The future is in our hands. Which future do we want to invest in? We know that humanity is vastly overusing our planet’s resources. This is our context. How then can we build a future that works for us? Through collaboration across sectors, we can take ownership of our fate and build solutions for the future we desire.
The goal of this project was to help different groups generate ownership of the future. The project is set up to support the creativity and ability of urban actors to find pathways and solutions which create the future they desire, which inevitably will also #MoveTheDate of Earth Overshoot Day. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when human demand exceeds what Earth can renew in the entire year. The German Overshoot Day indicates when Earth Overshoot Day would occur, if all of humanity lived like people in Germany.
This bottom-up engagement is designed to support decision makers, and makes evident that advancing the transformation is not primarily noble, but rather necessary and essential for their own direct benefit.
CSCP, a leading organization working on sustainable production and consumption, and Global Footprint Network, an organisation that has successfully implemented sustainability metrics, including the ecological footprint, through engagement with more than 70 countries and 80 organisations, we wanted to find out how citizens can become drivers of the transition towards sustainability, as well as how their active engagement and individual actions can be deemed as necessary. Our view is that participation in the transformation needs to become part of their identity, rather than perceived as an additional burden. Therefore, this pilot project aimed at engaging and empowering cities – their citizens and their decision makers – and shift the perception towards being active participants in, rather than outside observers of the sustainability transformation. Through this shift in perception, together we believe it is possible to meaningfully address the emerging risks of living in a world with massive overshoot.
For this project, we activated two pathways:
a) a participation process in climate engagement activities with selected civil society organisations in two cities in North Rhine Westphalia. Through dialogue, the project engaged localcommunity groups in ways that they are excited about, addressing topics which the groups already advocate for. The process identified potential catalysts and roadblocks for a sustainability transformation. Equipped with the learnings from the community groups and partners in the field, the pilot also reached out to the cities’ administration by sharing insights and finding opportunities to align them with the cities’ agenda to create a one-planet compatible city. Moreover, through an idea competition, community groups shared the most creative visions of their city with city administrators. Thus, facilitating a fruitful collaboration between citizens and cities that will help to #MoveTheDate.
Additionally, the project develops and communicates a new, empowering storyline for climate action to make Earth Overshoot Day (and German Overshoot Day) more transformational. For this 2021 campaign, we emphasized a city theme. Building on insights gained from the cities and citizen groups, the campaign will position climate action as economically essential for individuals, cities, and countries. We featured the opportunities for everyone to shape and choose a future that best serves them (this then evolved into “power of possibility“. We also promoted city-level possibilities and highlighted how they #MoveTheDate of Earth Overshoot Day through this map.
alexandra.kessler (at) scp-centre.org
Global Footprint Network
michelle.shaffer (at) footprintnetwork.org