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Events & Opportunities

Prof John Barry: The Pandemic and the Planetary Emergency (Imagine Festival)

March 23, 2021
Imagine! Belfast Festival of Ideas & Politics
15:00 - 17:00

A recording of the event is available to watch here.

How can we rise to the challenges and opportunities of tackling our planetary emergency?

Why is it that our political leaders (sometimes) listen to and make decisions informed by the science in the case of coronavirus, but not when it comes to the planetary emergency?

Unlike the coronavirus, there have been official political declarations of ‘climate and ecological emergencies’ in many parliaments. However, unlike the determined and swift actions of most governments around the world to the public health threat from Covid-19, there is little evidence of the same governmental determination to take radical and tough decisions on the climate and ecological crisis. But are there lessons and positive learning from how states and communities have responded to the pandemic that can give us some insight and hope that we can rise to the challenge and opportunities of tackling our planetary emergency?

John Barry is father of two children and Professor of Green Political Economy and Director of the Centre for Sustainability, Equality and Climate Action at Queens University Belfast. What keeps him awake at night is the life opportunities and future wellbeing of his children. His areas of academic research include post-growth and heterodox political economy; the politics, policy and political economy of climate breakdown and climate resilience; and socio-technical analyses of low carbon energy transitions.

His latest book is The Politics of Actually Existing Unsustainability: Human Flourishing in a Climate-Changed, Carbon-Constrained World (Oxford University Press). Since January 2020 is co-chair of the Belfast Climate Commission and was a Green Party councillor from 2011-2018 on Ards and North Down council.

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