Those of us living in North America tend to forget that there are other parts of the world sometimes. Since every country has its own unique diversity of population, environments, landscapes, and cultures, we tend to focus on our own country first (for me that being Canada), and those countries that have the biggest influence on us second. (In my case, obviously the US; as I was taught in Canadian History class in high school, when the US sneezes, Canada catches cold.).
But global warming and climate change are problems affecting us worldwide. Although different parts of the planet are affected in different ways, no part of our globe is immune to the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. Our species is pouring 90 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every day, what amounts to more than 30 billion tonnes a year. That has a global impact.
So when I found this video giving a brief description of how Denmark is tackling the issue, I was impressed and wanted to share it. Although I just found it, it’s already more than two years old. It was produced by World Focus, a now-defunct news broadcast service that emphasized global reporting. (Their website is still functioning, however.) World Focus had an active daily broadcast for a year and a half, ending in April 2010. They point out that most news broadcasts have only eight percent of their content covering international news stories, so their mandate was to correct that.
This particular segment focuses on Denmark’s approach to energy. As a nation, they have more commuters on bicycles than any other. And while Canada and the US have had a steady increase in energy consumption over the last thirty years, Denmark has managed to remain steady despite being a cold country, providing ever-increasing amounts of wind energy and conservation measures to help the grid.
This segment is less than five and a half minutes long, but in it you will hear from a family who have embraced the philosphy of conservation, a man happy to spend high taxes when purchasing a car to help the bigger picture, and a politician who explains the history of the path Denmark has chosen.
One of the most interesting aspects of the segment is how clearly the attitude of people is so different in that part of the world compared to ours in North America. Although Denmark’s path started with the energy crisis of the 1970s, they’ve never veered from it since.
It’s great to see so many people willing to pay toward helping the solutions, even if it means higher taxes. Previous studies have shown that Danes are among the happiest people on Earth, despite paying more than half of their income toward taxes. But all of their health and education is covered, and they do a better job that most nations at looking after their children and their elderly.
I think we can all learn a lot from Denmark and the example its people have set.