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Living healthier, more equitable and environmentally friendly lifestyles – a reflection from European citizens living in the year 2040.
In order to answer the question “How can behaviour and lifestyle change support the transition to healthier, more environmentally-sustainable and equitable societies?”, the Horizon 2020 project Inter-sectoral Health and Environment Research for Innovation (INHERIT) developed four positive scenarios of what Europe could look like in 2040. Based on research about demographics, health, social inequalities and the environment, the scenarios cover three main areas that relate to lifestyles and behavior: living, moving and consuming. Achieving positive change and identifying necessary actions sometimes requires a ‘fast forwarding into future thinking’ and the purpose of these scenarios is to enable several backcasting processes to identify interdisciplinary policies, strategic interventions and innovation, bringing together policy makers and other stakeholders to enable a ‘triple-win’: reduce environmental impacts, improve health, and increase health equity.
The topics covered by INHERIT are intrinsically related to the different phases of the Circular Economy, the scenarios of the 2040 lifestyles present different approaches to it, emphasizing mainly on the use phase as the narrative is structured around consumers’ lifestyles. The scenarios were presented to citizens of 5 European countries representing different income groups, and these sessions provided enough information for carrying out a backcasting process within the project partners and invited topic experts to provide robust data for policy recommendation.
INHERIT is built upon the conviction that participatory processes help to strengthen the formulation of policies and solutions towards social wellbeing, and that positive future scenarios of qualitative nature offer an inclusive, flexible, yet solid context for multi-stakeholder participation, enabling the advancement of citizen science and the reflection on actions towards sustainable consumption.
Objectives of the session This session has two objectives: 1 demonstrate the value and potential of qualitative, positive scenarios by presenting the methodology for their development, their application process and outcomes achieved through the INHERIT project. 2 invite the participants to participate in a mini backcasting process to identify policies, practices and innovations that address key environmental stressors of health and the underlying causes of health inequity.
Description of the activities The dialogue is planned as a 90 min. session that begins by introducing the INHERIT project, its behavioral model and overall process to craft the scenarios. It will show the relationship between INHERIT and the Circular Economy before presenting the videos of the scenarios and discussing with the participants about the needed policies and innovations to reach these scenarios. The session concludes with a reflection on the methodology used and potential applications for other research activities.