(The spoken version shall take precedence)
"A call from Stockholm" This was stated in the invitation to this, 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability. This is not a local call. This is a long distance 911 call from the future. A call that we need to take right now.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Mankind faces tremendous challenges if we are to hand over to future generations a healthier Mother Earth – a planet that is greener, less poverty-stricken, richer in water resources, safer, and more sustainable than it was when we received it from our parents.
Today we have reached a crossroad where we have to choose the way a head. In fifty years time, the history books may show that we failed to lay the foundation for a new and better world and future for our children.
Or, they may show that we succeeded thanks to our farsighted thinking and our common effort and willingness to change the world to a better place.
We must utilize all perspectives as we focus our work toward a desired sustainable future.
We live in an increasingly turbulent and connected world, where social, economic and environmental change interact and occur fast.
The Fukushima disaster is a reminder of our dependence on cheap energy, how vulnerable our global energy system is, and how difficult a transformation to clean energy in the world will be.
We need a long-term perspective to be able to grasp the challenges, to identify the threats that may not yet be visible to the eye. We must also have the patience to let the healing seeds take root.
Burdens must be shared by everyone. Rewards must be fairly distributed. Right now a few developed countries are responsible for a large amount of the world carbon dioxide emission. This is the responsibility for all of us.
Wind turbines, solar collectors and panels and geothermal energy. Why is it that countries are using so little of renewable energy sources, despite having knowledge and available techniques. We can and we must change our lifestyles and the manner in which we use energy.
Reports say that we are not working hard and fast enough towards a sustainable society. That worries me. What are we waiting for? "Lead by example". We can't wait for someone else to start. That someone else is you and me! The work has to start here and now, not tomorrow.
Let us expect great things from each other today!
I believe that if there is a will there is a way! We have done the impossible before. The World succeeded to come together and decide upon the removal of Freons. People were willing to make the effort! In the beginning it seemed as such a hard and impossible task, but all the pessimists were proven wrong.
I see this example of engagement as a good sign. A sign of hope and a sign of how people, if we put our minds and efforts together can accomplish great things.
People have a desire to help, to take their responsibility in the effort to create a better world for the future and limit the damage caused by mankind. Let us use that desire.
Because we need to strengthen the capacity of both our societies and ecosystems to deal with surprise and change.
To succeed, we need to reconnect humanity with the biosphere, to enable a mind shift allowing ourselves to seize new planetary opportunities.
This is no small task! I can see no better persons than Nobel Laureates to carry this critical message to the world — a message of reconnecting societies with nature, the need for a great transformation, and a message — I hope — of optimism, that our generation has the knowledge and ability to create a sustainable world for future generations.
I am grateful that so many of you were able to answer this urgent call.
We are proud to have you here in Stockholm. I wish you successful, productive days as you discuss these important matters.
It is with great interest and eagerness I look forward to see the result of your work in the outcome of The Stockholm Memorandum.
In Sweden, more than many places in the world, we know that the long, cold winter is followed by spring and summer. Light always follows the darkness.
You are here in the springtime, the period of light.
Let that inspire your discussions — so that they are positive and constructive.
Optimism is most valuable when the challenges are overwhelming.