29 March 2017

Sustainable Sheffield: How might we best implement the Sustainable Development Goals in Yorkshire?

INTERSECTION hosted a workshop titled 'Sustainable Sheffield: How might we best implement the Sustainable Development Goals in Yorkshire?' on 29 March 2017, at the University of Sheffield's Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS).

Cyclists in the Peak District

With the Sustainable Development Goals now well established, it is increasingly recognised that local and regional governments are central to the potential success of this pressing global agenda by 2030. More specifically, Goals 11 and 17 refer to the need to make cities and communities more resilient and sustainable, and highlight the need to work in partnership if all 17 goals are to be realised. The UN has now introduced a number of roadmaps to help with local implementation, recognising that it is through local governance structures and local engagement with a diverse community of stakeholders that a more broad-based ownership, commitment and accountability towards to goals might be achieved.

So what does this all mean at the local / regional level here in Yorkshire? This workshop presented emerging findings from the INTERSECTION research project on local attitudes to intergenerational justice, consumption and sustainability. INTERSECTION’s starting point is the UN’s aspiration of a sustainable “Society for All Ages”, questioning who is (or should be) responsible for sustainable practice. The work in Sheffield included a survey of 750 city residents, creative workshops themed around sustainability and 135 interviews with local people and three generation families, with participants aged 16 to 96. The research suggests that there are a number of challenges at the local and regional level in engaging ordinary people with the Sustainable Development agenda. Chiefly, that whilst recognising the need for action most people do not see climate change as an issue of intergenerational injustice, and they tend to charge government and industry with responsibility for environmental stewardship and sustainable consumption rather than look to their personal impact.

Natalie Bennett, former leader of the Green party and prospective parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Central, Michelle Cook from Sheffield City Council and Antony Mason from the Intergenerational Foundation provided reflections on, and responses to, the findings outlined by Professor Gill Valentine.

Break out groups then explored possible implications of the INTERSECTION research for policy makers and practitioners charged with delivering a more sustainable future for the region.

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