Just as the first spring month begins, Estonia has finally gotten to the point of winter. It's a few degrees below zero, with a nice coating of powder to cover up most of the sludge - at least here in continental Tartu; I understand it's less pleasant on the coasts. We've managed to go through the entire winter of 2007/2008 without a single proper frost, with the exception of an odd cold snap in November and a few days of -15C in January - which, compared to the experience of standing in the middle of a field waiting for the bus in -30C and a Holy Shit chill factor, is nothing. The sort of weather where Icelanders start debating whether they should put on a sweater.*
It's difficult to get Estonians excited about any cause, and despite obvious exceptions, environmentalism has an especially tough fight ahead of it - climate change has been decidedly changing Estonian weather for the better. Although there is a väliseestlane in my inbox gloating about +14C in the Toronto area. Bastard.
Also in my inbox is some Orkut spam on behalf of Marek Strandberg, calling for a public outcry over the plans to build a nuclear power station in Estonia. Strandberg has been an odd duck since the parliamentary elections, and I'm afraid the Green party's reserve of voter enthusiasm is going the way of Res Publica very quickly. They're not in the coalition, and thus they are more or less by default in bed with Savisaar (and I apologize for the mental image). They have singularly failed to get anything useful done, but I've seen the tabloids have a go at them for living posh at the taxpayer's expense - the yellow press defaults to MPs' company cars on a slow news day.
Never mind his suspect claims that the power station would be of an outdated type - Finland's building one now, a completely new design, safest one ever constructed, and it seems pretty self-evident that we'd get one of those - or the fact that a nuclear power station in Estonia proper is a spacey last resort, an idea bounced around if we are muscled out of both the Ignalina reconstruction in Lithuania and Finland's continuing nuke construction. Oy, Marek - if it really comes down to that, do you really suggest we keep mining shale or running the Narva plants on fossil fuels instead of nukes? Very funny, Mr. Environmentalist. Now pull the other one.
I didn't vote for Strandberg, but I enjoyed the idea of him, so I'm sorry to see him overcome by the KERA influence and resorting to shameless populist agendas. This entire sordid business has a faint green afterglow, and I don't like the look of it.
* You think I'm joking, but I've been to Iceland. At the rotten shark farm the local dude gave us a 20-minute lecture about the curing process, in a wet Arctic blizzard, wearing sandals and a fleece.
A tale of two countries
5 weeks ago