Friday 14th – SEMINAR in Övertorneå


So if was finally time for the last day of conference, taking place at the “Folkets hus” in Övertorneå.

Manfred had insisted on changing the program so that he could speak last instead of second. As it’s hard to go against the will of an 80 years old alternative nobel prize winner that has flown from Chile to attend this seminar, the morning was spent on changing the program, which wasn’t especially hard.
The bigger problem was to make the technology for the webinar work. As everyone knows technology has a tendency to not work when it really needs to and so was the case today. Because of the technical problems the schedule was delayed by about half an hour.
The vice mayor Inga Saavilahti Häggbom opened up the conference by giving a short introduction and welcome to Övertorneå. Next speaker of the day was Torbjörn that had caught a cold and had to tell about the 4 system conditions, the national happiness product and a lot of other things in a feverish delirium. Without doubt the biggest effort of the day!

Because of the technical problems the schedule had to change even more and Karl Johan Bonnedahl started instead of Björn Forsberg.

Karl Johan Bonnedahl is the assistant professor from the school of economics and business administration at Umeå University and the author of the book “Från ekonomiskt till hållbart, från exploatering till samexistens”. He talked about the need of a fundamental change in economic language and behavior among people and business. He also defined a difference between sustainable development (where the human needs are central) and coexistence (where nature’s and human needs are equal).

Björn Forsberg that finally managed to do his presentation showed a more practical picture of the same topic by giving examples of transition from all over the world. Björn is a political scientist and debater and author of the books “Tillväxtens sista dagar” and “Omställningens tid”.

After these talks the first part of the seminar was over and it was time for lunch at Hotel Tornedalia.

The afternoon started out with a presentation from two different entrepreneurs in the area; Gunhild Stensmyr presented her company “Guesthouse Tornedalen” and Hans Hietala presented his family run green house garden “Hietala handelsträdgård”.

After the presentation a discussion followed where the Sustainable Sweden tour participants got to share their experiences from Sweden together with locals. Many different topics were discussed and it was hard to end it for the fika break.

In the informal circle Manfred held his last speech in dialogue with the participants.

After this the formal seminar was over and the crowd scattered in many different directions. Some of the participants went to a store called Simu to check out the local handicraft, others stayed, went for a walk in the rainy windy weather or enjoyed a beer and a sauna at the hotel.

The last formal dinner was held at the restaurant of the hotel. Reindeer stew was on the menu together with the mandatory (according to Manfred) red and white wine. Even some New Zealand wine came on the table as a treat from Ed.

Totally independent from the intake of wine the night was full of discussions and toasts. Ed read a haiku, Gabriela sang “Gracias a la vida” and Manfred and Gabriela did a little waltz accompanied by Manfred’s singing.

Happy but exhausted the participants went to bed, looking forward to sleep in a bit before leaving the next morning.

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