#STILLJanuary? trending on Twitter attests to the amount of time for change to happen last month. Some positive, some cause for concern, and all topics for discussion.
Climate change – a recurring theme
Davos 2018 has taken centre stage this month, with the theme ‘Creating a shared future in a fractured world’, consisting of over 400 sessions in just 4 days. The World Economic Forum summed up some of the big stories. Many topics and speeches, unsurprisingly, addressed climate change and the environment, which is fitting given that the doomsday clock has just moved the closest to midnight it has been since 1958. Cape Town’s water crisis also triggered a countdown to ‘day zero’. Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, was one of the many who mentioned climate change, listing it as one of the three biggest threats to civilisation.
Is all growth good growth?
Also at Davos, the IMF raised global growth forecasts, which represents ‘brighter prospects’ in terms of the global economy. However, according to the latest Oxfam report inequality is getting worse. If increase in growth forecasts is to be taken as a positive, there must be assurance that this growth will be more inclusive than last year. Also, given the positive correlation between climate change and growth, there is a lot to think about going forward.
It’s not all doom and gloom
Using clocks to express issues has been popular this month. An encouraging piece of news comes in the form of the ‘Time’s Up’ campaign, founded on January 1st, which is raising awareness about sexual assault, harassment and equality in the workplace. The theme of gender equality was also prevalent at Davos, where an all-female panel spoke of ways to tackle gender inequality.
Awareness of these subjects presents an opportunity. As physicist Lawrence Krauss points out regarding the Doomsday Clock, it is an ‘opportunity to get government and the public discussing the important issues’. And he’s right. We all have a responsibility to be actively involved in these matters. And there’s no better time than the present.