The Sky's the Limit
12 Mar 2008
Hundreds of experts, pressure groups and concerned individuals recently gathered in London for the 4th Be The Change Conference.
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The 4th Be the Change Conference
Hundreds of experts, pressure groups and concerned individuals recently gathered in London for the 4th Be The Change Conference. Cutting-edge speakers from around the world came to talk about climate change, green economics and social solutions.
Be The Change has grown steadily and this year shifted to the larger venue of Central Hall, London, in order to meet public demand. Opposite the Houses of Parliament, in sight of Big Ben, speaker after speaker outlined a vision of the world they wanted to see.
Maude Barlow received a standing ovation for her powerful speech on water mining and a reminder that water is a fundamental basic human right ñ not a resource to be bought and sold.
Professor CS Kiang, a most influential figure in the budding Chinese ecology movement, described the importance of engaging China in ecologically respon-sible action. Stuart Wallis from The New Economics Foundation, outlined up-beat, innovative and economic solutions that challenge mainstream thinking. From Jonathon Porritt and George Monbiot, the consensus was that we must look to a world beyond Gross Domestic Product and begin to confront the false promise of unlimited growth.
Scientist, environmental activist and author, Vandana Shiva, described her hands on’ approach to helping the farm-ers of India. She began a campaign called Adopt An Acre, which enables farmers to go organic and free themselves from the control of large agro-businesses.
When thousands of small-scale Indian farmers were forced by law to give up their own seeds and purchase genetically modified, patented seeds instead, they found themselves in debt. Vandana said: ‘We have to discriminate between just and unjust laws.’ Following in Gandhi’s footsteps, she inspired the villagers to stand up to big businesses and reclaim the right to use indigenous seeds.
The farmers working with Vandana Shiva are now thriving, producing flourishing crops of organic food and cotton. They are also creating a growing seed bank, which will protect precious species in the years to come. By saving ancient and local rice varieties, that can survive floods and which produce salt-resistant seeds, Adopt an Acre helps farmers to prepare for climate change and prevent future food shortages.
For further information on speakers
and issues raised at the conference:
1) Nick Hart-Williams
Photo: Be The Change
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