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15 February 2023

Near Nature: GoGreenRoutes gathers for intersectionality, environmental justice and access to green space

Near Nature: GoGreenRoutes gathers for intersectionality, environmental justice and access to green space

Last week GoGreen Routes held its Spring School at Maynooth University with a welcome by Faculty and Opening Address by Minister for State, Jack Chambers (Minister of State at the Department of Transport),French Ambassador to Ireland, H.E. Vincent Guérend, Maynooth University Vice President for Research Prof. Ronan Farrell and Claire Doran (Director of Internationalisation, Maynooth University) and a keynote from Dr. Catherine Carty (Unesco Chair, MTU).

The focus of this Spring School was "Near Nature: Green Space and Environmental Justice”. The theme was meant to foster connections for urban health and well-being among many sectors. Among several topics of the week, we discussed monitoring (biodiversity, environmental quality, citizens' voice, SDG frameworks and observational fieldwork), innovation beyond the project, city networking and inclusion via our work in the GGR Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Panel. Dr. Mario V. Balzan also lent his expertise today on the subject of monitoring of #nature based solutions and biodiversity. 

The following morning, Dr. Daniela Pauknerova (VSE, Prague University of Economics and Business) challenged the room to truly reflect on how sustainable leadership could transform not only the landscape of businesses, but ultimately community outcomes and global sustainability. With a managerial role comes responsibility and a chance to integrate sustainability into organisational structures.

As Dr. Pauknerova explains, "If you're not sustainable yourself as a leader, you will not convince others. You cannot preach water and drink wine....global leaders should be humble, but need confidence to get the message through and the purpose behind it to match."

As we explore further all the moving parts that move together to achieve greener, safer and more equitable spaces, it becomes clear how we must use all of our many platforms and expertise to drive forward the green change we wish to see in cities and the political landscape, albeit through

  • collaboration with NBEs
  • academic dissemination
  • engaging citizens through 360 Health
  • co-creation and co-learning with the greater health and NBS landscape

We are just scratching the surface of the impact we hope to leave and are eager to keep innovating through our ever increasing sustainability and health networks.With a 360 Health and co-creational approach and with inclusion in mind, GoGreen Routes is creating a breadth of work to collect knowledge in the field to improve urban health outcomes, identify gaps to implementation and ultimately create more equitable access to green space in the long run in communities across Europe and beyond. This knowledge is deepened by the rich body of research collected and coordinated by our Academy Cluster. 

Our work is made possible by our researchers, experts and partners in our six Seedbed Cities: Umeå, Tallinn, Burgas, Versailles, City of Lahti & Limerick City and County Council. Many thanks also to the Environmental Protection Agency, a supporter of GoGreenRoutes. During the three days together at Maynooth we learned so much from their exchange on NBS implementation at the local level of governance, which we will use going forward to engage citizens in the field and create more livable spaces for all. 

Check out this article on the event from Maynooth University here

Maynooth University (ICLEI Europe) by "Adriana Duarte", licensed under some rights reserved, for promotion