Sweet Dreams of Sweden

I won’t lie.  I love Sweden.  It might just be that not being responsible for my own schedule and maintenance while I was there might have something to do with it.  I enjoyed being herded to the next meal and mode of transportation. Someone is mothering me, and I love it!

But I think my enjoyment in Sweden went beyond that. I signed up for the Sustainable Sweden tour, to learn more about how the Swedes are implementing the notion of the ecomunicipality.  Communities in my area and throughout Wisconsin are declaring themselves sustainable communities, and I can’t stand to be behind the times. In Sweden, it was a joy to be with people who embraced creating their own future, not just sitting by and watching it come.

I travelled with a colleague, Annie Jones from Kenosha County, and we joined up with the tour group. We were Argentinean, Danish, Mexican, Turkish, Chilean, Canadian, American and Swedish. Imbedded within the tour was a seminar (the sustainable community – rich and dematerialized), where we were joined by students from the nearby design school, as well as people from other Swedish municipalities, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia.

We came, we saw, we crayfished. Well, we didn’t actually FISH, but we did eat them. Think mini-lobsters. That’s another story, about Swedish weather…


  1. I wonder what the impact of this experience will be on your efforts in the community and how it will build over time. I am a huge believer in that we can never know how a professional development will impact our work or even how we lead our lives when we sign up. But I have to believe that an experience such as this, so closely tied to your work and your passion will have impacts for years to come.

  2. Re; what impact on our economy if real sustainable behavior, policies, etc actually implemented. I saw a quote recently that I like; “The stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones.” What if products were designed for “cradle to cradle” instead of “cradle to grave”. Maybe we need to think positively about change instead of being frightened about the loss of the familiar and convenient.

  3. I wonder what impacts a real shift to environmental friendly activities would have on our consumer based economy. How drastic will/would be the costs of this shift?

  4. I didn´t have the opportunity to take part in the memorable evening with crayfish but to meet all you wonderful, positive people gave me the strength to continue fighting for a better world. We are not alone!

  5. One example that comes to mind is Hallefors Municipality. In the early 1990’s, their major industry (the steel mill) was sold and dismantled. In response, municipal leaders organized a highly participative process involving all sectors to decide what they wanted for their future. The reports we heard suggested that they were making it happen. More on that later, but meanwhile, check out Formens Hus (House of Design) at http://www.formenshus.se, and Maltidens Hus I Norden (House of Culinary Art) at http://www.maltidenshus.com/. They call their story “from steel to meal.”

  6. What do I wonder about (relecting on your fisrt post)? I wonder what it would be like to live in a community that focused on the positive and the world of possibility. Did you find that in the Swedish cities that were working on sustainability?

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