Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The snow stopped even the WI in its tracks earlier this month but at least my part of the country seems to be back on the trail again.
One of the first events I have attended in 2010 has been the City Food Lecture, promoted by the Livery Companies of the City of London and held in the Guildhall. The lecture was given by Sir David King, formerly Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government but now Director of Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford.
And what a lecture; “Managing the Earth’s Resources to Deliver Food for Nine Billion”. Sir David has been a keynote speaker at our own Climate Change Conference a couple of years ago and so much of what he said in this lecture could have been a synopsis of our environmental and health mandates over many years. His set of challenges for the world and the feeding of those nine billion as the 21st century progresses include mineral resources, climate change, safeguarding ecosystems, food security, water resources and energy supply; he also added conflict and terror to the list. And, he reckons that “if we work hard on female education, we can manage”.

Sir David also spoke of the deforestation that is still taking place but that if governments know the people are “behind them” they will take action to stop. We’ll be learning more on this in our Rainforest Conference to be held at our own Denman College in Oxford, on March 15th. when Tony Juniper, former CEO of Friends of the Earth, will be one of the eminent speakers.

And, then, a week from now I shall be in Malawi representing the WI to see just how far the world has gone in achieving its Millennium Goal No 5, maternal health; all linked with our Women Reaching Women project. From the cold of Denmark to the heat of Malawi – worlds apart!