PICTURE A WORLD WITHOUT POLLUTION…
Can you imagine a world without pollution? This is the tantalising question that EU Green Week participants mulled over in the opening session of today’s high-level conference. Other sessions focused on the links between healthy lives and the environment, the relationship between pollution and biodiversity, as well as ways to inspire eco-friendly habits.
Alongside the start of the virtual conference, a number of thought-provoking Partner Events took place across Europe.
Quote of the day
“It is painfully clear that human activity has negative impacts on other forms of life. Pollution is threatening the survival of more than one million plant and animal species, on land and at sea. It is one of the five leading causes of biodiversity loss. We cannot be negligent any longer. Thus, we are determined to tackle this challenge through our European Green Deal.”
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
EU Green Week Virtual Conference – Day 1
During the opening session, participants explored the challenges and opportunities linked to reducing pollution. The session underlined how a zero pollution perspective positively affects all walks of life, with an opening statement from Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, followed by an inspiring discussion with a renowned artist, a famous chef and a football representative who illustrated why they are also engaged in creating a world without pollution.
Elsewhere, session 1.1 highlighted the numerous links between the environment and human health, while 1.2 explored how to lighten the load on biodiversity as we look ahead to the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which will be held in October in Kunming, China. Keynote speaker Florika Fink-Hooijer, Director-General of the European Commission’s DG Environment, stressed that removing environmental pressure is crucial to setting biodiversity on a path to recovery.
Session 1.3 offered storytelling and communication as a way to inspire good habits and behavioural change. Speakers discussed how climate change affects us all, and how we can all play our part. Special mention goes to the European Climate Pact – an EU-wide initiative where everyone is invited to participate in climate action and build a greener Europe.
Attendees also had the chance to tune into the European Week for Waste Reduction Awards celebrating this year’s waste- and pollution-busting champions from schools, businesses, and civil society.
TODAY AROUND EUROPE
Partnership and innovation… working together for a healthy planet
Today, the European Policy Centre and Apple Europe co-hosted a panel discussion on the role of partnerships and innovation in creating a healthier future for our planet. It’s a complex subject but the companies, NGOs, and policymakers attending were well up to the task.
Among the speakers were Lisa P. Jackson, Apple’s VP of environment, policy and social initiatives, and CEO of the We Mean Business Coalition, Maria Mendiluce. Discussions echoed many of the EU Green Week themes and explored the importance of managing change during the transition to a circular economy that makes more efficient use of the planet’s resources. Participants agreed that working together in a spirit of partnership is central to building an innovation ecosystem capable of achieving zero-pollution and carbon-neutral objectives. Partners for life!
Credit – Courtesy: EPC/Apple Europe
ReCharkha… upcycling as a way of life
A spirited eco-social initiative operating out of India is transforming the lives of local artisans and helping to keep the community clean. It all started with a plastic waste problem!
In a webinar today, Amita Deshpande, founder and CEO of reCharkha, ‘The EcoSocial Tribe’, took guests on a journey to the city of Pune and its surroundings in the state of Maharashtra. The various steps of their plastic recycling, crafting and upcycling process were demonstrated and the resulting beautifully handwoven eco-social products were on display in an online exhibition. Watch the fascinating upcycling process in this ReCharkha video.
Courtesy: reCharkha - The EcoSocial Tribe
Celebrating Cycling Cities… riding to the zero-pollution finish line
Dring, dring. The sound of cycle-friendly cities rings out across Europe. Reduced traffic, air pollution and stress levels are just a few of the benefits of the surge in urban cycling. It’s also convenient, economical, healthy and cyclists know they’re helping the environment at the same time.
Smart urban planners have taken all this on board and integrated cycling into their transport mix, to make it safer and easier to bike around the city. Co-hosted by the European Cyclists’ Federation and the Dutch Cycling Embassy, Celebrating Cycling Cities offered best practices for bike-friendly cities.
COMING UP TOMORROW…
Don’t miss the LIFE Awards in the late morning session tomorrow!
High-level sessions cover some weighty topics: safe and healthy mobility (2.1), clean air (3.4/4.1), soil pollution and human health (5.1), space-based environmental monitoring (4.4), and water pollution from a youth perspective (6.2).
Other sessions to watch include: clean seas and the blue economy (2.4), tackling microplastics (2.2) and chemical pollution (2.3/5.2), and the role of citizen science in pollution control.