RESPONSES TO THE FUTURE?

This, for all of us, is the challenge: to answer the questions posed by our situation.

It was also the title of a one day Seminar which aimed to examine our options.

Planet Centred Forum brought this together

on Saturday  12th October 2019

 at the Quaker Priory Rooms in CENTRAL Birmingham

Updates on the seminar and the resulting explorations of themes can be ensured by subscribing on this site to the PCF Bulletin lists (mailed as blind copies unless permission given otherwise).

(Go to Home page for outlines of the three ongoing work projects recommended by the Seminar)

FORMAT FOR THE DAY was: –

Started at 10.00 with reception and coffee/refreshments plus safety etc announcements. (Doors opened for setting up from 9.00)

Susan Miles in the Chair

10.30 to 1040 Short Presentation: Malcolm Currie: Globally Local +

10.40 to 10.50 Ditto: Jules Todd: Climate Action Network WM

10.50 to 11.00 Ditto: Cedric Knight: GreenNet +

11.o0 to 12.00 Presentation by Professor John Guillebaud. Profile below.

12.00 to 12.10  A brief ‘stretch break’

12.10 to 13.10 Presentation by Dr Alison Green. Profile below.

13.10: Informational questions only.

13.15 to 14.30 Lunch and informal discussion/networking. Attendees were encouraged to stay in the building for menu options or their sandwiches – though local eateries/bars were nearby.

14.30 to 14.40 Short Presentation: Roger Plenty: Quaker Concern

14.40 to 14.55 Ditto: Professor Chris Rhodes: The Changing Climate: Realising the World’s woes and Resources

14.55 to 15.00 Woody Wood: Looking for outcomes from the day

15.00 to 15.50  Free ranging discussion and questioning in response to previous presentations, chaired by Susan Miles.

(No afternoon tea break in timetable: attendees were free to bring drinks to tables.)

15.50 to 16.50  More focussed discussion, interacting with a panel of all presenters. Intention was to draw out one or more supported arguments for responses to the future(s) we are likely to face. (Resulting formation of ongoing discussion groups is now in process.)

16.50  Chair’s closing remarks.

17.00  Close and safe travelling.

PROFILES: –

John Guillebaud [pronounced ‘GIL-BOE’] Emeritus Professor of Family Planning and Reproductive Health, UCL, spent his early life in Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya and participated in the 1960s RS/RGS Xavantina-Cachimbo expedition to Mato Grosso.

Following an overpopulation lecture from the biologist Colin Bertram while a 2nd year medical student, contraception seemed the obvious career path for a doctor concerned for the planet’s future. Since it “takes two to tango” this led to higher degrees in both surgery and gynaecology and inter alia performing c 5000 vasectomies and 000s of IUD insertions.  Professor Guillebaud’s vision was and is that humankind’s – and one’s personal – environmental footprint must be drastically reduced, along with stabilizing then reducing the number of feet:  the number of planet-trashing  humans.  Its increase in 200 years from 1000 to 7,800 million is the “upstream” cause of the climate emergency among other existential threats to our uniquely life-supporting but finite home.  The population factor in the Ehrlich-Holdren equation can and must be addressed:  always wisely and compassionately, through voluntary rights-based family planning made accessible as a CHOICE by removing many barriers which are either tangible (absent services), or intangible (eg cultural/religious pro-natalism).

A member of the new group Doctors for XR, the so obvious accuracy now of his warnings over many decades gives Guillebaud zero pleasure.  Reducing numbers to suffer in the dystopic chaos now imminent makes fertility reduction even more urgent.  Like Sir David Attenborough, he is a Patron of www.populationmatters.org and there is more on his website www.ecotimecapsule.com  

Follow link to Perfect Storm Extract here

Alison Green. Former Pro Vice-Chancellor at Arden University who last year traded academia for activism. She is a cognitive psychologist and expert on human learning and thinking. Currently National Director (UK) of Scientists Warning www.scientistswarning.org She is also known for garnering academic support for Extinction Rebellion from its inception. See: ‘Facts abouty our ecological crisis are incontrovertible. We must take action.’ https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/26/facts-about-our-ecological-crisis-are-incontovertible-we-must-take-action

Alison co-edited the Extinction Rebellion book ‘This is not a Drill’ She went on to gather support from the international community with ‘Act now to prevent an environmental catastrophe’ https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/09/act-now-to-prevent-an-environmental-catastrophe Alison has co-authored with scientists Michael Mann and Katherine Hayhoe a widely cited paper supporting School Climate Strikes https://science.sciencemag.org/content/364/6436/139.2 published in the journal science. Alison co-founded and now co-directs Transition Lab www.transitionlab.earth She is a committed activist, speaker and writer.

Malcolm Currie. Longstanding activist and radical publisher. One of the pioneers of Globally Local and currently Convenor of Birmingham Green Drinks.

Dr Patrick Curry. Deep Green thinker and writer. Author of Ecological Ethics. Co-editor of The Ecological Citizen.

Cedric Knight. Active in various London area networks. A member of the GreenNet Collective – possibly the most radical internet provider.

Roger Plenty. An active Friend and member of Quaker Concern Over Population.

Jules Todd. Climate campaigner with CAN West Midlands

Professor Chris Rhodes. Academic turned ecological consultant (Freshlands Environmental Actions). Strong links with Eastern Europe.

Woody Wood. Local Community activist and ecological thinker. Author of the Values series books published by Devolve! for PCF.

RECORDING THE DAY

Audio recording was arranged. This audio record and a transcript should in due course be available here. (See example from a previous Seminar below.)

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