One of the Transition Group members talking to the vendors about the group's work. Photo: Ylva Lundin.
I know I keep going on about the Transition Group in my childhood town Alingsås, but they just keep doing such great things!
Working with the aim to reduce the local dependency on fossil fuels can be a massive task. How do you talk about these things without being dull and annoying? How do you make people, caught up in their everyday lives, listen at all?
The members of the transition group thought they’d start simple. To reuse things is important and easy to understand for everyone. And most people have a lot of things at home that they wouldn’t mind getting rid of. So a flea market seemed like a good idea.
They got permission from the city of Alingsås to use a central avenue, where they could offer people to set up a stand for free and sell their used stuff every Saturday during this summer.
I spoke to some of them before the first Saturday. They were a tiny bit nervous. What if no one would turn up? Some of them sorted out a few things they could sell, so the place wouldn’t be completely empty.
An almost unused spade? Some nice clothes? What someone is tired of, others can get joy from. Photo: Ylva Lundin.
They hadn’t needed to worry. Every Saturday since opening, the avenue has been full, even crammed, with people. Older people who have gone through attics and cellars and filled a big table with things. Young people who have cleaned out their wardrobes for clothes they aren’t using anymore. Even children, coming with their old books and toys.
Soon the group had to ask the city for more space, since people had to put their stands in double lines.
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Just some of the things I found at the swap shelf. And yes, I have left plenty of things too... Photo: Sara Jeswani.
When I moved into my flat about five years ago, one of the things that I was most fascinated by was actually the common garbage room. What fascinated me wasn’t the garbage itself, or the recycling bins, but the “swap shelf” placed in the end of the room.
Here people can leave things that they don’t need themselves anymore, but are too good, new or well-working to go to waste.
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Shoes with five visits at the shoe repairer included in the price. Note the punch ticket under the shoe. Photo: People People.
In a world where very few things are made to last, I was happy to read about shoes that come with a built-in punch ticket for five services at a shoe-repair shop.
Now Shoes with a cause don’t really exist, since they are (still) an idea made up by designers at Swedish People People. They read a report about the sometimes extremely dirty business of leather industries, written by the organisation Swedwatch . This led to the idea of designing shoes that say goodbye to the wear-and-throw tradition.
Or, as one of the brains behind the shoes, Per Brickstad, puts it when I call him to ask a bit more:
– We want to design sustainable things that don’t necessarily look like most sustainable things do, for people who don’t care a shit about sustainable development.
A way to fool people into acting right? Well, why not.
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Photo: Romain Laurent.
For anyone who happens to be in Stockholm before the third of June, I would highly recommend a visit to Kulturhuset, Stockholm’s own house of culture. But not only because it’s one of my favourite places – somewhere you are always welcome, offering culture in all its forms and shapes (and often for free).
For a long time Kulturhuset has shown a great interest for sustainability, environment and how to live greener. Recently they took a wider perspective on this and opened an exhibition created together with scientists and experts (for example from Stockholm Environment Institute and Stockholm Resilience Centre).
This time it’s not about the small perspective, as how to recycle or our waste, but the big picture: That humanity is a part of nature, what we are doing to the planet and what we can do to change the situation.
In Tucson, USA, several entirely intact hot dogs were find during excavations done 1974–2005. Raises one or two questions about what we put in our food, doesn’t it? Photo: Sara Jeswani.
Tipping Point, which is the name of the exhibition, is a term that describes how a sudden change can have large consequences for both society and eco systems. Like the melting Arctic ice, which isn’t melting gradually, but at a certain point starts to melt uncontrollably because of feed-back mechanisms.
The change in itself can seem small, but might force us to much bigger changes.
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