A Rocha UK joined Christians in Parliament, RSPB and Bible Society to host the panel discussion, ‘Can we afford to save the planet?’ MPs and media representatives packed out the Macmillan Room at Portcullis House for the event, which was chaired by MP Caroline Spelman.
The panel included A Rocha UK Conservation Director Andy Lester (pictured), Professor Michael Jacobs from the London School of Economics, Lord Lawson of Blaby, Bishop James Jones, Dr Andrew Lilico of Europe Economics and Martin Harper of RSPB.
‘This is about saving not just nature,’ said Andy Lester, ‘but the entire system in which we work, live and dream.’ He added that people are ‘increasingly switching off to bad news’ – even avoiding wildlife programmes on TV. ‘Somehow we have to reconnect the business man, the teacher, the 16 year-old out of a job, the parent, the grandfather, the drug addict to God’s incredible world,’ he added.
Andy shared the story of Lea Brook Valley Environmental Project, Sheffield. Starting in 2005 as an initiative by a member of Dronfield Baptist Church, it became a multi-agency project to enhance the wildlife habitat of a valley running through the town. ‘We can do it,’ said Andy, ‘we’ve got to do it together.’
Professor Jacobs spoke of the ‘extraordinary legacy’ we shall be leaving behind, part of which are temperatures that people have never known. However, advanced technologies mean the costs of environmental rescue have come down. Costs of renewable energy are ‘falling dramatically’, he said. ‘This is not an agenda in which we should just be looking at the downside,’ Prof Jacobs explained. ‘The agenda of hope is absolutely there.’
The planet is ‘our only capital’, said Bishop James Jones. To save it, he pointed out that we need to act on four levels – the personal, the parochial, the political and the planetary. RSPB’s Martin Harper spoke of the ‘scale of loss’ and the need for a ‘road map’ for saving nature. ‘Because we are an extraordinary species, I think we can find a way through this,’ he added.
Lord Lawson said we need to adapt ‘to whatever nature throws at us’ and to ‘make the countries of the world more resilient to extreme weather events’. Dr Lilico believed that ‘wealthy people adapt to things better’. (Photos: Clive Price)