First Annual Natural Economy Northwest Green Lecture


Environmental issues will occupy a considerable amount of my year in 2009. FACT gives of its UNSustainable year  with Climate for Change, an exhibition that will explore how social change can take place around arts institutions. Each day, its Gallery 1 will be occupied by grassroots organizations

Today, I'm at FACT for a talk an event run by Natural England.

In the opening film, we're reminded how 80% of the Northwest of England is green and the event marks the First Inaugural lecture of Natural England.

Laura Sillars kicks off with a talk about Climate for Change - signalling the range of issues around which environmental concerns gravitates . She talks about FACT's history in Liverpool, as a space where art flourished in part due to the troubles the city faced - the TATE Liverpool, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra - FACT grew within this climate. We have a 93 year old camera lady and 6 year old web producers.

Joe Dwek, Chair of the NWDA Board Environment Sub Committee - £2.6b of gross product comes from natural economy - legacy of our work - importance of excellent green economy to draw business interests - 11 main streams of economic growth incl health and well-being, flood alleviation, climate change etc. Jonathon Porrit - champion and ambassador for environmental concerns in UK. Special advisor to Prime Minister for many years - put environment on the map.

Jonathon Porrit: creating wealth within environmental limits - predispositions against notion of limits - collective act of unsustainable illiteracy - must ustd how limits will become the dominating factor in economy - broader debate about flows from capital assets - research behind the 3yr project v important - now bigger player in town - economic crisis - new economic reality dwarfs some of the concerns that were working their way up the politic agenda before this period - v little recognition in any of the mainstream political parties that the causes that lay behind economic are v same that lead to collapse of ecosystem - we can cope w ustdg what caused the economic disaster, but not what leads to plaent's collapse - by creating insane assett bubbles (debt) or deregulation - we don't hear politicians giving much recognition to this - ARch Bishop of Canterbury now much better representatives of radical change, i welcome this, but we need politicans to utter something similar - before going over to the dark side too much, want to mention 3 important issues.

1) eruption of new deal thinking: green new deals, breaking out allover the place - language extremely symbolic - back to great depression - different recovery packages - Barack Obama led here wth $900b to get things going - main thing is not global spend, but % of each of those stimulus packages directed towards 'green' economic activity, and this is less good - HSBC Report analyses these packages on sustainability job creation: top is South Korea $40b, 80% to low carbon sustainable, smart transportation, bottom is UK with likely just over £1b - total is 6% of recovery spend - indicative of how far we've progressed - fture of humankind represents just 6% of our money - senior reps in World Bank proud of what they've done on 'sustainable' - around 15% of investment - what is the heading for the other 85%!!?? - ie. if not sustainable = unsustainable - but 100% must go to sustainble - Roosevelt 'Conservation Core' employed over 2m people in the USA doing funl conservation work - not heard much yet today to match - yet Ground work, National Trust offer more value to economy than billions punted into rescuing failing car companies - eg. Groundwork Mersyside - if want to make a difc, this is a v good way to go - government still looks to private sector to do this work - still does not see voluntary sector as important - concerns around energy and food - local food production  - in england a long way to go still - you might say evidence base not strong enough - yet, the evidence base is rock solid - we don't need any more evidence about how to do this - research is not now the means by which we will convince people of this issue - big treat for 2009: developing another strategy! -

3) Multipliers: need to find - not the prerogative of the greenies - how? - key multiplier is health sector - has been in denial about impc of this area - climate change strategies - The Guardian DfH and Dept for work and pensions, where more cognitive behaviour therapists on assumption that economic downturn leads to depression - is this the best way to prepare people for harder times - Natural England  - best way to deal with problems is to offer opportunities to collaborate in natural enviroment - takes out of circumstances and find collegiality - beter than popping pills and trite advice -

Wonder if we're benetting as much as we should - UNEP report 'green jobs' indicating of 8 major sectors in economy, provides great advice on how to recover building on natural environment - controversil since all about monetizing benefit we derive from natural systems - many feel deeply uneasy about this - world is trashing bw $2-5t of economic value each year by misvaluing and misunderstnding and mismanaging natural assests - eg. value of polination = £0.5t ie. if had to do it by man made means, rather than birds, bees, bugs etc - in China peasants must pollinate, since over application of pesticides has irrevocably destroyed - gather pollen - back into orchards to polinate by hand - not just China - almond growers in California within 2 years of the same due to damage to bees - now growing awareness - but absent from lives of most decision makers for 250yrs - welcome green infrastructure, but also about mental infrastruture - still don't think enough about why people dismiss this analysis - often dismissed as 'insufficiently material' - impc of education, enable schools to speak to this agenda - turn into source of wonderous inspiration - moving through single most important transition in history of mankind - towards cohabitation with natural world - GVA calculatins not enough -

QandA

Q: Vice Chair of Sustainability Group of Northwest: many different constituencies - people helped to better health before they can be involved at all - issue of science and research base - why are scientists doing this research when there's enough evidence? - if dont keep up with research, we lose a lot of knowledge economy, which is one of the less damaging - how help people to see that public funds require precise reporting A: I'm not against the research - but commenting on - there's not a nutrionist in the world that denies evidence of influence on youth education attainment - yet, still dependent on freelance passion of Jamie Oliver to make it happen - people describe it as an absolutely important

Q: role of religion around the world? A: dont believe will achieve targets until energy of religious movements is fully deployed. I do not see churches militant in defence of planet earth - though yes Dalai Lama big help -school of Islamic scholars -

A: Barack Obama not Commander in Chief, but Farmer in Chief - can't do ath unless completely fix dysfunctional food production system

DEBATE

Damian Waters, CBI: rooftops of manchester could be made green

financial support: NWDA, City of Liverpool, Environment Agency, CBI, Natural Economy Northwest, Forestry Commission England, Natural England, SITA Trust