Environment – Dr. Mike Clarke

Published on April 18, 2013 in 2013 Conference Reports, Audio, Environment

Dr Mike ClarkeDr. Mike Clarke, Chief Executive of the RSPB spoke on the theme of Environment, with a talk entitled ‘Sustainable Severn: Sunset or sunrise?’

Three key thoughts as the background context to his talk:

  1. We need a revolution about the way we think about the wealth of nations
  2. The trajectory of the economic system is failing the public good
  3. We cannot rely on government alone to fix this.

The RSPB has a long track record of working on coastal issues – from early campaigns (Seas of Change, Estuaries), to fighting for legislation such as habitats and birds directives, instigating the WeBS counts monitoring network, to casework. RSPB works globally across the world with partnerships.

He cited facts with regards to natural capital including –

  • Two thirds of the natural services are provided by nature and are currently estimated to be in decline globally.
  • Fifty percent of corporate earnings are at risk from environmental externalities.

Mike shared that we need this transition to take place – not threats, but opportunities. ‘If the economic system is failing, so is the policitcal system – there needs to be a new dialogue, one that business and civil society needs to play a role.’

  • How to go forward – side by side, issue by issue
  • The Severn is an asset – ‘Estuaries are all about calories and carbon’.
  • In the 740 sq km of the Severn Estuary, there are 74,000 birds. It’s the stepping stone of one the the five big flyways of the world for migratory birds.

Mike explored key questions-

  • How can the economy develop in harmony with the environment?
  • What are the decision making tools to enable this to happen?
  • How to respond to the post industrial challenge?

‘A world class economy and world class environment can work together.’

Listen to the full talk below: