The meeting in Poland, Warsaw, still was very present when we left for Sweden to meet again. A bus collected all the delegations from the airport Arlanda near Stockholm to drive 3 hours up North to the remotely located Europahuset in Gläntan. After a heartly welcome and a warm meal, a room was given so that all the new faces could become a name until the all went to bed – after all, it had been an early start for everyone.
The next day refreshed by sleep and no unexpected wild life visitors during the night we started off by both an introduction to the Europahuset and yet another welcome round involving our role in environmental issues and the GIRA project. The following act was led by Yoomi Renström, a local politician who not only was a mayor but also had been a member of the European Committee of the Regions. She brought in a global perspective and underlined the necessity of working together since “climate change doesn’t stop at national borders”. It was nice to see that all of us where somehow already implementing the goals of what she called “Green Deal Going Local”: Empower (the people to act themselves), Accelerate (via contributing to the goals and making it happen on a local basis), Showcase (by demonstrating best practice examples and hereby encouraging others), and Change (no need for explanation). She reminded us again that the SD goals have to be harmonized and prioritized via national, regional and local authorities, so that in the end we can ask ourselves: “What can WE do?”. The next presentation came from one of our own, Jenny Breslin, who within her organization “All Sweden shall live” acts as a facilitator that visits counties where windmills might be or maybe should be constructed, helping them understand, showing both advantages and risks while educating the locals about their rights and guiding them through the process. Next up was Ida Blomqvist, whose company BORAG is dedicated to circular economy principles via their own recycling company and waste plant. Their plant is home for both companies as well as private households, encouraging them to seperate their waste and hereby contribute to a more environmental-friendly behavior. After discussions in groups where either structual problems that barr the individual partners within their environmental related work and best practice examples were discussed. The evening was outlined by the early-bird midsummer festivities that our Swedish partners had made just on our behalf – flowers were picked, placed into hair and a ritual cross.
On Saturday the previously discussed BORAG was visited, where Ida showed us around. We discussed difficulties, especially economic wise, but while the industrial part also gave us an insight on the enormous amount of waste produced by local enterprises, the section for private households inspired more hope, signaling via the busy use that the local people want to contribute and do everything that is in their powers. Afterwards we drove by the heat plant where the crushed combustible waste from BORAG was transported to. Then we spent the rest of the day at an active skiing slope which with the entire area formed part of a biosphere reserve due to the large biodiversity and the motivation of the locals. Our presenter, a biologist named Hanna, pointed out the importance of the harmonic coexistence of both humans and nature that should be present in a biosphere reserve in order to prove its possibility. They as an organization form another neutral platform in between the polarized sides of the foresty industry and nature preservation organizations. The evening left yet another space to swim in the lake, have a BBQ and play some Swedish games in the countryside.
After a few long but also well spent days we left our hosts on Sunday morning where yet another goodbye was due.
See here our full video coverage of the 3rd transnational project meeting in Sweden – https://youtu.be/Y5NuBngTBR0