Sweden Sustainable Travel Guide
Sweden is one of those countries that seem to be doing everything right from a sustainability standpoint. From their philosophy on protecting natural spaces to its burgeoning sustainability policies in urban cities, Sweden serves as a great example of sustainable development in practice in the 21st century. It’s no wonder why they’re so respected and considered world leaders in the international community.
Sweden is the third largest country in the EU with a landmass of 450,000 sq km. But with a population of just under 10 million people (the second lowest in the EU), the country offers lots of open space to explore. And the best part is, you’re encouraged to discover as much of it as you want. Sweden has a culture of “Right to Public Access”. This allows anyone to roam freely through the country’s wilderness. Of course this privilege comes with the responsibility of treading lightly and to be considerate of any private properties as well as natural spaces to ensure that the habitat is kept pristine for others.
The country offers 29 national parks and over 730,000 hectares of dense forests, mountains and rolling hills. Highlights to see while in Sweden’s countryside include seeing wildlife such as bears, wolves, wolverines, elk, deer and moose. However, a must-see is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Laponian (or Lapland; this region is also shared with Finland) in northern Sweden. Here you will find the indigenous community of the Sami people who today continue to practice centuries-old pagan customs and speak their own language.
As pristine as their wilderness is, Sweden is also recognized for its sustainable urban planning as well. The capital of Stockholm is fraught with examples of sustainable architecture, city planning and environmental policies. In fact, Stockholm is often referred to as the EU’s greenest city. According to the Swedish government, they lead the EU in the consumption of organic goods, lead the way in recycling drink cans and bottles, and have the highest share of its energy from renewable sources. They also have the ambitious goal of being completely fossil fuel free by 2050. They continue to invest in environmental technologies, and promote it as an export which contributes to both the country’s and the globe’s sustainable economic growth. According to Statistics Sweden, this strategy has resulted in over 40,000 jobs and about SEK 120 billion from 2011 – 2014. For a more comprehensive look into sustainable living in Sweden, we recommend visiting: https://sweden.se/nature/sustainable-living/.