One of the panel discussions at the Renewable Cities Global Learning Forum was essentially a big call to action, or several different calls to action. Moderated by Stefan Schurig of the World Future Council, who I had a great one-on-one conversation with right before the panel, kicked off the session with the perfect topic (imho). He talked about how much phones, media, and the internet have developed since 1990. He, like nearly everyone, didn’t have a cell phone in 1990, and probably (like me) had no clue he’d ever get one. Twitter didn’t exist, Facebook didn’t exist, and most of us didn’t have a clue what the internet was or would become. Reflecting on how much technology can change in 25 years, the point was to highlight the fact that we can transform to a much cleaner and safer society using cleantech in the coming 25 years.
Stefan also talked about the fact that kids’ drawings of houses in Germany now include solar panels on the roofs and wind turbines in the background.
He then set the stage for this wonky but critical discussion held on the last day of the Renewable Cities Global Learning Forum by getting more detailed into the matter at hand. You can listen to his intro and the whole panel session here:
The first presenter, Deborah Harford, Executive Director of the Adaptation to Climate Change Team at SFU, talked about… well, exactly what you’d expect from — climate change adaptation.
John Robinson, Associate Provost of Sustainability and Executive Director of the Sustainability Initiative at UBC, followed Deborah by highlighting the role of universities in climate action and renewable energy development and deployment.
Sean Kidney, CEO and cofounder of the Climate Bonds Initiative, followed John to throw a serious wakeup call on how much catastrophe we are ordering for ourselves by not transitioning off of fossil fuels much more quickly. He also quickly summarized the climate bonds work he and others are doing.
This guy is a really talented speaker who knows the key points that should be important to society if we want to survive, and not run into catastrophes worse than those painted in pessimistic movies about the future. I hugely encourage you to listen to his segment. His part started nearly 22 minutes into the panel.
Ronan Dantec, councillor in the City of Nantes, followed with some nice insight into COP21 (long before it arrived — this conference was in May). I think his points are still important — critical, even — and I do what I can here on CleanTechnica to spread that message.
Jose Etchéverry, Professor and Co-Chair of the Sustainable Enery Initiative at York University, wrapped things up. He rolled through one cleantech solution after another, one university or city or business leader after another, one uplifting story after another. It was an inspiring speech.
The whole panel is worth a close listen, so lock yourself away in a quiet room and hit play.