“This is about money and greed. This not about science and denial.” Jeffrey Sachs came out swinging hard, unapologetically, and you could tell that his heart is angry. I know exactly what he is speaking to as a fellow American. My blood boiled, my emotions tumbled and, as always, I am left with the crushing question of how can there be humans who so deliberately chose such abhorrent behaviour? To me this talk was the hardest to hear, because those I love are living with the omnipresent and harsh realities created by the monsters parading as men.
What left the biggest lump in my throat was his appeal to not give up on the American people because we do know this is all wrong. Very wrong. We need those in this audience and in audiences similar to keep fighting back with innovation, solid facts and sound logic. It isn’t just a battle of economics, or science, or technology being developed to change the world. Not by a long shot. It is a war to save lives and help repair broken spirits.
Larry King, thankfully, brought us all to balance with his hilarious “interview” conducted by Garik Israelian. Poor Garek though. Larry is certainly one to talk and steer a conversation, and I think that his insights into good conversation were very much needed. The call for curiosity, honesty and building solid lines of communication has been a theme repeated by most of the speakers. The call to remember that we need to laugh more and use humour to help carry the human spirit was demonstrated in its effectiveness to do just that. His points of can we have too much information? Is there a danger of having everything at our fingers? Is it okay for everyone one to put information out there as fact? Have been topics that I would wager most of us have talked about with some friend over coffee at least once. Having accessible information has been enriching lives globally, but what is the cost to this? It was the questions within the questions and between the lines of banter that I found myself drifting on.
He said at dinner the other night that we need not only ask the big questions. We can just ask why and go from there. “Simple questions often get the most shockingly honesty answers because it surprises people and they forget answering grandiosely,” he said after I had asked what he felt the best type of questions to ask are. For a man who has interviewed 60,000 people, I am certain that advice is some of the wisest.
The City Programme, on the other hand, unfortunately plagued by our wet weather, has soldiered on providing some fun for those who are not attending the Main Programme events. So, while those of us at the Spektrum headed into a break to see a moon rock, eat a donut and then pile back in for the last panel discussion, the City Programme was well… on fire, literally, as the Crown Prince set our city’s resident and aspiring Bill Nye, Forsker-Frederic on fire.
“There was an immense amount of bending the rules,” Frederic said about having the Prince set him on fire. Which came about because, as it seems, a certain Princess is rather happy for her Prince to set someone on fire. A few well placed elbows from Mette-Marit and Haakon was on the stage being Forsker-Haakon, setting Frederic on fire after he asked for a volunteer. All in a day of royally-awesome science.
For the main programme tomorrow I want a really good seat for Martin Rees talk Living Beyond 2100: On Earth and Beyond. I am also very curious about how marine biology, twitter, DNA and crochet all fit together, because I’ve crocheted for 30 years and I am really not coming to any conclusions on my own. I am certain Nancy Knowlton will clear it up for me. And although I am rather lame with my early bedtime, I am going to try to keep my eyes open long enough to go to the concert tomorrow evening.
Oh, one last thing…. If you want to set Frederic on fire (tell him I sent you), be at the Torvet at 11:00 for a front row seat (it worked for Haakon).
Words by Jennifer Wold, Photography by Wil Lee-Wright