We live and thrive on this sphere called Earth, but can we be loud enough among 7.9 billion voices to be heard. It seems hardly achievable, but there are ways to speak your mind and contribute to the development of your future and the future of us all. The European Union is determined to foster this exchange and shape its goals through a bottom-up approach, together with its citizens. To make this happen, EU has developed a number of events and tools. One of them is the Conference on the Future of Europe, a multilingual digital platform for citizens to share ideas, concerns, needs and debate on Europe’s challenges and priorities. One more example is the European Week of Regions and Cities, an annual event during which cities and regions showcase their capacity to create growth and jobs, implement European Union cohesion policy, and prove the importance of the local and regional level for good European governance. The EU Green Week is one more annual event fostering debate and discussion on European environmental policy. Citizens’ health, the resilience of ecosystems, clean air, water, and soil are the main goals of tackling pollution trough strengthening the EU capacity. This year Green Week will be dedicated to the ‘zero pollution ambition’. It will also look into other relevant European Green Deal initiatives, such as the climate initiatives, the upcoming Chemicals Strategy, as well as initiatives in the fields of energy, industry, mobility, agriculture, fisheries, health and biodiversity.
One of the biggest problems of today is climate change, that is, humankind’s negative impact on planet Earth – an impact that repeats and accumulates over the years for the benefit of humans, but actually to the detriment of all beings on earth. It seems that people have become unaware of themselves and their surroundings. The hedonistic consumerism resulted in detaching humans from the source of life, and we need to revive the trend of living in a mutually beneficial way with nature, and exist together.
Climate change is a challenge faced by modern cities, and sadly we do not see many innovative and effective policies widely implemented across Europe. Why? Do we lack solutions, political will or maybe the exchange of promising practices is missing? This year, Out of The Box International, together with Union of the Baltic Cities and Ducky platform, hosted a workshop “Building innovative and effective policies stimulating behavior changes in modern cities – towards zero pollution” as a partner event under Green Week and fostered discussion to answer these questions.
Marko Paunovic, the Director of Out of The Box International presented new trends of how modern city policies can contribute to the zero-pollution goal. Bogdan Glogovac, Storyteller & Eco-expert from Ducky platform, shared insight in digital tools and the importance of awareness and minimizing the Personal footprint on Earth. Lastly, Mantas Jurgutis, the President of Union of the Baltic Cities showcased the Baltic Sea region and its practices as one of the pioneers in promoting green policies and cooperation between the cities.
The workshop gathered 30 diverse stakeholders from European Networks representing cities, innovators and policy makers and shared experience, practices and knowledge. By sharing we grow and change, and change is what the Earth needs.