Transition Pathways Towards a Sustainable, Low Carbon Europe Developed by Pupils and Professionals Across 6 EU Countries

Wehrmeyer, Walter, Iacovidou, Eleni and Coke, Alexia (2013) Transition Pathways Towards a Sustainable, Low Carbon Europe Developed by Pupils and Professionals Across 6 EU Countries. In: SCORAI Europe & InContext Workshop; 7-8 Oct 2013, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


There is an a priori argument that those who are affected by a decision should have a say in that decision. In terms of intergenerational equity, as well as the need to implement whatever Transition Management (pathways, trajectories) implementation is to take place, young people should therefore be included in the decision-making process, be this for ethical or operational reasons. Given the socio-cultural context, the changing nature of technology etc., Generation Z is likely to have very different notions of their specific future, and the way sustainability and low carbon lifestyles are evolving within this. This implies the distinct possibility that (older) experts may devise and shape transition pathways towards greater sustainability and less carbon intensive lifestyles, but may do so without the inclusion of, and in a direction that those who are destined to live (in) these futures may find difficult to accept, let alone actively pursue. In short, not involving young people in the Transition Pathways and Management agenda poses a genuine governance deficit, as well as an implementation challenge. To understand how young people conceptualise their future in low-carbon sustainability terms, and how they conceive suitable visions of their futures, CRISP (an EU project to CReating Innovative Sustainability Pathways), 24 visioning and backcasting workshops were held in Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Norway, The Netherlands and the UK. The resulting workshop-level visions, which produced over 1500 ideas and suggestions across the workshops, were then condensed into 3 pan-European Visions yielded three archetypical visions, namely Local Community, I-Tech, and One Ethical World. Following this, a new methodology was developed and applied in 17 workshops across the aforementioned countries, engaging young people and experts in developing suitable pathways towards the realisation of the above visions. Both phases were done in conjunction with 3 specific sectors, namely household energy, individual mobility and food. After an outline of the visions, this paper outlines the pupils’ perception, followed by an exploration of the resulting pathways for the three visions across the three sectors.

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