By Dr Tony Curran, University of Southampton
On Friday 22 January 2016 the Researchers’ Café ran part two of its Climate Conversations themed series connected to the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) and the wider efforts in Southampton to raise awareness and drive action in the city. Part one was held in December and is summarised here.
There was a buzz in Mettricks Café as the event drew in the largest crowd to date for a Researchers’ Café. Clearly the appetite for more conversations on climate change and local environmental issues is growing. The two speakers for the evening were Dr James Dyke, who chaired the initial Climate Conversations event back in November 2015, and Megan Streb of Sustrans, who conducts research on travel behaviour in the city, in conjunction with the University and the City Council.
James posed the question ‘What planet are we living on?’ He drew on the perspectives of those present and discussed whether Earth can support 11 billion people (‘Yes, but…’), the impacts these people will produce, how these will affect the planet, and why we in the UK should care about these issues.
Megan asked ‘Can we change people’s travel behaviour?’ This resulted in some spirited discussions around the competing factors in place when people choose how to travel, what behaviour change techniques work and whether they are feasible in a Southampton-wide transport setting.
Rebecca Kinge from Dangerous Ideas Southampton and Clare Diaper from Transition Southampton, together with others, gave updates on related events and opportunities to get involved with community action in the city.
To conclude there was an open panel discussion. Alongside organiser Dr Tony Curran and the speakers James and Megan, Bob Whitmarsh from Winchester Action on Climate Change joined the panel. Bob gave a short summary of the outcomes of the Paris Agreement, from his very useful four page overview. The panel then answered questions.
The Researchers’ Café hopes to hold related events in the future – air quality was suggested as a possible future topic. Stay tuned for developments!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.