Pittsburgh Region Residents Visit Sweden
One of the keys to Sweden’s place as a leader in sustainable development has been through an ongoing commitment by its communities and by its people towards sustainable development. Recently 14 individuals from around the world gathered in Sweden to participate in the 2004 Sustainable Sweden Tour to learn more about what activities these Swedish communities and their citizens are actively pursing in sustainable development. Through their actions in sustainable development, these communities and their people are creating an entire country that is moving closer to providing each community member with the ability to meet their basic needs in a marketplace of vibrant economic activity and within the fragile limits of the natural world.
Participants of the 2004 Sustainable Sweden Tour visited three different sized communities Stockholm (pop. 2 million), Umea (pop. 100,000) and Robertsfor (pop. 7,200) and met with various individuals including politicians, business owners, farmers and teachers to learn about the people, the places and the process that have made sustainability achievable in the region.
The tour participants have put together this recap and collected information to share our insights into what’s happening in Sweden and what we can learn from their examples. It is the hope of the participants that this document will serve as a source of ideas, information, inspiration and insight into how to have a safer transition and create a more sustainable planet.
In a world that is transforming at an unprecedented time and scale, the world’s communities are seeking examples of places that can help guide us through the challenge of a creating a new world. What we’ve already realized in this transition is that our current activities are undeniably affecting every community and every person, some very positively and some very negatively.
Within this challenge, every community is addressing sustainable development whether they know it or not. In its most basic definition, sustainable development is the transformation of our society that creates an environment in which every citizen is able to meet his/her most basic needs without sacrificing either economic development or environmental protection.
For those searching for such positive examples of transformation, they need not look much further than the communities in Sweden. A second place ranking in the 2004 United Nations Human Development Index only confirms that Sweden has become one of the world’s best places to live and certainly not by chance.
Historically, Sweden has had a tradition of sustainable development activities and close relationship with their surroundings. Set forth by the Right to Public Access in Sweden, although not illustrate in any law, allows every citizen and visitor access to the countryside with the consideration that each individual not disturb or destroy the area.
By the year 2020 and within one generation, Sweden a nation has set a goal to become a sustainable society. As part of this goal, Sweden has established 15 objectives to guide itself to become a sustainable society. The 15 objectives are as follows:
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