Latviski English По-русски
Friday 28.02.2020 | Name days: Skaidrīte, Justs, Skaidra

Lithuanian consumer advocate: How I Learned to Love Climate Change

(No Ratings Yet)

Lithuania, climate change,

Kęstutis Kupšys

Kęstutis Kupšys, Vice-President of the Alliance of Lithuanian Consumer Organisations, thinks that the «climate kids» have gone off to schools and the adults got back to «business as usual». Still, he suggests in this opinion piece that consumers should make an effort to learn about and support sustainable finance.

The earth is changing, becoming hotter and all the means that can slow the change are introduced too late and take too long. Facebook friends are left gasping at the forecasts and leave virtual shocked faces all over the feed. I can feel the depression creeping into the minds of everyone that works with climate change issues in Lithuania. Every respectable climatologist in the world is depressed without exceptions.  Sooner or later, this will happen to our local climate professionals as well.

However, even if you’re at the end of your rope, there is always hope. It is said that hope is not something happening at the last minute as some sort of a miraculous healing of the Earth. The real hope is doing the right thing even if you know that it might not work.

That’s why I am making a conscious decision and learning to love climate change! But how can you learn to love it when you see the melting ice caps, the extinction of countless animal and plant species and the already-not-so-shocking news of storms taking thousands of lives? That‘s absurd! You have to be sad, gasp longingly and shed a virtual tear with the help of Facebook.

The choice to love is not a sign of insanity. Once you change your perspective, you are forced to search for new solutions. The best way to mobilize yourself, the organization and society itself is to stop the empty wailing.

And one more thing: it is crucial to recognise and acknowledge the chance that arises from this problem.

It is no surprise that I see that chance creeping out of the financial system.

Modern economy is shaped by money. Money is the universal measure for wealth and success, the perfect thing in itself that can be exchanged for any other thing out there. No other idea has enslaved and changed the world like money has. The ones who have it are perceived as gods and the ones who do not could do anything for it. The result of this is an economy that is being managed only through the prism of money and only for profit. There is a myriad of institutions created just to legitimate, justify and nourish the power of money.

Greta Thunberg is right: the world is dying, and you are still talking about your money and the desired economic growth. Anything that is not measured by money does not matter. Even «the polluter pays» system is broken, and the governments are using taxpayer money to support fossil fuel companies so it would be profitable for them to invest into the extraction of new fossil fuels – and it is drying up the planet.

This is why it is worth it to love climate change. It is worth it to welcome it as a wanted guest.

The upcoming climate catastrophe will drive the change of economic models that the humanity lives by. The centre of that change – the financial system. If we change the financial flows, we will change the future. We will change the economic system because the time to do it is now.

The voices coming from the opposite camp say that capitalism is still alive and well; it is claimed that it is a system without an alternative and only personal initiative can bring wanted technological change that will slow down the climate change and we will get back to «business as usual». It is as if technology is omnipotent and something that is crucial right now, and creative minds will not even lift a finger to create these technologies if there‘s no profit. Maybe. Who knows? Perhaps they are right.

However, the only thing that capitalism has proven is that it is capable of destroying the Earth, not saving it. It is because of profit that deforestation exists, it is because of profit that overproduction is flourishing and excessive consumption is encouraged. It is for profit, and not for anything else, that the banks in Lithuania and the rest of the world are working and managing financial flows. Those flows merge into the vast business seas where all they see is maximising profits and it does not matter if it is at the expense of the future. Foolishness? Yes, but it is dictated by the architecture of the system. Our world is headed towards destruction, not healing.

I believe that the consumers have the power and that everything is possible if we act jointly. Millions of consumer voices are changing the course of public debates. Right now, it is often not the price that matters, but the cleanliness and sustainability. If we opt for a multi-usage thermo cup, why can‘t we opt for sustainable financial services? It is time for the average consumer to express what type of course they are expecting financial institutions to take. Do you accept the fact that your deposit to the bank X becomes a loan to a polluting factory in the country Y?  Or even a loan to a polluting factory in your neighbourhood? You have to tell your bank: «I do not accept this». Unfortunately, you won’t know where your or your grandmother’s savings are going without a nit-picking analysis.

Sustainable finance in Europe is a term that is, for now, only used by professionals, researchers and decision-makers. I am glad about the non-government initiative, similar to Fair Finance Guide, that will gradually start to educate Lithuanian people and reveal the uncomfortable truth about which banks or investment funds are environmentally friendly, and which are not. And it is not just about the environment: environmental sustainability will bring social change as well. There are energy cooperatives, and there are ethical banks and collective impact investment platforms as well.

Change is a good thing. Sometimes that change is forced by external factors, like global warming (though there is no reason to complain or cry about it – we caused it). If in ten years we will see that a distinct and humane financial system has been developed as a result of climate change, it will mean that the world has become different and better. This will give hope to reach an agreement on more humane relationships in the economic system. Therefore, let‘s love climate change as a chance, an opportunity.

Written by Kęstutis Kupšys, Vice-President of the Alliance of Lithuanian Consumer Organisations. LT language version initially published at the Lithuanian news portal DELFI.LT:

Leave a reply

Gints Miķelsons put in charge of Latvian Construction Contractors Partnership

From 1 March 2020 onward Gints Miķelsons, who has been the head of Latvian Sustainable Construction Council will be in charge of the Latvian Construction Contractors Partnership, as confirmed by construction contractors.

While Latvia’s GDP grows 2.2%, other Baltic States experience more rapid growth

In 2019, Latvia experienced the slowest GDP growth among Baltic States, according to data from Latvia’s Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.

Latvia’s GDP growth reportedly 2.2% in 2019

Compared to 2018, the economic growth continued and Gross Domestic Product increased by 2.2 %. In 2019, GDP at current prices amounted to EUR 30.5 billion. Compared to Q3, in Q4 2019 GDP at constant prices grew by 0.1 %, according to seasonally and calendar adjusted data.

Retail trade turnover in Latvia up 2.6% in January

Compared to January 2019, total retail trade turnover rose by 2.6 % in January 2020. Turnover of retail trade in food products grew by 4.4 %.

Vilnis Ķirsis to remain in charge of Unity’s faction in Riga

On Thursday, 27 February, Vilnis Ķirsis was once again picked as the head of Unity party’s faction in Riga, as confirmed by the party.

Latvia and USA sign joint declaration to enhance 5G network security

On Thursday, 27 February, Latvia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sign a joint US-Latvian declaration on 5G network security, as reported by Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Estonian Tallink Grupp sees profit growth of EUR 9.7 million on year

Estonian provider of ferry transport and related services Tallink Grupp has worked in 2019 with a net profit of 49.7 million euros, according to its unaudited financial results of the year, as reported by Estonian public broadcaster ERR.

Jakrins reportedly a beneficiary in a company that organizes Brasas and Deglava bridge repairs

Long-standing Riga City Council official Emīls Jakrins, who was in charge of the Transport Department not long ago, is beneficiary and factual owner of LLC TecPro Construction, which is a contractor to Lithuanian company Kauno tiltai, which has been hired by the city council to repair Brasas and Deglavas bridges, as reported by Diena newspaper, referencing unofficial information.

UK ready to switch to WTO trade rules if no EU by end of year

The British government has declared that unless concessions are made by Brussels in EU-UK talks on their future cooperation, the former EU member would trade with the bloc on WTO rules from 2021, British news portal The Guardian reports.

Residents able to submit compulsory income declarations by 1 June; VID urges using EDS

March 2020 will mark the beginning of the three-month period within which all residents for whom it is compulsory will be able to submit their income declaration for 2019. This period will last three years for residents for whom this process is voluntary, as reminded by the State Revenue Service.

Lithuanian border guards start informing travellers about the situation with Covid-19

As the new coronavirus Covid-19 continues spreading in Europe, Lithuanian border guards have begun informing travellers from Latvia and Poland about necessary protective measures.

Turkish soldiers killed in Syria, in regime airstrike, Ankara says

In the current epicentre of the Syrian civil war, 33 soldiers of the NATO member state Turkey have been killed as Syrian government military aviation carried out attacks on Turkish military posts set up in its neighbouring country, German broadcaster DW reports citing Ankara.

Weather in Latvia to be winter-like at week’s end

Weather in Latvia is expected to be winter-like at the end of the week – air temperature is expected to drop below 0° C at night in most of the country. In some areas cold snap may be felt during the day, as reported by Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

First coronavirus infection case found in Lithuania

The first coronavirus infection case is confirmed in Lithuania, as mentioned in Lithuanian government’s statement released on Friday, 28 February, as reported by

SPKC urges passengers of 26 February Istanbul-Riga flight to respond

Latvia’s Disease Control and Prevention Centre is looking for passengers who flew together with confirmed coronavirus patient from Istanbul to Riga on Wednesday, 26 February.

Regional hospitals in Latvia report high demand for protective clothing

Because of the outbreak of the new coronavirus Covid-19, demand has considerably increased for individual protective clothing, which forces prices to go up, as reported by heads of hospitals.

Rail Baltica not just marvelled, but cussed too in Lithuania

If implemented, the ambitious 5.8-billion euro Rail Baltica project aiming to build a nearly 1000-kilometer rail link from Helsinki to Poland through Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will be a major infrastructural achievement of the Baltics, but the possibility of dashing at the now surreal speed of 250 kilometres per hour as soon as in 2026, when the project is slated for completion, comes at expense of many land owners in Lithuania’s six municipalities, which will be crossed by the European-gauge tracks.

Construction costs in Latvia up 2.8% in January

Compared to December 2019, the level of construction costs in Latvia fell by 0.2 % in January 2020. Labour remuneration of workers reduced by 0.9 %, prices of building materials – by 0.1 %, but maintenance and operational costs of machinery and equipment – rose by 0.2 %.

In Greece, violent protests against new migrant camps continue for 3rd day

In Greece, continued protests and clashes have resulted in over 60 people suffering injuries as people on the islands of Lesbos and Chios protest against the construction of new migrant centres, British public broadcaster BBC reports.

Minister says Latvia’s initiated territorial reform will create more sustainable municipalities

The report from the European Commission mentions that Latvian government’s initiated administrative territorial reform will create more sustainable municipalities with greater capacity and ability to provide services of comparable quality, as reported by Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry.

Latvian Saeima changes the prosecutor general’s selection order

On Thursday, 27 February, Latvia’s Saeima approved amendments to the order under which the country’s prosecutor general is selected.

Textile producer in Lithuania complies with Greenpeace standards in industrial textile making

Lithuanian textiles producer Utenos Trikotažas has been deemed by environmental protection organisation Greenpeace as complying with the standards of the later as to not using hazardous chemicals and being fair and transparent in its business, LRT reports.

From March onward prices of alcoholic beverages to increase in Latvia

Through a measured and gradual increase of excise tax rate policy, starting with 1 March 2020 the excise tax rate for alcoholic beverages in Latvia will increase, as confirmed by the State Revenue Service.

435 whistle-blower reports received in eight months in Latvia

In the first year of the Whistleblowing Law, Latvian central state institutions have received 435 reports from whistle-blowers, as reported by the State Chancellery.

Estonia finds first positive coronavirus case

In Estonia, the first case of a person being infected with the novel coronavirus has been found, stated Estonian Social Affairs Minister Tanel Kiik on Thursday, February 27, as cited by Estonian public broadcaster ERR.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!