In Switzerland, concrete efforts are underway at every level to realize significant shifts in energy production and consumption patterns towards the target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. In addition to the private and public sectors, households have a role to play in how this energy or ecological transition plays out, as tied to the following three strategies:
– Increasing new decarbonized and renewable energy supply
– Reinforcing energy efficiency efforts
– Promoting measures that reduce energy usage
What is less clear is the role that households will play as citizens in the energy transition, not solely in their role as consumers. Note that our use of the term citizen evokes some form of political participation in society, which need not require formal national citizenship.
The Canton of Geneva has ratified ambitious plans on climate, energy, and biodiversity, among others, and is working towards a revision of the Cantonal Director’s Plan. These strategies will guide the region’s transition to more sustainable and resilient ways of living, in line with Federal council policy and targets. Commune-level municipal authorities are gearing up to ground Cantonal plans at local levels. All plans call for some form of citizen engagement, and participatory actions are being promoted by municipal authorities and the Canton level, for example, the Geneva in Transition initiative. But how citizen participation will play out more broadly at the Commune level remains to be seen.
The Geneva CAL contributes to transition goals by encouraging the involvement and cooperation of Geneva residents. While Switzerland is a model for deliberative democracy, there is a need to reinforce public participation for these urgent actions to succeed. The Geneva Citizen Action Lab aims to create conditions under which participants’ capacity and confidence to engage with energy issues in their homes and communities will be strengthened. While analyzing together what citizen actions are possible, participants will identify broader, structural issues that require action at other scales.
Main objectives and theme
The Geneva Citizen Action Lab aims to improve our understanding of how energy citizenship can be promoted to further support local energy transitions.
Our main objectives are to:
– Contribute to deep citizen participation by sharing practical information and giving attention to the needs and wishes of citizens.
– Obtain new knowledge on the forms of energy citizenship that are necessary for a more effective energy transition.
– Support residents of Vandœuvres, Collonge-Bellerive, Choulex and Meinier to co-produce their own action plans.
For whom is it relevant – Potential participants
– One group of residents is potentially hard-to-reach in Geneva: middle- and upper-class households. They are time-poor and can often be disconnected from collective citizen action, but also could contribute strongly to accelerating the energy transition. To this end, DIALOGUES-Geneva focuses a particular effort on four affluent suburbs.
– The events are open to all people living or working in Vandœuvres, Collonge-Bellerive, Choulex, Meinier and surrounding communes.
Main topics of discussion
Our main theme is imagining ‘the good life’ in 2035 when Geneva will be well and truly advanced in its energy transition.
– How will we be cooling and heating our buildings while reducing carbon emissions and other impacts?
– How will we be traveling and getting around? How will biodiversity be thriving?
– What would we have to change in our understanding of the good life as well as our energy practices today to ensure good outcomes for all in 2035?
– What concrete measures need to be taken, at a collective level, to ensure the good life in 2035?
A series of events will culminate in a session for developing a climate and well-being action plan by residents, for residents. Attendance at all events is not required to contribute to the final plan. All sessions are hosted in French.
– Citizen participation in Geneva’s energy transition: what does this imply in our communes? | Panel and debate | 20 September 2022, 19h-21h | Community hall, Vandœuvres
– What does the good life look like in our communes in 2035? | Participatory workshop with cartoon characters | 19 October 2022, 19h-21h | Salle du Cafe des Tilleuls, Meinier
– Energy in our buildings: sufficiency by choice or by constraint? | Discussion and debate | 22 November 2022, 19h-21h | Community hall, Choulex
– Questions & Answers: Exchanging views with energy and other experts | Workshop format with a World Café and Futures Wheel exercise | 14 December 2022, 19h-21h, la salle Terrasse, Vésenaz
– A citizen energy action planning event | One-day workshop for residents to develop their own action plan for living well in the energy transition | 27-28 January 2023 (date and times to be confirmed), la salle Terrasse, Vésenaz
Co-organizers and other partners
– The University of Geneva, Department of Social Sciences
– Municipal authority, Commune of Vandœuvres
– Citizen collectives in Collonge-Bellerive, Meinier and Choulex.
The project research team, implementation partners and stakeholders group involved are all participants of the citizen action lab.
To sign up for the event series please access this LINK
Or contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Participation in this project is completely voluntary and participants may withdraw at any time. All information obtained will be kept confidential and any identifying information will be removed from the data collected.