episode 18

18. thinking about people and nature in times of war - case of ukraine

Our Ukrainian guest Alla Ljungman talks about how Ukrainians were increasingly empowered and engaged in environmental issues.
Did you know Ukraine supplies grain to the world - 12% of the wheat for example?
War stalls progress and process but people continue to collaborate and will return to land

Welcome to the second of our episodes on war and the environment and Ukraine.

Ece caught up with Alla Ljungman with whom we first spoke back in February at the beginning of the war in Ukraine. We talked about birds, agriculture, energy technologies, what the Ukrainian Environment Ministry and others are doing, and a whale in the Pacific

It is clear that the impact of war on the environment is not just on the battlefield or the immediately affected countries but the whole world – from migrating birds to global movement of goods and cost of such movement. European Union’s decision to minimise oil and gas imports from Russia will mean more tanker movement from elsewhere; decline in fertilizer / raw material provision from Russia will affect food production costs. To understand and want to reduce such impacts and costs of how we deal with war is not about not dealing with war. But perhaps solutions that will reduce costs lie elsewhere – like consume less in the first place through insulation, reduced meat consumption, eating locally and seasonally. These are all acts of defiance! 

The whale – shipping lane visualisation Ece mentions is here: https://www.livescience.com/whale-stress-animation.html – of course this is not conclusive, timing is not clear for example. and maybe whales like chasing / being chased by tankers. There were a lot of comments on the Linked In post Ece saw. But she still feels sad about it. 

The first episode

We debated a lot whether to do an episode on Ukraine. After all there have been wars going on all over the world all the time with grave consequences for the lives and livelihoods of people and the environment. Would talking about Ukraine now mean we didn’t care about the others?

Definitely not.

But at a time when environment was gaining such mainstream attention, we felt it important we continue to talk about nature. And talk about what was, is and will be good. 

We also felt it important to talk about war and how its impacts can be minimised and cleaned up – especially as others want to push nature into “not now” “important but not a priority” category… or even try to convince us that as our grain supply from Ukraine is at risk, food security should become more important than bees and butterflies. Bu we want to remind them bees and butterflies = food security.

We have a couple of episodes lined up on biodiversity and climate change. And we are trying to bring other guests to talk about war and the environment. 

On this episode, we are joined by Alla Ljungman who is originally from Dnipro, now based in Washington DC and is an expert on energy policy working in particular on renewable energy project

*** The views we and our guests express in this podcast are our own. ***

reference list

This is the whale and shipping lanes visualisation Ece mentions in the 2nd episode: https://www.livescience.com/whale-stress-animation.html 

For actions Europeans can take see Jill Duggan’s post for Environment Defense Fund Europe

Here is a list of campaigns and charities you can support. As we learn about more we will add them here – 

British Red Cross Ukraine Appeal 

Disaster Emergency Committee – which also has a campaign for Afghanistan