Like every year, this year World Environment Day will be celebrated on Wednesday, June 5, 2021. Like the previous years, this year World Environment Day Theme 2021 is “Ecosystem restoration”. The theme is selected to create consciousness about resetting our relationship with nature. The United Nations Environment Program declared this theme the previous year.

Nature is sending us a clear message. We are harming the natural world – to our own detriment. To care for humanity, we must care for nature. We need our entire global community to change course.

It is time for all of us to think again what we buy and use. It is time to adopt sustainable habits, farming and business models, keep safe the wild spaces and wildlife and commit to a green and resilient future.

It is time to work together, it is time to put nature where It belongs-at the centre of our decision making. The role of our cities and regions is very important.

Urban areas occupy less than 1 per cent of the Earth’s land surface but house more than half of its people. Despite their steel and concrete, crowds and traffic, cities and towns are still ecosystems whose condition profoundly marks the quality of our lives. Functioning urban ecosystems help clean our air and water, cool urban heat islands, shield us from hazards and provide opportunities for rest and play. They can also host a surprising amount of biodiversity.

European Local Leaders created a video to pass the message across Europe. Our message for the World Environment Day is clear “It Is time for Nature, it is time for the future  ”.

If we are to safeguard the environment for future generations, we must take urgent action now to implement development policies, incentives and actions. It is through working together that we will succeed in delivering a sustainable, healthy, and prosperous future for all.

“IT IS TIME NATURE, IT IS TIME FOR THE FUTURE"

The ELL Team

So young, but so tired. European Union, an edifice of only 65 years old and yet so exhausted.
Europe was built on the foundations of peace, wellbeing and freedom among its member states.

However, the amount and complexity of the procedures which were adopted to implement the European integration, the so-called technical part, overlapped the European vision.

At the same time, for most of the member states their national interests were appeared to be stronger than the European regulations which they themselves had voted for.

Plenty of them were living beyond their means, ignoring for years the upcoming consequences. The human value and the human rights were constantly downgraded, and the European Institutions were proved incapable to deal with.

The European crisis was deteriorated during the last decade and BREXIT was the result. A shock we owe to consider very rigorously together with the European dilemma of stay or leave which exists in all member states.

However, against the great challenges we are facing, there is no doubt that Europe is our common future. Moreover, whatever keeps us together is stronger than what tears as apart.

Lessons should be learnt from the past; the European vision should be re- established. Planning should not be based on strict processes but on realistic policies which will not only regulate the markets, but will also enhance human value, entrepreneurial
freedom and social justice.

We are Europe, and we need to work hard for it.

Our common heritage lies at the heart of the European way of life. It is found in the villages and cities, in the natural landscapes and archeological sites. It is the literature, the art and the Monuments, the crafts we have inherited from our ancestors, the fairy tales we tell our children, the food that we enjoy and the films which we identify ourselves with. Cultural heritage defines who we are and strengthens the sense of belonging to a common European community. This is a peaceful community of more than 500 million people with a rich history and interconnected cultures.

As a representative of the local government authorities for the European cultural heritage, it is really an ambition of mine, for people to be encouraged, especially the children and young adults, to explore Europe’s rich and diverse cultural heritage and reflect on its place in our lives. By placing emphasis on this, we wish to better equip them to protect and preserve our cultural heritage in the future. 

This allows us to delve into our traditions, into our memories and the history of monuments of the past, from which a lot can be learned. It is my hope that by exploring and experiencing a common cultural heritage inside and outside the school learning environment, children and young adults will realize that their different identities, whether local, regional or national can complement, enrich and strengthen one another. They will realize that it is possible to coexist in the context of a common European identity. Diversity is our wealth and power.

According to a special Eurobarometer survey on the cultural heritage nine out of ten Europeans believe that cultural heritage of Europe should be taught in schools. Schools and educators play a key role in the achievement of this objective. 

Sparking a real change in the way we enjoy and defend our heritage and ensuring that it benefits the people in the long term is the key to building the best possible version of Europe.

There is a challenging agenda for Europe in the years to come which involves very serious issues. Decisions and policies required for a wide range of subjects such as economic growth and security or Europe’s role in the world, make it now more important than ever for citizens to engage in debates and contribute to the formation of policies. 

The volunteering activities of the local government authorities’ representatives is a vital part that promotes participation and active citizenship. Spending a lot of their time to benefit other citizens, the new local government authorities’ representatives contribute actively to their community and to society. They increase the sense of involvement in a community and develop the concept of shared responsibility. Therefore, their volunteering is a particularly powerful tool to public engagement to society and its political life. In order to develop and implement their activities, Civil Society organisations, associations of European general interest, twinning associations and other bodies find support on voluntary work. 

The EU aims to safeguard the common European cultural heritage and to support and promote Arts and creative sectors in Europe. Many cultural elements exist in a number of EU policies, such as in education, research, social policy, regional development and external relations. Every year, two cities are designated as European Capitals of Culture, an action that strengthens the local economy and promotes local artists along with the unique cultural richness of each city.

The squandering of the planet’s natural resources for human well-being mistakenly based on the overproduction, accumulation and consumption of material goods has been a fact so far. This human greed has led to the detriment of spiritual values ​​and has acted against the moral order of things.

Production of goods requires the use of energy which even today comes from polluting sources (fossil fuels), which are responsible for the greenhouse effect resulting in violent climate change. Global warming is not just an environmental problem. It is a moral and political problem. It is related to the way resources are allocated; thus it is also a matter of social justice. One can say that those least responsible for climate change are those who suffer the worst consequences.

The “Europe Green Agreement”, as the new European Strategy announced by European Commission’s President Mrs Ursula von der Leyen, is inspiring and in the right direction. However, it should have been established much earlier, in order to balance the polluting industrial revolution of the 20th century. However, if we dedicate 21st century to the Green Revolution, we may prevent the collapse of our planet, as long as common efforts are established all over the world.

The green revolution will lead us to a growth that will return more than it demands. It shows the way of how to change our way of life and work, our production and consumption patterns, so that human societies can prosper.

Sun, air, water and other renewable energy sources are enough to meet global demand. Investments in research, innovation and technological developments will give new perspective to the production, distribution and storage (new batteries, hydrogen, etc.) of energy; and consequently millions of new jobs.

As a new politician, I am an ardent supporter of the above strategy, by always keeping in mind that the planet has reached its limits and if we won’t act NOW and DECISIVELY, it will either destroy us or will drive us away; when technological developments allow so.

 

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