The Brexit-dogged British parliament pulled itself together this week to became the first to announce an ‘environment and climate emergency’. It is now incumbent on other countries’ parliaments to follow the UK lead, thereby, building on the momentum created by Greta Thumberg, FridaysForFuture and the growing Extinction Rebellion protests that so impressed in London recently.
Yesterday, Konstanz became the first German city to declare a climate emergency. But what about Munich? The Bavarian capital likes to promote itself as green city, extolling its own green energy plans, cycle network and other sustainable initiatives. To varying degrees, some of this is true. And Munich has already declared that it will be climate neutral by 2050.
But the hugely damaging effects of climate change demands further words, further action. Munich needs to follow in the welcome footsteps of Konstanz and unequivocally declare an environment and climate emergency.
It would place the city firmly on the right side of history. And it would proudly and publicly position itself alongside the growing bandwagon of people, cities and (hopefully) parliaments in recognising that some kind of radical transformation of the way we live is required.
The cleverest cities, the ones that back it up with meaningful and early action, such as Copenhagen, will be the ones that benefit quickest. And this will be felt not just economically, but also in the health and wellbeing of their citizens.