“Misinformation And Fear” Must Be Combatted – Potočnik

09-06-14(2)picAt his closing speech at last week’s Green Week (2-6 June) Janez Potočnik, Commissoner European Commissioner for the Environment, identified three important communication challenges to resource efficiency and a circular economy. 

Combatting misinformation and fear, communicating a clear target and direction, and changing mindsets through citizens’ action, were all identified by the Commissioner as hindering resource efficiency.

He said: “We saw again in the European election campaigning the power of misinformation and the convenience of blaming Brussels.

“In the last three days we have heard from all quarters the fundamental importance of eco-design as a central pillar of delivering the circular economy. Yet in the last few weeks we have seen ill-informed and opportunistic attacks on eco-design by politicians of all colours…

“We have to fight lazy populism with hard-working facts. And I know we will face more attacks in the coming months.”

“Without a clear target I believe that we will remain for a long time in the zone of nice words whilst we continue to drive in the wrong direction and towards a big wall. The very complexity of our task means that we need a target that we can communicate. Not one that we can impose, not one that is perfect… one that we can all understand”

Potočnik asked: “How do we move from nice words to actions? Particularly when we have heard so much about the lock-ins and obstacles to systemic change.

“Without a clear target I believe that we will remain for a long time in the zone of nice words whilst we continue to drive in the wrong direction and towards a big wall. The very complexity of our task means that we need a target that we can communicate. Not one that we can impose, not one that is perfect… one that we can all understand.”

Potočnik said that to change behaviour mindsets need to be changed. “We cannot simply do this by telling people to change,” he said. “We can try to do it through incentives and regulation. But the best way to do it is through awareness and understanding.

“Printing brochures does not change peoples’ ways of thinking. We have seen examples here of mobilising people in their own interests – to repair their broken products, or to clean up their neighbourhoods. But these actions also enlighten, and they can be fun.”

Draft proposals show that the European Commission is set to move forward with plans to set a 70 percent recycling target for 2030 and ban recyclable waste from landfill from 2025.

 

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