On the evening of Friday, 5 October, UNU Centre in Tokyo hosted a “Science Café” in collaboration with the British Council Japan and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES).
This Science Café, titled “Building a Sustainable Planet – Future Population and Resources”, focused on a discussion of the “People and the Planet” report released in April 2012 by the Royal Society of the United Kingdom (UK).
The chair of the report’s working group, Sir John Sulston, co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2002 , presented key findings and recommendations of the report, which analyses the links between global population and consumption, and what this means in the context of a finite planet.
“This is a critical period for humanity”, he explained. “We’re seeing unprecedented and increasing levels of consumption that are very unequally distributed, and we are seeing really profound challenges to human health and the environment.”
His address was followed by presentations from panelists Prof. Shunsuke Managi (Tohoku University) and Dr. Magnus Bengtsson (IGES). Moderator Junko Edahiro (Japan for Sustainability) facilitated the discussion and a lively question and answer session.
Questions raised included whether global social and economic structures require revolutionary or incremental change; the potential for developing countries to “leapfrog” to more sustainable models of development; and the need to dematerialize consumption.
Members of the audience then had the opportunity to discuss the issues at hand with each other and the experts in a relaxed setting over drinks.
For more about this Science Café, including a video, see the OurWorld 2.0 People and the Planet article.