20 October 2009

Olavsfestdagene [St Olav festival], Trondheim, Norway

St Olav festival, July/August 2009. (Digital diptychs © Lise Utne).

The St Olav festival is an annual cultural and religious event based on the history of Trondheim's Nidaros Cathedral as a destination for pilgrims (a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages). These images are from the festival's medieval market.

Well oiled and ready to go

Trondheim Airport, Norway, June 2009 (digital diptych © Lise Utne).

Norway's financial fortunes took a drastic turn for the better after extraction of petroleum started off our shores in 1971. The oil and gas industry has since become our "largest source of greenhouse gas emissions" (Norwegian Pollution Control Authority: State of the Environment Norway, www.environment.no 11th July 2008), and these emissions have been allowed to rise steadily even over the past ten years despite mounting concerns over global warming and our national eagerness to appear to be at the helm of all good causes. The current political bone of contention is whether exploratory drilling for oil should commence in the near-ish future outside the Lofoten archipelago; Lofoten being perhaps the greatest icon in the international marketing of Norway as a country of clean and unspoiled natural beauty. The insatiable need for energy, the jobs generated by the oil industry and all the money involved may in the end ensure that the environment is dealt yet another blow.