Last year I heard a speech by Professor Jeff Sachs which crystalised a lot of things for me. (Sachs is a Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.)
I’m giving a speech myself soon at The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. It’s for Design Week and it’s about ‘the importance of creativity for sustainability’. In preparing I’ve found myself coming back to Sachs’s talk at Sydney Uni.
Reason being Sachs puts the whole damn thing in context. He describes how we got to where we are now, how special our time is, and how we are at a watershed moment in human history where we’re going to have to make a fundamental shift to a sustainable economy.
In this post I’ve included a synopsis of the Sach’s speech and links to a podcast of it. I’ve also posted some notes from my proposition that creativity is going to be key in re-thinking and changing how we live.
It’s less than a year until the major UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen – where the nations of the world are meant to settle on an agreement that will take us the next step on from the Kyoto Protocol. In the lead-up to Copenhagen, nations have been meeting at Poznan in Poland to prepare the ground.
A decade ago Germanys uptake of solar energy was on par with Australia. But thanks to an innovative financial incentive, Germany has surged ahead. So much so, its renewable energy is now a mainstream industry and a leading employer in that country.
The program for this week is on climate change. And specifically the Garnaut Review and where Australia is headed. We have an interview with Professor Ross Garnaut and comments from leading green and business groups. Check out the show live to air on Thursday 17 July at 9am – streamed live at 2ser or on your wireless at 107.3fm. You can also download segments onto your ipod through the itunes store.
And we have these videos from the Garnaut Forum. In fact you can even rate what he has to say. In this video, the good professor lashes out at the sceptics (in his own gentile way):
Here’s what Ross said when asked why Australia should act when other countries aren’t:
And here’s what Professor Garnaut had to say about compensating the coal industry:
What do green groups think of Peter Garrett? I asked the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Campaign Director, Denise Boyd. The interview followed ACF’s analysis of the environment policies of Australia’s political parties. Both major parties, including Garrett’s Labor party, failed the test.
The interview was just prior to the election last year. Following the success of Labor in the election, Peter Garrett has become Australia’s Environment Minister.
(If you’re reading this from outside Australia, you may know Garrett as the lead singer of the band Midnight Oil. After many years of activism on environmental issues, including a stint as head of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Garrett re-invented himself as a politician.)
The previous conservative government in Australia may well have been the first in the world to have lost office because it ignored climate change (and refused to sign the Kyoto protocol.)
The day of the election at the end of 2007, I went to a polling both to gauge the mood of the people – for change generally and to check the importance of the environment in their decision making. Listen here to what they had to say: election day vox pops.
The booth was at Sydney’s Bondi Beach in the contentious seat of Wentworth. Wentworth was held by Malcolm Turnbull – who was at that stage Environment Minister.