Friday, 27 April 2012

Night at the Museum

It’s not often that you are greeted at a drinks reception by a security guard saying, “Keep going straight past the big dinosaur for the cloakroom and drinks are being served through the archway by the armadillo...”

But then it isn’t very often you get the chance to sip sauvignon in the grand surroundings of the Natural History Museum after hours.

Natural History Museum in some rare April sunshine

Last night the insurance company Aviva kindly sponsored a dinner for all those who had attended the Earth Debates at the Natural History museum.

The evening kicked off with a drinks reception just off the main hall, with a dissected camel from the current ‘Animal Inside Out’ exhibition keeping an eye on the eclectic assortment of tree-huggers who were gathering to discuss topics such as sustainable development, green cities and food security.

After we had all been randomly assigned to a table for dinner, the BBC’s environment correspondent Richard Black thanked everyone for their support and went over the key points that had arose in the Earth Debates talks.

Richard Black

Next to speak was Steve Waygood, Head of Sustainability Research at Aviva Investors, who told those present about the insurance company’s advocacy work in championing more transparent reporting and management of sustainability risk. 

A five course vegetarian meal was then brought out – not quite as lavish as it might sound as each instalment was served in a tiny bowl. The food, though sparse, was delicious and reflected the need for us to all be eating less meat and to be more creative with vegetarian dishes.

After dinner there was a lively discussion section. Although this part of the evening was interesting it also felt very frustrating as it was essentially ‘preaching to the converted’ and therefore not convincing the people with the power to affect change – i.e government and business leaders.

From the dining room to the board room, what must be brought to the table is a solution to combating climate change that puts the emphasis on sustainable development and shared responsibility, not making the world’s poor pay for our mistakes and helping people to develop in a way that does not undermine the future of our precious planet.

Not the most exciting proposal for ‘Night at the Museum 3’ but crucial to consider nonetheless.

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