16 Dec 2012

Change Starts With Us…


Samuel Duru - Change
Course Conference participant.
Change starts with us; we will manage our inheritance say young activists at the Club of Rome’s Change Course Conference

Young activists and thinkers from round the world at the Club of Rome’s ‘Change Course Conference’ gave a clear message to today’s politicians and policy makers: “We are ready to change the course of history. Those who want to continue with business as usual should step aside”.

Some 60 activists from 30 countries had been invited to Switzerland to share their criticisms of the current social and economic model, and to come forward with ideas of how to change it, moving from pessimistic assessments to optimistic solutions. 

At the Conference we talked about the real problems and how to tackle the root causes. These are issues that national politics can’t handle. I said “The wishy-washy outcome of the much-hyped international gatherings toward a binding climate treaty, held in the past decade, is a crystal clear indication that efforts to improve the environment must be made locally by companies, organisations, climate activists, and ordinary citizens without the help of politicians. Sadly, politicians lack the real commitment and political will to pave the way for better and safer future for all, (rich and poor countries alike). There are some people who believe that the government will do all that we need to do. That means leaving the course of our future to politicians and government workers – who are largely insensitive to the plights of the poor. Young people all over the African continent are fed up with politicians’ inability to advance the sustainability agenda, hence we’ve taken the bull by the horns – grassroots eco-conscious organisations and climate advocates from across Africa are coming together at the NAYD Summit 2013, being convened with the overarching goal to create a roadmap for youth-led sustainable development in Africa.” 

Change Course Conference participants heard from Jorgen Randers, one of the authors of The Limits to Growth, the report published in 1972, the inspiration behind the environmental movement; and from Club of Rome Secretary-General Ian Johnson. Then it was time to get down to business: three days of workshops where people brainstormed about the future they wanted and how to make it happen.Discussion covered the challenges for the future, and found common ground to overcome obstacles to make changes, and looked for the mechanisms to use. In the final sessions they drew up a list of concrete measures and strategies to put change into practice.

Perhaps the most significant element to come out of the Conference is that participants wanted to continue to collaborate to take concrete steps to change the world, and asked the Club of Rome to assist with this. In addition they came up with a vision of how to work in the future:

·       ICEInspire people to change their values, build networks to Connect with them and put a premium on Education;
·    Change education and knowledge system – move to EduAction to move people to action;
·         Use the social media to link up people who want systemic change;
·         Build social economics and a long-term transparent political system;
·         Commit, communicate and cooperate.

The Change Course Conference was born out of the idea that the captain of the Titanic (sunk in 1912) had failed to see the signs or listen to advice to change course, just before the ship struck an iceberg.
For more information please contact: 

Notes:
·         Together with the Club of Rome, the Conference is being organised with the Zurich Think Tank W.I.R.E (Web for Interdisciplinary Research and Expertise) Theatre Winterthur, and the ZHAW - School of Management and Law.

·           The Change-Course Conference is part of a broader campaign, 2052: the world in 40 years, to stimulate ideas on how to shape a more sustainable world.

·           The Club of Rome is an international think-tank, composed of 1500 national members and over 30 National Associations. Its mission is to analyse the challenges facing humankind in a systemic, holistic and long-term manner and to undertake forward-looking analysis and assessment on measures for a happier, more resilient, sustainable planet. For more information: www.clubofrome.org