From the archives – non-violent communication

5th August 2010 by

One sunny morning in mid-September, we packed up ourselves, the flowery palais (aka our tent) and a hula hoop, and bundled ourselves onto a train from London to Malmo, Sweden to learn stuff at the European Social Forum. Here’s what we learnt about:

Non-violent communication

Despite all the group hugs and general warm fuzziness here at Otesha, a few of us can be a little (ahem) forceful in our opinions from time to time. Especially when confronted with someone who, say, refuses to buy Fairtrade coffee because “we should support businesses in this country”. So we thought we’d best go along to a Non Violent Communication workshop and find out the least confrontational way to tell someone you can’t grow coffee in Wales. Read the rest of this entry »

Georgie goes to Sweden – and learns about youth climate action

26th January 2009 by

Dispatch from Georgie, who travelled to Malmo, Sweden to join the Friends of the Earth Europe youth camp

Hells bells! After a quick 2 day pit-stop at home (having only just finished the Wild West cycle tour) my hula hoop and I hopped onto a train to the Big Smoke and visited the famous ‘Hub’, home of Otesha. We were off on a new, different adventure!! And with Jo, Hanna and Liz by my side, being on the move felt like normality, except for the absence of our bikes!

Thanks to the fire in the Euro tunnel we missed our connection in Brussels by 3 minutes! But really it was rather nice as we then had time for a nice dinner in Brussels – over two days we had each meal in a different country. Read the rest of this entry »

Otesha goes to Malmo – and learns about art & culture

15th January 2009 by

One sunny morning in mid-September, we packed up ourselves, the flowery palais (aka our tent) and a hula hoop, and bundled ourselves onto a train from London to Malmo, Sweden to learn stuff at the European Social Forum.  Note from Liz: Jo can write whatever she wants here. Maybe something about the cultural stuff? Or whatever else, really.

As it says above, I can write whatever I want here. ANYTHING at all, and it will be published wide on the wordly web for all to see. Oh, the power. Fortunately for you I have no great agenda, so I’ll just tell you what we saw. Read the rest of this entry »

Sustainable housing in Malmo

13th January 2009 by

Malmo used to be an industrial port town. Now it’s at the cutting edge of low-energy, low-impact sustainable housing design.  I tour to find out more, and here’s what I learned:

I took a walking tour of Malmo’s Wester Harbour, which is aspiring to be a completely sustainable community (it’s powered by 100% renewable energy, for example). Since I took, oh, about a million photos, I thought I’d share some of them with you.

When the creaters of this neighbourhood got together make it happen, they took lots of different aspects of sustainability into account, from materials to energy use and from community life to asthetics. This means that, in addition to being as low-impact as possible, the houses, commercial spaces and common areas aren’t too shabby to look at. To make sure that the buildings were diverse, the city of Malmo worked with about 17 different architects and a host of developers to create buildings that are built in different styles, sizes and colours – like these here:

Most of the streets in the Western Harbour are completely pedestrianized – so no cars allowed! As you might have guessed, bikes live everywhere. Here are just a few:

You can see water from anywhere in the Western Harbour, either sea water or rainwater collectors, which are alongside most roads.  The collectors add a bit of green space to the otherwise completely paved neighburhoods, plus the rainwater helps to increase biodiversity in the area by encouraging more local plant and animal life.

One of the area’s main landmarks, the Turning Torso, was created by famed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to symbolize the city’s transition away from an industrial port town. (The skyline used to be dominated by a giant grane basically right on the building site.) I was a bit sad to hear that the building isn’t particularly environmentally-friendly though- instead, it’s made of luxury white marble. Sigh.

Otesha goes to Malmo – and learns about communicating climate change

13th January 2009 by

One sunny morning in mid-September, we packed up ourselves, the flowery palais (aka our tent) and a hula hoop, and bundled ourselves onto a train from London to Malmo, Sweden to learn stuff at the European Social Forum. Here’s what we learned about ….

How to communicate climate change (let’s make it sexy)….

At Otesha, you might have noticed that we can get a little warm and fuzzy (a little too warm and fuzzy, some might say).  So you can understand how, cocooned in an Otesha-style security blanket as I was, I got the be-jeesus scared out of me at the European Social Forum. Read the rest of this entry »

Otesha goes to Malmo – and learns about climate policy

30th December 2008 by

One sunny morning in mid-September, we packed up ourselves, the flowery palais (aka our tent) and a hula hoop, and bundled ourselves onto a train from London to Malmo, Sweden to learn stuff at the European Social Forum. Here’s what we learned about ….

EU climate policy

Don’t run away! Yes, EU Climate Policy sounds like a yawn and a half but bear with us, as the seminar was completely fascinating (although that might have something to do with Jens Holm, the speaker and a Member of the European Parliament, being a complete dreamboat. Swoon…. thud.) and very informative. Read the rest of this entry »


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