So you may have guessed day two was climate changed themed! For many people climate change is old news and the enthusiasm and excitement has fallen away. Well after this afternoon session there would be none of that. At all.
The session was held in a rather grand ballroom. Pretty lights every where! And of course the most important thing the panel of experts and world leads around Sustainable Lifestyles. The first mini conference was called Putting Sustainable Consumption and Production in practice: Sustainable Lifestyles. The lead panelist Jamil Ahmad was awesome to the least. Full of character and definitely had control of the room. His passion for the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) burst out of him. Cracking man. The other panelist were introduced and turn by turn spoke.
First to attempt to inspire 400 world whizzes from around the world was Professor Halina Brown. Halina works for Clark University and is a Professor of Environmental Science and Policy. I have to admit I loved her! Quiet honestly I think it was her approach to the environment and the issues that come around it. She preached the problems with our developed lifestyles and very bluntly stated the foundations that causes us to live in this over consumed way. She started by stating that consumption is what is driving climate change. Bold statement, but rather true when you hear what she had to say. Obviously we all know that every countries economy depends on consumption and nearly all countries follow the rule that the longer that have been consuming on a industrial scale the more developed they are. One of the big problems she identified was during the wars many countries turned to mass production of rations and supplies for their armies and people, and after the war finished this massive industrial capacity countries had turned into consumer good production. That means that this need for more has only started on a large scale 50 years ago. Hhmmm not looking so good.
She continued on to say how the American Dream (a vision after the war in America to have a “perfect” lifestyle with a car and a nice family house filled with lots of trendy stuff) had become a catalyst for greed. The movement out to the suburbs instead of being in the compact city increased the desire for this “dream” life too. All these things resulted in a social shift and this ideal lifestyle became the normal lifestyle starting one of the most dangerous cycle us humans have to face. This has caused governments, the labor industry and the private sector to increase wages and then people have the potential to buy more and spend more. More spending results in more investment back into the production infrastructure increasing their ability to produce goods. So more things are produced. so more are bought. And the cycle continues. Then the society is dependent on consumption. Both economically and socially.
Much of this is based around what we think we need. And whether is makes us happy. Often we should consider how much a larger house, more clothes, a larger food shop resulting in waste will make us. The pattern defiantly doesn’t follow the richer you are the happier you are. So the question is can we resist the temptation of consumption. Yes it is hard! I find it super hard! But it is something we have at least got to try. Big life decisions like buying a house locks you into the level of consumption for years of your life. So needs to be carefully considered. Also the social image you want to have normally stays with you for much of your life and if you choose one that calls you to spend lots of money then again without even realizing you are following the same pattern of high levels of consumption. Really tricky but has the potential to make huge differences. Thank you Halina Brown.
Then we heard from Steve Lee. The founder of Foundation for Environmental Stewardship from Canada. He held a question and answer session rather than speaking to us. Lots of facts. But most importantly he said that as people of this planet we need to start admitting that world has these problems and unless we really start to make an a difference and we are the last generation that can make a difference so if us as youth don’t step up now then the world may have a slight disaster. So will you step up?
Finally speaker was called Alden Wicker. A rather ace gal who has a blog to promote eco life. So spoke of her experiences around the world and even though she is doesn’t think the world can be saved. Her blog, EcoCult, is awesome though!
The next session was finally the reviewing part. We each had to discus the challenges and the easy bits of our campaign in both the planning and putting in to action stage. It was great to hear what everyone else was passionate about and the different sustainable development goals each person supported. As small groups we came up with a challenge and easy that we experience when we are trying to carry out the sustainable development goals and I got to speak for our group!! Very exciting and great opportunity. We all found that because we are so passionate the work we action becomes light and easy. A great thing to have in common I suppose.
We were then all asked to fill out this youth action planner on out mini mission. And as you can see my pledge at the end! So let it begin!!!!!
I do apologize for the delay since my last post. I have been away on an AWESOME trip to Tanzania. Will get to that soon. Don’t worry! And to keep the exciting theme this week I have started University up in Newcastle and loving every minute so far. My first proper lecture is on Tuesday so here goes!