To the mountain top with the worlds first Minister of the Environment

We are few people and the cities are not big in Norway, but our nature still have challenges. So much that in 1972 the Ministry of the Environment was created, as the first in the world. Since then much is achieved, among them 35 national parks, but many believe there are still a lot of challenges. Not the least because Norway is a major exporter of fossil fuels. This week the government is celebrating the first 40 years for the Ministery of Environment, and at the same time discussing what has been achieved, and not. Myself I use this opportunity to remember when I was a biology student. My teacher in botany was professor Olav Gjærevoll, who a decade earlier had been had been the world’s first Minister of the Environment. The picture below is from an excursion to a mountaintop to find rare flowers with Gjærevold as the guide. This was in the beginning of the 1980s and one of mye best times as a student. We learned a lot. And we lived at Kongsvold, the picture at the top. It is also a small botanical garden for wild mountain plants in this place.

Edvard Grieg, the norwegian composer, once wrote In the Hall of the Mountain King (Dovregubbens hall) inspired by these mountains. That is something else, no flowers there, but here it is:

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41 thoughts on “To the mountain top with the worlds first Minister of the Environment

  1. Kongsvold looks like a lovely place, and special to have your professor as the world’s first Minister of the Environment 🙂 I think Australia also has that same issue with exporting fossil fuels 😦

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    1. And in Norway the government don’t see these fossile fuels as part of eny environmental problems (but of course they know..). It is regarded as export trade, and energy, and has its own ministery..

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  2. I’m glad there is a Minister of Environment in your country. I wish we had one as well.
    And for the Hall of the Mountain King, I really like this version by The Who 🙂

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    1. I have hard, or read, that Puerty Rico do a lot of environmental research, and I thought environmental issues was taken well care of, but maybe not. At least you have a lot of abundant nature. I like the Whos version too!!

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      1. Oh yes, there is a lot of environmental research and there is a branch of the government, the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board, but there isn’t a Minister per se, and also, due to all this world crisis, guess which government agencies suffer the most…, the ones who care.

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  3. This is wonderful photograph… I loved the train and the houses between the mountains… I am impressed so much by this composer… Thank you dear Bente, I enjoyed so much. with my love, nia

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  4. I should remember more clearly, but weren’t you having problems with environmental pollution from Russia and Germany falling as acid rain, or something in the late 60s, early 70s? I seem to remember stories (few pictures) of dead lakes and wildness areas. Is that the time Professor Gjærevoll was appointed as Environment Minister?
    On a personal note, did your professor influence your appreciation of the environment to the extent that it became the driving force for your future career?

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    1. You are right, there was acid rain, especially 1970-1990s, comming from industry in Germany, England and other countries, polluting nature and killingh fish in river and lakes in southern Norway.
      And did he influence my career? I have been a nature lover and user since childhood, but my first ambition (at 12) was to become an artist, then I wanted to study biology, and before finishing my master, suddenly I was a journalist, writing about art…

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  5. Nice to remember….but I also learn’t something new. The Who did ‘Hall of’ as well. Not sure how I had missed that. Mind you I think I will stick with a traditional version

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  6. Despite my recent food adventures, I spent my career as a scientist – mostly the environmental area. Norway has made a mark on the global environmental picture in a number of ways. Mostly I associate the Brundtland report with Norway – even though it was UN. The report had a great impact on our definition of sustainability.

    I have yet to get to Norway (part of my ancestry) and am eager to do so. I think my family comes from Bronnoysond. Your pictures remind me of old photos and paintings (my grandfather was an artist) of Norway, which is one of the reasons I enjoy them so much.

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  7. What a wonderful trip down memory lane…I could feel the fresh summer air of the mountains and that track is something so fantastic I had no idea it was written to the mountain backdeop. Thank you for posting and sharing, I’m wiser by another bit of information I would normally not have known. Will try and remember the names those are a bit of a challenge though!

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  8. Unfortunately, as much as Norway was the first country with a minister of environment, and was way ahead of many countries back then, when thinking and addressing environmental issues, in later decade Norway has fallen hopelessly behind. And the reason is, yes, because we are one of the largest exporters of oil and gas. Nowadays it’s business before environment. Sad but true. On a different note, I think it’s fun to read that you studied biology before turning into journalism and photography. Because I did exactly the same.

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  9. I never been in Norway. I´m going to Göteborg in February and I decide to visit Oslo too. I wanna see fjords.

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  10. And just some more to Eldin: remember that february is cold, and dark. Fjords are maybe not the best choice after all, it might be a rough experience… But it could be something to brag about. (:

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  11. Hi Bente: I found this when searching for information on Knutshø to show a friend! You are fortunate having studied with Gjærevoll, a great man! One of my biggest regrets I have is not having gone on one of his botanical trips while he was still alive…
    Stephen (Malvik)

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