Annan urges individual citizens to work for environmental change

28 June 2006

Although Governments and businesses are coming to understand that the prevailing model of energy use in the world is unsustainable, and that conservation is a necessity for economic growth, constant pressure from individual citizens is needed for real change to occur, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan told a global environmental forum today.

Although Governments and businesses are coming to understand that the prevailing model of energy use in the world is unsustainable, and that conservation is a necessity for economic growth, constant pressure from individual citizens is needed for real change to occur, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan told a global environmental forum today.

“As citizens, you do have power,” Mr. Annan said by video link to participants of the Tällberg Forum, a yearly convocation of individuals from all sectors of society to discuss environmental issues in the village of Tällberg, Sweden. ”You have power through your vote. And as consumers, you have power through your purchasing decisions.

“So use that power to effective change,” he continued. “That is what I have tried to do throughout my tenure, and what I hope my successor will do as well, since when it comes to the environment, the next few years could well be crucial.”

A great step forward in changing the mind-set of Government and business leaders, Mr. Annan said, was their recognition that human security is threatened by environmental degradation, along with poverty and infectious diseases.

“[That] vision of security is helping the world address threats in a holistic manner, and is I believe, beginning to bring environmental threats the high-level political attention they have long merited,” he said.

 

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