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“Science is magic, but real.”

And other quotes from the Global Landscapes Forum Bonn 2020 digital conference

Speakers in the closing plenary of the Global Landscapes Forum digital conference 2020. Clockwise rom top left: Achim Steiner (UNDP), Siti Nurbaya (Indonesian minister), Inger Andersen (UNEP), Naoki Ishi (GEF), Ibrahim Thiaw (UNCDD) and Salina Abraham (GLF)
5 June 2020

Politicians, scientists, chefs, a Vatican representative, journalists, artists, Indigenous and youth leaders, and an astronaut counted among the 120 speakers who addressed an audience of some 5,000 people in the Global Landscapes Forum’s digital conference on 3–5 June 2020. The focus of the event was to reimagine the future of food in response to the current health, climate, injustice and biodiversity crises. Here are some of the succinct, timely and poetic words said during the course of the event.

On food

“Well-managed landscapes meet the needs of the present, without compromising the future. This is linked to every choice we make in the supermarket, every politician we elect, every business we invest in.” – Katie Sims, Forest Programme Officer, BirdLife International

“We took too much for granted. When we look at our food production, that is ever so clear.”  – Tony Simons, director general, World Agroforestry (ICRAF)

“The question is not about the costs of sustainable food; we know that. The question is: how do we implement it? Who’s going to bear the cost?  – Lawrence Haddad, executive director, GAIN Alliance 

“For me, a sustainable diet is when human beings take responsibility for their food, when we recognize peasant work, when we value the flavors behind each food, when we enjoy with all our being the connection between ancestral knowledge and the flavors that we can now enjoy.” – Dalí Nolasco Cruz, coordinator, Red Indigenous Tierra Madre Slow Food Initiative for Latin America and the Caribbean

“The model of industrial agriculture is not feeding people, it is feeding greed. Let us feed the animals, feed the butterflies, and humans willbe fed. – Vandana Shiva, scholar and environmental activist

“My philosophy is very simple: our success is the farmers’ success.” – Ada Osakwe, founder and chief executive officer, Agrolay

“The stories we tell are not told about the communities but with the communities.” – Viktoria Mickute, senior producer, Al Jazeera Contrast

On crises

“The COVID-19 crisis may undo the development progress of the last few decades. We must not let that happen.” – Maria Flachsbarth, parliamentary state secretary, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

“ ‘People, planet, profit’ is always what we think about when thinking about sustainability… It’s an unpopular message, but: people who consume too much need to consume less.” – Arran Stibbe, professor of ecological linguistics, University of Gloucestershire

“What we need right now more than anything is imagination. We need the power of the human mind to imagine what the future will look like.” – Tim Christophersen, head of Freshwater, Land and Climate Branch, UN Environment

“For a long time, the question was: will this cause our economy to grow faster or not? Now we’re asking: does this increase our chances of survival or not?” – Bill McKibben, author and co-founder, 350.org

“COVID-19 is an environment story, an ecological story, as much as it is anything else.” – John Vidal, journalist and former editor of the environment section at The Guardian

“Every single one of us has the power to change the whole world.  Every rainstorm starts with a single drop. Everyone can be that single drop, and water can be very powerful.” –Patrik Baboumian, world’s strongest vegan

“Drought is a disaster. The moment you realize that communities’ water for drinking is dirtier and more contaminated than your toilet water, that is when you realize that this is a crisis.” – Vanessa Nakate, climate activist and founder, Rise Up

“Nobody enjoys knowing that a forest is on fire or a species is going extinct. But we don’t fully appreciate the value and indispensability of nature because we’ve been taking it for granted for so long.”  – Marco Lambertini, director general, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

“Protecting the forests around chimpanzee habitat isn’t just for the wildlife, it’s for the future of the local people & future generations.” – Jane Goodall, conservationist

And, some inspiration

“This is what digital does well, these kinds of events, we can be stimulated by facts with knowledge – it’s utilitarian, for getting things done – we need more of this, rather than killing the planet.” – Douglas Rushkoff, media theorist 

“Space exploration is not only about reaching out to the solar system, but about the ability to understand and care about our planet. There are so many planets and solar systems out there, but only one planet that we can call home.” – Samantha Cristoforetti, astronaut, European Space Agency

“99.9 percent of humanity knows that reconnecting with nature is the only way to overcome the challenges we face. Nature is the lifeblood of society, the core of society.” – David Nabarro, Special Envoy of World Health Organization Director General on COVID-19

“We need to stop living in generalizations. For too long now we try to copy and paste solutions that don’t work.” – Crystel Koh, administrator and youth development and environmental advocate, NextGEN Africa

“Change, grow wider, be everywhere they put you. Shade this land, protect the young and let the forest come back.” – Donatella Gasparro, writer and education assistant, Wageningen University


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