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Energy Experiments for students in Helsingborg. Photo: © Ingemar Nyman, City of Helsingborg

Helsingborg plants next generation of green citizens

February 20, 2013

In a city where greenhouse gas emission was cut almost by half in less than two decades, students as young as five are learning and practicing how to be responsible and environment-loving citizens both in schools and in their communities.

Running from June 2010 to 30 June 2013, the Sustainable School Campus program in Helsingborg – Swedish best performing environmental municipality in 2009 – highlights the importance of nurturing young leaders and engaging multi-stakeholders in sustainable development. 

Including five neighboring high schools, 5,000 students and teachers, municipal company that owns the school buildings and other stakeholders from Lund University and Öresundskraft, the largest energy company in the area, the program aims to reduce the five schools’ energy consumption by 20% of the 2008 level – now standing at 16.4%

Besides installing energy efficient technologies, the program focuses on students’ participation. Activities such as class competition to solve local environmental issues, the setting up of a Sustainability Board composed of students and teachers are organized to encourage students to voice out their opinions, make choices, apply their knowledge, and to observe and question others’ behaviors – democratic processes that aim to train young students to be environmental conscious and responsible ambassadors. 

Funded partly by the Swedish Energy Agency, the Sustainable School Campus Program is a continuation of the Environment Workshop – an education program by Helsingborg’s municipal departments to educate over 10,000 primary and high school students every year on various environmental topics since 1989. 

Known for its long-term educational and participatory approach in city development, Helsingborg has adopted four comprehensive plans to manage land use, water, natural reserves and infrastructure since 1989. Participation continues to be a key element and has been repeatedly highlighted in official documents, including the latest strategic comprehensive plan for Helsingborg adopted in 2010, the ‘Sustainable Helsingborg Vision 2035’ and the report on climate adaptation published in 2011.

For more information on Helsingborg’s sustainability actions, read the complete ICLEI case study.