That will never work in our city.

Day 1 of the impressive Urban Future Global Conference is behind us and we’re about to step into Day 2. If you didn’t have a chance to join us in beautiful Oslo, I have some good news for you. The entire first day of the conference can be summarised as follows:

We have the technology. We have the data. We know what regulations to introduce. Our cities CAN be climate positive. Our hearts and minds are simply not there yet.

The city of Oslo has introduced regulations ensuring that all new construction sites are fossil-free. The goal is to have net-zero emissions buildings by 2025 (in 6 yrs!). But it’s Oslo, they have the money, that will never work in our city.

Already 80 cities in India, according to Andrew Steer, have introduced car-free days, allowing local communities to enjoy their cities at least for a day a month, without all the automobiles. But it’s a different culture, that will never work in our city.

Eating meat is one of the biggest contributors to GHG emissions on the planet. That is why multiple mayors all around Europe (but also in India) are looking into introducing meat-free days and are pushing strong for limiting food waste, as part of the circular economy efforts. We do like our schabowy (schnitzel) in Poland, though, so that will never work in our city.

Do you need me to go on? As the Governing Mayor of Oslo, Raymond Johansen, said during the opening ceremony:

No one is better placed than us – city dwellers – to provide solutions to tackle climate change.

The question then is, how do we change our mindsets and make use of the solutions that are already out there. How do we make green solutions a norm?, as the president of C40, Mark Watts, asked during one of the discussions. I hope we will find some answers to these questions today. We will surely try to answer it during a session I’m happy to be a part of – Developing a shared city vision.

Do you have tips and experiences to share re: changing people’s minds regarding climate change mitigation? Write them in comments below!

PS I’m most impressed by Gina Gylver, who hosted the opening ceremony. Gina is 18, and as she herself says, she’s been a climate activist 1/3 of her life, ever since she was twelve. We need more Ginas!