Working Towards a Sustainable Future Today

Did you know it was London Climate Action Week last week

Climate change is undoubtedly impacting our lives in every aspect. The scale, scope and complexity addressing this multifaceted problem is such that no one sector – government, business, civil society or academia – is able to solve alone. Collaboration between and within different sectors is required to overcome these challenges. By sharing information, resources, activities, and capabilities we can achieve things together that we could never achieve alone.

Aetha Design’s Tom Parsons (Founder) was asked to talk at the event, organised by the Environmental and Ecosystem Change Course at Imperial College London. Speakers from different backgrounds shared and discussed how they currently collaborate and how they wish to collaborate in the future with a variety of stakeholders and experts to work towards a sustainable future.

The event was part of the first ever London Climate Action Week (1st – 8th July 2019). The week brought together London’s climate expertise and talent from across sectors to run events across the city focused on taking local, national and international action.

*Image of guide given to attendee’s of the symposium on 9 things they can do about climate change

The speakers at the event

The fully booked Symposium took place at London Imperial College on Wednesday 3rd July 2019 with over 100 people joining the event to listen to the 4 speakers. Gareth Redmond-King (Head of Climate & Energy at WWF) started the evening off followed by Helen Breewood (Research & Communications Officer at the Food Climate Research Network) Tom then spoke from a product designer’s point of view (Aetha Design) and lastly, Dr. Alexandra Collins spoke (Lecturer in Environmental Sustainability at The Centre of Environmental Policy)

Tom said after the event “I was really happy to be a part of the event and was overwhelmed with the positive response from the audience. I still can’t quite believe that people as consumers don’t realise about the importance of product design as part of a product’s life cycle. Giving people the knowledge that will help inform them to make better decisions is the best part about being asked to speak at this sort of event.” He continued to say, “Product design is so often overlooked when it comes to important things like sustainability however it is THE most important part of a product at the early stages of it’s life cycle. I encourage anyone looking to innovate with a product to ask how sustainable the materials used are going to be, where the components of that product are going to be sourced from and lastly the hardest question of all…. ‘Is there a need for this product and/or packaging at all?’ and if the answer is questionable then maybe you need to go back to the drawing board.”

*Image of Tom Parsons during his presentation

The Panel Discussion

Following the 4 speakers presentations, a panel discussion was held and questions from the audience were aimed at the speakers. Direct questions about the impact of the media attention of groups like Extinction Rebellion were asked along with personal opinions on where the blame should be placed on our current climate situation should sit. It was agreed that there was nothing we can do about the past and that we have to start today on the future to work together to ensure a more sustainable future.

*Image of the panel discussion speakers – Left to Right – Gareth Redmond-King (WWF) Helen Breewood (Food Climate Research Network) Tom Parsons (Aetha Design) & Dr. Alexandra  Collins (Centre of Environmental Policy, Imperial College London)

The Symposium ended with a conclusion from Francesca Marshall-Stochmal (Research Master’s Student) who concluded to say that from the speakers responses and their presentations it is obvious that now more than ever, companies, governments and countries must work together to ensure that all the possible knowledge there is available is shared to work together to educate individuals how they can lead more sustainable lives but also how governments can influence organisations in being more sustainable in their product design choices.

We had a great time and thank London Imperial College and the Masters students who hosted us. Thanks also to the other speakers who were fantastic, it was lovely to meet you all and we espescially enjoyed the refreshments offered after the symposium which gave attendee’s the chance to talk to our team about their product ideas and studies into sustainability. All the food and beverages served were chosen and had sustainable and social credentials either in their structural organisation, agricultural practices, production, use of produce which would otherwise go to waste, or a combination of the above.

*Image – Tom & Gareth talking about the cycle home for Gareth after the symposium during the refreshments. 

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