Visions 2100

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Earlier this week the Dublin launch was held of Visions 2100, a book which brings together the visions of 80 people, including many environmental scientists, policy-makers and campaigners, imagining what the world might look like in the year 2100 (http://www.visions2100.com/).

The book’s editor John O’Brien, entrepreneur, author and MD of his own cleantech company, envisaged the book as a way of gathering ideas on how to address climate change. Everyone is invited to share their own vision on the book’s website. In the book contributors such as Mary Robinson, UN Special Envoy on Climate Change, and Christina Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, outline their 2100 vision in (usually) less than 200 words.

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At the launch four experts spoke on climate change and their vision for the future, while John O’Brien chaired a Q&A. John Gibbons, an Irish Times journalist who hosts his own blog on climate change (http://thinkorswim.ie/) entitled his vision “The Age of Madness”, featuring a look back at 2015 as a time when “everyone was competing with everyone else – for money, resources, status”. He stressed the importance of a clear vision and suggested that Ireland has shown a lack of vision in undermining the EU 2030 climate targets.

Next was Aideen O’Hora of Sustainable Nation Ireland (http://sustainablenation.ie/), who argued that we must have a global perspective on climate change and when creating a vision for the future, citing the example of migration of people around the world. She also mentioned the EU’s Climate-KIC initiative – http://www.climate-kic.org/ – and a couple of its programs, Climathon and Climate LaunchPad. Her message was that action starts with a conversation.

Academic and activist Dr Cara Augustenborg (http://www.caraaugustenborg.com/) highlighted the importance of localised environmental and social sustainability, using the example of local food production in Cuba. She suggested that “we need to replace the consumerist dream with wellbeing, equality and connectedness”. Dr Augustenborg also drew our attention to an excellent video by GOOD magazine – If the world were 100 people, which features this infographic:

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Finally, barrister and former Minister Alex White spoke of how his most difficult job when in office was persuading colleagues of the urgency of what needed to be done on climate change. He suggested that “the argument doesn’t travel very far unless people see it close to them” and that the further away the target is e.g. the year 2030 or 2050, “the more alibis people have to do nothing”. He cited a lack of political leadership as a significant issue and argued that a “great national project” is needed.

In response to a question from the audience on what needs to change for the optimistic Visions 2100 to be realised, Mr White called for a national dialogue on climate action, a forum including everyone, especially farmers. Cara Augustenborg echoed that climate change must become a “doorstep issue”, where voters urge politicians to address it. She also stated that if she was in charge of the country for a day, she would take over the media and broadcast wall to wall climate science. On the same question, John Gibbons suggested that the national curriculum needs to be rewritten, bringing climate and sustainability education into every level.

So now it’s our turn… submit your 200 word vision at: http://www.visions2100.com/#!write-your-vision/rjqdl

 

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