Creating a sustainable world together

Summary

Outside any political or administrative framework, citizens are creating group movements and actions themselves, paving the way to a more sustainable world. We take a look at three of them.  

18Nov.
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Citizens are mobilizing around projects together. They grow tomatoes at the bottom of their residential block, make soup with the vegetables left over from markets, or code together to develop « green » applications. A community of hippies stuck in the Seventies? Not at all. These co-creative communities focused on sustainable development are now being supported by anonymous volunteers, who prefer revolutions that grow simply and surely on a day-to-day basis to political ones that are slow in coming.

 A community of hippies stuck in the Seventies? Not at all.

Collective cooking to combat food waste

Nothing in the bin; everything on the plate. Not a week goes by without news of some Disco Soup being organized somewhere. « Disco Soup is a movement of celebratory solidarity that appropriates the public space and discarded food with the idea of raising awareness about food wastage, » says the association. In practical terms, volunteers scour markets and other places for fruit and vegetables that are still edible but doomed to end up in the garbage truck. After an intensive group session of peeling and cooking, the prepared dishes are distributed at no charge (or for a freely-decided contribution) in a festive atmosphere. Anyone can organize a Disco Soup anywhere they like, as long as they respect the association’s principles (non-profit-making, the use of recovered vegetables, cooking carried out as a group, etc.)

Nothing in the bin; everything on the plate.

Launched in Paris in 2012, « the Disco Soup movement has an open-source status. It draws on a community of several hundred people who act according to the principles of stigmergy [defined in social insects as automatic reactions carried out to accomplish a coherent work – Ed.] and self-management, thus enhancing its members’ individual initiative, hacker ethic and sense of being able to sort things out. In 2015, the Disco Soup community has several hundred active and committed members of all ages. » In one year, the association has staged a hundred Disco Soups throughout the world in 60 different cities, producing 42,000 meals made with 20 metric tons of fruit and vegetables recovered and then cooked. A magnificent result for a citizens’ initiative.

Vegetable gardens in cities

 Citizens are getting in contact, teaming up, particularly through the social media, and creating public vegetable gardens […]

Transforming tarmac into green patches at full speed – with a capital S – to grow lettuces: this is what a « permablitz » does. Permablitz is a contraction of two words: permaculture (low-energy environmentally-friendly methods for growing foodstuffs efficiently) and the German word Blitz, meaning « lightning ». A Permablitz is thus a gathering of citizens who bypass impossibly slow administrative procedures, and decide voluntarily as a group to bring the countryside into the urban world, in a spirit of sharing, using growing techniques that respect nature. Like the Incredible Edibles, a movement that arose in 2008 in Todmorden, a small town in northern England badly affected by the economic crisis. At the time, the solution they found to feed struggling families for free consisted of creating vegetable gardens where everyone could help themselves without paying anything. The movement rapidly spread throughout the world, particularly in France from 2012 onwards. As a result, citizens are getting in contact, teaming up, particularly through the social media, and creating public vegetable gardens all over France, with or without the agreement of the various local authorities.

Coding to combat global warming

By organizing climathons, we want to foster the emergence of digital solutions to prevent and limit climate change

Changing the climate behind one’s screen… In France, Code for Climate is an association created in September 2014 around a handful of geeks committed to the fight against global warming. A few months from COP 21 (the United Nations summit on climate change), these computer language buffs have created the Climathon, a contraction of the words climate and hackathon, which defines an action lasting 48 hours when programmers get together to develop computer applications based on a precise theme. « By organizing climathons, we want to foster the emergence of digital solutions to prevent and limit climate change, and any other problems linked to sustainable development, » says the association. The first French edition of Climathon last February brought some thirty entrepreneurs, developers, designers and experts in sustainable development, who beavered away on practical solutions to fight climate change, and even managed to produce several application models from their whirring brains! Next session: Climate Up during COP 21.