Carbon Conversations at Gammelgård

This weekend we had an interesting and very nice visit from Scotland. Five years ago I was invited by a former colleague to participate in a study circle on climate change – Carbon Conversations. The study circle was a British concept, but as an experiment, one of the facilitators, Pamela Candea, would facilitate a group in Denmark from Scotland over Skype. I had worked professionally with climate change for many years, but this concept was very different from what I had seen or heard of before, so I happily accepted the invitation and participated in the study circle for some months.

Carbon Conversations consists of 5-6 meetings with discussions about different aspects of climate change and what you can do as a private person to try to reduce your personal carbon footprint. The topics are energy use (energy efficiency and energy supply at home), transport (the carbon footprint of different transport options and transport habits), food (the carbon footprint of different food habits and food waste), and ‘stuff’ (i.e. the carbon footprint of our excessive consumption of different items, like clothes, electronic devices, and other products, often produced abroad and therefore rarely counted as part of the national climate footprint). The concept was originally developed by an engineer and a psychotherapist – and consists of games, dilemmas and discussions on both the technicalities of the issues mentioned, but in particular on the feelings of preoccupation, guilt, sorrow or anger you get when you either feel that you ought to do more than you can or you feel angry about others doing less than you think they should do.

I had previously worked a lot with energy efficiency and supply, and also with a climate calculator covering all the topics in Carbon Conversations – but never with the more psychological aspects of our personal carbon footprints and the dilemmas we all – knowingly or not – face when we decide to act or not to act.

After the study circle ended, two of us in the group discussed whether we should translate and adapt the British material into Danish, and in that connection I did a survey of potential partner organisations for such a project, and discovered the Danish Permaculture Association. Through permaculture I learned about forest gardening – so when Steffen and I decided to find a place to live in Sweden, it became central that it should be possible to establish a forest garden. In a way you could say that Carbon Conversations is the reason we now have Gammelgård Skovhave!!

I never met Pam personally, but we stayed in contact on Facebook – and when she contacted me a few weeks ago, asking if she could visit us a few hours in connection with a Carbon Conversations workshop in Copenhagen and see our forest garden and the rest of the projects here at Gammelgård, I didn’t hesitate a second to invite her for a weekend-stay.

We didn’t do a proper Carbon Conversations workshop, but nevertheless covered almost all of the topics and dilemmas of our carbon footprint, and particularly all of our plans and projects here at Gammelgård. Cool! Further inspiration and input was provided by Anna-Lena and Håkan who dropped by for dinner and a long evening’s talk when it got cold and dark outside.

Thanks a lot to Pam, Anna-Lena and Håkan for a wonderful weekend!




2 thoughts on “Carbon Conversations at Gammelgård

  1. Kristina

    Very interesting to read your report on Carbon Conversation and the meeting with Pamela Candea. And of course…the reason for you chosing Gammelgården in Småland.
    I wish you would tell something from your late night conversation….it IS valuble to share feelings as well as what to do to handle the situation of our planet.

  2. Christina Forfatter

    Hi Kristina. Thank you for your positive feedback. 🙂 Maybe some day when I am in the more philosophical mood again, I will write some more about our more psychological considerations.But that will probably be in Danish – as you love it! 🙂


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