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Whose voices do we need to hear in order to achieve sustainability? #rethinkingthesystem

During ReGeneration Week 2021, hundreds of young people from around the Nordic and Baltic Sea region got together to make our voices heard on the climate crisis. We collectively wrote a Declaration listing what must be done to achieve sustainability in the short time frame necessary. In this series, ReGeneration 2030 volunteer Ugnė explores each of the seven articles of the Declaration.

We know that the environmental crisis is a systematic problem that has to be approached from multiple angles in order to secure a sustainable future. One of them is outdated social norms that reproduce our current unsustainable system. Last week in the ReGeneration blog I discussed ideas of success; this week I will look more broadly at the way how high-level decision making must change.

In order to achieve a rapid transition to a sustainable economy in the short time frame needed, we can employ the power of democratic and collective decision making. While all countries in our region are formally democracies, democratic decision making is not at the core of how many major economic decisions are made. Often in our region, this power belongs to a small economic elite. What's more, there are very few incentives in place to move the decision-making process outside of this small group. And as mentioned previously in this series, when the profit motive is left to run free, it often begins to prioritise growth over the protection of people or the planet; environmental issues remain unaddressed.

Social inclusion in decision-making is a core solution to this problem. When we allow people the time and space to collectively deliberate the decisions that run their lives, we not only create a shared understanding of issues we face: we also reach better solutions. In fact, studies show that inclusive teams not only make better decisions but also reach their way faster than other teams do. Most importantly, it helps to create a more stable, safe and just society for all of its members.

That’s why it’s critically important to involve youth in the decision-making process as well. Powerful movements like The Arab spring, Fridays for Future, show that youth are capable and deserve to have a voice in shaping our mutual future. We need to acknowledge their potential and work together for the common well being of our society.

We need to rethink social norms and secure inclusion in decision-making because only together we can solve the climate crisis.

ReGeneration 2030 is currently formulating position papers on issues like these to help the youth sustainability movement push for change in our region. If you’re under 30 and want to be a part, email or sign up through our volunteer form.


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