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Climate Change Is A Result Of Lack Of Understanding And Respect For Nature: Michael Loizides, At WEF Meet

An associate of ALL Ladies League, the Women Economic Forum (WEF) is a global conference to foster empowering conversations and connections among women committed to adopt constructive change in all walks of life.

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At the Women Economic Forum conference in 2017, where women from all spheres came to talk about women empowerment and gender parity, there was a session on one of the most pertinent issues of our time: ‘simple and practical ways to contribute locally against climate change’, bringing sustainability to the conference agenda. The session was conducted by Michael Loizides, director general of Isotech Ltd, with Rhian Sherrington, founder of Women in Sustainability and Elizabeth Marazita as part of the panel.

The session befittingly started with a quote by Mahatma Gandhi: “the earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed”, which, according to Loizides, was the “true definition of sustainability”. He further went on to add that “climate change was a result of lack of understanding and respect for nature”, and to tackle it there must be a “change of state of mind” as it not just a technical issue.

Advocating a mass disciplinary approach to face the issue of sustainability, Loizides said that it is “not just carbon dioxide” which is a greenhouse gas that everyone should be concerned about, but also “methane, ozone, CFC, nitrogen, nitrous oxide”. He focussed on the annual greenhouse emissions in the sector, where industrial processes and transportation fuels compromised more than 30 per cent of annual greenhouse emissions, and the total greenhouse emissions was a result of “an integration of many people’s way of living”, and that we are part of the problem.

He stressed that it is not just up to the government to mitigate climate change effects, but on the general population, listing out potential effects of climate change on agricultural yield, coastal areas, forests, species, water resources and health. “In Cyprus, all the species and plants are moving to higher areas, given the change in temperature and climate, which is alarming,” added Loizides.

Focusing on the inter-linkages which maintain the ecological balance (planetary thresholds), he said that one region polluting too much can lead to “a disruption of chains”, and total chaos, hence a combined effort is required to combat climate change. He advocated that there must be a “control of production and consumption chain”, and “an evaluation of the economy based on the annual rise of consumption”, given we live in an extremely consumerist society.

Quoting Buddha, Loizides said “don’t learn how to react, learn how to respond”, and that we already have the necessary tools to mitigate climate change, and it will require a re-evaluation of our lifestyle. He went on to focus on the elements of ‘sustainable living’ which are to ‘minimize carbon footprint’ and ‘maximize quality of life’. He then went on to list various methods one can adopt to move towards sustainable living, including use of renewable sources of energy, electric cars and practice of composting, while reducing waste to zero.

He ended the session with the proclamation “climate change is not a technical problem, but the result of our state of mind”, urging everyone to locally adapt to more eco-friendly ways of living.

Upon being asked by BW Businessworld about how developing countries like India can deal with the dilemma of raising the standard of living of its population, while reducing ecological footprint, Loizides said, “Most of these countries have the ability to use technology and know-how to replace dependence on oil and petrol at a very low cost. So, you can make a change very easily, to reduce ecological footprint, low-cost solutions, which can be developed locally, without depending on foreign imports. It’s up to the decision makers of the country to move towards that change.”