How do we move our green cities beyond “sustainability as usual”?

Growing Pathways’ directors, Kajsa Li Paludan & Oleg Koefoed will be speaking at the prestigious Salzburg Global Seminar “Beyond Green” about creating successful and lasting sustainable change through life-enhancing actions.

If our civilization was to disappear tomorrow, would you be able to say what the future world had lost? When you work to create a sustainable future, are you certain that your approaches serve life and people?

Given the dramatic urbanization trends, we are already witnessing in the 21st Century, cities and their leaders, as well as citizens, will need to become even more significant drivers of sustainability in the future. Thus, “sustainability as usual” is not enough.

With our current ways of organizing human life on this planet, we are way beyond the tipping points of climate change. And hoping that only clean tech will save our future is wasted energy if we do not combine our technological innovations with culture as a method of change.

Culture is the root of human behavior and is the key player in sustainable development. Our problems; social, economic and environmental are founded on our actions, and we are only capable of imagining the fixes that our cultural context allows us.

But breaking habits and exploring new cultures and possibilities is not easy. It interferes with the organisational culture, stakeholders and values, as it also requires the bravery to look inwards to identify unsustainable habits and take action accordingly. And it is in this moment of insecurity that we need to be careful that we do not end up ruining the possibility of a sustainable future because we find assurance in the stabilized communities in which we confirm each other’s fears and ideas leading to solutions much more conservative than we first wanted them to be. Alas, it can also result in a costly affair if the fear of change prohibits the potential sustainable development, as the long-term prosperous gains for both the organisation, people and planet are too great to ignore.

To succeed in building life-enhancing cities that continue to prosper along with the people that live in and between the buildings the focus must be on gaining experiences that allow us to broaden our cultural perspectives and thus reach new solutions to our problems. Latest research even shows that the more culturally diverse our language and expressions are the more biodiversity is present in the same area. And then the question is, how can more cities, mayors, municipalities and citizens be encouraged to follow suit and pursue eye-opening experiences?

Fortunately, most of the planet’s life is still there, and humanity can avoid collapse if enough people manage to imagine ways out of our cultural crisis. Through observation, experimentation, prototyping and implementation we are finding news ways to challenge the existing

At the Salzburg Global Seminar, Ms. Paludan and Mr. Koefoed will be giving the talks “Life Enhancers” and “The Bio City – Life-enhancing Stories” about creating successful and lasting sustainable change.

Growing Pathways
Growing Pathways is a think tank and agency. Our vision is to create new pathways to follow: fields in which we can grow with, for, and as life, instead of trying to harness earth's resources and people's goodwill. Imagining and prototyping for the future.

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