Between the 14th and 28th September a number of events will be held across Europe to showcase community responses to climate change, with the 21st September being the main focal point. Now in its second year, The European Day of Sustainable Communities 2019 (EDSC19) aims to celebrate local communities taking action for an inclusive, regenerative and zero-carbon Europe.

The concept is very simple,” explains Eamon O’Hara, Executive Director of ECOLISE, the main organiser of the Day. “Taken individually, local, citizen or community-led initiatives seem insignificant and barely register on the radar of policy makers or the general public. However, by linking initiatives and actions through the EDSC19 we can show the cumulative effect – how many, many small-scale initiatives are adding up to something incredibly big and impactful, and how this can spread outwards and upwards to bring about real transformational change.”

It’s quite incredible what’s happening in communities across Europe and globally. There is real concern about the future, especially among young people, as seen by the student climate strikes. But people are stepping up and channeling their energy into positive action, through protest, but also by working together to transform their communities, reducing emissions and environmental impacts, whilst reviving their local economies and building new social networks and bonds.”

The diversity and impact of such community-led initiatives is impressive: from community farms and gardens to renewable energy cooperatives, ecological housing developments, permaculture projects, car-sharing and waste reduction schemes, and much more, these initiatives demonstrate the myriad of different ways that local people are making a positive contribution, with some communities reducing their ecological impact by more than half. Lancaster itself is full of such initiatives with our community garden network, Food Futures partnership, seasonal markets, co-housing development and Halton hydro scheme- just to name a few.

EDSC19 is also about raising awareness, among the general public and policy makers at European Union, national, regional and local municipal level, of the scope and potential of community-led action on climate change and sustainability.

Last year there were events in 24 countries including conferences, open days, apple harvests, tours, concerts, shared meals and many more. This year communities or organisations supporting community-led action have registered their events on the EDSC website, which is now accessible in seven languages: Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Slovenian and Spanish.

To mark the EDSC19, ECOLISE is also planning a round-table discussion with members of the European Parliament in Brussels in September, in collaboration with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Committee of the Regions (CoR), the EU’s assembly of local and regional authorities.

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