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Wednesday 20th June, 6.05pm, St Mary le Bow

 

Mark Lynas: "The God Species: How can the Planet Survive the Age of Humans"  

 

We were delighted to welcome Mark Lynas, an environmental activist and author of “The God Species: How the Planet Can Survive the Age of Humans”. Mark spent time describing his “middle way” as he explained it – the reality of global development and moving people out of poverty but within boundaries that the planet can sustain.

 

He explained the 9 planetary boundaries, 3 of which are at warning levels where the boundary is currently breached – the biodiversity boundary, the climate change boundary and the nitrogen boundary. The other boundaries that he described were the land use boundary , the freshwater boundary, aerosis boundary, toxics boundary, ocean acidification boundary and the ozone layer boundary. In each case, a recommendation has been put forward as to what levelt he planet can sustain to maintain it for future generations. Unfortunately, a discussion re: these boundaries was taken off the agenda at the Rio Conference on Climate Change.

Mark also raised an interesting issue over sustainable waste and how nuclear waste could be burned up to generate fuel. The current levels of nuclear waste would generate energy for at least 500 years according to his calculations.

 

Mark also discussed the fall in extreme poverty that has been seen since 1990. In 1990, 43% lived on less than $1.25 per day whereas in 2008, this figure was 22%. This has been fuelled by emerging middle classes and growth in Africa, Latin America and in particular China where 500 million people have been lifted out of poverty. The Millenium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015 was reached 5 years early in 2010. In addition, there has been a fall in consumption and dematerialisation in the UK in recent years. This is all clearly positive news but as growth continues across the world as a whole (despite the economic downturn in Europe) we need to seek more efficient use of resources to maintain lifestyles. The environmental movement needs to move with science and techniques change to combat the impact on the planet.

 

There were a number of interesting questions and challenges to Mark and discussions continued over La Riojana Fairtrade wine.

 

Wednesday 27th June 2012, 6.30pm, St Mary-le-Bow

Songs for a Summer's Evening

It was a great pleasure to welcome baritone Richard Arundel and pianist Julian Barber, good friends to Arcubus now, who gave their third recital in support of our microfinance fund, www.arcubus.org.uk. Their programme of German Lieder and English song was a delight and we are very grateful to them for their support.