“Politicians have lost the plot”

Wednesday 30 April 2014

Beyond £'s

Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE will deliver an eye-opening lecture, ‘Beyond £’s: Valuing the Things That Really Matter’, at the University of St Andrews today (Wednesday 30 April 2014).

The lecture is free and open to all at 1800 hours, in the Medical and Biological Sciences Lecture Theatre, North Haugh, St Andrews.

Dame Fiona, Master of Emmanuel College Cambridge, will use her lecture to declare that “we cannot go on as we are”. She will argue that economic growth at any price is no longer an option, and we need to reframe our value system to support sustainable lifestyles.

Dame Fiona will say:

“Today’s politicians and decision-makers have lost the plot.  They behave as though the only thing that matters is the economy – especially growth.  Yet we know that the world we live in is much more complex than that, and that what makes people happy and feel that life is worth living is a multitude of qualitative attributes and relationships, not least the beauty of our surroundings.”

Dame Fiona Reynolds developed her appreciation of the value of space and beauty as “spiritual refreshment” during her tenure as Director General of the National Trust; which looks after 612,000 acres of land across the United Kingdom. She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours for “services to heritage and conservation”.

Dame Fiona will take to the stage to issue a rallying call:

“The revolution in thinking has to come, in the end, from us:  from people asserting our needs and aspirations in terms that acknowledge the wider value to society and the planet of the non-material things that make life worthwhile.   Top down solutions are of course part of the answer, but the twenty first century challenge is no longer the technical question of sustainability but the human one.   If we fail to engage people in the pursuit of more sustainable lifestyles we will not succeed.”

The lecture is part of the St Andrews Prize for the Environment programme. Now celebrating its fifteenth anniversary the primary objective of the prestigious prize is to find innovative solutions to environmental challenges around the globe.

A distinguished panel of environmentalists, scientists and industrialists, will announce the 2014 prize winners at an award ceremony on Thursday (1 May 2014).

Notes to News Editors

The Prize is a joint environmental initiative by the University of St Andrews in Scotland and exploration and production company ConocoPhillips.

Background on the three projects shortlisted for the St Andrews Prize for the Environment.

Find out all you need to know about the Prize.

Category Government

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