Porritt challenges profession to show leadership
He defined this role in terms of helping people to “learn about, put into practice and celebrate low-carbon sustainable lives.” Praising the Institute’s work in these areas, he cited its position papers and their “extraordinary advocacy of multi-functionality to address these challenges.”
In a wide-ranging speech, he urged the assembled audience to “spot the emerging discussion in society of the importance of food production and the move away from agro-enterprise” and to put a new cost-benefit analysis from NICE in front of clients to convince them of the health benefits of green space.
Unapologetic in his support of wind farms in suitable locations, he said: “You cannot look at the prospects for humankind through a 6C lense and any longer suppose that nimbyist protectionism is relevant to the needs of our society and our species today.”
Dismissing the idea of being able to combine low emissions with high economic growth as a myth, he asked how we can ‘decouple’ growth and prosperity not only from the emission of greenhouse gases but also the impact on the physical environment and biodiversity.
He said: “A critical part of your professional responsibilities and opportunities is thinking what that means for your own research agenda at the LI. It means not waiting for other people to shape that debate, but instead shaping it in a way that fits the professional insights that you bring to bear on it.
“There is a proactive, championship role to seize and I’m absolutely certain that it will be embraced by the LI leadership and the membership.”