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EU Green Week 2021 - DAY 4 ROUNDUP

RACE TO NET ZERO…

As we pass the halfway point of EU Green Week 2021, today’s extensive and inspiring agenda included sessions on who should pay for pollution, and reflections on the EU’s New European Bauhaus initiative for sustainable buildings.

Partner Events delved into issues like zero-pollution tourism, and how digital technologies can help tackle pollution. Scroll down to find out more about the Race to Net Zero cycling challenge!

Quote of the day

“Ending pollution is not about flashy social media posts. Our generation doesn’t have a lot of time for what businesses have to say, but it has a lot of time for what business actually does. And I also have hope in the people who make up organisations and want to make change happen.”

 

Lola Fayokun, Climate Campaigner

EU Green Week Virtual Conference – Day 3

The day started a little earlier than usual for those wanting a sneak peek into the future monitoring and outlook framework for zero pollution. The day’s offerings also included stimulating sessions on environmental sustainability and equality (7.1), which addressed the wider issue of ‘Who pays for pollution?’ (8.1). Discussions centred round who has really been paying for pollution over the last 100 years, approaching this question through a fairness perspective.

Culture buffs were able to tune into session 9.1 for a reflection on the New European Bauhaus initiative and the search for sustainable, but also beautiful, buildings of tomorrow. The late afternoon had some courtroom drama on offer with a mock trial and comparative session on the ‘right to clean air’ (11.4). The day was capped off by a documentary about plastic ocean pollution (see the ‘Trapped by Plastic’ trailer) followed by a challenging debate.

TODAY AROUND EUROPE

5G/Beyond 5G Seminar… towards eco-friendly communications

The speed, capacity and connectivity of fifth-generation (5G) mobile is set to open up many opportunities to improve environmental protection. 5G technology can be directed at big challenges like tackling greenhouse emissions and rolling out renewable energy. But more devices mean more components and often scarce materials being extracted, plus greater demand on energy supplies to power them. Debate on these developments is essential.

Hosted by Digital for Planet, the ‘5G/Beyond 5G – Towards zero pollution communication networks’ webinar brought together researchers, innovators and policymakers from different sectors to explore an ‘eco-friendly roadmap’ for advances in 5G/6G technologies. The partner event explored how communications technology can contribute to the environment by reducing the energy consumption of operating networks.

Courtesy: Digital for Planet

Digital for Green (Deal)… technology at your service!

Recent research (EPHA) found that air pollution costs each European €1 276 per year, or €385 million per city on average. Meanwhile, there could be as many as 340 000 contaminated sites in Europe, according to the latest estimates (EEA). Managing them could cost €6.5 billion per year.

Against this backdrop, Vodafone Belgium hosted its partner event, ‘Digital for Green: helping to prevent air and soil pollution today’, to hear expert views on how technology can improve air quality in cities via better traffic flows, and less congestion and waste. Participants also discussed how digital innovation can contribute to smarter agriculture and, in particular, the role of precision farming in reducing the use of pesticides and fertilisers. It’s putting digital at the service of the Green Deal!

Courtesy: Vodafone Group

Zero Pollution Tourism Webinar… the pearl of Europe

Tourism is the EU’s third largest socio-economic activity. To ensure sustainable tourism and a healthy living environment for communities living and working in destinations Europe-wide, pollution needs to be addressed.

Hosted by Mediterranean Pearls, the partner event "Zero-pollution tourism: the role of destinations in raising awareness of tourists" sought practical solutions to balance tourism development and environmental protection, with special focus on sustainable mobility in different settings, from trail rides on Mt Etna and circuits along disused railway lines to nifty Alpine transport solutions.

The key here, according to participants, is not only to inform tourists about the harm caused by pollution, but to really involve them in the challenge of keeping destinations clean and healthy. It’s a win-win for communities and the visitors attracted to these picturesque spots, and leads to more responsible behaviour all-round.

Courtesy: Alpine Pearls, Antonello Sica, Luigi Fasciglione, Luigi Ritovato, Ivan Tassone

Ark 2030 Race to Net Zero… the most important race in history

Ark 2030 is on a mission to reverse the climate crisis and stop harming the earth. It has set a target to restore 500 million hectares of damaged land since the beginning of the industrial revolution and invest in companies prepared to turn back the dial on the climate crisis.

The ‘Race to Net Zero cycling challenge: 1 million cyclists’ is a sponsored cycling or walking challenge for individuals and teams. Ark 2030 called it the “most important race in history”. What a way to celebrate World Bicycle Day! Everyone is invited to join the race of a lifetime, which goes on throughout June. All sponsorship money obtained will be earmarked by Ark 2030 to implement dedicated nature restoration projects within the Restore Europe programme.

Courtesy: Ark2030 (info: www.ark2030.org / social: www.ark2030.com)

Ark is planning the launch of first programmes and projects in the upcoming weeks, see the website and especially the Restore Europe programme.

COMING UP TOMORROW…

  • A generous half-day of action tomorrow featuring zero-pollution regional champions and the Green City Accord.

  • Results of the Junior Achievement Europe Hackathon, Gen-E Fights for Zero Pollution, will also be presented.

  • Closing session with a special focus on the environment and health nexus, steering Europe’s green recovery and resilience efforts, and the launch of the Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform.