The Corona virus crisis is dominating all the news and indeed the daily lives of many people are being constrained as governments impose strict measures to slow down and prevent a pandemic contagion. People are forced to rethink about many things, including resorting to local consumption and production, reorganising mobility, distance / online work, reducing social and public interaction, etc. This has some positive effects, if communities don’t close themselves and Europe doesn’t become even more a “fortress”, violently rejecting refugees and migrants (as is happening now on the boarders between Greece and Turkey). Of course this does not mean undermining the pandemic threat – which by the way was not brought here in Europe by “migrants” but by international travelers. Emissions have been reduced more in the last 2 months than in planned longer periods – so it is possible to actually implement climate friendly policies rapidly, if we really want it. The recent Green Deal by the European Commission seems to be going somewhat in that direction… but is it really?
The European Green Deal was launched by the European Commission at the end of last year and it became a hot topic for debate and reflection in SSE activists circles. It sounds like a gigantic plan for the urgently needed step forwards on the path to become carbon neutral continent by 2050. The main areas of the €260-300 billion per year investments are: energy and climate change, circular economy for industry, building and construction, mobility and transport, biodiversity, food and pollution-free environment. There are few new, unexpected, fresh, promising, approaches and concepts. At least fresh and promising for strategic documents by the EC. The use of terms such as “just transition”, from “farm to fork”, a praise for “biodiversity and nature” (well, very not fresh in the name of “natural capital”), or citizens involvement and protection catch your eyes.
However, when you dive more deep into the document, you realise that the whole plan is still addicted to the growth paradigm and is more of an allusion that there is a need for little bit of green and little bit of money in the current system to become more just and sustainable. In RIPESS and other SSE oriented movements, we continuously push and work for a paradigm shift that will transform our economy and democracy deficit system.
So while a “greener” Europe may benefit the issue of climate change or environmental pollution and go in the right direction, there is still a lot to do for a really just and ecological transition to take place.
The European Green Deal is here to stay and we will have to address it in the next several years. Some time ago, not so far from now, it would have been a science fiction idea or wishful thinking to have even the rhetoric shift in the core institutions. After a long term and dedicated work of many activists, workers and promoters of just, fair, solidarity and sustainable concepts we have some part of it in this Green Deal. It is not enough and it not good enough nor solidarity based. So, we have to continue with our advocacy and daily based practical SSE living so that in the next years this kind of framework policy document will include more important concepts, practices and systemic change focus such as: solidarity based economy, deep democracy and participatory decision making, nature rights and ecological footprint tax policies, workers protection and commons enhancing… RIPESS will do it, so join us!
We’d like to open a debate on this members and other networks and organisations who are working to change the economic system (and are looking forward to participate in the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies) – please read the article in this newsletter and react, send your comments and proposals!
By Drazen Simlesa & Jason Nardi from RIPESS Europe Coordination Committee