Green Transition

Building a Common Green Vocabulary

These four debates are gateways to penetrating the transnational complexity of the European environmental debate, interconnecting national public spaces where debates on the fundamental issues for our future are still being carried out in an overly compartmentalised fashion.

This special edition of the Green European Journal is centred on two objectives:

  1. In the current context of the concurrent crises that we are currently experiencing, it seems essential to remember that the only way out of this ‘polycrisis’ (Edgar Morin) is by acknowledging its systemic nature. That is why it is crucial to strongly reaffirm that our societies’ green transformation project is a comprehensive political project, which carries hope for all Europeans.
  2. However, the changes involved are extremely profound. Moreover, implementing these changes requires a debate at all levels of governance – from the local level to the European level – and in the most transnational way possible.

National political cultures adding complexity

But everything depends on our ability to listen to one another. Speaking the same language does not necessarily mean that we understand one another. Therefore, when national political cultures add a level of complexity and uncertainty to the messages exchanged between us, it becomes necessary to work at finding a common vocabulary. Too often, in ‘French green’, ‘German green’, ‘Polish green’ or ‘Greek green’, it is the national adjective that dictates the meaning of words, rather than the ideological affiliation.

In order to illustrate this difficulty and to reflect upon resolutions, we have decided to concentrate on four themes: sustainability, solidarity, hospitality and federalism.

What is a green transformation if not the transition into a society where the economy respects and repairs ecosystems, all whilst guaranteeing everyone’s well being?

Implementing it requires political reforms on several levels:

It involves better – less or alternative – production and consumption, or even a combination of technological innovation and social transformation of lifestyles. This will not be possible, however, without strengthening solidarity and without accepting our duty of acceptance both within the European Union and towards non-Europeans. Green transformation will involve institutional reforms over the next decades, in terms of European federalism that is capable of ensuring that different circles of solidarity can coexist.

Among the issues linked to the production/consumption cycle and social links at the various levels of the political community, these four notions are gateways to penetrating the transnational complexity of the European environmental debate.

These four themes are simultaneously extremely concrete and extremely general: they directly and indirectly involve our daily lives. They are also marked by tensions between different fundamental options.

Transnationalising the debates

Our objective is to bring out these differences in order to communicate them. As such, the Green European Journal intends to contribute to ‘transnationalising’ the debate, interconnecting national public spaces where debates on the fundamental issues for our future are still being carried out in an overly compartmentalised fashion.

Sixteen authors have contributed to this edition. Each of them gave their view on one of the four selected themes. They are not completely representative of European diversity or their national contexts. However, together they constitute a good sample of the internal wealth of the European green movement. Each of them wrote individually and on his/her own behalf, answering a series of questions. They were not aware of the others’ contribution.

Like some of David Hockney’s paintings, all of their articles constitute a group of snapshots of identical objects, taken simultaneously from slightly different angles, during the gloomy spring of 2013. The material gathered provided the Editorial Board of the Green European Journal with various ideas and questions to continue the debate on the type of European society that we wish to build in the 21st Century.

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