7 x 7

Wellington, refined and cultured capital of New Zealand, kicked off tonight a new series of 7 x 7 lectures. For those who haven’t experienced these events seven speakers each have seven minutes to espouse their view of the world.7 x 7

The theme for this evening was “Seven Foundations – our reality 2008, our future 2028″.

Standout speaker for me was the curmudgeonly Brian Easton. He writes a fortnightly economics article for the Listener. Blatantly left-wing I’m sure he ruffled the feathers of Brian Sweeney and Dr David Skilling when he questioned why we actually needed to produce more so we can buy more. “Does that make us happy?” he asked. Indeed, I’m coming to the conclusion that it doesn’t.

David Skilling from the New Zealand Institute backed his contentions up with a lot of OECD statistics, which told us nothing other than we are below the norm. The rhetoric was entertaining, and I know in seven minutes there’s little opportunity to offer solutions, but having heard the tenor of his speech many times isn’t it time for some?

Professor Jacqueline Rowarth was dynamic and provided some chilling data on the number of science graduates we churn out each year. Not many compared to Arts, Culture, and Social Sciences. Somehow we need to tip the balance the other way, and quickly. Her comments about results-driven research struck a chord as well…it’s hard to discover new things when you have to follow a prescribed course of action. Let’s encourage wandering off on tangents!

Dr Morgan Williams, ex Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, implored us to think more wholistically about the world…to find new ways of growing crops without raping the landscape…to teach sustainability so that it becomes second nature…and to persuade those in power to drop the in-fighting and come together on issues such as the Emmissions Trading Scheme.

There are four more 7×7 sessions throughout August.

  • Seven Trailblazers: Monday 4 August
  • Seven Directions: Tuesday 12 August
  • Seven Connections: Monday 18 August
  • Seven Imaginations: Tuesday 26 August

Judging by the full house I think you’ll be hard pressed to get a seat.

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