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08 November 2013
People are presented with false choices when it comes to tackling climate change and we are bombarded with advertising messages that tell us happiness and progress equate to owning goods.
That’s according to a panel of experts in a major debate at the University chaired by Griff Rhys Jones, patron of the Sustainable Places Research Institute.
Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Dr Simone Lowthe-Thomas, Head of Community Energy, Severn Wye Energy Agency Ltd, Dr Adam Corner, Understanding Risk Research Group, School of Psychology, and Professor Justin Lewis, School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, took questions from an audience of more than 300 people on the future of energy in the UK.
They argued that the messages around climate change action often pitted saving the planet against quality of life and are at odds with those of the advertising industry which identify ‘progress’ with ‘new’ and encourage people to buy goods.
Green needs to become the new ‘smart phone’ said the panel, who also considered issues around the Seven Barrage, renewable and nuclear energy and the public’s perception of saving energy during the debate.
Griff Rhys Jones, Patron of the Institute said: "How we produce and consume energy will inevitably change. But what our energy systems in the future will look like is something in which we all have a stake, and so it is vital that as many people as possible engage with this issue."
The Minister for Natural Resources, Alun Davies, said: "Meeting the energy challenges we face will require strong leadership from Government and collaboration with communities and businesses.
"My vision is for a thriving green economy in Wales. The Welsh Government is focused on ensuring that we make the most of energy developments for Welsh businesses, communities and our environment, creating local employment, tackling poverty and generating income that can be invested back into Wales."
Mind the Gap; meeting the energy challenge in the UK was held as part of the University’s Sustainability Week activities. Running from 4-8 November 2013, Sustainability Week showcases the University’s world-leading research and teaching in the field of sustainability, and aims to engage staff, students and the wider community in making a concerted and joined-up effort to reduce our impact on the planet by becoming more socially, economically, and culturally aware.
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