Tuesday, October 4, 2011

In a room of believers

Yesterday Duke Global Health Institute had its fifth year anniversary party. It was an all day symposium with speakers from around Duke and also a keynote from Peter Piot, a famous in my field person who used to help run UNAIDS and now is the director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Very good talks all around.

One moment that stuck out in my mind was on the panel discussion about the intersection of climate change and health. The moderator asked the question about how to convince the average Americans to invest in the environment, especially the environment around the globe. Here is how one speaker (a rockstar Duke prof) responded:

"It is easy when you are sitting in a room of believers that things will change. But we have to remember that we are not the norm. We are the freaks. Those people out there are the norm, they decide what goes. It doesn't do us good by secluding ourselves in this room of believers. And behavior change is hard, and we ourselves are guilty of not understanding this. You can't convince Americans to stop driving their SUVs for a two mile trip or eating cheeseburgers, nor will you do that yourself, yet we put our energy into trying to get people to change their behavior in far away places--to get them to use clean cook stoves in Africa. Primarily because it makes us feel good, to try to change the world out there."


Some pics from the day...

Diane Sawyer giving us a personal hello (video below)

Michael Merson, head of DGHI, gives the opening address

Me under the sign at the Duke Gardens

Rocked my first poster sesh

1 comment:

  1. awesome! I would love to here more about the poster :)