The heat in grandma’s house on Bjärehalvön is oppressive. Can’t sleep there tonight. We go out onto the balcony that is on the garage roof next to the white stone house. We put the black wicker furniture together and make a double bed. The white pillows become a thin mattress. My eight-year-old daughter and I are lying there with the cool duvet pulled up to our chins on each pillow, close together and looking up at the starry sky, which is black but illuminated by all the stars. The gentle breeze that comes in from the sea blows nicely.
“Look there’s the Little Bear,” she eagerly points up at the dark starry sky. “We’ve been talking about the stars at school.” “And there’s the Pole Star, do you see the one that shines so brightly up there?” I say. She nods. “It’s four hundred light years from Earth.” “What’s a light year, Dad?” she wonders carefully. I stroke her hair and begin to explain. Her breathing becomes increasingly heavy and soon she is sound asleep.
I lie awake by myself and look at the stars that are up there far away, there’s so many. The more you look, the more you see. A feeling of infinity sets in.
In several places on earth, record temperatures were seen in 2022. The Chinese harvest was largely lost due to drought. A third of Pakistan has been under water and Europe has been plagued by temperatures of just over forty degrees. Gigantic forest fires have raged in many places.
In an interview with Dagens Industri before the summer, I was asked which political issue was most important before the election. I answered environmental questions, undoubtedly the environmental questions. “Can you develop that?” asked the reporter. “If we don’t solve them, there are no other issues left to discuss in the long term.” She looked at me and nodded. She stopped. “Well, if we don’t solve the environmental issues, life on the planet will change in the near future with a major population flow as a result and large uninhabitable areas or surfaces that will become seas. And eventually this planet won’t be habitable anymore.”
Time is running out, major changes are happening, but they are not enough. More is required. The concentration of greenhouse gases has not been higher than in 800,000 years according to the UN. The temperature increase is in focus. Some scientists now believe that we will reach an increase in the average temperature of 1.5 degrees within 10-20 years. The two-degree threshold is considered to be the maximum temperature increase we can adapt to. For every half a degree, we will see increasingly extreme heat waves, droughts and torrential rains. Regardless, without rapid emission reductions, that limit risks being crossed well before the end of this century with devastating consequences for the planet and humanity.
“But why didn’t you do anything, why didn’t you do anything, Dad?” The thought echoes inside me. “You had all the facts; you saw it coming. Yet you didn’t do what was required.” I look up at the infinity of stars.
We became Sweden’s scrap recycler of the year for our innovative thinking in the environmental field, we have lectured at universities and industry days, debated, tried to inspire. We have arranged an environmental gala for several hundred children. We will continue to develop, be heard and seen, continue to fight. Because we have to. We cannot fail. Then we have no future. We are too small to make a big difference, but if everyone tries, we can achieve an effect, that’s when change is required. And hopefully one day I can show my grandchildren Orion’s Belt, Gemini, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. And the Pole Star, have you seen it? It’s extremely beautiful.
Mattias Malmer, CEO