An Ecologic Dinner Dialogue took place on the eve and in anticipation of the 3rd ETTAR (Environmental Technologies, Training and Awareness Raising) Workshop dealing with training and awareness-raising needs to improve the environmental performance of freight transport. Sebastian Bäckström (WSP, Sweden) shared his personal views about the need for more sustainable transport featuring low emissions and prices reflecting the environmental impact. Mr. Bäckström's starting point was that "something is wrong" in the organisation of current transport systems and transport patterns.
While it yielded very positive results, Mr. Bäckström said that sustainable transport is a goal and has to be attained inter alia via education and the change of the restrictions of our market mechanisms. Sustainability is hard reality, and not just a mindset, not a set of statements and ambitions or not some vague idea. The society must acknowledge that there will be changes to our way of living. People will however not forego amenities such as cheap goods from all over the world by themselves. It is therefore important to create new priorities by creating "informed" opinions by raising awareness regarding the real costs and benefits of certain "amenities" (including the external effects of long-distance transports) and the limits of resource consumptions as well as the consumption of human workforces on far continents. There is a social dimension to sustainability that has to be highlighted. In a sustainable world, every human must be able to enjoy tolerable living conditions, or better, to lead a pleasant life.
Mr. Bäckström’s résumé was that the desired sustainable mobility/transport is likely to be out of reach during present economic paradigms, why it will be a goal for yet some time to come. However it is not a myth.
The subsequent discussion touched upon the following issues and questions:
- The influence of the automotive lobby on political choices in the transport-related policy areas;
- The role and capacity of policy makers to decide who are the structural "winners" (especially sustainable transport options) and who are the "losers" (especially non-sustainable transport options) of transport-related policy;
- The real impact of education about sustainability and the need for the marketing of sustainable products;
- The difference between mobility and transport.
- Ecologic Project: Environmental Technologies, Training and Awareness-Raising (ETTAR)