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The XXI century will be a сentury either of total all-embracing crisis or of moral and spiritual healing that will reinvigorate humankind. It is my conviction that all of us - all reasonable political leaders, all spiritual and ideological movements, all  faiths - must help in this transition to a triumph of humanism and justice, in making the XXI century a century of a new human renaissance.

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28 October 2009

Mikhail Gorbachev arrives in Amsterdam to participate in Club of Rome conference

The Club of Rome has opened a two-day conference in Amsterdam today. Among the speakers are honorary members: former Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev, former Dutch prime minister Ruud Lubbers and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

The club, which was set up in 1968 to discuss sustainability, is meeting ahead of the Climate Conference in Denmark in December.

The club’s chairperson Ashok Khosla says the Denmark conference will be useless if climate change is the only issue on the agenda. He says the economic crisis and the loss of biodiversity need to be discussed as well.

At the meeting, Dutch Environment Minister Jacqueline called for an end to the expansion of agricultural land across the globe. She says technology and investment could save wastage. More efficient methods could improve harvests by 40 percent.

Before the meeting, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency called on Western countries to avert a climate crisis by bringing down their CO2 emissions. The agency suggests  this could partly be done by cutting meat consumption. This would save 16 million square kilometres of agricultural land, an area the size of Russia.

Every year, the Club of Rome brings together scientists, politicians and business people to discuss issues like pollution, the exhaustion of natural resources and the growth of the world population. The population is predicted to exceed nine billion by 2050.

In a report in 1972, the club warned that population growth will reach its limit in 2050. It stated that there will only be enough natural resources to go round if humans drastically change their lifestyles. 

Radio Netherlands Worldwide // 26.10.2009