“In our moments of crisis, empathy doesn’t mean merely feeling for others. It requires turning our emotions into positive actions, with the common purpose of supporting each other.”
- Salvador Gómez-Colón
At and&, we are building an interdisciplinary space where bright minds bow their heads over 21 questions for the 21st century.
Innovation is often coined as the saviour of the climate crisis, but the truth is that we can’t rely on innovation alone to battle climate change. A lot of actors need to come together in different ways. On the one hand to stimulate a collective shift in our understanding. On the other hand to move everyone, from the individual level to the federal government, to decisive action. So what exactly needs to be done in order to make a meaningful impact? Should we change our behavior? A lot of questions pop up, with even more nuanced answers.
Timothy Morton is a professor and philosopher. Morton's work explores object-oriented thought and ecological studies. They are a big opponent of the way we currently address climate change. Morton believes that we have to get away from preaching and applying shock-effects to our communication. 'Ecology books can be confusing information dumps that are out of date by the time they hit you. Slapping you upside the head to make you feel bad. Grabbing you by the lapels while yelling disturbing facts. I want to change that.'
A multi-awarded social entrepreneur, a Food Scientist by profession, and a son of a Farmer, Mark Sultan Gersava is lauded for his dedication in uprooting the marginalised community of farmers, addressing plastic pollution deforestation and mitigating the effect of climate change. With his social enterprise Bambuhay, he is leading the way in sustainable business by creating inclusive and eco-friendly solutions to heal the planet from plastic pollution and by building opportunities to empower marginalised communities.
Salvador Gomez-Colon is easily the youngest climate advocate of the Conference. He shares a vision of hope for a more sustainable, cohesive, and inclusive future where young people have a seat at the table. He created the "Light and Hope for Puerto Rico" campaign, which distributed solar-powered lamps and hand-powered washing machines to over 3,500 underserved families after the devastating Hurricane María. He since has led several other disaster-relief missions and his work has been featured internationally. He was recognised as one of Time Magazine’s “Most Influential Teens of 2017”.
Another face of the young and concerned climate generation is Anuna De Wever. She stood up as the leader of the student protests in Belgium in 2019, following the actions of her great example Greta Thunberg. With Anuna we will look back and forward in time. Did the protests finally help people and politicians to change their behaviour? And do we need more then behavioural change to save the climate?
They get the support of Hans Bruyninckx, director of the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen. Bruyninckx publically rang the alarm for Belgium, being far behind with the European climate goals for 2030. Currently the EEA analyses the need and potential for a shift to a circular and sustainable approach to our use of plastics.
And you? What are you doing to contribute your share to solving the climate crisis?
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