Thirty experts define in Mariñán measures towards sustainability in Galicia in 2040.

Supporting sustainable lifestyles in Galicia.

How can we extend lifestyles and initiatives that help to reduce the carbon footprint of our territory? How do we achieve examples of local sustainability can be upscaled to a regional and even supra-regional level? These are among the questions which the research project GLAMURS (acronym for Green Lifestyles, Alternative Models and Upscaling Regional Sustainability) tries to answer during its lifetime, between 2014 and 2017. The FP7 Project is coordinated by the People-Environment Research Group at the University of Coruña and other 10 European research centers and universities are involved, all under the strategy of the European Commission against Climate Change and towards Green Economy.

A participative workshop welcomed by a number of Regional institutions.

In this context last weekend the People- Environment Research Group together with the Provincial Government of Corunna, organized at the Mariñan Palace, in Bergondo (Corunna), the Second Back-casting Workshop. The event was opened by the Rector of the University of A Coruña, Mr. Julio Abalde Alonso, the Provincial Deputy D.Juan Penabad Muras, the Environment Councillor of A Coruña, Ms. María García Gómez, the Deputy and Spokesman of the Commission against the Climate Change in the Parliament of Spain, Mr. Ricardo García Mira and the Glamurs Project Coordinator, Ms. Adina Dumitru.

The workshop was attended by about thirty experts from all over Galicia linked to environmental organizations as ADEGA (Lugo) or Fragas do Mandeo (Betanzos), Responsible Consumption Groups as Zocamiñoca (A Coruña) or Carabuñas (Allariz), Environment and Rural Development Technicians, Centres and Schools of Environmental Education as Granxa Barreiros (Sarria), Collectives for Free Culture as Galiza Imaxinaria (Nigrán), researchers from the three Galician universities, staff at the Regional Government Institute for the study of the territory (Santiago de Compostela) and the Environment Delegation of Regional Government (Xunta de Galicia) in Ourense or Vespera de Nada, an association for the regional degrowth, among others.

Making an inventory of problems and regional solutions to achieve a sustainable region in the future.

The purpose of this second workshop was to deepen the future visions that began to emerge in December last year, this time looking to get to make an inventory of problems and solutions at the regional level and proposals to implement that could allow the desired future scenarios to become real in Galicia within 25 years.

Three different strategies towards sustainability: Eco efficiency, sufficiency and socially embedded growth.

Three were identified as the main strategies for Galicia to be sustainable and reduce their carbon footprint substantially in 2040: eco-efficiency, sufficiency and socially embedded growth. According to the first, Galicia would be more sustainable in 2040 through the greening of technologies and consumption (renewable sectors and km0 consumption), increased recycling and reuse of goods and materials. In the vision of sufficiency, our region would reduce its carbon footprint mainly by a decrease in the levels of aggregate consumption and demand. In the socially embedded growth, there would also be a reduction in the carbon footprint as a result of lower levels of demand and aggregate consumption also, but the quality of life of the population would depend on their small communities in which life would be organized daily and within which the resources will be distributed.

Some of the most important results of the workshop in terms of measures and changes needed for Galicia to be truly sustainable in 2040 are:

  • Most of the measures towards sustainability identified at the workshop are considered urgent or very urgent and participants identified great potential in Galicia to work in these areas.
  • Organized civil society is seen as the main responsible for changing the current model of society towards a more sustainable one. The social initiatives should be the drivers of change.
  • Governments should “laissez-faire” and promote and encourage citizen initiatives in its promotion of sustainable lifestyles. Governments should work to simplify administrative procedures and eliminate bureaucratic obstacles. There is no agreement about what the functions of the state in the sustainable future of Galicia should be. From a State which would no longer be responsible of ensuring standards of living for the population to other model of State that would give ground to small communities and would be limited to the manage and facilitation of population demands and proposals.
  • The governance system for sustainability needs to be global. Galicia is not isolated and couldn’t be if ensuring the welfare of the population still a priority in 2040.
  • A more holistic view of society. The hierarchical scheme in which we understand our needs as a society and economy over nature needs to be reversed. Having a sustainable region in the future this hierarchical order to be changed and move on to understand the economy and society as subsystems of the biosphere, dependent and integrated in nature.
  • Consumption patterns have to change and be based on production and consumption in short circuits and proximity products, reducing packaging and surplus stocks. Offer and supply could be agreed in order to remove surpluses, for instance through sectorial consumer groups.
  • Work less, more efficiently and with greater resources to solve needs.The working hours will be shorter in 2040 and people will have more free time. Part of that extra time will be devoted to tasks of repair and manufacture of furniture and other goods. Recycling will be more simple and effective because in the future, technology components will be further supported, mandatory standards will be used in the majority of economic sectors and the production of goods will be modular.
  • Betting on the future sustainability of the territory is seen in the first place as a bet on the quality of life and welfare of the population. The welfare fot the Galicians would require a greater degree of self-esteem and self-knowledge of our own culture and heritage.

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