Interview with Claudi Sult on Going Green Berlin
Many cities are competing to become the next eco-minded city. However, no other city champions Berlin in this arena; its cycling culture, the abundance of vegan and vegetarian restaurants to choose from, and the will to uphold the 3 Rs (reuse, reduce, and recycle). When it comes to fostering a sustainable Berlin, Claudi Sult is a pioneer for the scene. She founded GreenMe Berlin, a creative platform showcasing the best stories, hotspots, and people in the city’s environmentally conscious community. We sat down with Claudi to find out why she calls Berlin her home and what makes the Berlin’s Green Scene so unique.
Q: Content Creator, Social Media Manager, and Local Expert for Favoroute’s 'Going Green in Berlin' guide; you are a woman of many traits. Tell us, what drew you to Berlin?
"I came to Berlin 11 years ago, just about to figure out what to do with my life. I instantly fell in love with the creative vibe, that feeling of freedom, the open-mindedness of people. Before, I always wanted to leave Germany to live in the South or travel the world. I never felt like a ‘real’ German. But Berlin was different. There's such a mix of different cultures and lifestyles, creating this unique energy that Berlin is famous for. People here question things and challenge the status quo. Plus, the freelance and entrepreneurial scene are awesome."
"Still, getting out of Berlin is super important to me. I'm naturally curious and love to explore foreign places and cultures. It fills me up with heaps of new ideas and inspiration. That's why I’m very grateful that my business allows me to work pretty much from anywhere."
Q: What is unique about the Berlin Green Scene and why is it important to you?
"The city gives you a lot of room for trial and error. People with unique ideas just go out and make things happen. There are fewer restrictions and constraints than elsewhere. Berlin draws in creative minds from all different countries, who all bring in their ideas and visions from home - and ultimately shape a new identity for Berlin."
"What’s special about most places: they don’t necessarily yell into your face “I’m eco!”. Instead, they draw you in, because they are actually doing or selling beautiful stuff! And on top, it is green and eco-minded. I love this, it’s undogmatic and relaxed. They want us to have fun, enjoy and change the world at the same time. Also, people here are curious and open to new crazy things and life concepts. Perfect conditions to create a greener future."
Q: Describe the perfect route to take in Berlin.
"Oh, tough choice! Every area in Berlin has its very own character, there are things I love about all of them. But Neukölln just has my heart. It's home to people from around the world, from Turkish communities to Arab communities, to young expats from Australia, the US, Southern Europe and Scandinavia. People who’ve lived here for ages welcome a new creative crowd, poor and affluent live door to door. It feels like people here care for each other. Going off the noisy main streets, you’ll dive into quaint friendly neighborhoods, filled with small shops, cozy cafés, mixed with the old Berlin Kneipe or Späti."
"And of course, there’s Tempelhofer Feld - an abandoned airport transformed into a huge free public space. Urban gardens, organic markets, vegan cafés, ethical stores, coffee roasters, former breweries turned events space - what more do you need?"
Q: You created a free guide available on your website, what can readers expect from the Going Green in Berlin guide that you wrote for Favoroute?
"The free guide is just a little taster, with one highlight from each neighborhood and category I feature on my green Berlin map. It’s a small thank you for people who sign up for my newsletter - I know how much information reaches their inbox every day and I’m grateful that they want to spend a little bit of their time with me and the Berlin green scene."
"The guide I wrote for Favoroute is very different: much bigger in scope (featuring over 70 places!) and gives travelers detailed routes to follow in each of the five neighborhoods. It includes various options for many different preferences and tastes. For example, there are vegan and non-vegan restaurants, ethical fashion stores and second-hand shops, arts & craft markets and design ateliers, hip hotspots and long-standing institutions, alternative projects and modern urban trends."
"I also love the features, e.g. that you can use the map offline. And the fact that you get routes to follow makes all the planning just so much easier."
Q: How do travelers stay up to date with what’s going on in Berlin?
"The best is to sign up for my monthly newsletter or check out the green events calendar. For deeper insights and inspiring interviews with the passionate founders of Berlin’s green projects, I host a monthly podcast, where people can subscribe to on iTunes, or just listen on the site."
Q: Tell us something about you that people don’t know.
"I do have quite a few clothes from H&M. Left-overs from a time where I wasn’t as conscious about my consumption as today. But throwing them away would be even worse than owning them - so I keep wearing them (and gradually give them away to charity shops or sell them at the flea market)"
Go green in Berlin just like Claudi and step into her footsteps with her written Going Green in Berlin travel guide, with 70+ green hotspots, interactive maps, photos and more!
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