It's an ambitious goal. It's an unprecedented journey. It will be "bloody hard", as Frans Timmermans, Vice President of the European Commission, pointed out. But the one thing that makes tough journeys easier to tackle - is the knowledge of not being alone in them.
So, here are the first 100 European cities committed to becoming climate-neutral by 2030: from Heidelberg to Utrecht, Zaragoza to Thessaloniki, Wrocław to Lund. Yesterday, they got to experience how they are in this together when representatives of those 100 cities met for the first time in-person at the kick-off event in Brussels hosted by its initiator, the European Commission and #NetZeroCities, the managing platform of this enormous endeavour.
In her opening remarks, Kirsten Dunlop, CEO of Climate-KIC said that when it comes to bringing about transformation, "the hardest thing of all is to transform ourselves," and for that, we will "need hearts and imagination involved". We will need all of us to show up wholeheartedly, and we need to follow a shared vision. Of both, we weren't running short amongst the 300 participants present. They dared to have "radically honest" conversations, and through a game that has become dear to me, we got to feel that collaboration starts with listening to one another whilst also making your voice heard.
On my journey, I count myself lucky, having brave and fierce hearts always at my side. One being my friend Luise Fischer who not only helped me greatly with her extensive expertise to dive deeper into understanding the complexity behind this European Mission to prepare for this moderation but who is also one of the most wholehearted "eco-warriors" I know who with every ounce of her being works towards a climate transition that will turn our world into a place where we live aligned with nature and not against it.
It's through people like her as well as BALDWIN Matthew (Move), Thomas Osdoba, Thomas J. Haddock PIEMA and their entire teams that we can start this unprecedented journey, resting assured in the feeling that we will walk not a single step of it alone.