We are pleased to announce that the 2022 edition of Freedom Games is to be held on October 14-16 in the EC1, Lodz. The leading theme of this year’s forum is to be “Green Independence”.
ABOUT THE FORTHCOMING EDITION
Russia’s attack on Ukraine brought the European sense of relative security to an end. Geopolitics is back in all its brutality, and so the mobilization of the entire free world is needed to help the attacked, independent, European state. Ukraine must survive, because if Kyiv is deprived of the right to selfdetermination, the world order will erode, and the chaos of war will probably spread to more countries and regions.
The war is a wake-up call for the entire free world, which must be ready to defend its freedoms and values in a military way. It is also the last call for a green transformation that will make democratic countries independent from the supply of energy resources from authoritarian countries. Today, green transformation is green independence, our climate and ecological goals are aligned with the geopolitical ones like never before.
The challenges of green transformation and development require consistent and long-term action across political divisions. It is necessary to be mindful of environmental protection – protect forests, fight smog, eliminate inhumane methods of intensive animal farming – and, as a result, stop climate change. These tasks should not be governed by political preferences. Still, the biggest challenge awaits Poland in the field of energy transformation and moving away from coal-based energy – a process that requires extensive investment.
Developed Western societies are privileged over the countries that joined the industrial and capitalist revolution later. The ‘yellow vests’ protests demonstrated that even in wealthy France there is a potential for a radical opposition to the costs of green transformation. Therefore, it is crucial to reconcile the possibility of sustainable development with responsibility for our planet. Lack of growth will lead to a zero-sum game, in which the strongest will win – and the weaker will likely rebel against the rules imposed on them.
Forcing radical lifestyle changes – such as an absolute ban on meat consumption or using cars – will likely backfire and be met with opposition that will actually slow down the fight against climate change instead of accelerating it. For this reason, environmentally friendly actions and those counteracting climate change must obtain a permanent democratic mandate that will not give populists any arguments.
Undoubtedly, carrying out such significant changes without universal public approval will not be effective.
At the same time, capitalism must come to terms with the fact that climate change is real. For the market to continue to flourish, action is required from companies, consumers, and governments. However, one should approach the challenges we face rationally. While the idea of zero growth may perhaps seem acceptable for highly developed societies (such as the Netherlands or Norway), it is difficult to imagine that this plan would be approved by the people of Egypt or Somalia. It also seems unthinkable to accept the idea of stagnation in the Polish society. If green ideas cannot be reconciled with a system that allows people to dream and work for a better future, they will be pushed to the margins of politics by other narratives that offer such an opportunity. Such a state of affairs can only exacerbate the processes that are already leading to catastrophic climate change.
We have a duty to craft such a narrative about fighting climate change that has the potential to win over the majority of the population. The ideology that presents itself as the only right one always causes resistance, and in unfavorable conditions, a social reaction can lead to disastrous consequences. Therefore, we should not be asking whether we need growth, or a free-market and law-abiding capitalist economy that is most effective in combating poverty and making citizens richer. Instead, the question is how to reconcile our economic goals with the fight against the climate crisis. The introduction of clean and available new technologies constitutes a rational path that could eventually lead us out of the crisis.
Environmental demands must be enshrined in the broadly understood modernity and aspirations of Poles and be presented as an opportunity, not just sacrifices. To achieve this goal, we need to appeal to our shared values and interests. Most importantly, we cannot wait for a social change to just happen. By remaining passive we will condemn ourselves to impossible sacrifices and destroy the competitiveness of the Polish economy. Therefore, an action plan must be drawn up – one that shall identify not only expert solutions, but also sociopolitical ones.
How to accelerate the road to green independence? We will try to answer this question during the 2022 Freedom Games.