Alyssa Gilbert, Head of Policy and Translation, Grantham Institute gives her impressions from ‘Global solutions for global challenges’, a discussion event held at Imperial on Wednesday 9 September 2015.
This week we tried something quite different. Instead of focusing on one particular climate change or environmental issue, we thought we would tackle them all.
Our remit at the Grantham Institute is broad, and we thought we would celebrate that by inviting people with key roles across government, business and implementation groups to discuss the full range of challenges we are currently facing. Skilfully chaired by Richard Black, the audience and panelists interacted in genuine conversation about how to tackle the challenges of building a low-carbon economy, encouraging poverty reduction and growth around the world, engaging citizens and protecting human health at the same time.
We patiently enjoyed six stimulating talks that were wide-ranging but with precise examples from our speakers’ fields. There were some nice pithy messages:
- The health opportunities of tackling climate change are vast and affordable,
- A low carbon lifestyle is a also a healthy lifestyle,
- The technology to build a low carbon electricity network is available today, but needs deployment,
- Development opportunities require cooperation and engagement by citizens and cannot be delivered with a top down approach alone,
- And, of course, without political will, these changes will be stalled in their tracks.
There was good news, of course; by using the technology available today, we can already reduce inequality, reduce pollution and improve human health. However, the message was clear – these issues, health, development and climate change, should not be tackled in a parallel manner, but in an integrated manner. The silo-like thinking of many governments and other organisations could be improved, and restructured around common goals.
Quite fairly, the audience challenged our Institute to play a role in bringing together the right people to stimulate concerted action. Over a nice glass of wine we discussed just precisely what we could do next. I left quite inspired, with some clear ideas of the role that the Grantham Institute can continue to play in convening the right people together and stimulating change.