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UniverSSE2017
Video
Open Call for the Transformative Cities Initiative 2020

Since 2017, the Transformative Cities initiative has been celebrating collectives around the world that have transformed their community in systematic ways with the Transformative Cities People’s Choice Award.
 The winners of last year have become a global source of inspiration

  • The Our Water Our Rights campaign successfully resisted water privatization in Lagos, Nigeria.
  • In Spain, Barcelona Energia lit up people’s houses with renewable energy and stood up against corporate power.
  • In Mexico, Cooperación Comunitaria A.C. worked with the community’s traditional techniques and rebuilt their homes after an earthquake destroyed them.
  • In Kenya, the Dajopen Waste Management Project turned waste into valuable nutrients that regenerated the soil. 

 Today, begins the recruitment for new inspiring examples of transformation in 2020: an open call to find those who are the local leaders of global change. 
Maybe it’s your collective! Apply here for the Transformative Cities Peoples Choice Award 2020. Or maybe you know other collectives that should be introduced to this opportunity. Please share with them this Open Call. 

Three key stories for each category will be chosen by expert evaluators in different fields. These 12 stories will receive widespread promotion, as they want to share the most inspiring initiators with as wide a public as possible.   As a finalist of the 2020 edition your story will be included in the Atlas of Utopias 2020, which this year will feature all finalists from all the three editions so far. An inspiring mosaic of real transformative utopias


 Their goal is not to create competition between different political practices, but rather to put a spotlight on transformative practices and encourage their spread internationally

Ready, set, apply and share!

Erasmus + BUSSE project & Forum on Food Sovereignty (Poland)
BUSSE - Building up SSE

Elena Tzamouranou, who works at Dock, Greek member of RIPESS Europe, relates:

“A few days ago, we went for a 3-day trip in Warsaw, Poland, as part of the BUSSE (Building Up SSE) program we participate in. The program is a strategic collaboration of SSE actors for the development of innovation and exchange of good practices, while aiming to disseminate SSE practices and activities, providing relevant knowledge, skills and competences.

BUSSE is about to develop an innovative 4-module training program and relevant supporting material for both, trainers and trainees. The training modules consist of:

1) Development and Conversion of a vector into an SSE project

2) Empowering Communities within the Framework of SSE

3) Principles of SSE in Cooperatives

4) SSE practices based on values ​​of Food Sovereignty

The first 2 days were dedicated to the BUSSE program including working on the 4 modules as they have been formed to date, discussed challenges that arose, identified gaps and worked on improving them.

The third day we visited the Dobrze cooperative in Poland, which owns two grocery stores in the center of Warsaw, and we exchanged experiences on issues such as governance, participation, organization & operation of a food cooperative.

After that, we visited the 2nd Polish Forum on Food Sovereignty. We participated in the workshop on networking for regional and interregional partnerships. The workshop included three main axes:

1) Empowering SSE through regional programs,

2) Synergies for Food Sovereignty and Agri-Ecological Education and

3) Synergies between Alternative Food Networks.

We would like to thank our partners in the BUSSE project, Ekumenická Akademie (Czech Republic), Dobrze (Poland), Utopia (Ukraine), Ksoe (Austria) for the opportunity to learn and discuss about Social Solidarity Economy in Central and Eastern Europe and for all the experience we have gained in the above mentioned topics.”

Do you work in SSE training?

Are you dealing with the issue of food sovereignty?

Want to know more about the program and its training modules?

If yes, please go to the program page

Empatheast and radical imagination

EMPATHEAST is the annual international forum for empathy driven social change of Ideas Factory Association (Sofia, Bulgaria). Its 4th edition in 2019 (1-3 November) attracted the local community spirit for a mindful social change in the city of Plovdiv and mixed it with the wide perspectives of changemakers from around the world. The profoundly instigating topic of EMPATHEAST 2019 was “Radical imagination: emergency exits from a messed-up world”.
A rich lecture panel with speakers from Bulgaria, India, Italy, Hungary and UK filled the 1st day of the forum. They covered a wide spectrum of topics and choices that determine our daily lives both as creators and consumers – the potential of art as a radical community force, alternative lifestyle in Bulgarian villages, examples of solidarity models around the world, creative writing as an activist’ action, how to deal with the power relations in cultural work, and working solutions to energy poverty.


Among the lecturers were Istvan Sczakats (a director of AltArt Foundation and Fabrica de Pensule in Cluj (Romania), Jason Nardi, Italy, from the board of one the biggest networks for solidarity economy in the world – RIPESS, Will Buckingham and Hannah Stevens (Wind&Bones) – socially engaged writers from UK who travel the world and teach storytelling for social change and Vera Petkanchin – a social entrepreneur from Junior Achievement (Bulgaria).

Another highlight within the program was the half-day long world cafе discussion about the bright opportunities for the future of Bulgarian villages. Young local people, elderly from villages throughout Bulgaria and representatives of NGOs and institutions discussed together strategic and practical solutions to existing problems of the rural areas in Bulgaria. A rural think-tank has been started from the participants of the world cafe.
 The forum gathered around 300 people during the 3-days of its unfolding. It completely transformed 3 well-known public spaces in Plovdiv – the Central Post Office, the House of Science and Technics and the building of Total Sport & Squash in the building of a previous tobacco factory.

Article by the international forum for social change http://empatheast.org/.

RIPESS contributes to GSEF’s – Global Social Economy Forum – policy dialogues in Europe and Latin America
GSEF Liverpool UK November 2019

The GSEF Regional Policy Dialogues are organized to promote the exchange of knowledge between policy-makers and key SSE actors. RIPESS has participated in both dialogues with the objective of contributing to the promotion of SSE and bringing the vision of local SSE projects to international fora.

RIPESS EU joined the 3rd edition of the European Policy Dialogue organised by Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF), our long term partners and collaborators.

This year, the Dialogue took place in Liverpool, United Kingdom, between the 18th and 19th of November 2019, around the theme ‘Building diversity and inclusion through the social solidarity economy’. A rich and open debate took place around this theme with a specific focus on 3 major topics:

  • How local governments must proceed with new approaches to create true inclusion
  • Moving beyond inclusion through innovative work-integration practices and policies
  • Social and Solidarity Economy: a driving force in enabling diverse future leaders

As RIPESS EU, we presented our work based mostly on the third topic, but of course with connection to all important SSE areas. Regarding the location of this year GSEF event, it was organized in partnership with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) and the University of Liverpool. And they were quite amazing hosts.

The day after the conference they organized an SSE actors tour across the city. Liverpool City Region is indeed a dynamic and vibrant SSE scene where they employ over 40,000 people in SSE organizations. We visited  Kuumba Imani Millenium Centre , main local spot for community activism, Baltic Creative CIC ,a unique area for gathering start-up and creative industries with huge focus on ownership and sharing, and Homebaked Bakery and Community Land Trust, a place of inspiration, with the best pie in the world and an amazing struggle against gentrification and speculative capital assault on land and houses.

Written by Alfonso Cotera (RIPESS LAC) and Drazen Simlesa (RIPESS EU)

National CSA Meeting in Norway

The CSA movement in Norway is growing larger year by year. As per December 2019 there are 82 active CSAs in Norway. Given that Norway is a small country with only around 5,3 million inhabitants and around 3 % of the land area being suitable for agriculture, the number of CSAs is relatively high compared to our neighbouring countries. Each year the informal network gathers to get the latest update on the CSA model in Norway and to learn and be inspired by best practices from each other.

Yearly meeting on November 15th in Oslo

The most important event for CSAs in Norway is the national meeting organised by Organic Norway, coordinating the informal network of CSAs. In total 60 people were gathered for inspiration, updates, new knowledge and networking. In total 21 of the CSAs where represented, often with 2-3 persons from each CSA. Most Norwegian CSAs produce vegetables, but a few also have meat and dairy production. 4.300 shares were sold at Norwegian CSAs in 2018, with almost 9500 people eating from those shares.

On the agenda

The day started with greetings from the two farmer unions organizing all farmers in Norway. The head of the small-scale farmers’ union said: “CSAs are good arenas for knowledge building for consumers who are concerned about food production, where the food comes from and how much work which is required to succeed with food production! These consumers represent an important alliance for us working in agriculture”.

Other topics being discussed was how to secure a sustainable economy, and how to work with recruiting members to CSAs and how to succeed with communication within the CSA. There was also talks about two recent research projects and information about ongoing work on how to involve dairy- and meat production in the CSA model.

Networking and experience sharing

There is a wide range of different CSAs in Norway, but there is always a lot to learn from each other. Many Norwegian CSAs are consumer-organized and hire a gardener for vegetable production in or near cities, whereas others are based around an already-existing traditional farm with large-scale production combined with a small number of shareholders. Others have developed their farm into a marked garden growing a variety of crops and having consumers taking part of sharing the risk. It is always very useful to work in groups and exchange practices and ideas during the national network meeting. After the formal program, most of the participants joined for organic vegetarian pizza and continued socializing through the evening.

(Front picture: Group work, discussing communication strategies in Norwegian CSAs. Photo Credit: Organic Norway)

Article from Urgenci, by Alexandra Devik, Organic Norway

Failure and hope after the Climate Summit in Madrid
Sommet sur le climat de MadridSommet sur le climat de Madrid

The COP25 International Conference took place in Madrid (Spain) from December 2nd to 13th 2019. Jason Nardi, from RIPESS EU and RIPESS Intercontinental Coordinator, was there and participated in the “High-level circular economy roundtable” where he argued that we need a radically different approach to the economy.

Written by Jason Nardi, RIPESS’ Intercontinental Coordinator.

The 25th UN Climate Conference was held in Madrid (instead of Santiago in Chile, where it was supposed to take place) from 2 to 13 December: two weeks of negotiations among representatives of the nearly 200 countries that are parties to the UNFCCC, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

During this COP25, states were meant to finalize the rules of implementation of the Paris Agreement signed in 2015, which is supposed to be fully operational from 2020. Moreover, they were to increase the ambition of their emission reduction commitments, which are currently totally insufficient to achieve the objectives and to avoid the most serious consequences of global warming. The negotiations ended over 2 days beyond schedule and with a really weak agreement and substantial failure.

COP 25 was celebrated at the end of a year characterized by strong mobilizations of young people, which raised the attention on the climate crisis and the inaction of States to levels never reached before. Half a million people took to the streets in Madrid on Friday 6 December, calling for climate justice and responsibility of world governments. It was followed by the Climate Social Summit, the civil society event that saw more than 300 appointments promoted by activists from all over the world to propose alternative solutions, which ended with a statement titled: “The world has woken up to the climate emergency“.

Among the many spaces in the Social Summit, there was the Minga Indígena, organized by representatives of indigenous communities to talk about the impacts of climate change on their territories. Even though the official negotiations have moved to the Europe, South American civil society did not give up its space for expression, and in Santiago the two planned meetings of the Cumbre de los Pueblos and the Cumbre Social por la Acción Climática were celebrated.

RIPESS participated in both the official COP25 (see below the intervention of RIPESS coordinator Jason Nardi at the High level debate on “Circular economy, cities and buildings” in collaboration with FMDV and ICLEI) and in the Climate Social Summit, in several meetings organised by allies such as ECOLISE and members as REAS Madrid.

Next year’s COP, scheduled to take place in Glasgow between 9 and 19 November 2020, will be the final test for governments around the world. Mobilising our networks, movements and organisations at all levels is more crucial then ever to put more and more pressure on political representatives and governments who pull back from assuming their responsibilities and continuing to pursue a polluting, extractivist and destructive economic model, instead of taking real action to change it. And we need to link the mobilisation to the “transformative economies” that will gather in Barcelona at the WSFTE (June 25th-28th 2020).

In this sense, the number of legal actions brought by citizens and organisations against polluting states and companies is multiplying, calling for climate justice and the protection of fundamental human rights – the recent case won by the Urgenda foundation vs the Netherlands’ government is exemplary.

But even more hopeful are the positive actions taken at the local level and the potential of trans-local collaborations, involving cities who are investing in circular and social solidarity economy, where organised citizens, responsible governments and enterprises and other stakeholders can collaborate to build the climate resilient economic system and society we urgently need.


High-level circular economy roundtable: Cities and buildings as agents of climate action

Speech of Jason Nardi, RIPESS Intercontinental Coordinator

Three quarters of resource-use and greenhouse gas emissions already come from cities, and trends in urbanization, motorization, population and economic growth will further drive up these numbers if we don’t get smarter and more sustainable in the way we live, consume, travel, and produce. Many cities face serious air, water and waste pollution; direct result of unsustainable consumption and production patterns, making citizens’ health a key imperative for action.   Yet, the key to unlocking cities potential extends far beyond that: it is about raising political ambition, a constructive collaboration between different levels and sectors of government, innovative housing, urban and climate policies, sound economic incentives, and better urban planning. It is integrated and coordinated action of stakeholders such as innovators, policymakers, investors, developers, among others that will accelerate impact to help achieve the Paris Agreement goals.

(From the introduction to the Rountable)

1) From “Smart” to collectively intelligent cities

Many if not most of today’s  larger cities are ecologically unsustainable and socially unjust (concentration of emissions, pollution, bad quality housing, non resilient and very dependent from centralised provision – like energy, waste, transportation, etc.) and need to be re-designed all together, downsized and re-built.  They were planned or transformed around carbon intensive market-driven models, excluding many inhabitants and their communities, especially those living on informal economies as the majority of realities in the global south (60% average). If cities are like organisms, they should only grow to their natural limit, bioregional, livable and future capable. Perhaps less “smart” and more collectively intelligent.

That is why other more eco-systemic and fair approaches are needed: Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) and finance are based on circular economy, from the bottom up, with long tested and innovative solutions adapted to very different contexts.  They are done with collective, cooperative shared intelligence and efficient use of existing resources, recreating agro-ecological and re-localised supply chains.

Deregulated extractive linear economic growth and global financialised “free market” competition are among the root causes of the ecological and climate emergency we are in, let alone the inequality and poverty gaps they generate.

Greening economic growth does not make it more sustainable and a true circular economy is incompatible with today’s economic system.  We need a just transition to a living economy, where we produce and consume less, reuse, repair, redistribute and regenerate more.  “Circular” without social economic rights is not viable.

2) Including marginalised communities and informal workers in circular dynamics

Informal workers account for 50 to 80 percent of urban (self) employment of the global south. Yet they are largely excluded from public infrastructure and services, public space, and public procurement contracts.  They are already contributing to a circular resilient low carbon economy, but rarely recognized nor supported or offered financial means, starting with women, who are half the population.

We need a radically different approach to the economy,  based on decentralized and collective ownership, cooperative and democratic organization and management, short supply chains and local solidarity economic circuits.  This has proven to work in many cases all over the world.

There are thousand of examples where collaboration between informal, solidarity economy and cooperative enterprises and finance with local governments have been successful in giving answers to both social, urban and environmental issues – and contributing to a low-carbon human activity.

A few examples:

Bamako in Mali has been working on transforming 50000 tons of solid waste into fertilizer and energy.  The municipality, SSE structures and peasant organi‎sations are all involved. Waste for composting is recovered from markets, schools, etc. it’s at the beginning but promising.

In Solapur, India  the women-led beedi and textile workers housing cooperative together with the workers union has built almost 16000 houses (and other 30000 are on the way) made for climate local conditions, with materials locally sourced, participation of the workers, who from renting slum huts became owners of their sustainable homes in a town they built, with support of the local government and with community services, schools, hospitals and local farmers market (they won the Transformative cities award, 2018).

3) Right to the city and the New Urban Agenda

This is what we call Right to the city recognized by Habitat III’s New Urban Agenda: participatory urban planning by and for people and communities, inclusive, fair and sustainable cities, creating de-commodified spaces for local economic circuits, food and energy sovereignty and urban commons.  And larger alliances, such as those among cities (as iclae) or built among States and the UN, such as the Global alliance launched by France.

In order to do this, there needs to be the political will and courage to (re) municipalise essential public services and infrastructures, with public-community partnerships and democratic control and management: enabling community coop housing and land-trusts, citizen-controlled water, decentralised energy production, shared and public mobility, circular waste mgmt and low-emission and resilient alternatives for the building and construction sector, with a special focus on the use of local materials and knowledge, community fab-labs and maker spaces and inclusion of most vulnerable population groups.

Market-led solutions have failed in most cases – it is time to act giving control back to the people, for a just, socially inclusive and healthy society.

That is what circular economy is and should be.

Bergamo, a meeting of trainers, enriched by inspiring and joyful visits

By Josette Combes

The members of the Erasmus SSE IVET 2 (1) programme met in Bergamo from 14 to 18 October for a joint working week on the construction of a training of trainers module. This module is intended to transmit the fundamentals of the Social and Solidarity Economy within the initial and vocational training of the countries participating in this programme. The project began with a study phase on the presence and quality of SSE classes in initial and vocational training, which showed that they were most often absent.

Phase 2 of the programme is to design a module for transferring essential information to train trainers to be included in their curricula. At the end of the training, trainers should be familiar with SSE, its principles and values, but also its practices, understand the role that SSE can play in the local development of their community as a vehicle for change, see the future of the world of work in SSE, actively participate in a continuous and dynamic training process.

It is not only a question of transmitting content but also (and even more so) of proposing methodologies and postures that illustrate the positioning of the SSE with regard to basic values such as democracy at work, respect and welcoming everyone, the principle of cooperation and the synergy of skills.

The participants shared their materials based on a framework developed by Technet, Dock, and Solidarius, which also provided the welcome and entertainment.

The participatory process made it possible, on the basis of collective reflection, to collect the contributions of each participant, which will be reviewed and validated by the group. Thus, a tool was developed to support the observation of field experiences that the group had the privilege of meeting thanks to Solidarius’ proximity to the actors. The choice of Bergamo was motivated by the fact that the city and its region are rich in highly structured and networked experiences of solidarity economy.

We visited the Cooperativa Ruah, a recycling plant that employs people with integration difficulties, particularly migrants. A full day was devoted to visiting the IRIS cooperative, created in 1978 by a small group that wanted to promote quality agriculture and local consumption and then set up a processing plant to control the entire production chain. We met one of its founders, Maurizio Gritta, in a newly built, ultra-modern factory. He shared with us the history of the cooperative, which pragmatically organized its evolution while maintaining the essential principles that were at the origin of the original group of actors: not to poison the land, to create jobs, especially for women, to maintain a direct relationship with consumers, to maintain collective ownership of the means of production considered as a common. A central objective is also to ensure a fair price for the producer and consumer. By following, the visit to the farm made it possible to better understand the link between all the activities, particularly those that consist in raising awareness of the solidarity economy through interventions with children aged 7 to 11 in their schools, to ensure the future in a way.

After a delicious meal on the spot, we were in electronic contact with one of the Banca Etica officials who presented us with the differences that distinguish this bank from the traditional banking system, non-speculation, lending and specific support for people that the ordinary system rejects, transparency of governance, a much narrower range of salaries.

The evenings were an opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of equally cooperative places where we had our meals while getting to know people involved in the SSE: Circolino a cooperative restaurant located in the Citta Alta, after a short tour in this ancient and fortified part of the city. La Cooperativa Sociale Arete of organic agriculture, la Porta del Parco an agricultural complex located on the territory of the Municipality of Hub and at the gates of the Regional Park of Collines, composed of a vineyard, a green area that houses social and collective gardens and a structure used as a restaurant and point of sale for local and organic products.

Everywhere, we were able to appreciate not only the engagement of the actors in the development of social and ecological activities, but also the kindness, friendliness and cheerfulness that prevail in all these places and it must be said that it is comforting after days of intense work dedicated to the transmission of our common issue, social and solidarity economy.

(1) 1Technet /Germany, MES/ France, Dock / Greece, Solidarius / Italy, APDES/ Portugal, CRIES / Roumania, RIPESS EU

Meeting on Social Impact, November 28 at Villeneuve d’Ascq, France
L’impact social au-delà des chiffres Les partenaires du projet européen VISES organisent leurs 3èmes rencontres de l’impact social : “L’impact social au-delà des chiffres “. Cet évènement se tiendra le jeudi 28 novembre 2019 de 9h30 à 14h à Villeneuve d´Ascq. Après 4 ans de recherche-action, les partenaires du projet européen VISES dévoilent leurs résultats. Entreprises-testeuses, centres de recherche, fédérations d’entreprises d’économie sociale et solidaire de France et de Belgique vous expliqueront ce qu’ils ont apporté au projet et en quoi VISES leur a été utile ! Sera également présent le TIESS (Territoires Innovants en Economie Sociale et Solidaire – centre de transfert Québécois en innovation sociale), qui nous partagera sa vision de l’évaluation de l’impact social, l’idée étant d’ouvrir la réflexion sur une vision commune de l’impact social, au delà des frontières. Pour plus d’infos sur le projet Vises, n’hésitez pas à vous rendre sur le site dédié : http://www.projetvisesproject.eu/

Pour vous inscrire ou pour plus d’informations, contacter l’Apes – Olivia Ruel-Mailfert : oliviamailfert@apes-hdf.org

The WSFTE will take place 25th-28th of June 2020 in Barcelona

The World Social Forum of Transformative Economies will take place from the 25th to the 28th of June 2020 in Barcelona. The decision was taken by the members of Barcelona’s local convergence group, the hosts of the event, which is made up of activists from various transformative economies sectors (feminist economies, food sovereignty and agroecology, the commons, the social and solidarity economy, and fair trade and ethical finance, amongst others).

The dates were chosen taking into account the calendar of international events in which the organizations of the Coordination Committee, which promotes the process at an international level, take part. The aim was that these activities would not clash with others, in order to favor the participation of as many people as possible.

With a nine-month calendar, the members of the local Barcelona convergence group and the members of the Coordination Committee are already organizing themselves in different working commissions, to take charge of tasks such as logistics, Forum contents, communications, and the welcome of the international participants who will come to Barcelona to take part in the event.

The aim is to make the WSFTE a diverse event, with broad representation from all five continents and the maximum number of different collectives, such as farm workers, indigenous people, squatters’ movements, LGBTI people, feminist movements, spiritual movements, youth movements, labour unions and also people working in education, digital economies, and alternative media, amongst others.

The idea is to boost awareness of the transformative economies projects that already exist and which prove that there is an alternative to the capitalist model, in addition to building connections between agencies, organizations and networks around the world.

Another goal is to make the WSFTE a beneficial space for the connection and convergence between the different transformative economies movements, and to define a common global agenda regarding transformative economies, in addition to a collective commitment and specific agreements to ensure the continuation of the movement beyond the convergence process.

To reach these goals, the WSFTE will include a program based on different roadmaps with activities such as workshops, talks, cultural program, creative spaces, virtual participation and areas for children, amongst other.

To follow the Forum’s news, how to register, virtual participation spaces, local convergence events, videos, see https://transformadora.org/en

For more information on the July meeting and the composition of the new Coordination Committee for the event, see https://transformadora.org/en/node/241

Climate Emergency, Responses and Alternatives from the Social and Solidarity Economy
Foto Blog El Salto Diario

Blog of El Salto Diario, 19/09/2019, Comisión Ecología de la Red de Economía Solidaria de Cataluña (XES)

With the Climate Strike of September 27 and the week of actions planned for the previous week on the horizon, we reflect on the role of the Solidarity Economy in these mobilizations and its ability to contribute to moving towards more sustainable and supportive post-carbon societies.

We have 11 years (only) left to reach the allowable global temperature limit of the planet, and once exceeded it will lead to an irreversible and unprecedented change in the Earth’s climate that will pose a threat to future generations. This was the forceful emergency message of the United Nations (UN) after its 73rd High Level Meeting on Climate and Sustainable Development last March. (…)

The impacts generated by climate change are direct and indirect, and related to human activity, according to scientific evidence. Natural ecosystems are intimately interrelated with this activity.

Faced with this, several States and Administrations around the world have declared the Climate Emergency, a total of some 800, a figure in continuous growth since the city of Darebin, Australia, declared in 2016 for the first time this state of Climate Emergency.

Along with these institutional pronouncements, various social and ecological movements, trade unions, administrations and, of course, also the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) are articulating and mobilizing to achieve impact actions that contribute to the paradigm shift necessary to face this emergency. The call for a Strike against Climate Change on September 27 and the mobilizations planned for the week of September 20 to 27 are proof of this, and there are many movements and organizations that are working to make these calls a success.

But what does it mean to declare a state of Climate Emergency? Does the alert that the social and environmental movements of the world are putting on the public agenda have the same strategy to put an end to climate change? Is it possible to promote peace, prosperity and the Sustainable Development Goals in a globally capitalist world, based on linear economic growth, which does not take into account the limits of the planet? Do the Sustainable Development Goals really promote a Social Economy, fair, equitable and democratically radical throughout the world?

An ESS for the EcoSocial Transition

Faced with all these questions, the entities that promote ecology within the Social and Solidarity Economy have their proposals. The SSE is part of the set of transforming economies that are erected as an alternative economic model to the prevailing capitalist model and that prioritize the welfare of people and their environment. They are, therefore, the most suitable to provide an effective solution that reduces the socio-environmental impacts that our society has generated and that have resulted in the current climate emergency situation.

The SSE comprises a great variety of initiatives that develop an economic activity from a collective base with a clear will to contribute to the transformation of our society, integrating social and environmental criteria in its values, organization and activities.

Within the SSE we find formulas as diverse as cooperatives, foundations and even associations, which incorporate a certain level of professionalism. Thus, the link with grassroots social movements is very close, to the extent that some initiatives arise from the hand of people linked to these movements, who decide to take a further step for the implementation of their social and environmental demands, carrying out projects or services related to these demands or simply developing an economic activity with a more sustainable approach.

The SSE is an economic practice that is developed in different sectors of the economy, such as: communication, energy, mobility, agroecology, food, consumption, etc. Many of these initiatives are clear examples of success, such as the renewable energy consumption cooperative Som Energia, whose work contributes to the fight against climate change. Emerging from the university world and closely linked to social movements, it has reached 60,270 members. It is an experience that also makes it possible to empower people to consume renewable energy sources and even participate in the generation of energy itself, either in collective facilities or as a prosumer.

The SSE is therefore an opportunity to build socioeconomic models that contribute to the transition to the post-carbon society to which we are heading. But there may be many post-carbon societies and various transitions to reach them. We need this ecological transition to be an opportunity to build more just, equitable and democratic societies. And this transition process must be rapid, because we have little time, and if it is not led by the Social and Solidarity Economy and other alternatives, the big corporations will do it.

But is the Social and Solidarity Economy ready? It is important that the fabric of the SSE asks itself this question, and sees the transitions as a great opportunity to accelerate and grow these alternatives that have been cultivated for years. Because if we don’t manage to build this necessary space from the SSE, we may find ourselves with undesirable scenarios, more and more unequal and with a growth of ecofascisms.

Challenges on the horizon

We have several challenges to strengthen the SSE in the face of the Climate Emergency situation. We need to make the ecological transition the backbone of our strategies for promoting and strengthening the SSE, which entails, for example, prioritizing the strategic sectors for the transition.

On the other hand, we must orient the SSE to its growth, in order to generate broad and replicable alternatives that can compete with large corporations. Likewise, we must influence the educational and cultural model, which promotes individualism, fostering instead cooperation and solidarity, and deepen the links and alliances that can be woven between transformative economic initiatives and social movements that fight for social rights, the environment and climate emergency.

But, in addition to the day-to-day transformation actions that we contribute from the SSE in pursuit of the decarbonization of our lives and activities, the great challenge is to extrapolate these more ecological and democratic operating models to the rest of society. And we have to start with the social entities, cooperatives and companies of the SSE themselves, which have yet to incorporate a more ecological and environmentally friendly vision into their operations. This is, in fact, one of the objectives for which the Ecology Commission of the XES (Xarxa d’Economia Solidaria de Catalunya) was born: “to strengthen the ecological dimension of the Social and Solidarity Economy”.

There is a long way to go with the whole universe of the SSE and the climate movements, and as we point out it must be extended to the whole of society, given the urgency of the problem and the need to provide short-term responses to the climate emergency.

In this process, the next calls for mobilization for climate justice to raise awareness and generate the paradigm shift necessary to move to a decarbonized society and economy will be key. In these mobilizations, we are going to bring together diverse entities and people, and the entities of the Social and Solidarity Economy must play a key role as the engine of this global paradigm shift.

Therefore, we assume as our own the declaration of Climate Emergency, (in Spanish) and we call for active mobilization and massive participation in the World Climate Strike next September 27, as well as in the activities of this First Wave of mobilizations, scheduled since September 20.

Because, the Social and Solidarity Economy will be sustainable and fair or it won’t be.
Because only from a firm and clear commitment to a decarbonized economy will we see the world in which we want to live.
We ‘ll meet on the Wave!

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