We met from 5-11.12.14 in Weimar to discuss our rural realities and necessities, get a basic idea of sustainable development and sustainable entrepreneurship, share our examples for sustainable entrepreneurship, research the local reality in Weimar as a rural area and at the end present the our NGO’s activities and make projects.
To begin, the discussion for defining sustainable development changed the perspective of how I always used to define sustainability. Instead of sticking to the definition I used before the project started, now I consider that making a more flexible basic for our further discussion will be the best option.
Our discussions before revealing the most-common used definition resulted in defining sustainable development as a concept aiming of long term approach for managing resources thinking about the well-being of the future generations.
This fruitful discussion led to the basic definition: “Sustainable Development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”(Our common future, 1987) receiving the most supporters between us.
However, presenting the Mother Earth as a system boundary where the economy although the smallest, receives the highest attention and support from the public. This idea was left for reconsideration and further discussion between us, the participants.
However, the starting 3-pillar definition of sustainable development was then extended to a 4-pillar model which was concluded to be for now implemented only in highly-developed countries, but because of the high relevance for the youth( engagement, education, health, well-being, memory, recreation, creativity) it has a potential to be used also in less developed countries and in our projects as well.
This is the model used by the United Nations and reveals new perspective of the sustainability model. The basic difference of this model is that the social pillar is divided into political and culture pillars.
Name: Circles of Sustainability, source Wikipendia.org
Thinking in a System
The idea behind this concept was shortly discussed and let to certain conclusions, here are some of them:
The Mother Earth is our limit, and everything is connected. Therefore any, positive and negative action in the field of emissions in any country has an effect overall.
This is deeply connected with the so called cost and benefit analysis which leads big parts of the actions. However, the basic conclusion is that everyone starts from personal costs and benefits, not the Planet’ needs and boundaries!!!
When discussing personal needs, no general conclusion could be made, as each individual has own personal needs ranging from shelter, water, air, friends to mobility, and of course a lot of sentimental needs which lead us back to the culture pillar of the sustainability circles.
Furthermore, the concept of need was then connected to the idea of limitations which require time and energy that individuals have to spend. Example was traveling long-distances with train, which is time consuming and brings its opportunity costs. These costs were then defined as the costs of the opportunities and the profit missed when deciding to do one instead of one other or more other activities.
To conclude when discussing sustainability, in urban as well as rural areas a basic issue existing is the focus on one particular need without considering its wide and future impact.
Therefore, a main need for now is the motto of one of the Albanian partner Organizations: “BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN OTHERS”.
When defining entrepreneurship associations USED by us, the participants were as follow: business, innovation, management, youth, networking etc.
Examples of sustainable entrepreneurship were projects related to: permaculture, crowd funding, rural tourism development, dumpster diving, small children education up to work with experienced persons in the hosteling sector.
Besides international examples, sustainable entrepreneurship was presented also for Weimar. The basic idea was to find Sustainability = use of local resources in work and long-tradition.
State, as well as privately owned institutions were presented as successful case studies. Some of those institutions are for example:
- Beirat für Nachhaltige Entwicklung Thüringen (http://www.nachhaltigkeitsbeirat-thueringen.de/)
- Nachhaltigkeitszentrum Thüringen (http://www.nhz-th.de/aktuelles/)
- Deutsche Industrie- und Handelskammer (DIHK) (http://www.erfurt.ihk.de/)
- Welt Shop (Fair Trade) Weimar (http://weltladen-weimar.jimdo.com/)
- Local butchery, jewelry and cheese shops etc.
As a conclusion of a discussion a lot of challenges and opportunities were defined for further Weimar’s and in general, rural development.
Here are some of them:
Opportunities: cultural activities, Lot of companies can be sustainable, Any financial support from the government can empower and motivate people to be able to take risks!
Needs: English speaking people, informing and involving youth in the new Weimar opportunities,
Promote tourism to internationals, Cultural tourism and Farmers sustainability education
A result was the idea that even Germany has a lot of space for improvement.
Example for sustainable entrepreneurship in Weimar
On a brainstorming workshop, the ideas given by the participants for concrete projects in the field of rural development, possible to be implemented under the Erasmus Plus Programme are:
- Risk management and sustainable entrepreneurship
- Photo cycling (cycling and taking pictures)
- Asocial families in rural areas, solidarity
- Entrepreneurship aiming for youth employment
- Unemployed women in rural areas
- Rural hospitality and entrepreneurship
- Organic farming
- Minorities, human rights,
- healthy lifestyle
- How to start business, how to support business
As a result at least 8 projects were developed and have a potential to be applied on the 4th of February Deadline.
During the discussion the importance of cross-sectoral cooperation and the huge value, if also municipalities and not only youth organizations are involved, was emphasized.
A common conclusion was to focus on developing competences and full-fill the needs of the youth in rural areas. Examples of those needs involve: education, employment, vocational training, access to information (especially for sustainable development), networking, mobility, tourism development and management skills, entrepreneurship opportunities in the field of organic farming and permaculture etc.
Those needs and challenges are hoped to be met in the following Projects.
And here you can find the link to homepage of the project: http://cge-impact.org/
The project is supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.