Petrol and philosophy / Columns / The Foreigner

Petrol and philosophy. 'Thinking dutifully, acting beautifully' encapsulates what Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss and his Deep Ecology movement stand for. It was also the title of last week's Arne Næss Symposium at the University of Oslo. Taking place in the inspirational old University site’s Old Festive Hall along Karl Johans gate, Professor Nina Witoszek organises the symposium annually. The subtitle and focus this year was "Our Responsibility for a Sustainable Future". It was framed admirably through initial remarks from Norwegian politician Erik Solheim, who emphasised localisation and stewardship.

norwayclimate, arnenaess, climatechange, oilandgas



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Petrol and philosophy

Published on Saturday, 17th November, 2012 at 07:53 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman and Robbie Andrew.

'Thinking dutifully, acting beautifully' encapsulates what Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss and his Deep Ecology movement stand for. It was also the title of last week's Arne Næss Symposium at the University of Oslo.

Professor Nina Witoszek
Professor Nina Witoszek (University of Oslo) opens the 2012 Arne Næss SymposiumProfessor Nina Witoszek
Photo: Ilan Kelman


Taking place in the inspirational old University site’s Old Festive Hall along Karl Johans gate, Professor Nina Witoszek organises the symposium annually.

The subtitle and focus this year was "Our Responsibility for a Sustainable Future". It was framed admirably through initial remarks from Norwegian politician Erik Solheim, who emphasised localisation and stewardship.

Harvard's Lawrence Buell, the 2012 Arne Næss Chair, then gave the opening keynote. He described how he sees us moving "From Environmental Imagination to Environmental Wisdom". He argued for "more than a re-engineering of habit", instead outlining his vision of sustainable planetary life in 2112.

Sophie's World author Jostein Gaarder followed, discussing the moral imperative for action, covering future generations and linking rights with obligations. Fons Elders then described with evident nostalgia his memories of his late friend Arne Næss.

The two other main speakers were anti-corruption politician/campaigner Eva Joly and activist/writer George Monbiot. They gave powerful renditions of the takeover of democracy by money, and ecosystem restoration to support human sustainability, respectively.

This was all with a musical interlude! David Chocron, Helge Iberg, and the Vox Humana Choir sang sustainability-inspired songs, using the hall's balcony and acoustics to their full capacity.

The day's show, though, was stolen by six Masters students lucidly and powerfully describing a "Petroholic Norway" and how to wean the country off its "substance abuse" of oil. The Norwegian student set the stage by lambasting his own country's energy hypocrisy.

The American, Brazilian, Canadian, and Ghanaian then each blasted their own homelands' unsustainable energy actions as a prelude to their criticisms of Norway’s energy policies.

Last up was the German student. He presented his country’s recent course, particularly with implementation of solar energy as exemplifying the sustainable energy pathway to which Norway should aspire.

All the students responded intelligently and wisely but passionately during the lively question and answer session, which closed the Symposium.

Humanity could hope if these six were our future. Few leaders today share their or Naess' commitment, as the other speakers made it abundantly clear.

That harms us all.

Dr. Ilan Kelman and Robbie Andrew are Senior Research Fellows at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research - Oslo (CICERO).



Published on Saturday, 17th November, 2012 at 07:53 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman and Robbie Andrew.

This post has the following tags: norwayclimate, arnenaess, climatechange, oilandgas.





  
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