Sunday, November 29, 2009

Living in future

How shall we live in year 2030?

The idea of Ecocities, Transition Towns, Biotechture and some real Sustainable cities have one thing in common; we have to think in another direction for future. Green energy is only a part of the solution, not The solution. Instead we have to change the way we think and look at things. That is; if we live in a good environment we will behave good, and the opposite. Only in a world with a surrounding that allow us to make good decisions without even think about it, instead of a world full of "bad for the environment", can help us to a sustainable future or if you want another word for it; a livable place to live.

How we live in 2030 deeply depends on how we plan and act right now. Projects in this way are already built, other in its process. What's happen right now its that it is spreading, the knowledge and examples.

The concept of Ecocities can be read in the wonderful book Ecocities- rebuiding the cities in balance with nature from 2006. Ecocity Builders, the small organisation with the huge message have consulating others in seminares, lectures at the university in San Francisco and next month they holds the 8:th International Ecocity Conference 13:th of December to 15:th of December this year in Istanbul. Last conference was last year in San Francisco and before that approximately one every 2-4 year from 1990. The speak in 1990 conference started with the now famous quote;

Cities and towns are the largest things humans build and the way we’re building them is destroying the planet. Why not, instead, build cities in balance with nature?

And from the book, the very truthful quote;

Transportation is what you do when you're not where you want to be [places where we want to stay are needed]

> New Mexico, US
To build cities with more green spots are one of the main point with all of these concepts. Someone that really takes that seriously is Mike Reynolds, with the concept of Earthship Biotecture. He have been building houses that are self subsistence with water from the rain, heat from the sun and cool from the ground for almost 40 years. Inside the house there is room for a small food production. The material that he build the houses from is garbage. The movie "Garbage warrior" was produced in 2007 and Reynolds have made some handbooks and movies to inspire others. Biotecture talks for itself in this video.

>Arcocanti, Arisona, US
The architecture in Earthships is similar to what is built in Arcosanti, but this is planned to be a whole city. The project in Arisona is designed according to the concept of arcology (architecture + ecology), developed by Italian architect Paolo Soleri. In Arcocanti the project have been going on since 1970 as a working place in a continuous development and an education center. More than 60 000 have participate in the construction, where now 160 persons live, but are planned to be around 5000.

The ground concept in Paolo Soleri's ideas is the dense living, to collect people in a small area to leave other space intact. Also in Arisona, Paolo Soleri have his office in Cosanti; an invented word that shows his ideas; from the two Italian words, "cosa", "things" and "anti", "against". Soleri have published a lot of books, the latest Soleri: Architecture as Human Ecology. He will present Work at “3D City: Future China” Exhibit in Beijing November 29, 2009 – February 28, 2010. Year 2010 is the 40 year anniversary of the Arcosanti, with workshops starting every second month.

> Started in England
A very new idea is the The Transition Town network that started 2006 in the town Tones in England with a change in an already settle community. Instead of focusing on the buildnings they are focusing on the people to make a change for their own. They even have their own Handbook with ideas of how to interact people in local projects, and projects are going on at a lot of places; more than a 100 towns call themselves Transition Towns. The basic idea about growing your own food, local money systems and the local solutions for Peak Oil and Climate change have given it attention in media and made the idea spread very quickly around the world. Message is simple and clear; local people have to do something by themselves- we can't wait for the politics to do it.

May 19th to May24th, 2010 is the date for "European Transition Town Conference". People from Transition Town initatives and those interested in the Transition Town movement from all over Europe is invited to gather in the camp that will be held in the ecovillage of Sieben Linden in Northern Germany - a newly built resilient village.

>Västra Hamnen, Western Habour, Malmö Sweden
Compared to the organization work or community work we also have some real project that have been built. Western Harbour in Malmö is a great example of new architecture in an initiative from the city government itself. Buildnings in different levels, a lot of common space, green spots, water, a diverse area with shops, restaurants, close to school and healthcare is in the concept.

>Tübingen, Germany
From Germany we have examples from Tübingen where an old garnison area where transformed to a diverse neighborhood in an architecture competition. Every block had their own discussion group of how they wanted to have it. The result; a lot of greenspot, common space, different buildings and attention in media.

>Exibithion Älvrummet, Gothenburg Sweden
In Gothenburg a similar thing is going on down the river where they want to build houses instead of port activities. It is the municipal owned company Älvstranden Utveckling AB that runs the project. The vision of "The Good City" is the basis of their work. The Good City is emerging on both sides of river. This interact work, housing, education, commerce, science, culture and recreation in a fruitful manner. The rooms of people created a character full of water and close environment, with the human meeting as an ideal. The mixed construction and existing buildings will be in harmony with the water and the environment. An exibithion room is there for the dialog with the citizens. "We want more access to the water in Gothenburg", "It's important with diversity both in the environment and the people here" and "Open for everybody" have been some of the most common votes.

Feel free to comment and describe more projects that are ongoing during this time! Good examples leads us further into the future.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Blind spot

Film about Peak Oil from 2008 with some positive foresights! A good summary of the problem and it also tells us that we can make a transition with knowledge we have now.

Take a look at the whole film here

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Interviewing for solutions try #2

Found this from my note book, from last year. Interviewed myself, with a focus on solutions and not the problem.

Interviewing for solutions, 3 edition (by Peter De Jong and Insoo Kim Berg, 2008) is a book that we used to find new technics when interviewing, especially when it's about tricky questions, and with help from these technics go from the ordinary "focusing on the problem" to instead "focusing on the solution" or building solutions. The practitioner will just help or lead the client so him/herself find the solution and his/her inner power to deal with the problem.

The example here, is a personal story, but the dialog I just made up in the paper. The practitioner try to help Anna to find her inner strengths. So its a dubble up. We will try to, with the inner strenghts, find the inner strenghts.

Practitioners;-Why are you here?
Anna; - I was asked the other day, what my inner strengths are, and I just laughed and could not think of anything. I felt very embarressed, like if I do not have any inner strengths. And I try to understand why it's so hard to think of my inner strenghts.
- I can imagine that you felt embarrassed, maybe that's why you laugh?

But it is a difficult question. What did you think was the worst in this situation?
- Yes, that's right, difficult question. Thank you for your understanding. The worst was the other three people there who were asked later, all three listens to the conversation.. There were two persons who was interviewing and they just asked if I might have that or that personality or if I could imagine the same question in a job interview.
-How did you feel then?
- Very stessed, blocked. I thought that was why I laughed. And then I felt even more embarrassed.
- If I ask you now, what your inner strengts are, what would you like to be different in the situation of the time?
- Hm. I havn't thought about my inner strengths so much. so I think that if there are no other people here is a good start. So I can be calm. And I would like you to take it easy and let me find it by myself. But with a little help in any way.
- Your inner strengths... Was it in a special subject matter or just how you are as a person?
- I personally, when I search for a job, for example. As "which inner strengths do you have, that can help you to get the job."
- Do you think it is a stupid question?
- Stupid? Not at all, I think it is very interesting. I just think I'm too stupid to have a job. I do not even know what my strengths are..
- If you go to another situation that you know about, and look at your strengths in that situation instead. What can we find? Give me three situations where you feel safe? And we will look at them instead.
- Hmm, I do not know.
- What are you doing in your life? What do you think is fun?
- Cooking ..

When I sit on the train I am very calm
I like to travel, explore new cities.
- There you have three situations! Good. Why do you like to cook?
- Because I'm good at it. Fun, to cook for other people. Since I am a vegan, they seem to be surprised to see me cook this delicious food. Some of them think vegan food is boring.
- How does it feel to talk about it in this way?
- Pretty selfish. I don't like it.
- Tell me about riding (horses). Why do you like it?
- When you have a 'good' horse, you will become one with it. I like being outdoors, exercising, be into the weather, feel the muscles and movements of the horse.
- Alone or with others?
- Could be both. It's just a feeling. It's there anyway.
- And if you have a 'bad' horse?
- Then I get very insecure and think I need to practice more. And more specifically, I do not want to be with others when it happens. I want to be alone and practice / fix / control the situation.
- And what can you tell about the trip, travelling?
- I travel a lot. Not necassary abroad, but between cities. I like to move. See new things. Explore. I can really enjoy a train journey. Feel the journey through time and space.
- How do you like to fly?
- No, I became very confused. You have to wait so much and then you have no idea where you are.

- Yes.. But still, is the airport outside the city and you must go there and then there is certainly no map. You will only take the bus / taxi to the airport.
- Anna. I think everything you said has a meaning. Do you think so? Can you see any kind of pattern in this story?

- Yes..
First of all, I think it is very difficult to talk about things I like, I feel most like I'm only trying to say how good I am in different situations. It seems that I want to have control around me. and that I feel a lot. And I find it hard to show others when I am not sure or secured about things, then I would rather be alone.
- Wow. Impressive. You just did an analysis of yourself. How do you feel?
- It's ok. But I can not see any strengths yet.

- We don't have time restrictions. The process here is very important. We will talk some more and it will come from nothing. Just focusing on the question we just talked about.
- Ok.
- Why do you think you chose those three things?

- Because I'm good at them.
I mean, uhm .. I like to cook, to ride and travel. And sometimes I feel very safe in these situations.
- Can you explain that feeling?- Perhaps a sense of belonging? I know something that other people like and appreciate. Perhaps it can be a strength?
I like to have control and work with other people?
No ... I have never seen myself like that.
It is perhaps a sense of belonging? Be a part. An important element. Yes. I work very well when I get trusted and have expectations on me. It gives me energy. I want to be visible and important.
But.! It is the opposite of what I normally feel .. I do not understand.. And it might not even be strengths.
- It is good that you start to argue. We will return to it. Now I want you to go back to cooking.
- Ok.

- What in the process is the most fun? If you divide it from shoping to the table ....

Monday, November 23, 2009

Human footprint

A documentary about the human footprint, here divided in 10 parts from National Geographics Channel and the Wildlife Conservation Society. More about the Human Footprint here;

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Participation in Göteborg

The big event for the Festival for Climate this weekend was today and the reason why I first and formost wanted to go to the whole festival; my dear friend Jonas Gren, a talent journalist and a wonderful human, talked about the Transition Town idea and his own experience when he met people in the Transition town movement in England.

The session today inpired a whole workshop to discuss the question how to work with the issue here in Gothenburg. More than 40 people participate in an open space themed workshop, it was runned just in a short of time but with a lot of intelligent and active people that wants to act now.

The most important part is in the starting point and how to get people involved in the processs, a process that have to be in the community and within the community.
 We agreed that if we want a transiton it would work the best way to arrange a meeting with already existing organistations or groups. We can from those groups take the key person to see what they want to do, what their goal are, with the arrangement they are already involved in. In this process we will get the information to continue the work.
 When gathering people in this way, we see a lot of issues they have in common, and also what they really want to do within the community.

To listen to this and to help the key people to themself develop their thoughts, will inspire them to do more for their work.

A special room or house for this kind of work is important. In the room the thoughts should be on the wall, so everyone can see it and in this way participate in the process, and also be inspired to participate in the next meetings.

We can only do something with the society if we carefully listen to what people wants. And when we collect them, they will understand it even more and work together to reach their goals.

I hope we can use participatory methods in a larger scale. Some people asked me about a lecture or a guide today, it's just to start the participation work!

From San Francisco to London without flying

This is just amazing.. read the story and see the movies

at Flightfree Transatlantic Blog Entries

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Climate festival!

3 days. Lectures, workshops, a lot of women, vegan food, spoken words, planting of pear trees in a city park.

Program (ups! google tool translated)


Want to share this picture from the small magazine "Dealing with distractions, confronting Green Capitalism in Copenhagen & Beyond"

Friday, November 20, 2009

Exhibition sustainable food system

The environmentally friendly week or "the green week" is the annual event Naturskyddsföreningen (Society for Swedish nature conservation) organizes. This year's topic was; Mat för ett bättre klimat or something like; CHANGE FOOD INSTEAD OF CLIMATE

The Uppsala division could contribute with;
  • exhibition in the main library
  • interview in the local radio Tuesday morning
  • local producers and the fair trade shop met people in the exhibition in tuesday
  • posters/brochures in and outside supermarkets (5), coffee shop (4), fair trade shop (1) and a book store (1)
  • lecture from professor Charlotte Lagerberg Fogelberg from CUL, Center for sustainable agriculture, and a local organic producer and speaker Kjell Sjelin, Kjell & Ylva Sjelin Lantbruk

And some activities outside the exhibition;
  • discussion evening
  • guided tour in the supermarket, guided from the staff
  • food party; exchange of food, recipes and thoughts

From the ceiling, we hung milk package (the local produced brand); one liter of package was equal to one kilo of a carbon dioxide equivalent.

The beef had then 18 packages when the methane was recalculated to carbon dioxide, compared to beans 0,2 packages or 0,2 kilo of carbon dioxide. Every number was to one kilo of the product.

A map to the local milk producers and some information about how and where to buy local produced food in Uppsala.

A cubic meter of water (1000 liter), inside the wood, can only give 1 liter milk or 64,5 gram of beef.

Some brochures; people could read at the table or take with them.

A corner with books and recipes.

Here is a "wall" (a cube in the middle of the room) where the visitors could write their own thoughts about the environmentally friendly food;"share your own Eco-friendly food tips", they could also put their own recipes up and evaluate the exhibition.

My work in this week was to hold the activities outside the exhibition and to have the interview in the radio. I didn't plan for the exhibition because I live in a city 500 km away. So I planned for the activities, had a collaboration with Studiefrämjandet (The Study Promotion Association), booked rooms, talked to the staff in the supermarket and printed papers and posters. But then on Wednesday when no one had signed up for the activities, I went to put posters all over the city. The next day I signed the papers for my apartment to be sold 300 km away, but in Friday when I came back and still no one on my list, I re-arrange the exhibition. The pictures showed and the text was the result. In Saturday with only 12 people coming to the lectures, I gave up. A "green week" about food without food did not work!

This is not the first time we see that information-about-things is not enough. People will not just show up because of some posters. Or people will not change behavior just because of an exhibition.

Last picture; I desperate try to get more people into the exhibition; "you can still eat some meat, come inside and have a look how"(down). The upper sign is the title of Uppsala's exhibithion "Food- hero for nature or a climate villain" (Swedish: Mat- naturhjälte eller klimatbov. Is not as fun in English).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Sweden had a visit from Naresh Giangrande, Co Founder Transition Town Totnes and Transition Training in October. He was in Gothenburg to have some lectures and I had the opportunity to have a word with him. We took a walk in Slottskogen, the park with animals.

Naresh is one of the people that started the transition of the town Totnes in England, now he work as a workshop leader and teaches people about sustainability. It seems as he is doing something that I want to be doing. Also the whole concept of Transition town is something as what I try to explain in this blog;

  • We need to build resilient communities
  • We need to think in small scale and locally produced, both in goods and services
  • We need to work more within communities
  • To do that we need to better understand and use communication methods that directly involve and activate people.

Sitting here with the Transition handbook, have to see if I can learn something new! My six years of studies might be there inside as a shortcut!

Naresh wrote about his visit in Sweden here; . He did not mention the animal park, but he explain his expression from the Transition Training tour to Sweden as very good.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Borneo's remaining rainforests

Sunrise over the rain forest in Danum Valley, Sabah

The majesty of Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world, split between Maylasia, Indonesia and Brunei, an island right on the equator, and a perfect condition for rain forest with it's endemic amazing flora and fauna. Borneo has one of two natural habitat for the orangutan, the Mountain Mount Kinabalu is protected as Kinabalu National park and are one of the worlds hotspot in species diversity, Borneo have their own small elephant, the (Bornean) Asian elephant, famous for its aggressive temper, here thrive the carnivorous plants in the genus Nephenthes, huge butterflies and huntsman spiders (family Sparassidae).

The huge butterfly of 20 cm in wingspan appeared at the island where we snorkel to see the coral reefs outside Kota kinabalu.The monkey sat in Bako national park, an intresting place, with mangrove, limestone flora and rainforest, side by side. We meet mr bearded pig for the first time and two species of small monkeys, all of them thieves and we saw the endemic proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus, not in picture), famous for its strange hanging nose and very red but small penis. My favorite animal the Slow lori (genus Nycticebus) also lives here, but too shy to wanna show up.

Baby in the mangrove, Bako National Park
Huge butterfly at the island Pulau Mamutik
outside Kota Kinabalu

Genus Nephenthes, Bako National park.

Bornean horned frog, Megophrys nasuta,
Danum Valley Borneo

Deforestation because of palm oil.

Image originally from

The deforestation of Borneo is fast and much. At the bus from Mount Kinabalu to Danum Valley, approximately 6 hours, oil palms, oil palms and oil.. Borneo's rain forest have decreased by almost half . Instead, 1.8 million hectare of oil palm plantation.Under the trees its just soil- nothing else can grow here.

Here it is, a plant of an oil palm
Oil palm monocrops in Sabah, Borneo.

The fruit of the oil palm can be used for a lot of things, frying oil especially in Asia and in oil, butter, candies, cookies, potato chips and cosmetics all over the world. Plans, we heard was to make one of the world's largest ethanol plant for car use. I don't know what happened from 2007 to now, except that we in the North countries didn't like that fuel to much..

And we meet the truck. Bye bye forest.

Most tedious, this is not the only rain forest which is disappearing. Same trend can be found in the forest of Amazon, Madagascar and all other places where rain forest thrive. Were we saw green viper snakes, huge spiders and funny bugs, where I ran in the rain forest when the rain came, barefoot and where the clouds are so low and the trees so high so they can touch the tree canopy, is diapering more rapidly everyday because of the fact that we want junk food, and junk lifestyles.

Deforestation in Bolivia (found at the web. all other pictures was taken on the trip by me)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

..the ambulant story

there is an ambulance on the street next to a multi-residential. half on the sidewalk, half on the street and it has the warning lights on. I think of my grandmother and hurries on. in one of the lit apartment, I see the ambulance staff. a television is on in the background, a flat panel television, a black and white new action film. the ambulance people in the apartment looks down and bends down, they seem worried, but moves slowly. I pass the ambulance out on the street and heard when I passed, the sound of a man who cries out in a hopeless condition. not loud but deep. I peer into the half-lit area and sees a dark figure sitting on the stone edge at the sidewalk outside the house. and I had already passed. it was 20-30 meters away from the man in the dark and I thought in the 1 /100 second when I saw and heard him, that I wanted to go to him, but what would I say? Was his girlfriend ill? Their child? He sat outside but the staff was in the house, so it was already too late? Was he the one, who had beaten his wife? So badly that she was now dead? Approximately one million questions, and I did not go. What would you do?

Now safe home, I have a bit bad conscience. But will drive this all the way to the Big Problem Climate change debate. We know the picture and why it's important. We hear the warnings on radio, from people and organisations, we see it in the newspaper and magazines. We even know what to do. Compare it and you will see that the decision to do something about it for people and politican is hopeless. It is so complicated, so we just continue to walk, but with a slight feeling of remorse.