Public Gets Preview of Thinkers Thoughts
Twenty-two modern day “Thinkers” will gather behind closed doors in Pugwash tomorrow, seeking real life solutions to the threat of global climate change. But, the hand-picked group offered a taste of their challenge at a public gathering tonight at the village’s new Peace Hall.
Four of the group offered a thumbnail sketch of the thoughts they will present during their retreat.
John Eaton, grandson of Cyrus Eaton who founded the Pugwash Conference, 60 years ago, told the gathering, “The mission, then as now, was to save the planet from certain destruction.”
Eaton says climate became an alternate focus for Pugwash Thinkers back in 1988. Connecting the dots from 1957 to this weekend, he said, “Our purpose here is to ask how we can act locally to bring about change.”
Adam Fenech, in the photo, a climatologist from the University of Prince Edward Island, set the tone by saying, “We are screwed, it’s our fault, it’s going to get worse, and there’s nothing we can do about it.” Fenech has been sounding the alarm since 1988 when the topic was described as global warming because of man’s harm to the ozone layer of protection that surrounds the earth.
To contrast Fenech’s somewhat fatalist view, Christine Hemming delivers what the organizers describe as heart. A Buddhist instructor, Hemming says, “Every human being longs for a better world. I really believe we have to go back and awaken that heart.” Sharing the very real description of a globe in trouble, Hemming says, “We have to feel how wounded, how poisoned the earth is.”
Bob Cervelli is the quasi chair of the event. His organization, The Centre for Local Prosperity, has organized and promoted the retreat to provide tangible steps to lessen or reverse the consequences of climate change.
Cervelli says, “We firmly believe that change happens in small ways. That’s why we work with small communities. We think that is where the action is.”
He thinks the world needs a dramatic shift from consumerism. “This generation knows how to buy stuff,” says Cervelli, “The next generation will have to learn how to build stuff, how to fix stuff, and how to grow stuff.”
While the thinkers will go behind closed doors for the next two days, they will emerge to present their findings to the general public. An open session is planned for Sunday at noon, in the Peace Hall, where a panel will review the general outcomes from the retreat. Cervelli hopes they may offer a roadmap for rural communities to begin to make a difference “on the periphery”, perhaps leading larger centres where abrupt course changes are more difficult.