Voices Off: How to save the world

Posted on 15 November 2019

"The biggest threat to our planet is the belief that somebody else is going to fix it. There is a role that every single one of us can and should play." Magid Magid, Green Party MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber.

How much difference can one person make? Is recycling your plastic helping or will it never be enough? Why isn’t the government doing more, and whose responsibility is it? The debate around climate change and sustainability has never been livelier, or more pressing. In our Voices Off panel debate at the Old Vic, in collaboration with World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), the speakers discussed how we can each take action and demand change — and what they think it’s going to take to save the world.

On the panel, hosted by Mishcon de Reya Partner and Director of Business Development Elliot Moss, was: Fanny Calder, Director of Campaigns and Public Affairs at WWF; Jack Harries, documentary photographer, filmmaker and activist; Sophie Lanfear, wildlife documentary producer and director, Silverback films; and Magid Magid.

The Voices Off debate followed a performance of Lungs, featuring The Crown stars Claire Foy and Matt Smith, in which a couple debate why they would want to bring a baby into this world of melting ice caps and overpopulation.

Lungs, directed by Matthew Warchus and based on a play by Duncan Macmillan, ran from 14 October – 09 November 2019 at The Old Vic.

Elliot Moss
Partner and Director of Business Development
Mishcon de Reya

Mishcon de Reya has been partnering with The Old Vic for around three years.  We like to champion really important issues that we think face society and that face our clients and tonight is about climate change.

Sophie Lanfear
Wildlife Documentary Producer and Director
Silverback Films

The play Lungs, brilliantly written, brilliantly performed but more than that it raised a lot of the taboos that people don’t talk about.

Jack Harries
Documentary Photographer, Filmmaker and Activist

I think it is a really nice idea to do a panel after a play because often when we see these topics discussed in film or in podcast or in theatre you can forget that they are very much reality.

Sophie Lanfear
Wildlife Documentary Producer and Director
Silverback Films

We’ve got a nice range in the panel of different people with different views and different levels of expertise

Magid Magid
Green Party MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber

It is amazing to see the amount of urgency and I think it is on everybody’s radar, you watch it in the news, people are talking about it, it’s fantastic and it just needs to have the political will to do it.

Jack Harries
Documentary Photographer, Filmmaker and Activist

Climate change it’s not really an environmental issue, it’s a social justice issue, it’s a human rights issue, it’s our responsibility to, to be out on the streets and to be fighting for this issue and to be raising awareness.

Fanny Calder
Director of Campaigns and Public Affairs
WWF UK

I think the only way we are going to find our way out of the climate crisis is through optimism.  I know that the technology is there and I know that the politics is starting to get there partly because of all the fantastic communicating, all the fantastic protesting that we’ve been seeing this year.

We in the West we are consuming insane amounts compared to the people who where the population is growing.  So the problem is not that there are too many of them it is that we are all way, way, way and historically we have consumed way too much and the other part is that we are consuming in the wrong ways.

Sophie Lanfear
Wildlife Documentary Producer and Director
Silverback Films

If I bring it back a little bit to biology, in the animal world everything is short-term gain right.  You go out, you’re hungry, you hunt a zebra and you kill it and you eat it and we’ve broken that mould.  A lot of people get very overwhelmed by the enormity of climate change and being able to solve it and they think that their little actions that they do in their everyday lives won’t help.

Magid Magid
Green Party MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber

The biggest threat to our planet is the belief that somebody else is going to fix it and there is a role that every single one of us can play and we should play.

Sophie Lanfear
Wildlife Documentary Producer and Director
Silverback Films

We also sort of need to re-imagine a world where we have managed to turn our economy around, we’ve managed to stop using fossil fuels, we’ve managed to stop destroying nature and we need to imagine how that would be a better world and start desiring that and then the politicians will give it to us and the businesses that need to innovate will do the innovation and we’ll get through this.

Elliot Moss
Partner and Director of Business Development
Mishcon de Reya

There are different ways of getting involved.  Some people want to legislate, that’s important.  Some people want to be on the streets.  Whatever it is, it’s valid and it is all about ensuring that people understand what it is that they can do and that they should do.

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