Are you on the bus or off the bus? A sustainability fieldtrip : )

I think my recollection of this week is a bit hazy now, but it was really fun times.

The things I did and places I visited included:

* A very hip cafe IN Swedish, so not really of much use to many of you!

* A very kitsch, plastic shop

* Perhaps the coolest furniture ever – check the style before you work out what it’s made of!

* A very cool documentary film festival, where we got to meet and ask questions of Vandana Shiva – famous ‘seed saver’ and now anti-göobailsation activist. This was an absolute highlight for some of us, and I’m glad we persisted in our efforts to get along to it!

Vandana Shiva is really leading the charge in protecting the rights of the farmer’s to grow traditional food varieties and be self-sufficient in the face of pressure corporations (like the incredibly sneaky and unethical Monsanto) that are constantly seeking to privatise and profit from what should be free and publicly owned. Vandana Shiva’s homepage is I really strongly suggest you check it out, or get copies of the ‘no nonsense’ guides to water and globalisation – available at Jeez, I’m just a publicity pawn!!!!

* The homepage of the documentary film festival was, but is now offline. Note that use of the .nu domain name generates profits for the small island of Niue (sort of part of New Zealand) to maintain it’s solar powered wireless internet network! The name is popular in Sweden because it means ‘now’. See more at , and note that I have heard several more reports of plans for entire African nations (e.g. Rhwanda) aiming to have wireless internet access for their entire population through the same sorts of technologies : ) This use of these technologies in this way e.g. everyone using mobiles in areas where there has never been landlines, has been termed ‘leapfrogging’, and gets some people very excited…

* Attended the a conference on biofuels (for all the proceedings and presentations), which was really eye-opening re: Brazil’s use of biofuels, entire regions in Sweden and the US committed to their production and use, and the technicalities of the differenct fuels.

* Visited the global sustainability staff at ‘Tetrapak‘ – a company that is doing pretty well in the sustainability stakes, and that is keen to do even better A real issue from an Australian perspective is the effect that their long-life packaging has had on allowing transport of foods over long-distances with

* Got to visit some of the big guns in Swedish sustainability NGOs…doing amazing work in a variety of fields, and all with a strong commitment to working on majority/south/developing country issues. They also (especially resalliance) come from a ‘natural resources’ angle, which connedcted with me. See These meetings heavily influenced my thinking on a few issues, and I will be seeing if I can incorporate their ideas into my thesis, and will look into somehow working on some of their projects after the course.

* And had a very, very fun night where I was a bit drunk. So, the story is:

I was very excited about this night, and keen to dance to some thumping techno / trance / drum and bass. Cooked dinner, got dressed, had a few drinks, and nailed down three or four venues and events where there was sure to be some good DJs and pumping tunes. As it happens, the group of people I was with were not so sure about the clubs I had picked out, and had others in mind – that’s cool I thought, I’ve had a few drinks and can probably dance to just about anything…

We met more people at a busy street corner downtown, and I quickly ducked off up the road…only to come back to no-one! I checked my phone, and there was a missed call from a friend…but I had no credit to call him back ‘Where the hell are they!’ Somehow the phone let me call, and I was directed towards a mass of stylish, wealthy looking people outside a very exclusive bar about 50m away. Approaching the mass of beautiful Swedes, I couldn’t hlep but compare my attire with theirs: patched jeans, a bright red and blue T-shirt and dirty sneakers versus sleek black dresses, suits, ties and overcoats…there was no way we were going to get in here!

But, my similarly-dressed friends already had, and they simply directed the murderous looking bouncer towards my waving hand, and a path opened through the ten deep crowd. 100kronor to get in, and 385 kronor ($60 AUD) for three vodka-oranges, and I had blown my budget for the week! I proceeded to drink some more of the vodka we had sneaked in, before leaving the apparently ( I don’t remember) swedish girls Richard had brought back to our table, and dance in my own crazy way amongst a bunch of more very beautiful swedes on the dance floor. As my style became increasingly erratic and the crowd cleared a space around me, I figured I was going to get the attention of some of the bouncers so (as I recall it) distributed all my valuables amongst my friends…I was thinking strategically here….

And so, after a while, the bouncers came to lead me away. Despite their perfect English, I pleeded ‘forsta inte’ (‘I don’t understand’ in Swedish). Eventually I explained that it was freezing outside and that I needed my jacket, but that my friends had my ticket for the coat check. So, I ended up getting away. This then happened about three more times – with some variations, including laying the contents of my wallet out on the floor ‘desperately’ searching for the missing coat check ticket! The Swedes are two nice, any other place on earth and they would have just thrown me down the stairs and been done with me. Anyway, I forced a tip into the hand of my favourite bouncer friend as I walked out the door – I don’t think he appreciated it.

Anyway, it was a very classy place, and had the most decadent toilets I have ever seen – the ladies’ were like a marble palace complete with seats in front of lit make up mirrors and electronic toilet door locks – don’t ask me how I know that.

See more pictures and reviews at and (links on right to some photos)

Fun trip eh! I’ve really understated the acadmeic value of it, so contact me if you want to know more about any of those parts!

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