trešdiena, 2013. gada 25. septembris

Stockholm, Sweden- learned and experienced

It is not just because of some distant ancestoral Swedish blood in me that I fell in love with this city..
Yesterday morning I arrived here for the IPCC Twelfth Session of Working Group I. While all the day I was in the room with many people discussing Climate Change data, and I am continuing it today and for the next couple of days too, I have got to know many very inspiring and also in some sense satisfying things about Sweden and Stockholm in particular.

Some learned information: 

  • Stockholm was the EU Green Capital 2010: 

  • Stockholm has done plenty to become sustainable, and it has a plan to do much more: 

The Environment Program contains six key priorities:
1. Environmentally efficient transport
2. Goods and buildings free of dangerous substances
3. Sustainable energy use
4. Sustainable use of land and water
5. Waste treatment with minimal environmental impact
6. A healthy indoor environment
Other priorities of the Environment Program are to encourage cycling and walking, reduce out and indoor noise levels, increase the amount of ecological food products purchased by the city to at least 25 percent, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to less than 3,0 tons per Stockholmer, develop and strengthen land and water areas with particular importance for biological diversity and reduce incorrectly recycled waste.

  • Sweden has 16 Environmental Quality Objectives:

  • Reduced Climate Impact
  • Clean Air
  • Natural Acidification Only
  • A Non-Toxic Environment
  • A Protective Ozone Layer
  • A Safe Radiation Environment
  • Zero Eutrophication
  • Flourishing Lakes and Streams
  • Good-Quality Groundwater
  • A Balanced Marine Environment, Flourishing Coastal Areas and Archipelagos
  • Thriving Wetlands
  • Sustainable Forests
  • A Varied Agricultural Landscape
  • A Magnificent Mountain Landscape
  • A Good Built Environment
  • A Rich Diversity of Plant and Animal Life

  • Some experienced things: 

    • Stockholm takes care of its citizens and families by caring and developing green common spaces between the residential buildings, where you can see people actually coming together for BBQs and chats, and by designing the city with good access to public services like shops, busstops, daycare centers, common gardens, eat out places etc. 

    • At least one hotel in Stockholm has a wonderful environmental and 'health' standard apart from not changing the towels- Clarion Hotel in Stockholm serves plenty of fresh and organic food for breakfast, which makes me very, very happy. And my towels really were not changed during these 3 nights of stay as I left them on the hanger (which many other hotels in my experience ignore no matter the signs in the bathroom saying- we won't change them, we care for nature). 

    • People cycle, walk, run to the places they have to be- daycare for children can be found on the first floor of one of the residential buildings of the cluster, bycicles are everywhere - parked near apartments, being cycled on the streets etc, dogs are walked around the green areas that are quite common in my 30min walk to the venue I have to be, and plenty of dads are running with kids in strollers to get where they have to be.. leaves a warming impression of people-friendly city.

    • And what I probably love the most of these- Swedish people has this Scandinavian sustainable consumers pattern- they use things up, they wear them out. I see smart looking people pushing strollers that they have been probably pushed around themselves (or even their own moms and dads were the ones riding them). They don't ride oldschool bykes, they ride old bykes. They seemingly dress for quality and convenience, and they are not stuck up with superlarge wardrobes of incredible variety of rags from the latest trends. Simplicity really describes what I see around, and I love it. There is no pressure to artificially make you more good looking, the way of appearance is natural, and I miss this Scandinavian trait in my own country. No wonder they got all the above points set up.
    While this pic was taken from treehugger about Iceland, I've seen the same ones and similar here in Sweden, but I did not want take my camera out to take a photo of a bypassing toddler in a stroller or baby in a pram..

    These are just few I've encountered on my short visit here with a very, very limited time outside of the meeting room. I can only hear even better stories of other cities of Sweden that are even better by not losing the all the good standards but adding to them by being more relaxed, friendly and good looking. I hope I would have some time to visit Uppsala and Gothenburg to find it out one day.

    It almost feels like I would want to take the easy route and move to work to some place like this (and for curiosity- one of the positions I was attracted to when thinking of starting working was really based in Stockholm). 
    However, I love my family, my country and my own environment a lot. And I find this experience incredibly inspiring to do some improvements in my own city surroundings. I hope that ultimately I will live in the countryside, but while part of my life is spent at our city apartment block, there are several things I've already discussed with my husband that we could do for our neighbourhood. 
    Which me luck! 

    otrdiena, 2013. gada 24. septembris


    Whow, it's been a while.. Family + work + studies (and exams approaching next week), makes me really, really busy. But today I feel inspired to post on something else..

    Even though I love my job, I feel really frustrated by the very, very slow progress and slow bureaucratic processes there. And while I believe in what I do and I wish to have more impact, I can also become really tired of that. Sitting here, in the wonderful city of Stockholm at the IPCC event and discussing the newest data of Climate Change in also a quite slow process, makes me think of what else I could to to speed things up in terms of slowing the Climate Change and saving our Planet from various non-environmentally friendly practices?
    Join the activities of Greenpeace!
    I've "run into them" virtually several times before, but now I've been also moved a lot by what their Arctic Sunrise crew is going through in Russia. And I am very inspired by international action! So I checked, what else we - me and you all - could do: