Want to eat healthier? Or move around town in a more sustainable manner? Or just lead your daily life in a smarter way? You need to try the 7 Days Challenge.
The Swedish Embassy here, in association with the TERI School of Advanced Studies, has organised the Challenge targeting youth from classes 9 to 12 in schools and graduate and post-graduate students in colleges across the national capital from January 17 to 23.
The Challenge is basically a call to action for the participants to practise sustainable lifestyles and consists of seven days of practical sustainable solutions focusing on three categories: Eat, move and live.
“The 7 Days Challenge is an attempt really for a short period of time trying to encourage people to think, eat, live, move smartly and sustainably and doing so in a short period of time and in encouraging best practices and also creativity around sub-solutions,” Swedish Ambassador Klas Molin told IANS, explaining the concept.
“Coming up with new ideas, not just emulating, copying which is being done, but thinking creatively,” he said, adding that in the first round, young people who are using modern technologies and thinking in new ways and whose future will be more impacted by today’s choices, have been targeted.
India is the third country, after Kenya and Indonesia, where the 7 Days Challenge is being organised.
But why seven days?
“Calling it the 7 Days Challenge, I think, partly is psychological, that it is a manageable period of time,” Molin said.
“Surely we can all devote a week to living smarter, thinking more consciously and acting, travelling and shopping more sustainably. It is a reasonable, manageable amount of time.”
According to the website of the Challenge, its objectives are: To emphasise the role of individual action for sustainable development; to spread awareness about the need for adopting practical sustainable solutions and lifestyles at the individual level; to build individual capacity and motivate individuals to improvise and innovate their choices and lifestyle towards more sustainable ones; and improve their own quality of life.
Explaining the concept of eat, move and live, Ambassador Molin referred to a kitchen garden within the Swedish Embassy compound in terms of “eat”.
“Many people believe in growing their own vegetables right next door. It is not only nice to look at, it is very practical, it is healthy,” he said. In terms of “move”, he gave his own example and said that back home in Sweden he bicycled to school and then to work in professional life almost every day.
“Since I was in middle school or junior high school, I biked to school and back. I biked to work.”
Molin asserted that biking is “certainly the fastest and most convenient way” of getting about a modern city like Sweden’s capital Stockholm. Here in the Swedish Embassy, he said, staff members and colleagues are encouraged to car pool more, including with his own official car.
In terms of “live”, Molin again gave the example of the Embassy and said the building was fitted with solar panels. He also said that a system has been developed within the Embassy complex — which only uses LED lights — to create composts by pooling in all organic waste.
“We have pipes under the park, under the paved area and also in the back and all the rainwater or most of the rainwater is collected underground,” Molin said. “It’s rainwater harvesting and we use it during the dry season for irrigation and watering.”
“We want to be champions in combating climate change. We want to be at the forefront, at the cusp of development when it comes to living, eating and moving smarter and conserving energy and preserving our pristine nature.”
Molin said that the last few governments from all walks of the political spectrum in Sweden have embraced these issues.
“We have very progressive policies regarding incentives and disincentives when it comes to vehicles… We just introduced as of January 1 new rules as to taxation of private vehicles where there are great incentives for going electric, hybrid, etc. And stronger disincentives in using older technology and older cars.”
The Ambassador also pointed out that Sweden has managed to have continuous GDP growth while at the same time cutting down on CO2 emissions. “So, growth is not contingent on old technologies and you know pumping out pollution. You can achieve growth in a smart way,” he asserted. As for the 7 Days Challenge, the participant who comes up with the most innovative idea or solution will be awarded.