Monday, 6 December 2010

21st Century Challenges

Can the UK ever be Sustainable?

That was the questions posed at the Royal Geographical Society under their excellent series of events titled ‘21st Century Challenges’ putting the spotlight on the big important questions of today.

Sir Stuart Rose, chairman of Marks and Spencer, said:

“In today’s climate, more so than ever, putting sustainability at the very heart of your business is not just the right thing to do ethically, it makes commercial sense too. A sustainable business means a business that can thrive in the long term - it forces us to look over the horizon, accelerate innovation and respond to the challenges that lie ahead.”

Mr Benn, former Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said:

“Our biggest challenge as a world is to learn to live sustainably. In the years ahead, families, communities, businesses and countries that work out how to do this will be in a much stronger position. We need to help each other to do this.”

Andy Hobsbawm, founder of Green Thing, said:

“Creativity has a huge role to play in changing the way people think about the resources they have at their disposal. We aim to turn green living from something people feel they ‘ought’ to do into something they ‘want’ to do.”

These sound bites are from people with a track record of taking action and deserve to be listened to.

Meanwhile, I noticed that Colombia's president, Juan Manuel Santos, has been forced to cancel his scheduled trip to the United Nations' climate change conference this week because of devastating flooding – even though global warming itself could be causing the disaster his country faces.

"I cancelled the trip I was taking to Cancun, [Mexico] ... to attend the international conference on climate change, which is what is affecting us, but I cancelled this meeting," President Juan Manuel Santos said in a statement reported by CNN.

Colombia is considering declaring a state of emergency to devote more resources to response and rescue efforts, Santos said, noting the number of victims throughout the country could climb to 2 million.

Columbia’s president has put action before further talks – he has a point.

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