UCD forum thinks big on Ireland’s 21st Century challenges

UCD undergraduate students organised a recent forum which saw area experts debate some of the greatest challenges facing Ireland and the wider world in the 21st century.

“Thinking Big”, which took place at the university earlier this month aimed to encourage people to think differently about global issues and challenges including climate change, energy sustainability, European Union Integration and urban planning.

Some 19 expert speakers, drawn from the academic, business and public sector communities, addressed audience members through a variety of events including talks, panel discussions and workshops.

Chairman of the Institute for International and European Affairs, Dr Brendan Halligan gave a talk entitled, ‘How to Save the Planet: A Zero Carbon Society by 2050’, in which he warned that failure to create a carbon free society will result in “catastrophic climate change”. His solution to creating a zero carbon society was to “revolutionise most of what we do now, such as transportation and power generation, and the way we use resources”.

Professor Ben Tonra, Head of UCD School of Politics and International Relations gave his views during a workshop on Ireland and the EU. In relation to Ireland’s membership of the EU, he said the question people must answer is “whether you wish to see Ireland’s engagement at the core of the European project to continue, and, if so, on what preferred basis?”

Commenting on the event, former Green Party Minister Eamonn Ryan said “it lived up to the name. We need to think big; we need to think ahead; we need to think, ‘so what is the next challenge facing us?'”

Jordan Kavanagh

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