7 ways from the Nordics, to help save the planet
Søndervig beach, Denmark. Who said that Denmark has no (fantastic) beaches? With over 400 islands and approximately 9.000 km of coastline, Denmark has more than enough beaches for nature-hungry Danes to enjoy. You see, Denmark doesn’t have the vast nature that Sweden or Finland has. Or even the majestic mountains of Norway. But its beaches are certainly a place for Danes to appreciate nature. They have small basic cabins by the sea, to enjoy good weather in summer (when it does not rain of course), disconnect and reconnect with nature.
They are much more connected with the elements of water and wind than their other Nordic neighbours, because of their country’s geography. This is why Denmark is so advanced when it comes to renewable energy. For the Danes (as well as all the other Nordic people), life and nature are not linear. They are a cycle. Everything is to be used, reused, shared or recycled. Nothing is waste.
But how have the Nordic values shaped their perception of the planet and their way of living?
How do Nordic people view the environment?
Our planet is not ours. It is rented. Or actually passed on to us by the previous generations, to live in. Therefore we have to preserve it and pass it on the future generations in a good state. This is how they Nordic people perceive their relationship with the environment.
There are two things to consider about the Nordic people here:
-long-term thinking: it is in their culture to think about things more holistically. It is not just about today and how we can all have fun (not thinking about the planet’s resources at all). It is about how natural resources can be preserved, so they can provide for the essentials in the long run.
– practicality: being proactive can save them from the hassle of trying to fix things when they are broken or messed up in the future. Their practical mind also sees an opportunity to save costs in the future by doing that extra thing every day, today.
Why do they care so much about the environment?
It is a cultural thing. Or better, a societal thing. Their deeply ingrained Nordic values can be used to explain this:
- sustainability: closely related to their long-term thinking, they embrace a more circular approach to life and the environment. And they are willing to do the extra mile to ensure that.
- equality: everything and everyone is equal. It is not people over nature. Nor rich people over poorer people. Regardless of how much one consumes, there is a shared responsibility to protect the environment.
- innovation: they like to think out of the box and invent innovative solutions to environmental problems.
- compassion: by doing what’s best for nature, they can also do good to other people too. Why waste food or energy when these can be repurposed?
- balance: oh, that must be the greatest thing of all. It is not only Swedes with their lagom concept, but all Nordic people who believe that there must be a balance, an equilibrium between people and nature, consumption and production, using and creating, taking and giving.
7 things you can do like the Nordic people, to protect the environment!
It basically comes down to a more active mindset: not only in terms of physical exercise but also in terms of actively pushing your boundaries, to do that extra mile needed to help save Earth. Who said it is easy peasy?
- Plogging: the new fitness craze from Sweden is taking over the world. Jogging and picking up litter can help you both keep in shape and clean up the environment you live in. Needless to say that all litter collected should go for recycling.
- Food waste: food takes up significant resources to be made, like ingredients (vegetables or meat, that also need resources to be produced) and energy. Why wasting what is left over? You can buy this food at the end of the day, at a very low price. Push your local shops to embrace this approach. Find out how this Danish start-up does it.
- Köpstopp: think before you buy. Or even better set a limit on your expenditures, to save money but also contribute to a less consumeristic society. You really don’t need everything you buy. Check out how you can do it with the Swedish “köpstopp”.
- Zero waste: it is a whole new philosophy you can embrace. From little everyday things like using a reusable coffee cup to more sustainable living like avoid as much packaging as you can when buying goods or even food. Find out how Otso from Finland did it.
- Circular economy: until recently it was about using and then recycling. This has now changed to a more sustainable approach. Repair- reuse – share – recycle. This is the way you can make the most out of anything. Check these examples from Denmark.
- Preservolution: whole countries can change their view on their economic development and care more about preserving nature as a way to have sustainable growth. For example, the Faroe Islands chose “preservolution” as their 2025 agenda.
- Push politicians: follow the steps of Greta Thunberg, the charismatic 16-year-old activist from Sweden, who claims she won’t stop until governments panic about the environment and change their policies. You can do it too. Push your politicians to act more and make them realise you really care and their actions (or inaction) can be rewarded (or punished).