Töpfer: “Passing on of costs has consequences”

“Instead of avoiding the costs of our prosperity, we have passed them. These are now payed by others who are not responsible for it.”This is the conclusion of the former head of the UN Environment Programme, Klaus Töpfer, at the opening of the second European tolerance conversations in the Carinthian mountain village Fresach http://fresach.org. Given the limited capacity of the planet he advocates decisively to fight against climate change and warns: “If nothing happens, something will happen.”

In his keynote address, the former supreme environmentalists pointed out the ethical dimension of climate change and said that technique detaching from ethics, would never limit itself. “We are extremely path dependent, have a reduced action and decision space and live in a dictation the short-term.” Töpfer undergirded his analysis with numerous examples and gave an insight into his eight-year tenure as UNDP Executive Director in Nairobi.

“Fleeing is not a crime”

The tolerance conversations in Fresach are this year under the motto: “The borders of Europe – Human rights and the consequences of climate change”. Carinthia’s Governor Peter Kaiser used his opening speech to draw attention to the acute refugee crisis. “Fleeing is not a crime, but a human right. We need active solidarity in Europe at all levels “, because tolerance knows no borders. But there cannot be a borderless tolerance. Our leitmotif must be seeking livable conditions in all parts of the world and helping where help is needed and appropriate. Kaiser drawed attention to the blatant global inequality and quoted from the study of Oxfam: “The 62 richest people in the world own as much as the poorer half of the world population.”

“Europe has co-responsibility”

Hannes Swoboda, President of Denk.Raum.Fresach, went in his speech to the omnipresent topic of border closures and said that Europe does not get along without external borders. A community must protect its borders. However, “fences can not solve problems. To improve the conditions of people in need, we may not always refer to others, but must do our contribution as Europeans so that others can live in security, peace and prosperity. We must be prepared for each other to be there, “said Swoboda. Europe is not to blame for all the evils of the world, but has a responsibility, which we should be aware of.

Against “globalization of indifference”

Politics aside, it is especially the local clergy, for whom the tolerance talks are a particular concern. “We want to send a pulse in Fresach, by discussing ways out and decisions,” said Manfred Sauer, Protestant Superintendent of Carinthia and East Tyrol. We must use our energy to tackle the challenges of climate change and refugee movements in hope and confidence. After all, we have the responsibility, serving and helping to deal with each other,” Sauer said. Diocesan Bishop Alois Schwaz quoted Pope Francis and asked the question: “What’s wrong with you, Europe, you defender of human rights?” For him the tolerance talks in Fresach are a perfect opportunity to counter the “globalization of indifference. Fresach’s Mayor Gerhard Altziebler stressed the diversity of tolerance, referring to the lived ecumenism in his community at the foot of Mirnock.

Top-class program

The European tolerance talks have to discuss European and global problems and to design solutions. Politicians, writers, artists, scientists and local people from the region meet and engage in dialogue. The possibilities of personal exchange on the three-day event are broad, ranging from tolerance breakfast and keynote speeches on panel discussions, workshops and concerts to a poetry slam.

Photos of the event are available for free download:
Reception in Villach: https://fotodienst.pressetext.com/album/3543
Opening in Fresach: https://fotodienst.pressetext.com/album/3542

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