Here is the appetizer, the grand dinner is yet to come!
As a foundation for the dicussion in the coming two days, the first panel session in the afternoon gathered representatives from academia, business, media and civil society to talk about their own responsiblities.
It was an ambitous plan to draw people from such a broad range of fields to communicate on a complex issue like climate change within an hour. Yet it worked well. It made each group return to the basic values from the starting point.
Professor Fred Dallmayr from the US said the role of academics should be that of educators. The academia are not to present blueprints, but to awaken thinking in people and invite creative responses from students. Professor Timothy Reagan reiterated the educational role of the academics, saying that the educators should make people think about what they don’t want to think about but need to think about.
Susanna Priest reviewed the responsibility of the media. She suggested that journalists should move beyond the objectivity paradigm and faciliate action. The media need to move from a dialogue about whether we should take action to one about what action we need to take.
The business world was more optimistic and down to earth. Dealing with climate change is good for business, according to Jacod Sterling from Maersk, the shipping company. He suggested that the business world should also be aware that saving energy is saving costs.
Niels Due Jensen, president of Grundfos, said businesses can also help to shape the values of consumers. Through product development and design, the companies should give consumers no excuse to buy products that are not environment friendly. “Here is the trick,” he said, “business need to offer solutions that will save energy and give it to consumers, so that they don’t feel they are dropping living standards.”
Kristine Holten-Anderson, who represented the civil society, echoed his remarks. The responsibility of common people, she says, should be to change the values in our own mind and redefine our own living standards.
These remarks were brief, but they made the responsibility of each group clear before the in depth discussions and dialogues in the next two days. Here is the appetizer, the grand dinner is yet to come!