Stockholm is one of the most environmentally friendly cities in Europe, and aims to be climate positive by 2040. Throughout the years, Stockholm has had a number of ambitious environmental and climate plans, and was even awarded Europe’s first European Green Capital in 2010.
Here are a few tips for living sustainably in Stockholm:
Commute in a green way
Stockholm’s public transportation system is extensive, and well run. The SL (Stockholm Public Transport) is responsible for all buses, trains, T-Bana (metro), trams, and ferry lines in Greater Stockholm. The T-Bana is the easiest way to get around the city, decorated with colorful art by various artists, it also functions as one of the world’s longest art galleries. Many of the inner-city buses run on eco-friendly fuels, and ferry lines out to the islands in the Stockholm Archipelago are included in the SL card. All DIS Stockholm students receive an SL card covering all public transportation.
Shop Second Hand
Second hand shopping is growing in popularity, and Stockholm has an extensive variety of vintage stores and budget friendly shops to purchase second hand clothing. For those looking for second hand stores that are not curated, Stockholms Stadsmission is a good option. Stadsmissionen is similar to your average charity shop, and it is run by volunteers. It also gives people the opportunity to return to working life through internships and work training. Stockholm’s Stadmission also has their own brand where they upcycle garments. Other second hand stores to check out are Humana Second Hand, and Beyond Retro. For more detail, check out student blogger Leaf’s guide to Thrifting In Stockholm.
Participate in a Climate Protest
Stockholm is the home of the first Skolstrejk för Klimatet started by Greta Thunberg, an international movement of school students who skip Friday classes to participate in demonstrations outside of parliament to demand action from political leaders. Greta Thunberg’s strikes sparked youth activist movements around the globe. While in Stockholm, we highly recommend participating in a climate march or strike, in solidarity with local Stockholmers. During previous Climate Marches, thousands of people, both old and young, have shown up to take the streets and march for a more sustainable future. Often organized by youth-led organizations like Fridays for Future, the march will end in a park or open space where there are speeches by the young activists organizing the march, if you are lucky, you might attend one where Greta Thunberg herself speaks.
Swedish climate vocabulary to know
As climate consciousness has grown, more words have been added to the Swedish dictionary that are related to sustainability and the climate. Last year, the word Plogga gained popularity, a combination of the words att plocka upp and att jogga. The word Plogga means to pick up and jog, and promotes exercising while picking up litter. Other words that are common are flygskam (flight shaming), and smygflyga (sneak flying). Many will also use the word tågskryta, to describe people who brag about taking the train, since more people have become increasingly conscious about the climate, leading many to explicitly mention when they have taken the train. Next time you are bored on a Sunday, collect a group of friends and go plogga through many of Stockholm’s green areas.
Allemansrätten & Friluftsliv
80% of Swedes live in a 5k radius of a green area or national park, and a lot of their forest is unplanted in comparison to other European countries, meaning their forests are natural. In Sweden, there is a long cultural tradition of friluftsliv and allemansrätten. Friluftsliv is the concept of getting outdoors and enjoying nature. The concept can be directly translated to “open-air living”, used to describe anything from morning runs in the forest to commuting by bike, or camping in the forest. Friluftsliv is also closely linked to the term, allemansrätten, which means the right to roam. Allemansrätten allows people to walk or camp practically anywhere, as long as they make sure they show respect for the surrounding nature, wildlife and locals. While in Sweden, consider exploring more of your local area and take full advantage of allemansrätten, and of course, travel sustainably by train.
Considering incorporating sustainable practices into your time abroad?
>> Check out Leaf’s guide to Thrifting In Stockholm
>> Accessible places to explore in Sweden via slow travel
>> Check out the course Smart and Sustainable Cities