-by Caroline Littlefield & Emil Fridolfsson
This February, in an effort spearheaded by Professor Catherine Legrand and PhD student Emil Fridolfsson, met with members of the Norra Dragsviken community to discuss ongoing research into their polluted bays.
The meeting welcomed representation from a variety of local government authorities, including Kalmar Kommun, Länsstyrelsen in Kalmar and Norra Möre Vattenråd.
In a meeting with more than 40 eager participants, Emil and Catherine laid out information from sampling data collected over the past two summers, 2017-2018 by students in the LNU Summer Academy course Discovery of a Sustainable Baltic Sea. Data on heavy metals and tin compounds were similar for the two years and were still high. Almost exclusively, all heavy metals come from human activities and the tin compounds historically used in antifouling paint can only be explained by human activities. Furthermore, the residents received information on the potential health risks of the continuous use of prohibited antifouling paint that seems to be used still today.
Emil and Catherine also relayed information based on our cross-cultural research in cooperation with American colleagues Holly Gillespie and Lori Dickes, in which perceptions and attitudes towards sustainability. Data is based on interviews conducted by Ms. Gillespie with residents of both Norra Dragsviken as well as Lake Keowee, South Carolina.
Preliminary results showed emergent themes among both communities: Key similarities of attitudes towards sustainability between the American group and the Swedish group included intergenerational equity, inclusion and social capital, recognition that community-driven efforts are more effective, and an agreement that sustainability is difficult to define. Key differences involved perceptions of the UN Sustainable Development Goals of 2030, as well as the idea among the South Carolina group that sustainable efforts are personal endeavors. We will delve further into this social science research as our collaboration with our American colleagues continues!
Much is planned for future research efforts at Norra Dragsviken. The LNU Summer Academy course of 2019 will again sample the water, sediment, biota and abiota of the area this July. We will also bring drones – both air and underwater – for ecological surveillance, as well as “Smart Buoys,” which measure water movement. With a well-documented and data-driven ecological survey, the residents of Norra Dragsviken will have the tools necessary to clean their beautiful bay!
Learn more about the Norra Dragsviken Project here