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St George's Day environmental debate told climate change a 'dragon' we can help defeat

Climate change is a 'dragon' we can all help to slay, a packed St George's Day audience has been told by the Church of England's lead Bishop for the environment.

At Climate Change and the Common Good: The Cultural Challenge, held on Thursday 23 April in the crypt of St Paul's, keynote speaker, the Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, was inspired by the date and likened climate change to the dragon within the story of St George and the Dragon.
 
He posed the question of what exactly this dragon was and how we should tackle it? He concluded that we must all take action and that those in power must be held to account and that we must all, including politicians, work together for the good of the environment.
 
 
The event, hosted by St Paul’s Institute and the Diocese of London brought together four key speakers to talk about the impact culture, business and the individual can have on climate change.
 
Chaired by the Reverend Canon Professor Richard Burridge, Dean of King's College London, the evening’s discussion centred on how business and politics must begin to aid climate change movements; what the individual can do to make a difference; and what initiatives can already be seen having an impact.
 
Stephen Howard, Chief Executive of Business in the Community, suggested the purpose of business should not be seen as maximising shareholder value, but instead maximising customer and community values. Profit, he stated, should be the result of delivering good business and not the main aim of a business.

SEE ALL PICTURES FROM THE EVENING
 
Laurence Brahm, author and social entrepreneur, then spoke from personal experience about how environmentally friendly, locally run businesses can prosper. He spoke of hotels and restaurants he helped to set up in Tibet that were run entirely on renewable energy, manned by local people and in all ways environmentally friendly. These businesses, he stressed, are profitable.
 
Bryony Worthington, Baroness Worthington, founder of Sandbag.org.uk, turned to another topical issue with the election. Stressing that politics is beginning to take notice of the issue of climate change, she said we should be encouraged by the degree of movement being seen.
 
However, she warned that if we are to see changes soon enough then we must stand up and make our feelings heard, by beginning to lobby our MPs and asking environmental questions to candidates ahead of the General Election, as well as reading through all parties' green proposals and making sure our opinions on climate change are noticed.
 
Audience questions ranged from how the individual can make an impact to how we can hold those in power accountable. All four speakers concluded that individuals can make a difference and that politics is beginning to wake up to the importance of this issue; but, as Baroness Worthington poignantly posed, 'will it be soon enough?'.
 
Debate continued on into a cultural space after the event which gave the panel and audience members an opportunity to learn more about how different people and organisations are making an impact in their own ways. 

The cultural space included stalls from: