The new must-have: A local Future Week

Anders Persson’s son Edvin has become the poster boy for the Swedish Future Weeks. Photo: Framtidsveckan.

It all started with the artist Anders Persson in Söderhamn (who is among other things known for drawing the classical comic strip  91:an Karlsson). Reading about climate change and becoming father can be a powerful combination. In Anders Persson’s case, it led to a lot of rather scary thoughts about how little that had actually happened during all his years as active in the environmental movement.

In order to do what he could for his son, Anders Persson organised the first Future Week in Söderhamn, where he lives, in 2009. The idea was to make people learn, reflect and talk about the different crisis that humanity is facing, to show what is actually being done about it, and that global problems often have local solutions.

A preschool in Ljusdal, which has worked during 20 years with letting the children participate in the production of their own food, both by growing vegetables and keeping animals. Photo: Framtidsveckan.

During this week, businesses, “ordinary” people and local politicians show what they do to make their society more sustainable. A few tasters from the program from one of the future weeks earlier this year: A woman opened her sheep farm to the public, showing how she produces meat and wool. People growing food together organised a potluck party with food, drinks and discussions about sustainable food production in the area. An expert talked about how the local area would cope with a major power cut. The municipal architect met locals to discuss how the area can be made more sustainable, both socially and environmentally, through its buildings.

Talking to the founder Anders Persson, he tells me the concept is spreading rapidly. This year there are Future Weeks being organised on about ten locations. The next ones (information in Swedish) are Sundsvall [map] and Örebro [map].
– The future weeks work perfectly as a lever in order to lift the ideas about transition, both locally and regionally. Now the next challenge is to fill the rest of the year with action too! Anders Persson tells me.

 

Another Future Week feature: People growing food together invite the public to get to know their activities, and taste the outcomes of it in a potluck dinner. Photo: Framtidsveckan.

 

  • Pol – Croatia

    Judging by my experience here, one of the key problems in attempting to do more could be to shift the discussions from projects and concepts more onto concrete activities and techniques (more precisely what and how to do). So one can immediately implement, try if it works and if not then omit it.

    There should be some objective record with good practices, so people would not loose time and effort on something that doesn’t work as it initally seemed or was suggested (that is only someones belief or misinterpretation or shortcut to funding). Of course, mistakes and some bad experiences are normal way of learning new things, but more clarity would be very helpull in encouraging people and boosting the process. …

  • Monica-USA

    Sounds like a wonderful program for the children to learn. It is good they get back to the basics and learn about how things are grown and the care of animals and where the food comes from. By the way the little guy in the photo is cute and great t-shirt!!

  • sarajeswani

    Yes, isn’t he wonderful, this little guy?!

  • sarajeswani

    I agree, also because it is very rewarding and satisfying to do something concrete after talking about all the problems, or even about the solutions. Not long ago I went to a permaculture weekend event, and loved going to workshops where we learnt to build a bee hive or a rocket stove inbetween the more theorethical talks.