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Transforming Societies within Planetary Boundaries!

We need to undergo an ecological transformation at all levels of society in order to accomplish environmental sustainability. Overstepping our planetary boundaries is not an option, as going beyond certain thresholds or tipping points will lead to sudden and irreversible damage to our planet.   The transformation required to really achieve sustainable forms of production and consumption must be shaped in such ways as to provide new powerful sources for real and tangible social progress. It must encompass a whole range of areas, including energy, transport, industry, agriculture, health as well as the creation of new green jobs.   We need to push our society in a more sustainable direction within planetary boundaries. In this respect, we need to move beyond the current growth paradigm to a sustainable development paradigm. The persistent exploitation of labor and natural resources just for short-term financial gains of a selected few can no longer be tolerated!   We must create a society that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. A society for the many, not for the few.  We must continue to defend a European society of inclusion based on the principles of freedom, equality, solidarity, diversity and social justice. It is essential that “no one is left behind” in this process of transformation.  
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These are testing times for progressive Europeans. Moving Europe forward requires a programmatic revitalisation of Social Democracy. Sustainability should play a crucial part. This means we have to ensure the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN Agenda 2030. This move has to come from the bottom up, driven by cities and regions to ensure a high quality of life everywhere in Europe. A consistent long-term strategy (rather than short-term tactics) must be devised and it should, in my opinion, include the following: 1.) Clear measures to battle social, economic and territorial inequalities, specifically providing the most vulnerable people with opportunities to lift themselves out of poverty and social exclusion. 2.) Empower local and regional communities to achieve our strategy. Local and regional governments should be given more leeway in funding and decision-making, supported in a coordinated effort by national and European authorities. We must give the people on the ground the chance to participate in the debate and be the driving force of this social and ecological transformation. 3.) An energetic transition shifting to renewable energy sources, away from fossil and nuclear power. This must include a comprehensive jobs program in the clean energy sector, with significant investment in the building of energy infrastructure, training and social protection measures for those who are affected the most by this transition. 4.) Promote low-emission mobility by extending and improving the functionality and sustainability of affordable public transport solutions in urban and rural areas. Again, this demands investment in infrastructure like bike lanes, low-emission buses, train lines and charging stations for electrical vehicles. 5.) Build a circular economy and help build a new corporate responsibility culture. Large-scale waste reduction is both economically and ecologically viable. We must strive to build a business culture that encourages the re-use of goods and renounces single-use production patterns. Only if production patterns (such as plastic packaging) become more eco-friendly, consumption patterns can follow suit. State of the art eco-efficient recycling and waste management facilities should become the standard of European cities and municipalities, creating jobs and saving natural resources. Social Democracy has recently struggled on the European and national level. In the cities, however, we are alive and kicking. Cities like Paris, London, Berlin, Milan and Vienna are great examples for that. Let’s trust our people on the ground and help them achieve tangible results. Let’s build a truly progressive Europe from the bottom up. Then, I’m sure, European Social Democracy will pass this test of time!

3 days, 18 hours ago in The Europe of Tomorrow; it’s left!
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