One of the distinctive features of contemporary democracies in Europe is the emergence of the social state, which has, since its creation, had the task of achieving a conciliation between the principles of individual freedom and social solidarity. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown the striking conflict within these democracies, as these two principles are increasingly presented as antagonistic. However, what the pandemic accentuated was already very much present through the environmental crisis that embraces the whole planet and radically questions our means of life and the very organisation of our societies.
At this time of crisis, sustainable development and environmental issues became even more a priority for societies as well as for national and international organisations. Citizens, of all ages and from all continents, are increasingly concerned about the challenges they face, and are trying to make their voices heard by participating in many movements.
Some national governments have tried to adopt new laws to support sustainable development and climate protection (e.g. tax on plastics or fuel tax increases). In the same perspective, the EU is also stepping up measures to protect the environment and the climate (e.g. European Green Deal, a quarter of the 2021 -2027 budget targeting climate ambitions) and to ensure the EU’s transition to a sustainable economy. The EU also gives more scope to citizens’ action and opinion by linking their projects (e.g. Conference on the Future of Europe or the European Climate Pact) to citizen, national, local and associative activities.
Despite these efforts and awareness of the issue, doubts about our collective commitment to preserve our resources and lives on our planet remain.
Fundamental questions therefore arise which the European College of Cluny invites you to reflect during its 2021 summer seminar.
The participants will attempt to develop innovative solutions to address the key issues identified during the seminar.