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Friday, April 18, 2003

Phew! We've made it... Day 4 of the Oxford Earth Summit took place this day last year.

Many wise words were spoken at the end of the summit ranging from Lord May's advice to embrace dissent + learn from it... to John Bird's thoughts on charity keeping people exactly where there are... to Belen Vasquez's powerful advocacy on behalf of those who need help in order to get themselves out of a rut.

Cracking stuff, and well worth a read even if you don't have time to listen to whole talks.

Day 4: Friday April 19: Our Roles in Making a Difference

Prof. Steve Rayner: Said Business School, Oxford University
Listen to Steve's talk entitled "The impacts of consumer choice" as a MP3.

* "Why do people consume in the way that they do?"

* "What kinds of policy interventions might one make to change the impacts of consumer behaviour on the environment?"

* "Consumption is very difficult to change in a directed, non-coercive fashion."

* "Four types of family structure: hierachical, competitive, individualistic and fatalistic... hierachical has sunday roast, set places at the dinner table... shampoos fewer but separated by age or gender...seperate laundry."

* "Need to find means which allow people to maintain patterns of consumption with less environmental impact."

Dr. Gideon Middleton: Orange
Listen to Gideon's talk entitled "Environmental initiatives in the commerical sector" as a MP3.

* "The Orange network in the UK now covers 99% of the population, 80% of the area... 13 million customers and 15,000 staff."

* "Once we can measure them (our environmental impacts) we can set ourselves objectives and targets."

* "Green energy has been cheaper than brown energy."

* "87% of our offices are on renewable power, 100% of our retails shops and 44% of our network."

Dr. Richard Jones: The Meteorological Office
Listen to Richard's talk entitled "The science of climate change" as a MP3.
Link to the Met Office's Hadley Centre (which specialises in the study of climate change).

* "A global surface temperature increase of 0.7°C has taken place over the past 100 years. Most of the increase has been due to human activities."

* "A 3°C increase (in global temperature) is likely by the end of this century (4x the last century)."

* "There will be substantial impacts in many if not all sectors."

* "There is large uncertainty in (model) predictions but also good consistency in large-scale patterns."

* "Enormous cuts in emissions would be required to stabilise the climate at that of the present day."

Dr. Tom Woollard: ERM Consultants
Listen to Tom's talk entitled "Understanding how business thinks" as a MP3.

* "274 of FTSE 350 do NOT produce a stand-alone environmental report."

* "The generation and use of ‘value reporting’/socio-economic data is sparse."

* "Most management systems focus only on operational compliance, ignoring up- and down stream issues and impacts... much environmental management is ad-hoc and sporadic ."

Ms. Belen Vasquez: Action Aid
Listen to Belen's talk entitled "Enhancing the quality and volume of international aid" as a MP3.

* "1.2 billion people or 20% of the world’s population lives on less than a dollar a day. Additional 1.6 billion live on less than a 2 dollars a day."

* "EU-US aid announcements are modest responses that will generate merely a quarter of what is required. Monterrey has not solved the question of long-term aid funding nor has it set a timeframe for reaching the 0.7% target."

* "Donors have put a strong emphasis on aid conditionality or the set of conditions that recipient countries must have in place in order for aid to work and so for them to receive support."

* "Public pressure is essential. We need to tell world leaders that we do not want another document reflecting vague commitments. We want a plan of action setting timeframes for increasing aid to developing countries."

Mr. John Bird: The Big Issue
Listen to John's talk entitled "Self-help and society" as a MP3.

* "I was astonished at the lack of opportunity for them to get out of poverty and stand on their own two feet."

* "A hand up not a hand out."

* "A business response to a social crisis."

* "We are interested in you winning control of your lives rather than relying, like pigeons, on being fed by others."

* "We have to change the way in which we give, we have to change the way in which we connect with society."

* "It's about mutual self-interest."

Dr. Robert Barrington: Earthwatch
Listen to Robert's talk entitled "Business and biodiversity" as a MP3

* "The sustainable use of biodiversity, the conservation of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of benefits... what has business got to do with this?"

* "Businesses like things spelled out in back and white."

* "It takes businesses out of their comfort zone to have to take biodiversity seriously... the expertise lies in NGOs, universities and
local communities."

* "Biodiversity as a business issue."

* "Companies need to mainstream biodiversity in all their operations."

* "Unilever are promising that all of its fish will be sourced from sustainable sources by 2006."

Lord (Robert) May: The Royal Society (The UK's national science academy) + Oxford Uni.
Listen to Lord May's talk entitled "The role and limits of science."

* "Some of the limits to science are uncertainty."

* "Science is there to constrain the discourse, to make sure it is not taking place in cloud-cuckoo land, beyond that it leaves it up to democratic processes in open societies."

* "Globally 56% of the cash that flows through NGOs annually comes from governments."

* "Our activities today rival the scale and scope of natural processes and that is truly unique in the history of life on this planet."

* "Small actions now are much more important, leveraged by non-linear effects, than the activities that clearer evidence will force in 50 years, but it is hard to act now in the interests of a distant future."

* "Consult widely, embrace dissent, engage people even if they don't come forward voluntarily who are likely to disagree with you, expose the argument and expose uncertainty."