Ecology & Economy: Resolving the Climate Crisis

CivicStory forum panelists (l. to r.) Allan Chernoff, Edward Lloyd, Zahava Rojer, Patricia Canning and Michael Taylor

CivicStory forum panelists (l. to r.) Allan Chernoff, Edward Lloyd, Zahava Rojer, Patricia Canning and Michael Taylor

Climate change will impact us all, and so it was appropriate that the panelists at the CivicStory forum on “Ecology & Economy: Resolving the Climate Crisis” should span the generations.

Zahava Rojer, a senior at Columbia High School, said ecology became important to her when she joined the horticulture club. “Once I started growing things it hit me that this is something worth protecting.” For Edward Lloyd, professor of environmental law at Columbia University, it was reading Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” that opened his eyes.

And so began a lively discussion, involving the audience too, questioning some of the underlying assumptions that have brought the world to the brink of climate crisis:

The CivicStory Forum screened the TED talk by the young climate activist Greta Thunberg

The CivicStory Forum screened the TED talk by the young climate activist Greta Thunberg

  • Why is growth assumed to be good for the economy? Michael Taylor, environmental economist at Seton Hall University, says the weakness of that mantra is that while growth will expand the marketplace, classical economics only looks at efficiency, not the other factors like equity or environmental cost.

  • Can the news help us address the environmental crisis? Allan Chernoff, media strategist, believes it can, but points out that the news industry is dealing with threats to its own survival at the moment.

  • What choices do we control? Patricia Canning, of the South Orange Environmental Commission believes we need to recognize that we have a collective ability to make change.

The questions are not unanswerable, but at the end of the day -- as one member of the audience pointed out -- we’re dealing with a mosaic which will require many visions, and many paths to get there. See for yourself: video highlights of the March 11 forum will be published here, soon.

Donna LiuComment