A new way of exploring the world’s problems, and mapping ways out of them is promised in this revolutionary one-day event. The inaugural Interdependence Day, organised by a partnership between The Open University and the New Economics Foundation, will take place at the Royal Geographical Society, London on 1st July 2006.
Interdependence Day promises to give its participants “a chance to look at the world from a new angle” by seeking to refresh debates about policies, actions and technologies that we need to draw on to cope with an interconnected bundle of pressing issues.
A particular highlight will be a “fast-paced solutions workshop” called Save The World In Sixty Minutes, which will be broadcast by the BBC.
“Nobody can look at issues like climate change, accelerating biodiversity loss, or the downsides of economic globalization and deny that we’re living in an interdependent world ecologically, socially, environmentally,” said organiser Dr Joe Smith from the OU’s Geography Department.
“But our politics and culture are in denial with potentially catastrophic consequences. Interdependence Day will give people a chance to look at the world afresh – throwing light on new thinking that has the power to connect politics and culture with the interdependent world we’re living in.”
“This project brings together people from the research, media and arts worlds, together with informed and interested members of the public - above all OU students - to work through the ways we can change the world for the better.”
The first public event is subtitled “Making new maps for an island planet” and brings together a number of fields:
A communications festival will include leading examples of film, TV, web and new technology.
There will be “declarations of interdependence” made by a rich mix of leading social entrepreneurs, economists, artists and puppeteers.
Displays of state-of-the-art design and technology for sustainability, and participative workshops will explore the world’s most pressing issues through music, poetry and performance.
Open University students, say the organizers, will be particularly attracted to a “Doctor’s Surgery”, featuring leading OU academics, and at which “appointments are available to diagnose and prescribe solutions for the world’s problems”.
Dr Smith said it was time to take a new look at the issues. “Some of the environment and development debates feel quite tired, and actually quite private to NGOs,” he said. “This event opens them up and looks at them from a different point of view – we also want to breathe more cultural life into the debates.
"The aim of Interdependence Day is to reveal the nature of our interdependent world and to refresh that term, but also to provoke answers about what is demanded of us, ethically and politically. I think this event brings a sense of hopefulness – we face challenges but we do have the capacity to respond.”