This is a blog by Bec Sanderson
"Let's make it a movement! For the first time in many years, I feel we can actually change things if enough people want to."
Camilla Sjöström, Uppsala

In our whistle-stop tour of the Nordic Countries we’ve sea-kayaked through the Stockholm Archipelago, watched the aurora light up Icelandic skies and walked barefoot through Norwegian forests.  Along the way, we met up with the wonderful people who already work on Common Cause, and made contact with others who might. We’ve also spent a surprisingly long time in foreign bookshops looking for large dot stickers to stick on values maps...

Dot exercise

Now we’re back, footsore and fancy-free! We're ever so slightly disappointed by the endless rain in Wales, and the non-double-decker trains (why can't we just rebuild all our train bridges?) but rather inspired by what is happening in Iceland, Sweden and Norway.

So what’s going on, and how can you be involved?

Iceland

We held our first open workshop in Reykjavík this May, and it was attended by conservationists, academics and trade-unionists.  The hot topic of the day was the debate over the development of the Icelandic Highlands, and the government’s recent proposal to charge entry to natural sites.

Next steps
Jamie McQuilkin at the University of Iceland will facilitate a monthly Common Cause discussion group in Reykjavíkur Akademían. Contact him at jamie@publicinterest.org.uk

Sweden

There has been a Common Cause network in Stockholm since 2012, facilitated by Pella Thiel, Anders Tivell and Martha Thernsjö. On this visit we met many of the research and communications staff of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Stockholm Environment Institute, as well as others working in the conservation field.  There was great interest in the subject of ecosystem services, and applying values and frames to science communication. Some of the attendees were working on interventions to get politicians talking to leaders of indigenousness cultures (for example in building dialogue between Swedish leaders and the Ecuadorean Pachamama Alliance), or providing immersive experiences in nature for business leaders.

Next steps

  • Pella Theil is based in Stockholm. She is involved in the Transition movement, as well as a number of conservation initiatives. Contact her at pella.thiel@naturskyddsforeningen.se
  • Camilla Sjöström is hoping to start a study group in Uppsala. Get in contact with her if you are interested! camjohsjo@gmail.com

Norway

This was our second trip to Norway, and we had an open meeting in Oslo attended by Green party members, social entrepreneurs and activists.  Researcher Eivind Hoff-Elimari presented his exciting new paper on citizen values and policy feedback from governments, forthcoming in the European Journal of  Government and Economics.  We were inspired by the energy to develop Common Cause (or Felles Sak)  in Norway, particularly from our host Kjersti Bohlin, who is planning to work full time on Common Cause from July.

Next steps
Contact Kjersti Bohlin at fellessak@gmail.com. She will be organising a large open workshop in September 2014.

As the Common Cause network grows, please let us know if you'd like to be involved, or want some help setting up a group where you live. We also host a monthly Skype call to share news and ideas, and we welcome anyone who wants to start a discussion topic.

For all things international, contact Bec Sanderson at bec@publicinterest.org.uk