A1 Journal article – refereed
ALARMISM AND DENIALISM IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE: THE CASE OF THE NUTRIENT POLLUTION IN THE BALTIC SEA IN THE 1960S AND 1970S




List of Authors: Räsänen Tuomas
Publisher: ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD
Publication year: 2018
Journal: Scandinavian Journal of History
Journal name in source: SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF HISTORY
Journal acronym: SCAND J HIST
Volume number: 43
Issue number: 5
Number of pages: 20
ISSN: 0346-8755
eISSN: 1502-7716

Abstract
In this article the author analyses how scientific ideas about anthropogenic nutrient load in the sea changed in Finland and Sweden from the 1950s to the early 1970s. In the 1950s, marine scientists considered an artificial increase in the volume of nutrients beneficial to the oligotrophic Baltic Sea. This conception was challenged in the late 1960s by the Swedish hydrologist Stig Fonselius. He theorized that nutrient discharge from municipalities and factories had set in motion a vicious cycle: the growth in biomass consumed oxygen in the depths of the sea, which in turn fed the accumulation of nutrients in the productive surface layer. This process led to eutrophication, which is now widely considered to be the most serious environmental problem in the Baltic Sea. However, Finnish marine scientists divided into two camps vis-a-vis Fonselius' theory of anthropogenic eutrophication. So-called alarmist scientists argued that the Baltic Sea was a victim of industrial development and demanded stricter wastewater treatment. Conversely, eutrophication sceptics insisted that the observed environmental changes originated from natural cycles. The author argues that this division stemmed from the different perceptions of the scientists in regard to the role of the marine environment for the benefit of human society.

Last updated on 2019-21-08 at 20:00