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Environmental Audit Committee hosts public debate to launch Whole Earth? photographic exhibition

8 May 2012

At 7pm on Monday 21 May 2012, at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, Trafalgar Sq MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee are teaming up with an award winning photography exhibition and Commons Speaker, John Bercow, to host a public debate ahead of the Rio Earth Summit in June. The event Rio+20 Earth Summit: What should we do now? at St Martin-in-the-Fields will coincide with the launch of a new photographic exhibition at the Church, focusing on solutions to environmental problems.

Whole Earth? is an inspiring new free outdoor exhibition by the Hard Rain Project, which will be seen by tens of thousands of visitors to London this summer as they pass by St Martin-in-the-Fields church, just off Trafalgar Sq. The Hard Rain Project’s previous photographic exhibition Hard Rain won plaudits for depicting the extent to which natural systems had been degraded over recent decades and has been seen by more than 15 million people – making it one of the most successful photographic exhibitions ever created.

Photographer, Mark Edwards, from the Hard Rain Project said:

“The photographs in ‘Whole Earth?’ prove that real viable solutions to the world’s environmental problems do exist. But the question mark in Whole Earth? is this – do we have the political will to put these long term solutions in place and tackle our problems together? If we want thriving oceans and forests, a stable climate and food for all in the future, then we need to up our ambitions for the Rio Earth Summit. That’s what our event on the 21st is all about.”

At the event, the MPs will host an open public discussion on the Rio+20 agenda based on presentations from a panel of guest speakers followed by a question and answer session.

Speakers at the event:

  • Rt Hon John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons
  • Prof Chris Rapley, Professor of Climate Science at University College London
  • Leo Johnson, presenter of BBC ‘World Challenge’ and co-founder of Sustainable Finance, now part of PwC
  • Mark Edwards, the Hard Rain project.
  • Evandro Barros Araújo, Brazilian embassy in London
  • Claire Foster-Gilbert, formerly National Policy Advisor on Environmental Issues to the Archbishops' Council of the Church of England
  • Martin Haigh, the Environmental Sustainability Task Group at St Martins
  • Leah Parsons, GirlguidingUK and winner of ‘most inspirational young person’ at Climate Week 2012

Joan Walley MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee said:

“I can think of no better way of raising awareness and appealing to that deeper connection with our planet than through music and the arts. Hard Rain’s appeal is timeless, instinctive and startling in its directness. I am delighted to be able to work with them to raise awareness in the run up to Rio.”

“The event at St Martins-in-the-Fields has been organised to highlight the importance of the Earth Summit and we will be using it to collect messages for the Government at the event which we will deliver to negotiators before the talks.”

The Environmental Audit Committee have produced an initial report on the Rio+20 agenda, and since then there has been a debate in the House of Commons on that report and the Government’s response to it. See our Committee website for more details. The event at St Martins will allow a wider debate on the environmental and sustainable development issues that will have to be tackled, globally and within our communities.

Joan Walley MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee concluded:

“While public attention is understandably focused on the economic crisis, just as important for our generation is the looming environmental crisis.

“Unless and until that is on the political and public agenda, we will continue to undermine the planet’s vital life-support systems with potentially frightening consequences. That is what is at stake at the Rio Summit.”

“World leaders must seize this opportunity to change course to create a world economy that enhances human well-being, protects the natural world and delivers food and energy security for the future.”

Further Information:

Interview bids and media enquiries: Nick Davies 020 7219 3297 / 0791748814 

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