“It is important to remember that our travel choices have direct consequences on our planet.”

Evelina Utterdahl.

Evelina Utterdahl is a Swedish climate activist and advocate for sustainable travel. She has abandoned flying and instead focuses on exploring the world through more environmentally friendly means of transportation, inspiring others to make more sustainable choices.

“Flying is not an option for me, instead I focus on exploring the beauty in my immediate surroundings and Sweden as a whole. There is so much beauty in our country that I have not yet experienced. When I do feel like discovering places outside of Sweden, I dream of train adventures or road trips (with electric vehicles) through Europe with my family. I also see small adventures, like visiting a new restaurant in my city, as a form of travel.”

Her transition to a sustainable way of traveling began with an eye-opening insight:

“In 2018, I came across an article that pointed out the large amount of carbon dioxide emissions from air travel. When I realized how enormous the impact of a single flight can be, I decided to stop flying entirely. I could not justify the pleasure of flying with the serious consequences it has on our planet and its inhabitants.”

Evelina’s tip: Try to be flight-free for a couple of years

Evelina wants to highlight how our choices in travel affect our environment:

“It is important to remember that our travel choices have direct consequences on our planet. Many people in the world have never even flown, and it is actually just a small percentage that flies regularly. Europeans have the luxury of being able to explore so many fantastic places through sustainable travel methods, like trains or carpooling.”

For those who are ready to take the step towards more sustainable travel, Evelina recommends starting by aiming to be flight-free for a couple of years.

“Give yourself the chance to discover the wonderful sustainable alternatives that exist. Once you try these alternatives, the thought of flight-free travel will feel less overwhelming. For example, if you are unsure of how to travel by train, there are Facebook groups and travel specialists who can guide you.”

Follow Evelina on Instagram to experience her love for both our planet and the people who live there!

Switching to an electric car without breaking the bank

Note: This is a personal story from team member Stefan

I just recently moved out of the city and to a town in the mountains of Sweden. Having always before been able to use public transportation, I found myself in a place where I now need a car to get around, while also being fully out of reach of any car sharing services. This is my story of researching reasonably priced alternatives for getting a car with the least possible climate footprint.

If you are able to use car sharing services or public transportation, you should always consider not owning a car at all. If not, read on to learn a few surprising facts that make getting a brand new electric car more reasonable than you’d think.

Note – make sure to top up your car with green electricity!

Requirements and options

I knew from the outset that the long-term goal was to get an electric car. I just didn’t know if our fincancial situation would support this right away. My partner and I make good money, but not by any means enough that we can afford to freely just lease or buy any car. We do, however, have the ability to increase our loans at a reasonable interest rate to be able to pay for a new car, provided that the purchase doesn’t turn into the money sink that new car purchases traditionally are.


We are looking for a car that works for typical usage. We’ll be driving both short distances and long. It’s going to be our only car. So what we end up with has to:

  • Have range enough to be workable on long journeys.
  • Be big enough that we can bring outdoors gear like skis and big backpacks on trips.

Getting into specifics, I looked into three categories of cars to consider:

  • Fully electric cars, new from dealerships.
  • Plug-in hybrid cars, second hand.
  • For comparison and as a last resort, lower priced regular gasoline cars, second hand.

The reason that second hand fully electric cars are not on this is that they’re very close in price to brand new cars (more on that later), and by going for a new car we would have the ability to get a tow bar that we can mount a bike rack on. If you don’t need a tow bar, there is a (small) market of second hand fully electric cars with long range (350 km/220 miles or longer). If you’re able to get one of those, you can make the financials for electric cars later in this post even better.

Go for a long drive without emissions

Plug-in hybrid cars

My initial thought was that plug-in hybrid cars would be the most reasonable option while waiting for fully electric cars to come down in price. But after looking into it, two factors make them less attractive than one would think.

First, if you regularly drive longer than the battery lasts (usually around 30-40 km/20-25 miles), you end up with a very thirsty car. Most plug-in hybrids are very heavy cars and have fuel consumption upwards of 10 l/100 km (as low as 25 mpg) after the battery depletes. For all but the very shortest trips, this defeats the fuel savings of having a battery.

Second, these cars are basically two cars in one that both need maintenance. In terms of maintenance cost, they are are, if anything, more expensive to keep running than even traditional combustion cars.

If you’re able to charge at home, drive almost exclusively within the short battery range and are strictly limited in purchase price, then maybe a plug-in hybrid car be a good option. Otherwise, I have a hard time justifying them as a way to reduce one’s carbon footprint. For us, getting an efficient combustion or non-plug-in hybrid car, would actually have been a better choice.

Brand new electric cars

Fully electric cars used to be crazy expensive, but this is fast changing. For sale right now with 350 km/220 miles of range or more in the most affordable price range are three models: the Kia e-Soul, Kia e-Niro, and Hyundai Kona Electric. Available for order this year and with delivery dates within a year you’ll also find the Volkswagen ID.3 and Skoda Enyaq iV.

All of these sell for around €45,000 (in Europe), but a few insights helped me realize this relatively high price isn’t as bad as it seems:

  • Many countries have government grants when buying new electric cars. In Sweden, the grant is about €5,800.
  • Maintenance, vehicle/road taxes, and, most strikingly, driving costs are way lower for electric cars.
  • Value depreciation is, as mentioned earlier, not at all as bad as with non-electric cars, especially when taking government grants into account. For the models I looked at, one year old cars with above average milage were selling for just around €5,000 – €7,000 lower than the brand new price after grants. This reasonably gets much better (on a monthly basis) if you keep the car for 2 or 3 years, but there are no numbers for that as all these models initially went for sale just last year.

The numbers

So let’s look at the numbers. All figures are yearly costs in Sweden converted to Euros. I’ve used the best sources I could find, trying to find actual maintenance costs from current owners and quoting insurance for these models for myself.

New Hyundai Kona ElectricSecond hand Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (2017)Second hand Opel Astra (2015)
Maintenance€210€500€500
Vehicle/road tax€35€35€135
Insurance€350€650€350
Electricity1 3€380€3502
Fuel1€4052€1,360
Total€975€1,940€2,345
  1. Using the average yearly milage in Sweden of 15,000 km per year.
  2. These calculations assume 50% usage on battery for the plug-in hybrid.
  3. Electricity costs of 0.2 Euros/kWh.

At this point, before financing, we’re looking at a monthly cost of €81 for the fully electric car, as compared to €161 for the plug-in hybrid and €195 for the combustion car.

So you’ll have €114/month extra to put towards financing of the more expensive electric car. Even though this is better than one might think already, chances are that the €114 won’t be enough regardless of how you choose to finance the car. Which brings me to…

How to make the car free

More and more people want to drive electric and more and more people are looking to car sharing services to replace car ownership. So for those of us who have to own a car, let’s contribute to the other side of that equation and make our cars available for others to rent. Renters will look to the cheap-to-drive and climate friendly electric cars, and owners of those cars can use that income to bridge the cost gap compared to traditional cars.

Sharing is caring – also for the climate

Looking at the two big options available in Sweden, Snappcar and GoMore (also available in a number of other European countries), you can expect around €300-400/month for renting your car a few times each month. Together with the €100+/month you’re saving in driving costs, you’re now looking at upwards of €500/month in combined savings and income that can be put towards financing of the car. This sealed the deal for us, because depending on how much we rent the car out, we actually have a decent chance of having the car pay for itself entirely.

On top of that, we’re now helping others reduce their carbon footprints in addition to reducing our own.

New Year’s Climate Resolution

2020 is just around the corner, and it has to be the year we all step up our efforts to stop climate change!

This needs to be a year of massive action, on all levels. Of course, we are all hoping for radical climate policy on national level, but we also have to be part of the transition on an individual level. That way, we signal to both politicians and big business that we are serious about wanting change! And we need to move towards minimal CO2 lifestyles, as fast as possible.

I have always travelled a lot, and it is a major part of my identity. The world is such a glorious place and I am so curious to experience it! I am convinced that it has helped me become both more informed about the complexities of today, but also more compassionate towards others. This, however, has had a massive CO2 footprint. Only in 2019, my flight emissions were 3,19 tonnes of CO2e.

Feeling regret about our past emissions is hardly helpful. We need to start somewhere, and it is never too late to do better. But if we want to stop climate change, we need to start now!

Therefore, my new years climate resolution is to stay on the ground to keep fossil fuels in the ground! I am keen to explore my more immediate surroundings by train, foot and other climate friendly means of transportation. After all, travelling in Sweden and Europe has a lot to offer! On top of that, knowing how many tonnes of CO2 I can keep from getting into the atmosphere is definitely a good motivation.

On a train through Austria in 2017. Those landscapes!

Kalle is already standing steadily with both feet on the ground! So his commitment to the climate and the environment for 2020 is to not buy any new electronics or clothes! The GoClimate blog has posts about electronics and sustainable fashion if you want some inspiration to join Kalle on his journey. A pair of jeans is estimated to emit 6 kg CO2eq, whereas a 15-inch MacBook Pro is 560 kg CO2eq – and that is not considering the potential pollution and ethical concerns regarding mining for minerals.

Cissi has worked a lot on her own emission sources, and for 2020 she wants to, at least, participate at twice as many climate strikes compared to 2019 and have a larger impact on her surroundings by influencing her tenant owners’ association. By talking to her neighbours, she is aiming to take the lead to make the apartment block more sustainable. That way, they can make collective decisions (perhaps some solar panels?) but also she can reach individuals in her immediate surrounding and lead by example.

Evelina wants to focus on food and soil health for 2020. She wants to lower her food waste, eat more locally produced and learn more about regenerative farming.

Our collaborator Marlena has decided to “be a more annoying customer” – to ask at the restaurant if they have sustainable (MSC certified) fish, if the taxi company has electric cars, etc. By doing so, she will voice the demand for sustainable offers from customers to service providers. Doing so, in a positive and encouraging way! Take the lead!

Are you also staying on the ground in 2020? What is your pledge for a cooler future? Let us know and join us in being part of the solution!