Attending YMP, I received a chance to attend Stockholm+40 – Partnership Forum for Sustainable Development on 23-25th of April in Stockholm, Sweden. My 5 day travel has come to its end, but my thoughts haven’t.
I was a little bit nervous when I left Beijing. I wasn’t sure if I could do well on the conference. But thinking about the large amount of work I had done before I left, I felt better and more confident.
I met Elisabeth and Torvald and the other YMP students the evening I arrived. It’s really nice to meet them and I felt that we were like a family united. Such feeling is truly great!
The first day we had a plenary session, a generation panel, 3 high level panel and two roundtable discussions. The next day we had two parallel sessions, cities for sustainability, an innovation workshop and a dialogue between ministers and stakeholders. The meetings were quite compact and I learnt a lot from the them. I’ll list some points that left me deep impressions.
1. Minister of environment, Lena Ek, mentioned in her speech that there will be no peace without equal development, and there will be no development without sustainability. It’s true that world peace requires equal development, and equality is one of the requirements of sustainability. We need equality. And we need equality not only materially, but also mentally. The reason we need it is that every one of us has dignity, the basic dignity that each human being has. Dignity is one of our fundamental needs and a right that each human being requires. If there’s no equality, then conflicts will appear. And human development will face the way opposite peace. We can be sure that sustainability is what the world needs at the moment.
2. Sustainability is a state of balance. Just as Lao Zi, one of the ancient Chinese philosophers, supposed, the best state of the world is the state of balance. When humans and nature were in a state of balance, in ancient times, the speed at which resources were renewed and the speed they was used was nearly the same. So resources could be renewed and reused continually and the society could developm in a sustainable way. The destruction of the environment means the breaking of the balance. The scale begins to tip towards the human side. The development of human beings restrict the development of the environment. And so, we can’t develop in a sustainable way anymore. What we need to do now is to regain the balance. From a bigger side, this requires people to have an environmental awareness, social equality, and a cooperation of the whole world. From a smaller side, this requires every one of us to lead a sustainable life and make our lives more eco-friendly.
3. To achieve sustainability, we need to answer some basic questions: how’s the relationship between people and environment? How’s the relationship between one person and another? Our problems with sustainability require us to answer these questions. So, sometimes we need to stop and rethink these basic questions. We can’t just move forward without stopping to think. In order to think better, we also need critical voices and different voices to balance our ideas. Sustainability has a connection to the interests of people from all ranks of society. So we need to give attention to different people and make decisions reflect the ideas of different people.
Stockholm is truly a wonderful city. I saw the river flowing, the sea gulls flying and the alleys in the old town getting older and older in the sun that was setting. 5 days is just too short. I had to without catching a grasp of the outline of the city. Regardless, I will keep in mind the people and things that I came across there and the 5 wonderful days I had. It’s just so nice that I got to meet all of you there. I also want to say thank you to all of you for the help and support you gave me.
Stockholm, I’ll come back again.