stockholm, sweden: the most sustainable country in the world!!!
I was so so so excited to go to Sweden given the incredible things I've heard about its innovation, design and love of sustainability. The culture is incredibly open-minded, progressive and full of equality. As I rode back on the train to Copenhagen today, the guy next to me was explaining to me the history and political system of Sweden. He noted that even the most conservative Swedes are similar to Bernie Sanders on the US spectrum and moves left. Very interesting and really put things into perspective.
As I arrived into Stockholm Central Station, I learned that the station uses the body heat collected as energy for surrounding buildings! I had never heard of this before and thought it was so cool given the amount of travelers every day. In order to cool the building, they use the lake nearby- truly incredible. From buildings to transit, cities all over Sweden are best-in-class in terms of their energy use and efficiency. They truly take sustainability so seriously in every-day life. Sweden was even one of the first countries to enact a carbon tax for emissions back in the 90s!!
After I left the train, my mom had texted me a photo of the subway station T-Centralen featured on National Geographic that morning, which happened to be right below me! Nearly 100 subway stations have been decorated by artists with different themes! It is like walking through an art gallery as you go from station to station. From archeology to space to paintings to human rights, each has its own unique landscape to offer.
One of my favorite neighborhoods I experienced was Gamla Stan (Old Town). The streets were lined with beautiful architecture, cobblestone and color. As I walked, there was an incredible presence of all things good: organic, fair trade, local, second-hand. From food to coffee to clothes, purpose radiated throughout the city.
One of my favorite findings was Stockholms Stadmission. Unfortunately it was closed as I walked by, however, this social market does so much good for the community.
- Food Shop: the food is donated surplus so it reduces food waste significantly, reduced food prices for those in need
- Second-Hand Shop: art, goods, clothes, etc. are donated to be given a second life!
- Remake: the organization's own second-hand brand! For such a fashion forward city, it is so amazing to take used things and make something beautiful and new all while unleashing creativity and design!!
Stockholms Stadmission truly provides a community for all. It helps to address issues, such as, employment, elderly, immigration, homelessness, children and more. This theme of social enterprise, start-ups and sustainability is seen all over in Sweden. It is so inspiring to see a place that ensures everyone's health and well-being through amazing impact and action.
Stockholms Stadmission is also right near the Nobel Museum, which displays information, artifacts and stories on the Nobel Laureates. It is so amazing what these people have done for peace and the advancement of the world!! The museum also features the founder of the Nobel Peace Prize, Alfred Nobel, who covered a variety of professions: chemist, inventor, engineer, business man, author, etc. Given the global, innovative, human-kind nature of the price, its no wonder it began in Sweden!
Also, there are so many social impact groups and gatherings via Impact Hub and other organizations to bring people together and innovate in this space. As I walked by the Impact Hub, a guy working smiled and gave me a wave. Such friendly people :).
I only skimmed the surface in Stockholm! There are so many more incredible social impact initiatives and people in Sweden. I wish I could've stayed longer but cannot wait to come back!
From left: 1. Subway signs for art events featuring social issues 2. Impact Hub Stockholm 3. One of the many eco/give-back cafes 4. Art for good with reflections of the city center in background