Three years of the global goals: is Europe doing enough?
Today marks the global day of action to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals (and Agenda 2030). This last year in Europe has really made us think, are we doing enough and are we doing it soon enough?
We have seen the coal industry trying to destroy the last bit of the Hambacher forest in Germany; the sweating summer heat and the wildfires that came with it. Then there is Merkel pushing back against higher EU climate change targets, Poland trying to ban abortions and silence environmental defenders, Hungary banning funding for gender studies, the alarming rise of food waste and that the global warming of every major city in Europe.
We have seen how the shrinking space of civil society has caused the close down of several women’s rights organisations. Meanwhile there has been a huge increase of corporate influence at international and regional conferences, some of which have been pushing false solutions. E.g. claiming that nuclear will provide “clean” energy solutions. Notwithstanding the strong opposition of civil society.
In the midst of these news, you might stop to wonder, are we doing enough?
Well the whole picture might not be as dark as painted out in the news. Experts from the University of Exeter recently emphasised that if we have more women in the energy sector and industry means less climate change. There was the landmark case against Monsanto & the German organisation Bayer, which ruled that the glyphosates in the pesticide Roundup had caused Dewayne Johnson’s cancer. This last year has also been marked by great civil mobilisations demanding "system change, not climate change", anti-coal demonstrations, the right to abortion, and then we had #metoo that spread like a fire across europe. There have been “love demonstrations” to counter far-right demonstrations. Well the list is long, all we can say is: where there is injustice, there is also resistance. But far more is needed if we are to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030.
What can you do to change?
- You can mobilise! You can start a book or film club where you read or watch films on topics regarding gender and environmental justice. Maybe you can join a theater group or do a poetry slam on the topic. Perhaps you can start a guerilla gardening collective. Or maybe just create a safe space for people to meet and discuss the collective needs of the group and move forward from there.
- You can educate yourself and others on how gender equality, intersectionality and their relationship to the sustainable development goals. We have a toolkit which you can download here.
- You can demand change from decision-makers. Locally, nationally but also regionally (if you’re part of a civil society organisation or group you can join the feminist network “women’s major group”, email email@example.com for more info). You can write letters and send to your local politicians, or start campaigns demanding change.
- You can change the demand, cut out plastics, buy less, choose organic and locally produced alternatives. But this is not enough, we also need decision-makers to take bold decisions: to put more restrictions on unsustainable industries, and to challenge structural barriers so that everyone has the same capacity to choose sustainable and safe products.