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“How sustainable is the Green Transition in Northern Sweden?: Past visions and future prospects”

Published Nov 14, 2023

New seminar series Advancing Sustainability in the Arctic and Beyond launched with a lecture by Prof. Sverker Sörlin

In front of a fully-booked Climate Action Center on KTH campus, Prof. Sverker Sörlin on November 6th inaugurated the Advancing Sustainability in the Arctic and Beyond series with a stimulating seminar on past and present visions for the future of Northern Sweden. The point of departure for his presentation was the first wave of industrialization in Norrland that started a century and a half ago. Then as now, the Swedish North was imagined as a bountiful “Land of the Future”. That is in fact the title of Prof. Sörlin’s 1988 PhD. dissertation, Framtidslandet, which was re-published earlier this year amid the high hopes surrounding the new wave of industrialization in Northern Sweden that is today being billed as a vanguard of the “Green Transition”. Bringing his historical analysis into the present, Prof. Sörlin provided a broad overview of the emerging political positions being arrayed for and against the massive investments needed in the North to realize what some see as the region’s potential to become an indispensable source of strategic minerals, renewable energy, and cutting-edge technologies, that will help mitigate global climate change and underpin the expansion of sustainable development in Sweden, the European Union and beyond. 

Advancing Sustainability in the Arctic and Beyond: Opportunities and Challenges in the Swedish Northis a new open seminar series organized by the KTH Climate Action Center and the KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory.

Through a series of public seminars involving an array of leading experts and key stakeholders, Advancing Sustainability in the Arctic and Beyond will explore the opportunities, complexities, and possible conflicts associated with the sweeping economic, social, and environmental transformation taking place in the northern reaches of Sweden and other parts of the Arctic. While the Arctic is the place on Earth where the effects of climate change are most dramatic, it is also a region of ambitious new industries and abundant natural resources, including renewable energy and strategic minerals badly needed for the green transition, and the home to indigenous people with longstanding claims to lands that are closely tied to their cultures and ways of life. As the seminar series will explore, this convergence of different values and stakeholders in the Swedish North—that are sometimes in direct conflict with one another—makes the Arctic a region of great relevance for the implementation of sustainable development on a local, national, and global level.

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