Recommendations from the 1994
Conference, Aberdeen, 1994
The theme of the International conference held in Aberdeen in June 1994 was ‘Sustainability’. This conference involved over 200 secondary school students and teachers from eighteen different countries. Representatives from all sorts of countries from the
Developed and Developing World participated in this event.
The conference programme involved a wide range of discussions, fieldwork and practical activities. Keynote talks from Jonathon Porritt, Magnus Magnusson and Chris Baines helped to set the agenda for the week long event.
A full report of the conference has been published. This includes both a written report and a video. Details of how to obtain copies of the report are available from Raymond Jowett on
The main product of the conference was the Student Recommendations on what must be done to ensure a sustainable future for the Earth. The aim of the task of producing recommendations was to translate the many experiences of the conference into meaningful
statements about Sustainability
These are organised into the categories shown below. The full details of the recommendations are published on this page.
- Environmental Education
- The Role of Governments
- Industry and Commerce
- Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
- Towns, Cities and Buildings
- Personal Responsibilities
Some photographs from the 1994 conference can be seen by clicking here.
- All people should receive REAL environmental education since we can only live in a sustainable way if we are well informed of the consequences of environmental ignorance. Children should be educated to view the environment in a positive way so that t
hey come to love and respect it. Too often the very word, environment, generates feelings of pessimism.
- Environmental education should start at the earliest possible stage and continue both formally and informally throughout life. Governments should have planned strategies for delivering environmental education.
- All school subjects can contribute to environmental education. This helps prove to youngsters that everything is connected.
- All people should become aware of the part that they as an individual can play in solving the Earth’s problems.
- In order to ensure that environmental education happens globally the United Nations should establish a global education council with the responsibility of ensuring that all people receive a basic core level of environmental education.
THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENTS
- In order to persuade industry to be more environmentally responsible governments should use strategies such as tax breaks to promote sound environmental management in industrial production and in land use activities. This should have the effect of ma
king environmentally friendly or ‘green’ products less expensive. At present the price of such products often discourages their purchase.
- Similarly severe penalties should be imposed on industries which have poor environmental records. These penalties should exist throughout the world in order to prevent the development of global environmental blackspots.
- Government should take practical measures to reduce the impact of people on the environment. For example governments should encourage the development of good public transport, perhaps via the tax system. Energy efficient housing and waste minimisatio
n should be promoted. It should be made possible for farmers to return to more natural methods of food production.
- Trading barriers between rich and poor countries or between North and South should be removed in order to enable poorer countries to trade more fairly. Trade barriers and monopolies often lead to environmental degradation in the poorer nations. Gove
rnments in the North should strive to prevent countries of the South becoming dependent on them for trade and income. This will lead to the development of more sustainable economies in both North and South.
- Governments in general should be seen to act in an environmentally responsible way both through their visible actions and through the policies which they promote and implement. It should not be possible to accuse governments of environmental hypocris
INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE
- Managers and decision makers in industry must become more aware of the dependence of their activities on the natural environment and be encouraged to view their activities in a sustainable manner.
- All industrial activity should be subject to environmental impact assessment and sustainability should be a key consideration in this.
- As mentioned above governments should provide incentives to industries with sound environmental policies.
- Conservation of resources such as energy and raw materials should be taken more seriously in all industries. Re-using, repairing and recycling should be more common in industry.
- Business must play a more active role in the promotion of environmentally friendly products.
- The aims of industrial and other commercial organisations must take the environment into consideration.
AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHING
- Farmers should consider using less intensive means of production rather than having set-aside land. This would lead to more natural food products and a more natural use of the land.
- Organic farming practices should be adopted more widely. Farmers must realise that quantity is not the sole target of agricultural production.
- Farm livestock ought to be fed in more natural ways rather than intensively and artificially.
- Environmentally sensitive agriculture should be promoted through government subsidies.
- Surplus food production should be shipped to parts of the world where there is a shortage of food. This would be a more sustainable use of global resources than stockpiling or destroying food.
- Local marketing of farm produce is more desirable than incurring huge environmental costs in transporting agricultural produce over unnecessarily long distances.
- Farms should make more use of methods such as composting and use of natural fertilizers recycled from the farm or from local sewage plants.
- Commercial forestry production should be sympathetic to natural systems and be managed in a way which enables the survival of a diversity of wildlife.
- Native woodland must be protected and allowed to become re-established wherever possible.
- The resources of the sea, both in terms of the marine environment and fish stocks, must be properly managed to take into account natural systems and to enable communities which depend on the sea to have a sustainable future.
TOWNS, CITIES AND BUILDINGS
- Public transport must be the main means of transport in towns and cities. Private transport should be discouraged. Clean fuels should be used for public transport systems.
- Urban sprawl should be prevented by guaranteed Green Belts. Alternatives to continued outward growth must be found. This will additionally help to sustain natural or semi-natural habitats and agricultural land.
- Tree planting programmes should take place in urban areas.
- Town councils or other authorities must ensure that citizens have access to recycling facilities for all types of waste.
- Existing buildings should undergo environmental audits in order to identify priorities for remedial action. New buildings, whether homes, offices, shops or industrial/commercial premises should be built with the aim of having as little environmental
impact as possible in their production and their operation and maintenance. For example construction should be from waste materials, recycled products and heating costs reduced through insulation standards and design features.
- True wilderness is vital to sustain natural systems. Valuable natural resources exist in the wilderness, both for people and for other inhabitants of the Earth. The dwindling wilderness resources must be protected for intrinsic reasons and also to en
sure potentially valuable resources are not lost.
- It is vital to conserve wilderness areas and restrict development. The natural systems which support life depend on the pool of biodiversity which exists in the wilderness.
- Enabling people to experience the wilderness is important. Modern life makes many of us more detached from the natural world. Wilderness is important as a resource to remind people about the natural systems we depend on for survival. All people shoul
d therefore have the right of access to wilderness areas.
- As individuals we need to challenge our attitudes and consumption patterns. We must ask ourselves questions about our ‘wants’. Do we really always ‘need’ the things that we want. Is the cost of these to the environment too high?
- As individuals we should do our utmost to help conserve resources. For example it is easy for us to save energy, to make full use of public transport, to reuse and recycle things and to decide simply not to do something if it harms the environment.
- We should exert pressure on government, industry, agriculture and other organisations to develop low impact technologies and to find alternatives to the consumption of fossil fuels in particular. They should be encouraged to find a better compromise
between economic and ecological sustainability.
- We should use our purchasing power to demand products which are recyclable, efficiently packaged, energy efficient and sustainable in their means of production.
- As individuals we must ‘think globally and act locally’. Ensuring a sustainable future is everyone’s responsibility and we should be aware that we did not inherit the world from our ancestors but we are borrowing it from our children. This is not a c
liché, it is a fact.
Click here to return to the home page of Caretakers of the Environment Scotland