Our societies are facing one of the biggest challenges in our history – a ecological crisis that endangers the very human existence. But the ecological crisis is not the only one. Inequality is rising and the divide between those who enjoy the privileges of globalized capitalism and those who are left behind is increasing. Our societies lose cohesion and become more polarized and fragmented. Romania is no exception to this – despite the tremendous economic growth of the last decade, the inequality and the share of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion are among the highest in the EU. Moreover, the consequences of the climate crisis, such as draughts, floods, or rising prices for foods, are disproportionately hitting the poor.
As many have pointed out, the ecological and socio-economic crises are not two independent phenomena - they have a common root and are both originating in the same economic model. This model has brought us productivity gains and economic growth, but it also produces negative externalities, such as pollution, public health issues or waste.
Therefore, both the social and ecological crisis must be addressed simultaneously, by adjusting the way our system works. FES Romania’s work explores new ways of thinking and action that are forward-looking, trying to figure out best policy options for achieving a green and inclusive economy. Environmental policies must go hand in hand with measures aiming to achieve more economic democracy, a fairer distribution of wealth and more social inclusion. Green policies have to be socially just policies; otherwise, they are doomed to fail, by only scratching the surface of the problem and by losing the support of those who are affected the most by the consequences of the climate crisis.