Dr Martin Bigg, Chartered Environmentalist of the Year 2014, discusses working together to make a difference and encourages environmental professions to raise the profile of environmental issues.
Martin says; "Environmental, sustainability, green, whatever title we like to give ourselves, we are very good at working together, and agreeing amongst ourselves on issues and possible actions and solutions. We are more comfortable and avoid confrontation. I plead guilty to this, when working with environmental professionals, environmentally committed students, businesses, NGOs and community groups.
On World Environment Day I visited Essen, the European Green Capital 2017. Sharing experiences of Bristol, the 2015 European Green Capital, I learnt of the transition from a place dominated by coal mining and steel manufacturing and associated challenges, to an environmentally committed green capital. Significant changes were achieved by confronting the issues.
At a meeting organised by the World Bank I spoke with a large delegation of leading officials and regulators from the Chinese national, regional and local government. They are facing air quality issues way beyond our local but serious problems.We have an obligation to share our knowledge and experience, successes and failures to meet such challenges. This applies not only where our professional involvement is sought but also where there is ignorance or denial, internationally or nationally.
As we raise awareness through World Environment Day I encourage colleagues to raise the profile and importance of environmental issues. Despite public concern about the environment and climate change it has not featured significantly in the run up to the UK general election. It is an education to read the very different commitments or absence of commitments in the manifestos.
Why not question those standing to represent us, on their values and aspirations, step outside our comfort zone and prepare to work with those who may not share our ideas? It may not be easy, and could be testing and challenging, but ultimately we all could be stronger for it.
Together we can make the world a better place for everyone."
Dr Martin Bigg CEnv accepting the award for Chartered Environmentalist of the Year 2014.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society for the Environment.