A Cultural Revolution
May 06, 2009
We must de-fossilise the way we think, live and act – in both senses of the word if we are to meet the challenges of climate change. These were the thoughts of Professor Sir David King, former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, speaking at CIWEM’s Annual Conference on 30th April 2009.
Sir David urged his audience of politicians, policy makers, environmental practitioners and academics to move away from technofix solutions and enter into a state of knowledge that recognises how the carousel of our aspirational lifestyles, relentless development and unsustainable population growth have driven many of the challenges we now face.
We have effectively switched off the next ice age and face risks to our environment, biodiversity, health and education, energy supply and security, water resources and food production. We must stimulate a cultural revolution, with revised priorities, innovative thinking and more sensitivity to our environment if we are to achieve a sustainable and fairer world.
Sir David’s hard-hitting message under-pinned the two day conference, with a mixture of keynote addresses from Lord Chris Smith (EA), Philip Fletcher CBE (OFWAT), Chris West (UKCIP) and Pamela Taylor (Water UK), multi-media presentations, case studies and exhibitions examining how we can create a holistic approach to the way we manage water and our environment.
Sessions included Flood Risk Management; Technical Issues in Achieving a Sustainable Water Industry; Water Resources and Integrated Catchment Management; and Climate Change and Sustainability, with papers covering sustainable development, climate change, river basin management, water management, flood risk management, and the integration of the arts, creativity and innovation within environmental projects.
CIWEM Executive Director, Nick Reeves, said, “At last, the idea that technofix solutions alone won’t address the climate change challenge, is beginning to sink in. Eminent professionals across all parts of environmental policy and practice are coming to share the view that our best chance for a truly sustainable future is through behaviour change and a cap on harmful growth and consumption. This message must be translated to the rest of the population with proportionate action from governments and our political leaders. CIWEM’s Annual Conference was certainly a step in the right direction.”
by Emily Doyle
Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management