Maybe you have already heard (many times?) about how Sweden is the paradise for sustainability. The country commonly is at the top when it comes to sustainable practices and goals, and this was indeed one of the reasons why I decided to study here. Nevertheless, in my perception, our current global economic system is based on maintaining a lifestyle that could’t be more unsustainable: overconsumption is driving to the complete depletion of natural resources. In many aspects, while living in Sweden, I could really see its ambitions towards a more sustainable society, for example a lot of investments in developing new and green technologies, as well as better habits and incentives for societal transformation. Most of the waste produced here is recycled or used to produced energy. To do so, the system is extremely efficient and well stablished. When you live here it is way harder not to recicle then to recicle: everything is already in place for you to just follow the rules. In countries like mine it is the complete opposite, one really needs to go after of having a more sustainable living.
Besides waste handling, other aspects of sustainable consumption can be diet choices and buying habits. Concerning diet, and more specifically meat consumption (once the production of meat is one of the main drivers of environmental damage), in Sweden you can find a no number of vegetarian/vegan options in the supermarket, it is really impressive all the substitutes they have made available here. Sweden is really trying in this way, I have been to many events where the only food options are vegetarian. Why not give people a hand in transitioning to less meat, right? Also, one thing I have noticed about eating vegetarian in Linköping for more than a year is that even if vegetables are usually more expensive than in other countries, it is always cheaper than eating animal products. Always.
On the other hand, I have found that buying habits in Sweden are maybe its biggest weakness. Here consumption in high, either clothes or furniture, swedes are amongst the biggest consumers in the world. However, at the same time, Sweden also has great options to escape this culture, such as buying second hand. Buying second hand is a big thing in this country, and I love it: it is more sustainable and you can find really great deals. I guess all societies have its contradictions and ways in which it could do better. Nevertheless, in Sweden sustainable living is really at the center of many discussions and you will find more opportunities than never to engage and experience it.