Category Archives: Paradigms

Paradigms we live in

Harnessing Energy to Satisfy Fundamental Human Needs

Pro Action Café

Generating new ideas for energy security.  Ten projects get the expert coaching treatment, as we contribute our knowledge and experience to help enhance the work of colleagues during a Pro Action Café.

Forty-five people came to take part  in the Pro Action Café, a space for creative & action oriented conversation where participants are invited to bring their project, ideas, questions or whatever they feel called by and need help with to manifest in the world.

Ten people had the opportunity to host a table conversation aimed at assisting them to deepen and refine their project ideas around harnessing energy to globally satisfy fundamental human needs & generating new ideas for energy security.

Engage in your own conversations starting from where you are, enjoying this fine Pro Action Café’s harvest on an opportunity to pool our knowledge in support of projects around energy [PDF doc].

Unconference – Making a Space for Open Exploration

Unconference – Open Space

A time to raise your own issues.  A moment within the busy schedule of the Planet Under Pressure conference for delegates to come together in inquiry around their own questions, concerns, issues & explorations.

One in a series of events designed to give space for reflection, this session used Open Space as its operating system, offering each an opportunity to engage others in what they are most passionate about.

Participants were welcomed into Open Space as a place where they could bring the topics, issues, explorations and questions that haven’t been covered in other parts of the conference. This was a time when they could put forward what they most wanted to discuss & invite others to join them.

Engage in your own conversations starting from where you are, enjoying this fine Open Space’s harvest on burning & unanswered questions the delegates had [PDF doc].

My Takeaways from Planet Under Pressure

By Nisha Pillai, Conference Moderator

Looking back on Planet under Pressure I can’t help feeling a touch dazed. What an extraordinary event to have moderated at, with the next Earth Summit, Rio +20 looming on the horizon. The sheer scale of the conference was mind-boggling, as three thousand people – scientists, NGOs, policy makers, a sprinkling of business folk and about a hundred journalists – descended on London’s ExCeL Centre from the four corners of the world. Yet somehow the level of debate was mostly high, the boiled-down, ten minute-long presentations were the most memorable I’ve encountered at many a conference, and the electronic questions, despite my initial misgivings, were a triumph…

A short digression on the use of social media and electronic questions, if I may. With time of the essence at such a vast event, the Planet under Pressure organisers decided early on to abandon conventional questions from the floor – and rely entirely on electronic questions sent in via Twitter, or text/sms, or directly through our live webstreaming page. And it worked! Reams of questions poured in: well over five hundred over the four day event. That, plus the ability to scan the questions on my ipad, gave me a far better chance to connect the audience to our plenary speakers and panellists than if I had simply called on random contributions from the floor. It also meant that a further three thousand or so people joining the conference via the live webstream could also participate by sending in their comments remotely. Best of all was: “no mic hogging from the floor”, as one tweet so memorably put it.

Other personal highlights: Sandra Diaz’s beautiful slides illustrating her presentation on biodiversity in peril; Lord Giddens of LSE’s humane wisdom; Bina Agarwal from Delhi University’s plea for small scale projects involving women; Richard Wilkinson’s persuasive evidence on how equality, not growth, is what delivers wellbeing; Oran Young and Maria Ivanona, who did the seemingly impossible and made governance interesting, even imperative. But the biggest surprise was Anne Glover, chief scientific advisor to the European Commission – was there ever such a blunt, outspoken, kick ass advisor as she?

Those are some of my personal takeaways from the crazy jamboree that was Planet Under Pressure. Please take a moment to add your own comments below – how was it for you?

PS: And I made a whole family of new friends too. From the IGBP: Wendy Broadgate, Owen Gaffney, Reed Evans, Hilarie Cutler, and my ace Twitter guru, Andrew Merrie. Also, Priya Shyamsunder, Felix Dodds and Nigel Cameron, not to mention the incomparable duo, Lidia Brito and Mark Stafford-Smith, plus always smiling, ever so helpful, John Ingram.

My Takeaways from Planet Under Pressure was published 3 April 2012 by Nisha Pillai at Nisha Pillai’s blog site with the author’s permission.

Global Sustainability Goals

World Café

Transition to a sustainable future Earth.   An opportunity to have a look at the process of creating global sustainability goals — talking together in World Café, creating a graphic look at our priorities, coming together around how it might happen.

This session was attended by a liberal mix of scientists, policymakers, representatives from NGOs, government, media, academics and others.

The intention was to gather suggestions on the process of developing the Sustainable Development Goals framework.  So what it is that we can see together that none of us can see alone?

Engage in your own conversations starting from where you are, enjoying this fine World Café’s harvest on the means to a desired end: How might we get the best out of creating goals in order to co-create the future we collectively want? [PDF doc].

Gallery photos by Kim Davis – Courtesy of Planet Under Pressure 2012

Young Scientist/Youth Declaration

by a group of young delegates to the Planet Under Pressure 2012 Conference, reprinted with permission from  http://yodecom.blogspot.co.uk/ 

Dear leaders of the world,
 
We are young delegates to the Planet Under Pressure conference, and we ask you for concrete action based on the scientific knowledge of global challenges outlined in the State of the Planet declaration from the conference.
 
Problems of environment, economics, equity and social justice are intrinsically linked. Any action addressing one affects them all.  Science (including social science) can help to identify solutions, but citizen engagement is vital for solutions to work.  Where solutions exist that improve all of them, we ask you to implement them. If they have already been implemented, we ask you to enforce them. Where solutions exist that address one at the expense of the others, we ask you to rethink them.
 
Where solutions for environmental, economic, and societal problems conflict, we commit to finding better solutions. To start, we propose the following:
 
·      Replace GDP with a metric that also incorporates environment and social equity
·      Remove barriers for developing countries to have more voice and decision-making power in international dialogues
·      Reform market mechanisms to allow participation in decision-making from stakeholders at all scales
·      Offer financial incentives to young eco-social entrepreneurs and social and environmental researchers, especially in developing countries
·      Regulate open access to knowledge in all arenas of business, policy, and science
·      Transition from short-term projects to long-term programs for education and sustainability-oriented decision-making
·      Make the sustainable development activities of business and government more accountable to citizens
 
We promise to:
 
·      Make science more accessible and translatable across sectors and interests so that it can be used for policy making and long term business decisions that will ultimately drive a sustainable society
·      Expand trans-discliplinary research and engage with user communities in efforts to develop integrative solutions for sustainability
 
These lists are incomplete, but they are a good place to start. You will have to take hard positions against vested interests standing in the way of such decisions. We, your constituents, support you in this. You the decision-makers and we the citizens must stand together to achieve a stable and sustainable future for our children and for future generations.
 
During the Planet Under Pressure conference (London, March 26-29 2012), young natural and social scientists from throughout the world drafted an address to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio de Janeiro, June 2012). This was the Final Draft, re-printed from the Youth/Young Scientist blog http://yodecom.blogspot.co.uk/  Their blog chronicles that process.