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LINUM meets; Maria Soxbo.

Maria Soxbo is a journalist, author and lecturer, addressing one of the most important challenges facing our modern world: the climate. In 2021, she wrote eight essays for us on the subject, with each essay shedding light on things like consumption, renewing and repurposing, as well as society’s constant need to have.

In this meeting, we’re gathering around last year’s work, talking about what happened since the last time, and finding out if any new food for thought and areas for consideration have surfaced in the wake of the pandemic.

Maria Soxbo is a journalist, author and co-founder of Klimatklubben.

Tell us Maria, what’s happened since 2021? Which projects lie ahead and what are you working on right now?

I have mainly worked with my new book, Adjust! Everything to Gain from a Climate-smart Life, which will be published in September 2022. It’s so much fun to write a book about climate with a positive angle! I’m currently working through the final corrections. At the same time, I’m continuing with a large project within Klimatklubben (the Climate Club), as well as with lectures, podcasts and journalism as usual. In April, I also had the opportunity to hold a TedX talk on greenwashing, which felt like a great opportunity to highlight a topic that is close to my heart.

The pandemic’s impact has come and gone, come and gone, but right now it seems to be playing a fairly minor role. How have you been affected by COVID-19? What were your thoughts during the entire period? Do you have any reflections you’d like to share?

I’ve mainly been affected in the same way as most others have, in that much of what I previously did before a live audience (such as lecturing) is now being done digitally instead. It’s just as functional, but a bit more drab, if you know what I mean. I’ve also had more time to spare, and I thought a lot about the good things that came about in the form of less stress and having more time with my family. These were thoughts that, later on, found their way into the book. It should be added, of course, that I’m lucky in that regard, because I’ve neither become ill myself nor have I lost anyone due to the pandemic – and I haven’t had to fight in front lines of healthcare either.

Do you think that the pandemic has changed humanity and that we’re going to think and act differently than we did before with regard to e.g. habits, behaviours, attitudes toward climate and consumption?

In certain ways, definitely. I think many employers will rethink things and allow employees who want to do so, to work from home part of the time, because that has been shown to work.. More meetings than before will certainly continue to be digital, and there will no doubt be fewer unnecessary business trips. On the other hand, I don’t think we’ve taken on any new holiday habits; rather, on the contrary, there’s probably a great demand, unfortunately, to fly again to sunnier climes. Emissions are rising again, so in many ways we probably failed to take advantage of this strange time to accelerate the transition, even though the conditions were actually perfect.

Do you think that climate change has been overshadowed by the pandemic?

Undoubtedly. Obviously, the pandemic was also a serious crisis that needed to be addressed, but the climate is constantly overshadowed, even though it’s actually the crisis that should overshadow everything else. If you look at the Swedish media in 2021, there were 4.5 million articles and features about the pandemic, but only 180,000 about the climate. So there were 25 corona articles for every one climate article last year. Moreover, while the pandemic received 124 official press releases, the climate crisis still hasn’t received a single one. Now it’s election year in Sweden, which also risks postponing necessary, but uncomfortable, decisions to the future.

What do you think will happen to trademarks in the future? Many started their “green improvement journey” before the pandemic and have continued to work in that direction. What do you think we can expect in the future?

I believe and hope that more and more companies will pick up the pace on that journey, while I also believe that legislation and control measures will be tightened. Above all, I hope that more companies distance themselves from greenwashing, become more transparent about how their products are produced and that they start to reduce volumes and instead invest in better quality, and auxiliary services such as second-hand, repair services and rentals. I’m really excited about the development of the sharing society and the circular society, and I think companies that really invest in it as soon as possible will gain a lot from it in the long run.

What was it like writing chronicles for LINUM on the subject? Did it open up your mind to new things? Or were the thoughts you shared a summary of things you’d already been thinking about for some time?

It was incredibly much fun to write for such a clearly interior design-interested audience, and to try and find the best angles with which to approach sustainability! Obviously, much of what I wrote about in one way or another was touched on in the blog, but I’d really missed column writing after having quit as an employee of a newspaper publisher, so it’s been wonderful to get my teeth back into that format again. I’d like to do more of that; it’s both instructive and fun to try to formulate yourself as sharply and memorably as possible regarding a topic.

If you had to fast-forward a bit ahead and think of three areas you think will “boom” in the future, which would they be?

1. I believe that the second-hand market will take up more and more space in society. More niche second-hand, both in style and genre. A norm shift from new produce to pre-loved!

2. Vegetarian is increasingly becoming the obvious choice in many contexts. Meat will become a “special” food at conferences instead of the other way around, and when we choose to eat meat, it will be important that it’s Swedish free-range meat that contributes to biodiversity.

3. We’ll see ourselves more as users than as owners. It’ll become more obvious to rent a hedge trimmer, a tent or a pair of skates when we need it, instead of having lots of stuff at home that’s used max once a year.

Maria Soxbo is a journalist, author and co-founder of Klimatklubben. She switched from being an interior design blogger to become a greenfluencer, seeking to inspire more people to see the benefits of living sustainably. She is convinced that most of us would feel better by living a life within the boundaries of the planet rather than at the limits of our income and mental health, as in the treadmill of a society we live in. Together with Emma Sundh she also runs the podcast Plan B which focuses on the good life after the transition. On her own and together with others, Maria has written a total of six books about the climate and sustainability, and in 2021 she was 25th on the list of Sweden’s 101 biggest sustainability influencers.