Three academies of Oikosnet Europe, the European network of Christian academies, met with a group of 21 people from four European countries to develop a vision for a just transition into a sustainable future. During a week of intense debates, creativity and playful experiments, they drafted a “Manifesto” for a socio-ecological transformation in which “no one will be left behind”.
For a full week, we met as a group of 21 people from the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and Slovakia in Agape/Italy to work on a Manifesto on the presuppositions of the socio-ecological transformation ahead. Agape Ecumenical Center, located in the small village of Pralí (Turin) in the mountains of Piemont, was the perfect place to develop ideas together. For nearly 70 years, Agape has welcomed people with different religious, cultural and political backgrounds, and from different generations to exchange experiences. The Center lives of services of a group of volunteers who prepare food and accommodation, and who take care of the center. We as a group also experienced this atmosphere. In the final feedback, many participants particularly appreciated the good “group spirit” and the feeling of community at Agape.
How would you like to have lived?
Agape, located in midst of the mountains, invited us to free our minds and to start thinking outside of the box, at distance from our everyday life. We reflected individually upon our values and goals in life, and what makes for us a good life, by creatively working on the question: how would we like to have lived? From there, we developed the topics that matter most to us in the socio-ecological transformation: We dealt with Democratic Values, Equality, Capitalism, Food Production, Transport and our own role in the system´s transformation.
Nobody should be left behind!
An important aspect in order to develop a vision in which no one is left behind is this question: What is privilege, and how does it play out in societal dynamics? We explored this question in interactive games, which showed the intersection of multiple categories of difference, which all position us differently in society. Our structure of society gives power and voice to some actors more than others – as a poor, black woman, you have different opportunities and possibilities to speak up for your rights than as a white middle class man. In consequence, how to deal with our privilege – as a group of white European citizens, what does it mean to share our privilege while transitioning into a sustainable future? What is the difference between charity and solidarity? How can we distribute resources more equally?
These questions incited us to find answers: In our manifesto we stress the necessity to shift the responsibility from individuals to the corporate and structural level, and we see the urgency to organize our economy in a different way so that we can realize decent work for all. We agreed to favour an economy without growth for a sustainable future. But this is not all: We also need more possibilities for active participation in our democracies, and demand to make laws and civil rights more applied, fulfilled and respected. With more educational programs that enable each one of us to learn about their rights and to develop their own visions of society, we could also empower everyone to be part of the change.
From the mountains to … Europe
The meeting in Agape and the manifesto were a start for us to develop and express our own convictions and perspectives as citizens of Europe and under the umbrella of three members of the Oikosnet network of Christian academies in Europe, the Ecumenical Academy in Prague, Ecumenical Center Agape and the Protestant Academy of Berlin. We developed a vision together as a group with different backgrounds and experiences, as people who barely meet in our everyday lives but who are all ordinary citizens of Europe. The meeting was a promising step to incite further debate. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you are interested in sharing your ideas, too.
Erschienen am 27.07.2022
Aktualisiert am 03.08.2022