Baltic Cities Environmental bulletin No 1, 2002

Dear Friends,

A few days ago we got a new report - now from HELCOM - showing us that every country has failed to reach the targets to reduce their pollution to the Baltic Sea. The best results have been made in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as these countries have been successful in combatting point sources and many polluting factories have been closed. It is evident that combatting point sources is successful. We can read that in many reports. Due to this, Central and Eastern European countries have recently been more successful in reducing many pollutions than the Western European ones. Furthermore, the per capita impact on the environment and diffuse pollu- tion in the countries with so called Western lifestyle are higher than in the Eastern European countries.

Work for a better environment is successful when it comes to clean tech- nology and to reducing pollution from point sources. In the Western Eu- ropean countries most of such work is already done, and now the success- ful work continues in the East. However, the impact from the lifestyle by diffuse pollution is higher in the West and more difficult to reduce. In the future we can expect the same development in Eastern Europe when the lifestyle reaches the Western level.

Therefore we must together develop improvements in our lifestyle and work for a reduction of diffuse pollution. The states and municipalities can support us as individuals, but everyone must take his or her own responsi- bility for the environment. This means that all of us must understand the importance of these changes and get information and skills to make them. Changing behaviour is not easy but can be done through education. How could we educate all responsible citizens in our area? Demonstration approach could be one part of the solution. Many of us understand much better if we can see, hear, smell and feel how, for example, a compost container functions or how a heat pump works. Therefore I am convinced that one successful factor is to build up, what we call, environmental ped- agogic centres.

My vision is that we can replace the hot spots with green spots, consisting of environment pedagogic centres. These are places where we can learn by demonstration and develop changes in our behaviour together by studies and discussions.

Guldbrand Skjönberg
Co-chairman, UBC Commission on Environment
Manager to the Boards, Nacka