"La Nuit des idées," or the Night of Ideas, returned to Taipei on Jan. 31 with a renewed focus on climate change, the greenhouse effect, and how humanity can coexist prosperously with conservation goals. Organized by the Ministry of Culture and the French Office in Taipei in partnership with Institut Français, the event saw passionate discussions on ways of sustainable living to offset the global environmental crisis.
Under the theme "Being Alive," the event brought environmentalists, activists, and citizens to the National Taiwan Museum. Among them were French curator Martin Guinard, Lea Klein from MakeSense, an international organization that supports social entrepreneurs, and Chen Yang-wen (陳楊文), the executive director of CarbonZeroToo, a Taipei-based environmental conservation organization.
The 2020 edition of the Night of Ideas in Taipei featured a roundtable discussion reflecting upon the ethics of global climate change. Group deliberations subsequently launched into debates on how the arts can help address pressing environmental issues. Sustainable economy, energy management, water resources, and the impact of climate change on agriculture and food production were also discussed.
In his introductory speech, Deputy Minister of Culture Hsiao Tsung-huang (蕭宗煌) said that natural resources were once seemingly inexhaustible, but in fact human demand for such resources has reached a critical point.
Last year's Earth Overshoot Day, the day that humanity exhausts the planet's annual allowance of ecological resources, moved up by two months, and the present rate of consumption is 1.75 times faster than natural regeneration. "We are now exploiting nature's resources at the expense of future generations," Hsiao warned.
The Deputy Minister further stressed that the recent wildfires in Australia, floods and snowstorms in southern France, and the current Wuhan coronavirus epidemic are all alarming signs from nature."We must care for Earth, respect and coexist in harmony with nature, and work together to protect our homeland for future generations to come," Hsiao urged.
While expressing appreciation for the Ministry's support in making the event possible, David Kibler, head of the culture, education and science section at the French Office in Taipei, said it is hoped that the power of knowledge will drive greater public participation and eventually change societies through events such as the Night of Ideas.
Launched in 2016, the Night of Ideas is an annual program held in cities across the world. In versatile forms such as theater, performances, screenings, and concerts, the global event celebrates the stream of ideas generated and shared across borders, cultures, topics, and generations.