Pre-program council advice

June 12th, 2023

Based on the results of the prioritization sessions, including the underlying submitted ideas, the Pre-Programming Council (PPR) had a good discussion on the topic for the first Crutzen workshop. In its considerations, the PPR included the urgency and importance of the subject, the extent to which it contributes to accelerating a systemic transition, and how it connects to appropriate expertise and capacity in the Netherlands.

The PPR argues that it is not possible to choose one or two topics from the list in the prioritization sessions on objective grounds because they are all urgent. In short, the PPR’s advice boils down to the following: Put climate justice at the centre and use this concept as a general framework or ‘lens’ through which to view all other topics; in doing so, you take new steps and actually add something to the existing system. Climate justice is the ‘cork’ on which all climate-related transitions float, on which policy can and should steer, the key to setting transitions in motion and going through them. But it is, at the same time, the elephant in the room that needs to be talked about.

The PPR starts from three Crutzen workshops and recommends making them as different as possible to do justice to the diversity of topics and approaches in which climate justice plays or should play a role. To arrive at the best themes, the council recommends, among other things, entering into a dialogue with NGOs and other parties who encounter deficiencies in the current system. Develop ‘radical’ alternatives that go beyond the current way of doing research, especially in the direction of real inter- and transdisciplinary collaborations; also use new critical approaches and perspectives from the humanities and the arts. In doing so, the PPR emphasizes a focus on systems thinking. Meaning focusing explicitly on common underlying causes of the poly-crisis, so not only climate change but also increasing inequality and loss of nature. Nature, the natural system, must always be involved in the issue.

To give a little more direction to this broad topic, the PPR indicated that justice almost always has something to do with power. Consider stalling power, but also change power and the power of social movements, such as Extinction Rebellion, for example, versus existing power structures, such as industry and lobbying organizations. Choosing a location as a focus was also suggested to work out a transition from the perspective of justice. This could be like the Living-lab approach.

The KIN steering committee is taking the advice as a starting point in shaping the first Crutzen workshop in early October this year. In the next step, we will look at the applicability to existing themes, doing full justice to the ideas submitted.