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Chelsea Green Blog

A Life Sentence: Norway’s Sustainable Prison

A prison on an isolated, icy patch of land, surround by miles of freezing water—and no guards? If you’re like me, right about now you’re thinking of the frozen prison planet where William Shatner and DeForest Kelley were sent after they were framed for the murder of the Klingon ambassador in Star Trek VI. [crickets] No? Well, even if you knew what I was babbling about, I can assure you—a social experiment in Norway where prisoners are sent to a remote island to serve out their sentences in eco-friendly isolation is nowhere near as harsh as it sounds. It actually sounds kind of like … camp. Solar panels, wood heat, fresh fish, eco-friendly veggies, and recycling? Sign me up!*
Norway has a sustainable prison! Yes the bucolic oil-rich Scandinavian Shangri-la has decided to do a 10 year test of a prison designed around their idea of “human ecology.” Their philosophy stems from the notion that “living [within] an environment gives them [the inmates] individual responsibility, challenges, and demands [and] can motivate inmates to change their behavior.” The minimum security Bastoey Prison is located about 21 miles south of the Norwegian capital, Oslo, on an island some 1.5 miles from the mainland. Prisoners must apply to become one of the 115 inmates serving time on the island, and once accepted they remain there to serve out their sentence under no guard. The only buffer is the 1.5 miles of chilly Baltic sea water and the knowledge that should they be caught trying to escape, they will be returned to a not so friendly maximum security prison. The prison’s sustainable features include: solar panels, wood-fire heating in lieu of oil, strict recycling and eco-friendly food production. Their food is produced by tending fields of organically grown pesticide free vegetables, fishing on the 30′ prison owned boat, and taking care of livestock. Livestock includes 200 chickens, eight horses, 40 sheep, and 20 cows.
Read the whole article here. *Note to the Norwegian authorities: please don’t actually sign me up.


Ready, Set, Forage: Pick Pawpaws, Win a Book!

It’s pawpaw picking time! As we cruise into fall, the change in season often evokes images of apple picking and pie-eating. But apples aren’t the only fruit reaching their prime this time of year. Lesser known but equally delicious is the pawpaw. Described as a cross between a banana and a mango, this exotic-looking fruit […] Read More..

5 Common Invasive Species and How to Manage Them

Last week, we asked authors Tao Orion and Katrina Blair to share alternative approaches to managing five different plant species commonly held to be “invasive.” St. John’s Wort, Garlic Mustard, Thistle, Oxeye Daisy, and Kudzu are often dismissed as annoyances at best and the target of aggressive eradication with harmful chemicals at worst. Orion and […] Read More..

What in the World is a Pawpaw?

Have you heard of the pawpaw? A few generations ago, most would say “yes!” You could ask just about anyone and they could tell you what this fruit looked and tasted like, and more importantly, where to find it. But today, the pawpaw remains a mystery to some and entirely unknown to others. In Pawpaw: […] Read More..

Uncovering the Many Uses for Abundant Kudzu

As Invasive Species Week comes to a close, Tao Orion, author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species, and Katrina Blair, author of The Wild Wisdom of Weeds,  share alternative approaches to understanding and managing Kudzu. Take a look through our final profile and check out any you might have missed along the way: Oxeye […] Read More..

Oxeye Daisy: A Plant for the Pollinators

As Invasive Species Week continues, Tao Orion, author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species, and Katrina Blair, author of The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, are sharing alternative approaches to managing and using plants considered to be “invasive.” Take a look through today’s profile on Oxeye Daisy and check out tips for working with Garlic […] Read More..