Tuesday , November 19 2019
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Blocking people from a conference won’t win hearts and minds

I am the CEO of Business for Development, an Australian NGO representing communities in developing countries to improve their livelihoods. This week was my first time at the International Mining and Resources Conference, and I was a little shocked.

Protestors and delegates exchange views outside IMARC.

Protestors and delegates exchange views outside IMARC.Credit:Jason South

I recognise the concerns raised by the protesters. I strongly believe that climate change is a reality and that we need to act now to address this threat to the world’s future. We need governments around the world to put policies in place, and several sectors – resource, agriculture, logistics, transport – to work towards strategic approaches to reduce our impact on the environment.

But the art of influencing people to change their behaviour or approach to an issue is not, and never will be, through being violent to them, calling them “climate killers” or yelling at them.

There’s a place for protest. My heart swelled with pride when I saw the impact of Greta Thunberg on the climate debate. She is connecting with the next generation, who will be able to vote within this decade, and highlighted to governments that they are not doing enough. She is a force to reckon with and complements this peaceful protest with key meetings with UN officials, business and politicians, and by working with key NGOs to drive the required dialogue to push for change.

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