How does Denmark deal with the climate crisis?
That is not a simple question and does not have a simple answer. Across the world, we see many different approaches to environmental policy. In the States, in the current administration, we are reversing many environmentally-conscious policies, only contributing to the devastating effects of climate change. Whereas in Finland, currently the most eco-friendly country in the world, there is a consistent movement towards being even MORE environmentally-friendly in the coming years.
Denmark, as a Scandinavian country, takes a lot of eco-inspiration from its neighbors, Finland being one of them. It has been very interesting to see some of the ways that Denmark deals with climate change and compare it to what I see back home in the States. For example, the differences between grocery stores in the U.S. and in Denmark reveal a lot about how environmental policy cannot be judged at the surface level.
Whole Foods vs. Føtex
Check out this picture of aWhole Foods produce section:
It looks great, right? No packaging, beautiful colors and an inviting design. To me, it seemed like shopping at Whole Foods, an upper-end grocery store in the States, was a step in the right direction. Let’s compare it to Føtex, a middle-ground grocery store in Copenhagen.
Here’s the produce section at Føtex:
Packaging GALORE! It seems pretty easy to make the claim that the American grocery store is taking bigger steps towards environmental protection, but in reality, Denmark is way ahead.
Sure, there’s lots of packaging in the above picture, but it isn’t thrown into landfills in the way that waste is in America. The majority of plastic waste in Denmark is sent to incineration plants, where the plastic is burned and the energy it creates is used to heat the country during its very cold winters. In order to control the atmospheric damage that this process could create, there is a filter that removes virtually all toxins from the burning plastic, so there is almost no air pollution from this alternative to recycling.
This is just a simple case study that shows the depth of the issue of sustainability while contrasting two countries’ approaches. Some more ways that I have noticed Denmark excels in the green game include:
- An impeccable public transit system
- More bikes than cars on the streets
- Renewable energy across the country
- Inner-city green space
- Smaller portion sizes at restaurants
- More incentives to recycle
I’m not saying Denmark is perfect, as Danes eat a RIDICULOUS amount of meat, which is a huge contributor to the climate crisis, but there are systems and mindsets that, if brought outside of this tiny country, could do a lot of good for the world.
Here are some things that I’ll leave you with: