Earthwatch Annual Debate: Mission Critical
Public elects education and growing human population as number one environmental challenge.
A full house for the tenth annual Earthwatch Debate
A packed auditorium of 750 people at London's Royal Geographical Society were treated to an inspiring and animated evening of discussion about some of the most complex environmental challenges we face today. Leading international environmentalist and authority on climate change, Sir Crispin Tickell, who addressed world population issues and the need for better education, emerged as the victor, as voted for by the audience at our tenth annual debate.
Alongside strong competition from his four fellow speakers, Sir Crispin Tickell made a concise and compelling argument that positioned the need to address the exponential growth of the world’s population, and provide better access to education, as the over-arching issue that embraced the other topics that were addressed. “Of all the interconnected problems we face, perhaps the most serious is the proliferation of our own species. We are like a species out of control.” proposed Sir Crispin. “In seeking to cope with this problem, the role of education, and in particularly that of women, is critical. Where women have achieved broadly equal status with men, human fertility has dropped.”
Listen to Sir Crispin Tickell speak on education and population
The debate was expertly chaired by journalist and broadcaster, Sheena McDonald. The four other speakers were: Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy at City University London, who put the case for food security; Mike Mason, Energy Advisor to the President of the Maldives presented the argument for a zero carbon future; Jo Royle, environmental campaigner and skipper on board 2010’s Plastiki expedition who flew the flag for protection of the oceans. Completing the line-up, addressing water scarcity was Daniel Yeo, Water security and climate change policy analyst at WaterAid.
An international online audience were able to take part virtually in the event, posting comments and voting online via Twitter and Facebook.
Text voting to identify the number one environmental challenge
Executive Vice President of Earthwatch Nigel Winser concluded at the end of the event: “As Earthwatch marks its 40th anniversary, we look ahead to the coming decades and the challenges and opportunities that we face as a global community. As all our expert speakers here tonight acknowledged, these challenges are massive, complex and sometimes over-whelming. They are also intimately related. In reality we cannot choose one priority, but must address all of these issues simultaneously and empower people through education to become agents of behavioural, cultural and political change.”
Daniel Yeo from WaterAid discussing debate issues with audience member
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