Many of us, looking back on our childhoods, liked to play with sand in the playground outside the house. Building unusual caves, castles and houses, creating plants and flowers of different sizes and shapes, experimenting with silhouettes of fantasy animals; we were creating a world, where all our sand-made creatures could happily cohabit with each other.
At the end of 2012, two PhD students, Aleh Kliatsko from Belarus and Oksana Udovyk from Ukraine, and a Master student from Ukraine, Vladyslav Kozak, all former Swedish Institute scholarship holders, developed the idea of creating an organization in Stockholm, which will gather and unite like-minded international and Swedish youth and students in one playground of sustainable ideas, international cooperation and friendship, green projects and smart lifestyle for everyone irrespective of age or occupation.
Thus, “Global Playground Stockholm” was born and since then continues to gather young people, who are passionate about environment, changing behavior and habits into smart and sustainable lifestyle and sustainable development in everyday life.
From the start the aim was to create a common “playground” – organization for international students, who come to Sweden to study and are interested in sustainable development. The participation in various organization’s activities was a way for them to get deeper into the Swedish society.
Global Playground Stockholm gathered participants of the projects and organization members from all around the world, who contributed and continue to contribute to the “playground” with their unique experiences, ideas and creative thinking.
Today “Global Playground Stockholm” has over 400 members. Sustainable development and smart life are the main areas that the organization tackles through its projects.
Urban gardening is also among the leading concepts of Global Playground Stockholm, which was in particular developed on the rooftop of one of the student dormitories in Stockholm’s old town was organization’s first activity.
With a motto “Think globally – act locally” active members started off an “Eco tour” in Stockholm – sustainable excursions through the city with stops at vegetarian cafes, shops with sustainable goods, recycling spots and city bikes.
The organisation expands its ”playground” through an active international cooperation with different countries, by participating to international workshops, hubs and projects. One of such examples is an ongoing Erasmus plus project “Green in Everyday Life”, where together with stakeholders from Italy, Spain, Morocco and the United Kingdom “Global Playground Stockholm” works upon the improvement of sustainable energy consuming, smart recycling, green behavior and thinking.
Besides, Global Playground Stockholm established and developed an active cooperation between Ukrainian and Belarusian youth NGOs, who are active in the environmental movement and who promote sustainable development principles, good governance, ways to change policy and finding new solutions for environmental problems inherited from the Soviet era.
Above that the NGO applies a creative approach combined with science and waste management concepts through production of eco-bags with the help of used textiles and natural colors, derived from vegetables.
The EcoSmart mobile application is another creative example, which allows its green eco-users to be updated and find a place to enjoy vegetarian food, buy ecological goods and use other services which help to live more sustainably.
One of the organization’s main aim is to unite like-minded people and creative minds to make a change on an everyday basis and to make life more smart, sustainable, green and environmentally friendly. To start to think locally and be aware of simple green principles is the first step all of us can take towards the long- term vision of improving our planet.
Text and photo credit:
Communication director at Global Playground Stockholm