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THE LOCAL LIST

ENVIRONMENT

Nine easy New Year steps to a more ethical life in Sweden

It's not too late to make some New Year's resolutions for 2014. The Local offers up some ideas for how to live more ethically and charitably in this still nascent new year.

Nine easy New Year steps to a more ethical life in Sweden
File photo: Ann Törnkvist

A little bit of effort can go a long way to tidy up your life. Carbon neutral equals no fun? Not necessarily so. The Local rounds up simple ways to be a bit more charitable and green, with little compromise.

You may already have started off by cleaning out the closet, especially given the dusty winter clothes unused in this so-far tepid winter. Next, the book shelves get a tidy up. You throw away odd esoteric titles gifted to you by your father-in-law or long lost university friends who, you suspect, by this time must have grown a beard and given themselves over wholeheartedly to tweed rather than tweets.  

IN PICTURES: Nine easy ways to a more responsible life in the New Year

So the clothes rounded up, the soon to be discarded books piled up… you feel less burdened already. But after you've stuffed the collection bins full, are you still wondering what to do next? 

Off to the supermarket. Your kids want sugar and frozen pizzas, you drag them to the vegetable counter. Everything seems to be imported this time of year. Israel, Peru, the gargantuan green houses in the Netherlands. The savoy cabbage looks delectably curlicue, but those knobbly Jerusalem artichokes, can you be be bothered peeling them for a hearty seasonal soup?

The answer is yes, because with the right inspiration at hand, you can use the odd-looking domestic veggies for culinary craftmanship. To find out how to do just that, and nine further tips to a more ethical New Year's you, click on.

Responsibility does not have to be a drag.

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ALMEDALEN 2022

Green Party leader: ‘Right-wing parties want to push us out of parliament’

Per Bolund, joint leader of Sweden's Green party, spoke for thirteen and a half minutes at Almedalen before he mentioned the environment, climate, or fossil fuels, in a speech that began by dwelling on healthcare, women's rights, and welfare, before returning to the party's core issue.

Green Party leader: 'Right-wing parties want to push us out of parliament'

After an introduction by his joint leader Märta Stenevi, Bolund declared that his party was going into the election campaign on a promise “to further strengthen welfare, with more staff and better working conditions in healthcare, and school without profit-making, where the money goes to the pupils and not to dividends for shareholders”. 

Only then did he mention the party’s efforts when in government to “build the world’s first fossil-free welfare state”. 

“We know that if we want welfare to work in the future, we must have an answer to our time’s biggest crisis: the threat to the environment and the climate,” he said.

“We know that there is no welfare on a dead planet. We need to take our society into a new time, where we end our dependency on oil, meet the threat to the climate, and build a better welfare state within nature’s boundaries, what we call a new, green folkhem [people’s home].” 

He presented green policies as something that makes cities more liveable, with the new sommargågator — streets pedestrianised in the summer — showing how much more pleasant a life less dependent on cars might be.  

He then said his party wanted Sweden to invest 100 billion kronor a year on speeding up the green transition, to make Sweden fossil fuel-free by 2030. 

“We talk about the climate threat because it’s humanity’s biggest challenge, our biggest crisis,” he said. “And because we don’t have much time.” 

In the second half of his speech, however, Bolund used more traditional green party rhetoric, accusing the other political parties in Sweden of always putting off necessary green measures, because they do not seem urgent now, like a middle-aged person forgetting to exercise. 

“We know that we need to cut emissions radically if we are even going to have a chance of meeting our climate goal, but for all the other parties there’s always a reason to delay,” he said. 

“We are now seeing the curtain go up on the backlash in climate politics in Sweden. All the parties have now chosen to slash the biofuels blending mandate which means that we reduce emissions from petrol and diesel step for step, so you automatically fill your tank in a greener way. Just the government’s decision to pause the  reduction mandate will increase emissions by a million tonnes next year.” 

The right-wing parties, he warned, were also in this election running a relentless campaign against the green party. 

“The rightwing parties seem to have given up trying to win the election on their own policies,” he said. “Trying to systematically push out of parliament seems to be their way of trying to take power. And they don’t seem above any means. Slander campaigns, lies, and false information have become every day in Swedish right-wing politics.” 

He ended the speech with an upbeat note. 

“A better, more sustainable world is possible. There is a future to long for. If you give us a chance then that future is much closer than you think!”

Read the speech here in Swedish and here in (Google Translated) English. 

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