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How a small Swedish island inspired the world to use less water

By changing the norm of lush green lawns Region Gotland reduced water use on the island and showed that sustaianbility initiatives don’t have to be boring.

The Swedish island Gotland risked running out of water this summer due to unusually little rainfall during spring. Local authorities needed to make people aware of the water shortage and the importance of reduced water use.

In July they launched Gotland’s Ugliest Lawn – a competition on Instagram celebrating lawn owners who save groundwater by not watering their lawns. Proud Gotlanders challenged the norm of green lawns by posting images of their ugly dry lawns and made water saving the talk of the island.

“The opposite of what society defines as the picturesque lawn”

The Washington Post


The water consumption on Gotland decreased with 5% compared to previous summer, and the island avoided running out of water. According to the Gotland waterworks largely thanks to the impact of Gotland’s Ugliest Lawn. When the winner was announced in August he was interviewed by Swedish and international press. By showing that water saving can be fun Gotland inspired people all over the world to save water during a global drought.

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