Last week the 6th Conference on European Sustainable Cities and Towns took place in Dunkerque, France. It resulted in a common Local Sustainability Declaration that stresses the need to create innovative, sustainable and inclusive communities.
At the same time a Call on Climate Action was released, which aimed at stressing the key role of local and regional governments in the international negotiations. Find more info here
In three days the over 1500 participants were offered panel discussions, parallel sessions to all kind of sustainability related topics and of course organistaions, regions, cities and companies presented themselves and their work for a more sustainable future.
The city of Dunkerque was the host - and they did great. The conference participants were well taken care of with volunteers and cocktail parties and shuttle busses. We got the impression that the whole city IS a conference venue and all citizens are happy to be part!
But it wasn´t. On the last morning the shuttle bus to the conference venue was escorted by a honking crowd of cars (which most of us mistook as a wedding/football game - reaction), just to see people unrolling banners in front of the Kursaal as well as on the beach, right at the lunch venue to demonstrate for "Solidarité" with them.
Those were people from the local chemical industry and oil plant, fearing to loose their jobs. So they were demonstrating against all the people at the conference, who want a sustainable, carbon(oil-free) world!
I have to say, that this end of the conference made me think.
Not that this was the most important that happened in Dunkerque and not that it "destroyed" the spirit that we had. But nevertheless it made me think, how people can demonstrate "against sustainable development" in which they mainly see a thread?
How do we actually communicate our vision of a sustainable future?And how holistic do we actually think? How much do we, who work with this everyday, actually really take into account the social aspect, the fear of people?
No doubt that the "unsustainable" industries employ loads of people...what alternatives do they have when (if!) industries are shut down?
A sustainable future is carried by people - not by political decisions and strategies or the economy. It´s about the people, who can influence with their everyday life, behaviours and choices.
But what if many see this sustainable future as something to be afraid of?
Isn´t it our task to take care of that, to improve our communication skills and messages that we give out? No doubt that a greener economy will also create loads of jobs, but this message seems not to have reached the people...
And isn´t a development only sustainable if all have the chance to get something out of it, live a good life and not fear?
No solutions from my side (yet), but this really makes me think.
Perhaps it makes you think, too.
You are welcome to leave your opinion here!
1 year ago