Sustainable Scandinavia 29.04.14

Copenhagen is accepted as one of the World’s “greenest cities” and as urban sustainability looms large in our A2 Geography studies at LGS, a visit seems an obvious thing to do and, whilst there, why not hop on a train and take in another example of green planning in Malmo, just over the Oresund Bridge.

So it was that a group of Year 13 Geographers and two teachers left Stansted Airport towards the end of the Easter break for four days of exploration.  Copenhagen did not disappoint and it soon became obvious that we in Britain have a lot to learn about how to organise urban transport and waste disposal.  Rush hour Friday:  where are all the cars and what is that strange smell – fresh air no less.  Yes, it is the bicycle capital of Europe with well over 1 million kilometres cycled in the city each day!  We joined in and a guided, 25 mile ride took in many of the sustainable projects being undertaken and it has to be said that Mike, our somewhat eccentric guide, made it a most enjoyable experience, even if we did ride round in circles in government building car parks!  Waste disposal is also a key issue:  the city is crossed by numerous water courses once used as sewers, but they are now very clean:  we saw one piece of litter, a newspaper which could be read at a depth of 2 metres!

Saturday included a trip to Malmo, more specifically to Vastra Hamnen the largest single sustainable living project in Europe which is transforming an old submarine shipyard into a modern, hi-tech community.  Vacuum waste disposal systems, integrated heating systems, vast areas of solar panels, wind turbines of all sizes, biogas powered buses, electric car charging points and many other sustainable initiatives are being introduced making the area very attractive.  The transformation from old to new is epitomised by the company Kockums who once made submarines (tubes) and now make wind generator pylons (tubes).

Overall, it was both enjoyable and very productive academically and it is something we shall certainly repeat in the future.