European Day of Sustainable Communities

Scottish Communities Climate Action Network is a member of ECOLISE – European Network for Community-led Initiatives on Climate Change and Sustainability. The European Day of Sustainable Communities #EDaySC2018 on 22 September is a celebration of the efforts and achievements of the thousands of local communities across Europe who are taking action for a better, more sustainable world.

The diversity and impact of such community-led initiatives is impressive: from renewable energy cooperatives to community farms and gardens, ecological housing developments, permaculture projects, car-sharing and waste reduction schemes, and much more, these initiatives demonstrate the myriad of different ways that local people can make a positive contribution, with some communities reducing their ecological impact by more than half.

#EDaySC2018 is also about raising awareness among policy makers, at European Union (EU), national, regional and local municipal level, of the scope and potential of community-led action on climate change and sustainability.

Communities are registering events for #EDaySC2018 on the new website:

“The concept is very simple,” explains Eamon O’Hara, executive director of ECOLISE, the main organiser of the Day. “Taken individually, local, citizen or community-led initiatives seem insignificant and barely register on the radar of policy makers.  However, by linking initiatives and actions through the #EDaySC we can show the cumulative effect – how many, many small-scale initiatives can add up to something incredibly big and impactful, and how this can spread outwards and upwards to bring about real transformational change.”

“It’s quite incredible what’s happening in communities across Europe and globally. People are stepping up and achieving great things. By working together they are transforming their communities, reducing emissions and environmental impacts, but also reviving their local economies and building new social networks and bonds.”

Last year groups of pioneering communities in 15 countries, from the Balkans to the Baltic Sea and along the western fringe of Europe, celebrated the first #EDaySC.

“In 2018 we want to build on this success. Already, at the end of May, communities in six countries had registered events on our new website:”

“We invite anyone who is working locally for a more equitable, sustainable, low-carbon society to help us celebrate the Day by organising an event, however small, and registering it on our site.”

Two European organisations have this year become partners in #EDaySC2018: Let’s Do It, the Estonian-based organisers of World Clean-Up Day, a global movement of communities cleaning up rubbish and agitating for waste elimination; and La Fête des Possibles, the festival of community-led action across France and francophone Belgium.  

Within the context of #EDaySC2018, ECOLISE is also co-hosting a learning conference in Brussels, entitled ‘Citizens and municipalities: building sustainability through collaboration’, with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), in collaboration with Transition Network and the Committee of the Regions (CoR), the EU’s assembly of local and regional authorities.

Increasingly, communities that are working for change are inspiring and influencing local municipalities in how they work on climate change and sustainability. This conference will explore ways to encourage and support this type of collaboration.