Governments, businesses and communities need to work together to save the planet
With only a month to go until the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20), IDS and the STEPS Centre offered members of the Brighton public the opportunity to pose their questions about sustainable development to a panel of experts including local MP Caroline Lucas.
The question time session, Who’s going to save the planet?, was held as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival. Other panellists included Solitaire Townsend, Futerra Sustainability Communications; Thurstan Crockett, Brighton and Hove City Council and Nick Robins, HSBC’s Climate Change Centre of Excellence. The meeting was chaired by Tom Clarke, the Science Editor at Channel 4 News.
Collective action to build sustainable future required now
The panelists agreed that national and local governments, businesses, communities and individuals needed to work together in order to tackle the pressing environmental challenges currently facing the world. They also stressed the need to create a sense of urgency, with Caroline Lucas concluding that “…we don’t have forever to get this right – the next five to ten years are going to be critical.”
The panel also reflected on how discussions around the changes required to build a more sustainable future needed to be reframed to place greater emphasis on the positive opportunities and outcomes for people’s lives. Solitaire Townsend of Futerra Communications suggested that there needs to be more talk about the fact that people will feel “....smarter, healthier, sexier...” as a result of these changes. She also proposed that people’s desire for “status, sex and novelty” could still be met but with lower material costs.
The role of regulation, subsidies and incentives
Thurstan Crockett from Brighton and Hove City Council added that policy makers and businesses need to make it easier for “people to do the right thing” and change their behaviour. He argued that this could be done in part through better regulation, subsidies and incentives. Nick Robins from HSBC’s Climate Change Centre of Excellence highlighted that better regulation and incentives could also help to accelerate the necessary changes in the financial sector.
we don’t have forever to get this right – the next five to ten years are going to be critical.
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