Protect our Nature to Protect our Lives: How Nature, Economy, and Social Justice Can Thrive Together | Workshop 8

Last June and July were the hottest months in modern history and brought record ocean temperatures. Heatwaves hit strongly Southern Europe, with the largest wildfires ever recorded and violent floods in Slovenia and Norther Italy. Also regions of the United States, of China and of Norther Africa were deeply damaged. There is no doubt: we are already experiencing the consequences of climate disaster.

The costs of inaction are in front of our eyes. Allianz economists calculated that the the world lost 0.6% of its wealth because of higher temperatures, with Greece and Spain among the regions that were the hardest hit. And that number still does not account for lost lives, biodiversity in smoke, massive reconstruction, closed businesses. Think Maui, Rhodes, Sicily. If the transition does have a cost, the non transition has an even bigger one.

That’s why it can’t wait. But that’s also why the ecological transition needs to be socially balanced. The climate crisis translates directly into a social crisis that disrupts the work and lives of millions of people. The measures we undertake to mitigate climate change must bring immediate and direct help to its victims. Since the start of the energy crisis in September 2021, 646 billion euros of the European Union's money has been set aside to protect consumers from increases in the cost of energy. But according to the think tank Bruegel, ¾ of that money has not ended up in the hands of those who needed it, and citizens have seen their bills rise. This is not acceptable. We urgently need reforms to fight climate change.

We Greens call for a just transition, one in which the resources are properly distributed and the wellbeing of each citizen is paramount. We want to make sure that those who pollute more have to contribute more to useful solutions against climate change.

Our deal can’t be green without being social.

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Nuria Blázquez
Head of International Affairs of Ecologistas en Acción

Mar González
Co-spokesperson of Verdes Equo Andalucía

Cristina Guarda
Regional councilor for Europa Verde in Veneto, Italy

Grace O’Sullivan
Member of the European Parliament (Greens/EFA), Ireland

Enrico Somaglia
Deputy Secretary General of the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT)

Vula Tsetsi
Committee Member of the European Green Party, and Secretary General of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament