Article by Ripess Europe

Ripess advocacy work is basically concentrated on the development and promotion of SSE while we see the necessity of calling on citizens and community-led initiatives to go vote for a strong European Green Deal – one that is really in line with the values and principles that are the roots of our actions and practices in Solidarity Economy.

SSE and community-led initiatives have a great potential to play a significant role in transforming our societies into a fairer and more sustainable place to live in as long as local realities, collective action and bonds of solidarity are framing the mission of the activities.  Associations, organizations, cooperatives, and non-typical forms of collective cooperation highlight that citizens should not be considered as policy consumers or administrators, solely. In an era of growing backlash against formal decision-making institutions, citizens can enter the public space with constituent power as producers of policies, norms and directions which affect their lives and livelihood.

The link between the social solidarity economy (SSE) and community-led initiatives is deeply rooted in the principles of cooperation, mutual support, and a focus on social and environmental sustainability. Both concepts emphasize the importance of decentralizing economic power and prioritizing community needs, well-being, and resilience over profit maximization.

Having that in mind, a few years ago RIPESS Europe joined the Communities for Future platform / campaign on the community-led initiatives for climate created by ECOLISE.

Nowadays we join forces  to strengthen citizen-led initiatives for a strong European Green Deal, through Time for Collective Action Advocacy campaign. 

The three main campaign’s messages:
1. Support community led initiatives as laboratories for transformative social innovation:community-led initiatives can trigger societal change.
Consider energy cooperatives as a prime example: One of the most significant impacts to date when it comes to renewable energy is driven by citizen-led energy cooperatives. This forms the essence of our first core message: “We are strong, and our strength could be amplified further if not for systemic constraints.” In the case of energy cooperatives, strides have been made at the EU level, where energy communities are now legally recognized. However, there remains room for improvement – also at the national levels.

2. Support the right to have a choice to live sustainably: right now, even community-led initiatives can’t live sustainably within Europe very often, because there are systemic limits to having a sustainable life today in Europe.
Envision yourself as an eco-villager cultivating sustainable produce in your eco-friendly garden, free from pesticides. The predicament arises when a neighboring farmer is currently spraying pesticides, and you find yourself powerless due to national and EU regulations permitting such actions. This underscores the need for continued advocacy and refinement of regulations to ensure that our strength, be it in energy cooperatives or sustainable agriculture, can truly flourish without hindrance.

3. Harnessing the power of collective action for a strong European Green Deal. This message emphasizes the systemic framework conditions which community-led initiatives need to thrive: they require strong socio-ecological laws and implementation = a strong European Green Deal. Here, our message is: we need citizens to vote in favour of a potent European Green Deal, one that is not only localized rapidly, but also ambitiously aligned with international agreements such as the Paris Agreement(UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) or the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework (UN Convention on biological diversity).

Ripess Europe encourages its members and alliances to become a partner in the Communities for future advocacy campaign. For more information, please visit here