Environmental Audit Committee hosts public debate in London to launch Whole Earth? photographic exhibition

21 May 2012

MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee are teaming up with an award winning photography exhibition and Commons Speaker, John Bercow, to host a public debate tonight ahead of the Rio Earth Summit in June.  The event - ‘Rio+20 Earth Summit: What should we do now?’ - at 7pm  in St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in London will coincide with the launch of a new photographic exhibition at the Church, focusing on solutions to environmental problems.

At the event, the MPs will host an open public discussion on the Rio+20 agenda based on presentations from a panel of guest speakers followed by a question and answer session.


  • Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons.
  • Martin Haigh, the Environmental Sustainability Task Group at St Martins.
  • Prof Chris Rapley, Professor of Climate Science at University College London.
  • Mark Edwards, the Hard Rain project.
  • Claire Foster-Gilbert, formerly National Policy Advisor on Environmental Issues to the Archbishops' Council of the Church of England.
  • Leah Parsons, GirlguidingUK and winner of ‘most inspirational young person’ at Climate Week 2012.
  • Leo Johnson, presenter of BBC ‘World Challenge’ and co-founder of Sustainable Finance, now part of PwC.
  • Evandro Barros Araújo, Brazilian embassy in London.

Comment from the Chair

Joan Walley MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee said

"I can think of no better way of raising awareness and appealing to that deeper connection with our planet than through music and the arts. Hard Rain's appeal is timeless, instinctive and startling in its directness. I am delighted to be able to work with them to raise awareness in the run up to Rio.

The event at St Martin-in-the-Fields has been organised to highlight the importance of the Earth Summit and we will be using it to collect messages for the Government at the event which we will deliver to negotiators before the talks." 

The Environmental Audit Committee have produced an initial report on the Rio+20 agenda, and since then there has been a debate in the House of Commons on that report and the Government's response to it. 

The event at St Martins will allow a wider debate on the environmental and sustainable development issues that will have to be tackled, globally and within our communities.  

"While public attention is understandably focused on the economic crisis, just as important for our generation is the looming environmental crisis.

Unless and until that is on the political and public agenda, we will continue to undermine the planet's vital life-support systems with potentially frightening consequences. That is what is at stake at the Rio Summit.

World leaders must seize this opportunity to change course to create a world economy that enhances human well-being, protects the natural world and delivers food and energy security for the future."

Further Information

Image: iStockphoto

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