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sustainable travel sweden

66.4% of consumers globally want to have a positive impact on the environment through their daily actions in 2021, according to a new report ‘Top Countries for Sustainable Tourism’, released by global market research company Euromonitor International.

According to the report, Scandinavia is leading by example in its engagement and progress towards sustainable travel, with Sweden ranked first, followed by Finland, Austria, Estonia, and Norway. These findings extracted from the new Sustainable Travel Index, developed by Euromonitor International, assess 99 country destinations through the lens of environmental, social and economic sustainability, country risk as well as sustainable tourism demand, transport and lodging.

“Sweden is a pioneer in lifecycle assessment research which is critical to understand the full impact of consumer behaviour and consumption patterns,” analyses Caroline Bremner, head of travel at Euromonitor International. The country is highly engaged with the Sustainable Development Goals and preserves the Arctic ice and permafrost to help stop climate change, aiming to achieve net zero emissions by 2045.

Other countries also show good progress in sustainable transport and lodging. Just outside the top 20 – featuring other European countries for the most part, such as Germany and France – we find New Zealand, Bolivia and Canada.

“There is globally a clear change in mindset and resistance in returning to a volume-driven travel and tourism model. Instead, stakeholders are rallying together to ‘build back better’ through value creation from sustainable tourism. As momentum grows in the run up to COP26, consumers, travel brands, destination marketing organisations and governments continue to align to avert the climate emergency,” concludes Bremner.

Euromonitor International is the world’s leading provider for global business intelligence, market analysis and consumer insights. From local to global and tactical to strategic, our research solutions support decisions on how, where and when to grow your business. Find the right report, database or custom solution to validate priorities, redirect assumptions and uncover new opportunities. With offices around the world, analysts in over 100 countries, the latest data science techniques and market research on every key trend and driver, we help you make sense of global markets.

Fotocredits: Martin Edström, Visit Sweden

solarboat

An electric boat that runs virtually endlessly on solar power –  that’s the dream that’s been driving David and Alex Borton for the last 17 years. Since 2004, the father-and-son team has been working to fulfil their vision, building several custom, patented, solar-electric boats under the brand name of Solar Sal.

This summer, the two of them completed what they believe to be the first-ever solar-electric boat voyage from Bellingham, Washington, to Juneau, Alaska.

They departed on Tuesday, 25 May, in their 27-ft wooden hull solar boat Wayward Sun and made landfall at Ketchikan, Alaska, 13 June, then continued up the coast at a more leisurely pace to Glacier Bay and Juneau, concluding the voyage on 8 July.

The electric boat is powered 100 per cent by solar energy with no fossil-fuel combustion engine at all on board. “People always ask us if we have any gas or diesel back up,” said Alex Borton, “but the sun rises every day. If our batteries get too low, we just wait.”

Wayward Sun, built by Devlin Boat in Olympia, WA, is propelled by a Torqeedo Cruise 4.0 electric pod drive with six Torqeedo Power 24-3500 lithium batteries.  There is a separate 12-volt system for lights, electronics and other DC-powered systems and an inverter for occasional AC loads, like making waffles. The batteries are charged from a 1700-Watt array of solar cells on the boat’s rooftop.

Better than expected

“The solar-electric system has more than exceeded our expectations,” said Alex Borton. “During the 45-day passage from Bellingham to Glacier Bay to Juneau, we were underway for 38 days. We averaged 32 nautical miles per day at an average speed of 3.7 knots. While some days we stopped early or left late because of weather, there were only two full days we didn’t travel at all due to high winds or dense fog.

“Even on a completely overcast day this time of year, we can travel at 2-3 knots during daylight hours without drawing on our batteries at all,” Borton said. “With direct sunlight, we can do 5 knots or more all day without any battery use. Most of the trip was overcast and it rained a lot. Some days we travelled slowly because we had to; other days we travelled slowly and charged the batteries while underway.”

No limits

“Most electric boats on the market today are limited by their battery capacity, which means they have to return to shore power to charge,” explained Borton. “Until recently, solar panels and batteries were just not capable of severing the tie to shore power, so it was only functional for extending range or for partial charging. But now, thanks to advances in solar cells and Torqeedo’s efficient electric drives and high-capacity batteries, it’s possible to produce a solar boat with reasonable speeds and accommodation that can continuously cruise without ever charging from the shore. If I had more time I would keep going for another 1000 miles.”

They navigated from Bellingham to Ketchikan using the inside passage, anchoring at night since they were not permitted to go ashore in British Columbia due to Canadian Covid-19 travel restrictions. “That was no problem for us,” said Borton. “We had lots of food, a cosy cuddy for sleeping below deck. And, of course, our solar boat doesn’t need refuelling.”

“This is an important validation of state-of-the-art solar-electric boat propulsion technology, and we have enjoyed following their daily progress on their blog,” said Mary Jo Reinhart, director of OEM and retail sales, Torqeedo, Inc.

You can see the progress reports with photos and video clips from Wayward Sun’s epic voyage at squarespace.com

green lahti

The carbon-neutral symphony orchestra of Lahti has played a piece titled “ICE” to endangered coastal cities. The piece can be heard only in places threatened by climate change and rising sea levels.

If climate change is not curbed, rising sea levels threaten to drown several coastal cities by 2050 and 2100. The problem is global and affects many cities from Jakarta and Sydney to New York.

That’s why the city of Lahti, the European Green Capital 2021, has donated a piece to the world to remind us of the dangers of climate change. The piece, titled “ICE” has been composed by Cecilia Damström and is performed by the world’s first carbon-neutral symphony orchestra, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Dalia Stasevksa.

“ICE” is a part of Lahti’s European Green Capital year 2021 programme, as Lahti is the first city from Finland to be awarded the honorary title.

The piece can be listened to only in the 100 most endangered cities across the world, on the site https://greenlahti.fi/icemusic based on your browser’s IP address.

In “ICE” the Earth fights for its existence through each beat

The 10-minute piece starts with a peaceful harp melody which intensifies quickly. As the song continues, powerful rhythms with contrasting harmonies can be heard: the piece sounds like our planet is fighting for its existence.

– Through this piece I wanted to express how global warming as well as the collapse of ecosystems is destroying the Earth’s beautiful glaciers. The heart of the Earth is fighting for its existence through each beat, says the composer Cecilia Damström.

The title “ICE” refers to the In Case of Emergency emergency tag. The piece ends with a glimpse of hope: during the last seconds, the harp heard at the beginning can be heard again; finally, a small bell rings as a reminder that there is still a chance to influence the future.

Lahti carbon neutrality target for 2025

In the city of Lahti, the European Green Capital of 2021, multiple actions have been taken to cut emissions from energy production, transport, housing, and other consumption to combat climate change.

– The climate is in an undeniable state of emergency. The role of European cities in halting climate change is significant; slowing down climate change requires rapid action and commitment to carbon neutrality targets. That is why Lahti has set its carbon neutrality targets for 2025, says Mayor of Lahti Pekka Timonen.

You can listen to “ICE” from here.

Behaving environmentally responsible makes people feel happy. That is the outcome of research by the Dutch Groningen University. 

While it is often suggested that individuals’ pro-environmental behaviors may be linked with their subjective wellbeing, the strength and direction (e.g. positive or negative) of this relation is unclear. Because pro-environmental behaviors impact peoples’ everyday lives, understanding this relation is critical for promoting long-term environmental solutions.

Using a series of meta-analyses, we systematically reviewed the literature on the association between individuals’ pro-environmental behaviors and their subjective wellbeing. The researchers hypothesized that the relation between pro-environmental behavior and subjective wellbeing would be positive and strongest among types of behaviors (e.g. sustainable purchase decisions) and indicators of subjective wellbeing which more clearly reflect personal meaning (e.g. warm glow). The researchers sourced studies via PsychINFO, PsychARTICLES, GreenFile, SocINDEX, Web of Science, and Scopus, as well as professional email lists, direct contact with authors who publish in this domain, data from the authorship team, and the European Social Survey (2016).

The researchers included studies with quantitative data on the relation between individuals’ pro-environmental behavior and their subjective wellbeing, ultimately identifying 78 studies (73 published, 5 unpublished) for synthesis. Across multiple indicators of pro-environmental behaviors and subjective wellbeing, we found a significant, positive relation (overall r = .243), and this relation did not meaningfully differ across study characteristics (e.g. sample, design). As predicted, the relation was particularly strong for indicators of pro-environmental behavior and subjective wellbeing which clearly reflect meaning, such as sustainable purchase decisions (r = .291) and for warm glow (r = .408).

The researchers found a robust, positive relation between people’s pro-environmental behaviors and subjective wellbeing, and initial evidence that this relation may be stronger the more clearly behaviors and indicators of subjective wellbeing reflect meaning. Our results indicate that program and policy-makers can seek opportunities to design ‘win-win’ sustainability programs which could positively impact both people and the environment.

Read the publication