Forum Synergies’ Season greetings 2018
We look back to another year of global turbulences but also to many new exciting and encouraging developments in Europe.
We are surprised and worried about the rapid manifestation of climate change on our continent. It has arrived in our regions, villages, in our fields and gardens.
Long periods of drought, water shortage, no feed for animals, is not a story told only in the South of Europe any more. Long heat and lost harvests are reality in the North too. Storms and hurricanes in summer, floods, destroyed forests, - extreme weather has become frequent in our news. Many people, especially in the countryside, ask themselves how to prepare and protect themselves or how to adapt to climate and nature getting wilder. It seems that human and nature resilience will follow being challenged in the future.
Politically, the wildest fears of a radical takeover of populist and right wing movements have not yet materialized though in some member states of the EU, they have built roots in national governments. Even if some tender seedlings of civil society counter movements start to emerge like just in Hungary, the trend to this national instead of European, to withdraw to one’s own interests and see others as competitors and enemies is still alive. We will see in the upcoming European elections in May 2019 whether the European spirit of solidarity and cohesion is still alive or not. And we are all called upon to take the opportunity to highlight and strengthen that spirit of mutual support and cooperation across borders, cultures, languages and religions so that we stay in peace on a continent that has seen too many conflicts and wars in the past.
So here comes the good news. We see many young people becoming active and struggling for a better Europe. In all networks and partnerships we are working with as Forum Synergies, we see new energy, creativity and determination to reconnect, to discover new ways of learning and working together. Local initiatives working on healthy food, biodiversity, waste avoidance, circular economy, reduction of pesticide use, civic dialogue, organic seed breeding and many more are making impact locally, bringing the alternative lifestyle and engagement to the surface which is necessary to build the critical substance for change also to the political discourse, be it on regional, national or European level. The national and European rural parliaments, networks like Access to Land, URGENCI, PREPARE, or platforms like ARC2020 and Pour-une-autre PAC can build there debates and action on this positive and growing energy for the change that is so much needed.
Forum Synergies is a small but important asset in this new energy and we wish to continue being a place where synergies can emerge in our workshops, lifeshops, European gatherings and in our publications. One of these last mentioned will be a “Travel book to rural Europe” which we hope to publish after summer 2019. We wish to highlight 25 years of FS history, presence and future and to point at what matters for a constructive European spirit: people who are engaged for the values we share and are curious to learn about others; places where people feel at home and enjoy welcoming others; and communication that tells the truth about problems and possible solutions which we need to deal with the many challenges that are in front of us. A series of interviews we did with some of you express hope and encourage us to face the upcoming challenges.
We wish you all some quiet days over Christmas and a happy new European Year!