Last week, we had the privilege of listening to a lecture called ‘Rich people, poor people and environmental concern’ by Dr Malcolm Fairbrother. The talk was extremely thought provoking and absorbing, and I’m sure I can speak on behalf of many when I say that it changed the way I think about my actions and the consequences they may have. Dr Fairbrother started by explaining what the concerns were i.e. global warming and climate change, then he showed us an interesting study where people from all across the world (from both MEDCs and LEDCs) were asked about how fundamental they thought these problems were and would they be willing to sacrifice some of their salary if it meant we could address them. What astonished us was the high proportion of people that said yes to the latter: although perhaps people from a better off country felt they were less impacted by the issues, they felt more than eager to help solve them. He included the audience by posing the question ‘Why are we failing to solve our serious environmental problems?’, but shocked us all by revealing that we already know how. He concluded his talk by stating that government action is the only way forward; unless a tax is implemented upon polluting activities, our environmental problems will remain rife, as will the gap between the rich and poor.
by Sophie Crane and Olivia Colbeck,
Yr 12, Redland High School