Coming to you from Narvik, Norway
January 16, 2023 - The Nett Report
Every other week The Nett Report provides readers with thoughtful perspectives useful to navigating life in a changing world. Past issues can be found here (recent) and here (past two years).
Coming to you from above the Arctic Circle
This issue of the Nett Report comes to you from Narvik, Norway (68 degrees north latitude), where we are in the middle of a 17-day adventure through Norway and Sweden. The country is stunningly beautiful, particularly in the north. We’ve experienced the fjords and the Lofoten Islands, where the drama of the Swiss Alps reaches seaside (fjord-side) resort towns. The food has been outstandingly fresh and delicious, with every hotel breakfast a smorgasbord of the best-tasting eggs, cheeses, and breads you can imagine. Highlights have been crossing the Arctic Circle on the train from Trondheim to Bodo, riding fast inflatables into the fjord to encounter sea eagles, and in Oslo, a public transportation system that should be the envy of the world. Still a week to go. We are in Narvik, a shipping port and tourist destination where iron ore from Kiruna, Sweden, leaves for world markets. Kiruna is our next stop, via the Arctic Circle train. Two photos below from the many taken on the trip.
Leaving the ferry dock in Bognes on the way to Lødingen.
Sea eagles out of Svolvaer.
Future of Work / The Economy
Sweden finds critical minerals for EVs
Kiruna, Sweden, holds the largest deposit of the vital minerals used in electric vehicles and other green technology, according to a story in the New York Times on January 13, 2023. Since we will be visiting Kiruna in the coming days, we hope to learn more.
Housing market predictions from Zillow
Zillow, the popular website for tracking changes in home values, predicts that “while high monthly mortgage costs and low inventory will continue to influence the housing market in 2023, there are signs conditions may stabilize.” In a January 12, 2023, blog, Zillow provided five housing market predictions for 2023.
Housing affordability will improve slightly.
The Midwest will grow in demand.
More friends and family will buy homes together.
New construction buyers may have more choices — and even bargains.
More homeowners may leverage their homes as a source of income.
Norway reaches 20% adoption of emissions-free vehicles
According to a December 23, 2022, article in Automotive News Europe, every fifth car in Norway is now emission-free. “The Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association estimates that it will take just under two years for EVs to reach 30 percent of total fleet … the share rose to 20 percent from 10 percent in less than three years.” In 2020, Norway became the first country in the world to see EVs overtake fossil-fuel models among new vehicles. In Oslo, the share of EVs is now at 33.2 percent. Teslas and other EVs seem to be everywhere in Norway. The high EV uptake is encouraged by:
Setting a target that all new cars sold in 2025 be zero-emission vehicles.
Exempting full-electric vehicles from taxes imposed on models using internal combustion engines.
Oslo - a public transportation system that works
Electric vehicles are part of the climate change solution set, and public transportation is another. Oslo was just named the sixth-best city in the world for public transportation, according to a study by consultants Oliver Wyman. The city has integrated train, trolley/tram, metro line (underground in the city, above ground in the suburbs), articulated buses, a modern 20-minute express train (fast and quiet) from the airport to a grand central station (Oslo Sentral Stasjon) that brings all of those together. The central station itself is a hub for the community and for travelers. The building has modern architecture, a high-end shopping mall, physical connectivity to several hotels, and acts as a meeting place for the community because it is so easy to get there using public transit. We traveled everywhere on public transit and never had to wait for more than a few minutes for the next train, trolley, or bus. And the lines not only connect at the central station, but they also overlap in the community. This is what a true public transit system could be like in San Diego and what we imagined with the Intermodal Transportation Center project I managed for the Independent Voter Project in 2007-2008. SANDAG is working on a similar project with its Big Five Moves proposal.
The Political Divide
What about borders
“Borders? I have never seen one. But I have heard they exist in the minds of some people.” - Norwegian Explorer Thor Heyerdahl on a t-shirt in the Kon Tiki museum in Oslo.
This quote is not a political statement about the immigration crisis but rather an encouragement to my family of friends in San Diego and Tijuana who cross the border sometimes daily to work, meet, visit with friends and family, and just enjoy the rich cross-border culture and economy we are blessed with in the region. If only the rest of the country knew.
Poll Results. Last week we asked readers: What story will most dominate the news in 2023?
38% - Ukraine, Taiwan, and/or North Korea
23% - Global economy and/or recession
15% - Political strife in the U.S.
15% - Climate Change
8% - Covid-19 or another virus
Thanks for the responses! No poll in this issue! If you have a poll question you would like us to ask, please let us know.
Long COVID: major findings, mechanisms, and recommendations
With an estimated 65 million people worldwide suffering from long Covid, a January 13, 2023, paper published in Nature Reviews Microbiology has relevance for many people. The article provides major findings, mechanisms, and recommendations. Here are some highlights:
Long COVID occurs in at least 10% of severe acute respiratory syndrome Covid infections.
More than 200 symptoms have been identified with impacts on multiple organ systems.
Cases are increasing daily.
Research has made progress in identifying various pathophysiological changes and risk factors and in characterizing the illness.
Similarities with other viral-onset illnesses, such as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, have laid the groundwork for research in the field.
The paper explores:
Current literature and highlights key findings.
The overlap with other conditions.
The variability of the onset of symptoms.
Long COVID in children.
The impact of vaccinations.
The Nett Light-Side
Good food, happy people
Norwegians seem universally happy and helpful. Maybe it’s because of the great food they eat, like this breakfast spread in our hotel in Trondheim.
Trolls in Norwegian mythology
Trolls are part of the mythology about the mountains. In the Lofoten Islands, we learned how the mountains are really trolls and that the inlets leading off of the fjords are gashes caused by axes when the trolls were fighting. Here’s a troll guarding a clothing store near the Trondheim train station.
About Carl Nettleton
Carl Nettleton is an award-winning writer, speaker, thought partner, facilitator, and subject-matter expert regarding water, climate, sustainability, the ocean, and binational U.S.-Mexico border affairs. Nettleton Strategies, the consultancy he founded in 2007, is a trusted source of analysis and advice on issues at the forefront of public policy, business, and the environment. He helps people to think strategically about their options for change. He is also the founder of OpenOceans Global, a nonprofit addressing ocean plastic in a new way.
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Carl, Love your article on touring Norway. Having postponed nearly all travel in recent years, I toured parts of Germany last fall ending with a "working" cruise ship trip around most of Norway. We began with the southern coastal towns and went all the way around and up north to inside the Arctic Circle. The "working" part of the trip was that we stopped in small ports delivering and picking up their mail, etc.. The Northern Lights were spectacular, too. Thank you for including your Norway trip in The Nett Report.