February-March 2017 Tour in Sweden and Denmark

From the 27th of February to the 4th of March 2017, Sustainable Sweden welcomed a delegation of 4 young ambassadors from Montreal, looking to learn about examples of sustainability and social innovation to bring back home and show on the occasion of Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebration, which will be held in May this year. The Tour took the participants to the Öresund straight region, travelling both in Denmark (Copenhaguen, Kalundborg, Skibby) and Sweden (Helsingborg, Malmö).

Author : Guilherme Bleu

Monday 28th of February

We started this hectic week by visiting the Denmark Symbiosis System located in the city of Kalundborg, on the western coast of the Sjælland island of Denmark. There, the participants got to see how companies that wanted to find a smarter way to deal with the issues of primary resources and waste management, have throughout the years, put in place a system of Circular Economy. This allows all the participating companies as well as the state-owned plants like DONG Energy, to buy another company’s waste as a raw material to work on, while selling or re-evaluating their own.

During the afternoon, we visited ØsterGRO, an organic rooftop garden located in Copenhagen. There, we got to see how a small team managed, with the help of local actors, to develop a 600 square meters producing garden on the rooftop of an abandoned building, and which has successfully developed into a sustainable business thanks to its unique, yet environmentally-friendly assets.

Tuesday 29th of February

One of the participants standing outside of the KPH Community Office

On this day, we first visited the KPH Community Office located in Copenhagen. This start-up accelerator allowed to see the participants how this community office allows new start-ups to benefit from the positive effects of sharing knowledge and abilities in a common space.

Participants in front of the main manor of Svanholm

Secondly, in the afternoon, we travelled to the Eco-village of Svanholm in Skibby. We could see how a group of engaged persons has managed to strive and establish a long-lasting community during the past 40 years. The examples shown in Svanholm were related to agriculture, organization and planning, economics and decision processes, and last but not least, education for children.

Wednesday 1st of March

On Wednesday, after travelling from Copenhagen to Helsingborg by train and ferry, the participants had a meeting session with several politicians of the municipality of Helsingborg. They were first welcomed by Maria Norberg, Strategic Planner and Lars Thunberg, Member of the Municipal Council. Following that, the mayor, Mats Sandberg gave us a historical presentation of the city and invited the participants for a dinner.

Thursday 2nd of March

On Thursday, the municipality of Helsingborg provided some really interesting activities and visits for the participants

In the morning, the participants went to the Energiverkstan / Miljöverkstan or Environmental workshop. This organization which belongs to the municipality, organizes playful and educative scientific activities for middle school students, in order to educate and raise awareness about energy consumption.

Following this visit, a group of three experts in diverse scientific fields oriented towards environmental protection gave us a tour of the green spaces of the city, as well as the Öresund strait’s marine biodiversity and the methods used to protect the environment.

During the afternoon, the emphasis was put on education. We first visited Välkomsten, the Pedagogical Center. This centre is specialized in welcoming newly arrived persons, refugees and immigrants whom are school-aged, in order to give them a pre-education and personalized program before they integrate school. The participants got to discuss and share their own personal experiences and understanding of the welcoming of newly arrived, refugees and immigrants in Quebec.

Finally, the participants visited the Nicolai high-school, where they were welcomed by a group of students members of the High-school’s Environmental Council. There, they were shown all the activities in which students can engage in order to reduce the school’s impact on the environment, and to enhance the health of students. They were also shown all the creative and artistic activities in which students can take part in order to develop their skills and interests.

Friday 3rd of March

On this last day of study visit, the participants visited the City Building administration of Helsingborg (Stadsbyggnadsförvaltningen), where they were shown several examples of Life-Quality management implemented by the city of Helsingborg, as well as examples of democratic participation in the city’s decision process.

During the afternoon, they travelled to Malmö, where Ylva Oknelid from the participative library Garaget organized a visit. This library which is a meeting place for people of different ages is a great place to exchange and learn thanks to the lessons offered in different subjects and languages.

Saturday 4th of March

The participants flew back to Montreal in the morning.