Dialogue for awareness, responsibility and justice

12-11-2009 23:01

After three days of plenary talks, track sessions with many different presentations on conceptual and foundational research, education, journalism and business, Jesper Garsdal, Fred Dallmayr and Hans Köchler restated the main value of the Global Dialogue Conference ’09 as a means to facilitate comprehensive reflections.

With regards to the issue of climate change, Professor Dallmayr of Notre Dame University remarked that ‘we have to talk about climate change from many different perspectives, especially any different cultural perspectives’.

In fact, in his view, sharing values among different cultures is a priority in order to raise awareness about climate change and its global repercussions.

Listen to Professor Fred Dallmeyr

Jesper Garsdal, one of the conference's main organisers, added that interaction is what is needed to find a common understanding and to take personal responsibility for climate change. And this interactivity in the climate debate opens new opportunities to come out with something else.

Listen to conference organiser Jesper Garsdal

That is actually what happened during the past few days. From Mike Hulme’s question ‘What can climate change do for us?’, the topic shifted to the several and disparate presentations within the conceptual, educational, journalistic and business tracks. The presentations aimed to share the ‘state of the art’ and research in the different fields of knowledge and consciousness production.

The ending to the conference was put in the hands of keynote speaker Hans Köchler, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Innsbruck.

He firmly believes in the importance of the Global Dialogue initiative and he recalls the international justice aspect of climate change and global warming.

The Professor argues that ‘dialogue about values is concerned because we have to be able to reach a kind of common ground, in order to solve the problem on an equitable basis, in a way that no one nation and no one community feels that it has to pay the price for the convenience of others’.

Listen to Professor Hans Köchler

But probably climate change has been the big absent of this conference. Everybody was talking about it but it didn’t show up. There has not been a common definition of the problem and of the major responsibilities: sometimes the responsibility seemed to lie with consumers, other times with politicians, and companies actually have had a smart image in tackling the issue.

So, the key point of the Global Dialogue looks really like what Mike Hulme stated in the first talk, also if contested: we cannot stop climate change it-self but we can use it to reconnect creatively the world.

In this perspective the conference has reached its purpose and created a communication among a widely diverse group.

Of course, in this context diversity is a quality while in December in Copenhagen the hope is that the differences will be put aside to reach an agreement. And about the upcoming UN COP-15 conference, Köchler seems less passionate: ‘we should have not illusions about the still diverging political interests’ and he concludes ‘but at least it is a conference that it will put the issue on the world-wide agenda’.

Listen to Hans Köchler on COP15

by Guia Baggi

Category: Conference news


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