video and following website provides insights into the types of plastic and the recycle codes.


Day -1: Plastic challenge no. 1!

I had a package delivered to my office today.  It consisted of a paper envelope with a bubblewrap layer glued to the inside of it! Trying to isolate the bubblewrap from the paper proved to be a real challenge.  A quick google search (yes…there are websites devoted to this problem!) revealed that soaking the envelope in warm water for 24 hours should do the trick….but would this be sustainable? The energy consumed by heating up the water would possibly negate my attempt at recycling the plastic! But almost all of Norway’s electricity is hydroelectric so I should be ok.  This cChallenge is channeling my thinking in unexpected ways….

Day -1: Professor Karen O’Brien

We have had the privilege of welcoming Karen O’Brien on to our campus today.  Karen is professor at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo.  Karen delivered a fascinating lecture on the role of perspectives, beliefs and values in relation to sustainability and climate change.  A group of students also had the chance to participate in a workshop led by Karen, where they will participate in the Flekke Glocal Challenge.  Good luck to all!

Day -2: Getting ready

As a family, we have often talked about the considerable amount of waste generated by us on a daily basis.  To date it has been challenging to recycle waste as we have lived in countries where recycling has not been available, and where any form of recycling is difficult to do in meaningful ways. Being in Norway this is thankfully relatively easy to do.  Plastic remains a concern, however, and it has been great to see staff and students at our College (United World College Red Cross Nordic) introducing plastic recycling boxes across campus.  We have decided to commit to the recycling of plastic as a family, and we will report back on how we do!