Xavier de Béthune wrapped up the second day of the conference during which we looked at the transformations needed. He subscribes to the call to act now.
However, as we learned from Rene Loewenson, transforming dominating and hierarchical systems leads to paradoxes. Resolving paradoxes requires creativity to prevent tensions and sometimes violent conflicts that lead to (mental) health stresses, especially for more fragile people.
Over the course of the day, a number of these paradoxes were discussed:
- At macro level, the differences between the North and the South of the planet, between the neoliberal policies and the need to de-grow, between the roles of the authorities and the communities were very much apparent.
- Human beings were considered as part of the bigger whole several times. One Health brought animals into the picture. And wider concepts such as environmental health placed us as one of the organisms in between the rest of life. Local gardening even became a metaphor for care for the whole planet.
- Information has grown into a full resource. Information from global systems was compared to local and community-based information. And even the scientific approach was weighed against the importance of local rituals.
- Time of course was not absent from the presentations and discussions. Balancing short term reactions to emergencies with the longer-term strategies needed to face the challenges of climate change are a major point of attention.
"In the end [...] we are facing an emergency, but it is an emergency with a solution in the long term."
Mike Ryan of WHO confirmed the content of the conference: the emergency we are facing, the overall need for solidarity and the importance of working with the people at local level.
The all-women panel summarised the main priority of the climate emergency regarding health equity: empowerment of the people most at risk, with very special pleas to include all: women, indigenous people, youth, peoples with disabilities, etc.
Special thanks were expressed to the organisers for their enthusiasm and the quality of the conference.