The global Chimera: A lecture about threats / Columns / The Foreigner

The global Chimera: A lecture about threats. Oil, weapons, and genetically modified organisms – a trio of sins? Would eliminating them give 'The World Without Ecocide: a Utopia of our Time?' That was the title and the questions on 10 October in downtown Oslo for the 2013 Arne Næss Symposium. Organised by the University of Oslo's Nina Witoszek, the Symposium is an annual event free and open to the public, where distinguished guests debate in the spirit of Arne Næss.  This year, three pairs of protagonists squared off. An Albertan indigenous leader affected by the Tar Sands spoke before a Statoil representative explained why his company remains involved in the project.

arnenaess, ecocide, climate



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The global Chimera: A lecture about threats

Published on Saturday, 19th October, 2013 at 11:56 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.
Last Updated on 19th October 2013 at 12:19.

Oil, weapons, and genetically modified organisms – a trio of sins? Would eliminating them give 'The World Without Ecocide: a Utopia of our Time?'

Polly Higgins giving the Arne Næss Lecture
Polly Higgins giving the Arne Næss Lecture
Photo: Ilan Kelman


That was the title and the questions on 10 October in downtown Oslo for the 2013 Arne Næss Symposium. Organised by the University of Oslo's Nina Witoszek, the Symposium is an annual event free and open to the public, where distinguished guests debate in the spirit of Arne Næss. 

This year, three pairs of protagonists squared off. An Albertan indigenous leader affected by the Tar Sands spoke before a Statoil representative explained why his company remains involved in the project.

That was followed by two academics from Norway describing their stances on the use of genetically modified organisms. Finally, a Stockholm University Fellow debated Major General Robert Mood, former head of the UN mission in Syria, whose words summed up many of the contemporary global ills: "Weapons do not constitute the problem, human beings do".

The discussions were framed by the evening's keynote: Polly Higgins, a lawyer from London, giving the 2013 Arne Næss Lecture. She described Ecocide, the destruction of ecosystems, and the legal basis for making it enshrined in international law as the fifth crime against peace.

Her rousing call to support humanity and the environment jointly is based on solid legal principles. She dared Statoil to become StatRenewables, asking the Norwegian population (since they own the company) to support that shift. Her invitation to the audience, and to the world, was "dare to be great".

Newly composed, ecologically inspired musical works by Norwegian Lasse Thoresen started and ended the programme. The next day saw several dozen of us playing with plasticine in a World Café - a participatory discussion process for solving conundrums. Higgins enticed us to determine how to move forward with an international law against Ecocide.

As always, the Arne Næss Symposium was exciting, thought-provoking, and disturbing. As Næss once stated, "it is painful to think". But it is also painful to watch humans slowly destroying Planet Earth.

We can work together to help humanity help ourselves.

Dr. Ilan Kelman is aSenior Research Fellowat the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research - Oslo (CICERO).




Published on Saturday, 19th October, 2013 at 11:56 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.
Last updated on 19th October 2013 at 12:19.

This post has the following tags: arnenaess, ecocide, climate.





  
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