Tag archives for Stockholm

Making Stockholm’s forgotten rail tracks flourish

A garden is developing along the old rail tracks in Södermalm, central Stockholm. Photo: Trädgård på spåret.

The urban gardening movement, which is flourishing in more and more parts of the world is getting stronger also in Stockholm. Recently a new food-growing project opened on top of the old rail tracks leading from the Hammarby harbour in central Stockholm.

Photo: Trädgård på spåret

The idea was born when Philipp Olsmeyer passed the old railway last autumn and thought it was a shame that such a central piece of land was left unused. Being from Berlin, he came to think of the community garden Prinzessinnengärten there, and realised this could be something similar. A place where people living in the area, without a garden of their own, can get some space to grow, learn more about food growing, or just buy what others have grown.
–  There are a lot of environmentally aware people in the Södermalm district, who like a green concept. We have also noticed that there is a strong food-growing trend in Stockholm right now. So this space feels just right for a project like this, he says to the loval news paper Södermalmsnytt.

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Sustainability in Stockholm, 40 years later

Panel-discussion Summing up what has happened since 1972. The secretary-general of the Stockholm Conference in 1972 Maurice Strong is the first at the left of the panelists. Note the Swedish king in profile between the first and second panelists from the right! Photo: Sara Jeswani.

Many may not know it, but it is often said that it was in Stockholm that the sustainability discussion first started. The 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment, also known as the Stockholm Conference, is widely recognized as the beginning of modern political and public awareness of global environmental problems.

This week it has been 40 years since then, and to commemorate this Stockholm is now hosting a new forum, leading up to the Rio+20 UN Conference on sustainable development that will be held later this year, dealing with the tricky mission of “defining pathways to a safer, more equitable, cleaner, greener and more prosperous world for all” .

So right now we have more than 30 ministers from all over the world, and hundreds of international participants in Stockholm – in fact just a few blocks away from my office.

This morning I went there to listen to a panel made up of former participants of the conferences held ever since 1972, being asked what has actually happened since then.
“Not enough” was the harsh answer from the panel’s oldest member, Maurice Strong who was secretary-general at the Stockholm Conference in 1972.
– There’s nothing wrong with the agreements made during this time, but the problem is in the implementation of these agreements. Today we are in a more urgent situation than then, but the will has faded. Frankly, we need a revolution. Because the survival of humanity is at risk, he said.

A reminder from the parallel conference: There is no planet B! Photo: Sara Jeswani.

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Meeting globally, locally

Meeting at Stockholm university and everywhere in the world – at the same time. Photo: Will Ockenden (CC: By)

Would you like to go to a seminar with well-known speakers from the US, Sweden, UK and other countries, and then top it off with a discussion with participants from Sweden, Venezuela, South Africa, Canada and Austria?

Sounds like something you have to apply for and then travel a long way in order to participate in. But in this case it’s the wonders of technology that make a so-called Global Teach-In possible.
The idea is to gather people, interested in the big challenges the planet face today (climate change, economic crisis, democracy issues), in different countries and let them participate in the same event simultaneously. Some interactions will happen through the screen, some will be face to face.

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Tipping point: Threat or opportunity?

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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Getting ready for Earth Hour

The artist duo Bigert & Bergström fetter themselves to shackles with the shape of a CO2 molecule, symbolising an average Swede’s emissions in 10 days. Photo: WWF.

On Saturday, the organization WWF has announced a global Earth Hour, when people all over the world turn their lights off for one hour in a symbolic action. But the idea is of course to inspire people to do more than that.

Turning off the lights last year. Photo: Sayna Mostofizadeh, WWF.

During the last weeks, challenges have been flying back and forth through Sweden. One day it’s Swedish Prince Carl Philip challenging Prince Daniel to lower the temperature at home. Then it’s the pop singer Danny Saucedo challenging the other pop singer Eric Saade to reduce his showers to two minutes a day, recycle his waste and eat only vegetarian food during the whole month of March. The other day it’s politicians challenging each other over national carbon emission reductions or the carpenter Bengt who promises to go to work by bike one day a week and go by public transports the remaining days – if 100 others do the same.

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