‘Let’s have a sustainable mindset and save our world!’

On April 29, NFGL Local Network Dalarna organised a study visit to three of the biggest solar farms in Sweden. The theme of the event was ‘There is enough sun’ (to stay clean). Israel Biramo was responsible for organizing the trip with help from Frank Fidler (PhD), a senior lecturer at Dalarna University. Here, Israel shares his reflections on the process.

‘Let’s have a sustainable mindset and save our world!’
Photo: NFGL Local Network Dalarna

It was an interesting event with a good experience sharing and networking opportunity. I will try to share some of my experiences from organizing and partaking in the event. In the process of planning the event, I followed a few guidelines which I assumed applicable to other events and good to share here also:

  • What is the objective of the event?

  • What kind of event can we plan?

  • Who and how many people can participate?

  • When is the most appropriate time to organize the event?

  • How can we organize it and share the responsibility between the group members?

We passed in all these steps and we managed to hold the trip which included NFGL members, lectures from Dalarna University and solar experts from Borlänge Energi and Falun Energi. Since it was a mixture of students, teachers and professionals from the energy sector, it was a good networking opportunity for us. The first place we visited was a 1 MW solar farm in Våsterås with a dual axis tracking, for following the direction of the sun. This farm is the largest of its kind in the Nordic region.

Photo: Apotea Logistics Centre

The second park we visited was Sweden ́s largest rooftop solar installation in Apotea Logistics Centre. It is a 1.5 MW solar farm designed to make the warehouse self-sufficient and it covers a surface area of 9,100 m2. It is really a good project which shows the commitment of Sweden and Swedish companies for SDGs.

The third place visited was a 300-kW ground-mounted system in Sala. The unique thing about this project is that it was built by an economics association called Solel in Sala & Heby, which is established by solar energy enthusiasts living in Sala and Heby. The association contains individuals and companies which have the objective to promote solar energy. The exemplary work of the association is really inspiring.

Photo: Sala Farm

Let me conclude by sharing this; When one of my mates saw the theme of the event ‘There is enough sun, he reacted by saying, “I guess you have been hibernating all winter”. He was one of the participants on the event and his final thought was, “Sustainability is Mindset”. We can say a lot about why it is difficult to create a greener world, but the environment cannot understand our excuses.

Creating a sustainable world is about our attitude and I believe there is a lot to learn from Sweden ́s success in sustainability. Currently, Sweden’s PV installed capacity is far more than most of the sunniest parts of the world. Let’s have a sustainability mindset and save our world!


Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

Ronoh Philip, who is studying for his masters degree in Infectious Disease Control at Södertörn University, explains why he thinks the Swedish concept of 'lagom' is the best way to achieve good social health.

Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

During my one week orientation program on August 2019 at Södertörn University, we were presented with many aspects of Swedish culture and practices. One of the new aspects that I learnt was the “lagom culture”, As I quote one of the presenters about applying lagom to our studies, he said: ”Lagom will reduce your stressful burdens of hectic lecture schedules and ensure that you spend equal time of working and socializing in the university.”

So being a student with a background in public health and society, I got interested and searched for the deeper meaning of lagom, and how it can  apply to society and health. I found out that it is a Swedish way of life, it is a concept which means not too much and not too little, just enough. I learnt that it came from a Viking tradition laget om which means 'around the group' and was allegedly used to describe just how much mead or soup one should drink when passing the bowl around in the group.

If this concept is applied to achieve social health goals, it would really fit well. So, what is social health at first? Social health is how you interact with other people and adapt in different situations, it deals with how people in society deal with each other. It is important to note that there is a close link between good social health and improvement of the other aspects of human health, this can lead to the achievement of SDG goal of good health and wellbeing. It also leads to self-satisfaction and happiness; no wonder Sweden is ranked as one the happiest countries in the world. It is ranked 7th in 2019, according to world happiness report. I believe lagom has a big role in this achievement.

In the country where I come from, Kenya, one of the greatest challenges we face in our society, is the ability for people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to interact and form positive and cohesive relationships with each other. From my perspective, when I finish my studies and return, lagom will be worth implementing in the workplace, the place where I live and the society as whole, as it is the best way of finding simple, attainable solutions to our everyday worries like stress, eating better, having downtime and achieving happiness. It’s a balance of work and life, so everything is in sustainable existence with each other.

My goal during my entire university studies at Södertörn, will be to learn more about the lagom principle and also be able to apply it on our SI NFGL Local Network platform, because it is surely one of the best ways to achieve a good  work-life balance, reaching consensus with my colleagues and adapting a team minded approach in dealing with issues in an organization and the society.