“We must be careful not to create a document that will sit on a shelf”
A new sustainability committee – comprised of both citizens and politicians from Lyngby-Taarbæk – is tasked with creating a strategy to tackle climate challenges
97 per cent of scientists agree that global warming and climate change are humanmade problems.
It is no secret that sustainable development is regarded as critical to save our planet for future generations, and that action must be taken today. That is why a new task force of politicians and citizens in Lyngby-Taarbæk have come together to co-create a strategy, one that aims to put climate challenges on the municipality’s agenda. According to Henrik Bang, a member of City Council for the Unity List and vicechair of the committee: “When we invite citizens to participate in discussions and become involved, it is because we hope that they can contribute to our colleagues at City Hall in championing the results of our efforts. The committee will discuss the main challenges in this domain, how citizens can help make a difference, and what politicians can do to encourage behavioural change through concrete actions and policy initiatives.”
Guilt has no place in these discussions
It is clear what each of us can do to help put a stop to climate change: eat less meat, fly less, and buy an electric car. Yet the committee’s spokeswoman, Charlotte Algreen, points out that the debate has reached a level where many people doubt that what they are doing in their private lives is good enough to make an overall and sustainable impact. And that doubt is not necessarily useful:
“It is easy to feel guilty about global warming and climate change, but guilt doesn’t get anything done. We can create better results if we work together towards a better future. It should not be about reducing car traffic but about ‘sustainable’ traffic. We need to talk about things in a positive and empowering way. After all, we live in a time when we know what will happen if we do not switch things up. We have not been in this situation before. By that same token, we also have a good opportunity to imagine the future.” Of course, planning for and implementing sustainable development practices is no easy task. As such, the Committee has set up working groups on economic sustainability, social sustainability, energy, recycling, and sustainable urban development. The vision is to gather a number of goals and focal points that align with the United Nation’s 17 sustainable development goals and create concrete action plans for Lyngby-Taarbæk.
The municipality is keen to finance new initiatives
The committee consists of 10 members – 3 politicians and 7 citizens from the municipality. Once the strategies are laid out, further measures will be taken to involve citizens in the implementation phase and even fund their own initiatives.
As Bang sees it: “If we do not take the initiative ourselves, we will lag behind. Our hope is that there will be political will within the municipality to help move the public towards sustainability. We also want to encourage people to not only get involved in the entire process but also to develop new initiatives and ideas. In the fall, we will launch a ‘sustainability pool’ so we can finance citizens’ own initiatives to get them going.”