European Day of Sustainable Communities 2020

Three years ago, in 2017, ECOLISE for the first time launched the European Day of Sustainable Communities (EDSC). It was an open invitation to citizens and communities across Europe to organise events – such as open days, workshops, conferences, and gatherings – to showcase and promote citizen actions on climate change and sustainability. The aim? To create awareness, enable local communities to share ideas and know-how, inspire action, and connect communities with policymakers and others. 

The inaugural EDSC saw events organised in 15 EU countries, including a conference in Brussels co-hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee. In 2018,  communities in 20 countries joined the celebration. Events included conferences, open days, apple harvests,  permaculture convergences, gatherings of sustainable communities, tours, concerts, and shared meals.   Later on in 2019 citizens in 27 countries organised hundreds of events – from conferences on community energy to Transition Network festivals, permaculture gatherings, ecovillage open days, hackathons, shared meals, waste clean-ups and harvest festivals – to highlight their efforts in the face of ecological and climate breakdown.

This year, 2020, everything changed utterly, with the COVID-19 pandemic. And yet the fourth edition of EDSC went ahead, with hundreds of events. That’s why we are so thankful for and proud of all EDSC organisers for their efforts in making EDSC2020 happen!

They managed, not only to stage many events online, but with their positive approach to the current crisis, their creativity and their dedication to make EDSC an exceptional example of communities working together for greater good.

With almost 400 events (and counting) in 17 european countries, we are delighted that together we have managed to continue sharing and showcasing all the extraordinary work that communities are doing all over Europe.

In addition ECOLISE, members and partners launched a far-reaching new action programme, Communities for Future, with strong endorsement from all levels of society from EU Commissioners to MEPs and citizen organisers across the continent. Communities for Future inspires and supports  local communities to take action for a healthier, fairer, regenerative world. It builds on the showcasing of community-led initiatives that EDSC has facilitated since 2017.

As heard so many times before, the current pandemic is all about adapting and innovating – and we are so happy that we succeeded in doing that also with the European Day of Sustainable Communities! This is something that we must celebrate!

We are excited and looking forward to celebrating EDSC also in 2021, with an even wider network of community-led organisations and initiatives, hopefully emerging out of the Covid-19 crisis even more connected and stronger than ever before.   

“In recent months, as the pandemic has turned our lives upside down, we have seen first-hand the indispensable role of local communities in times of crisis. In contemplating how to rebuild our economies and societies in a way that also responds to the climate and ecological emergencies, the role of communities takes on an even greater importance. As job losses and business failures mount, increased support for community-led action can provide a way to rebuild local economies in a way that addresses deep-rooted inequality and unsustainable practices that are at the heart of the climate and ecological emergency,” 

– Eamon O’Hara, Executive Director of ECOLISE

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