Foundation 23 - Re-materializing Construction

67 cians need to be empowered to explain what it may be that needs to happen,” concluded Upton. “Just to say ‘We need a new para- digm’ – I’m sorry, that’s not good enough.” With this thought, Upton returned to his opening call for educa- tion and information. This, however, must be done on a sincere basis, without lobbying intentions. We have to make sure that the proposed solutions are really the smartest solutions – and not just solutions that best fit into the current political context. After that, the task is to raise awareness, for example regarding the waste situation, because: “Ultimately, it’s about waste. Carbon dioxide is a huge fraction of that, but it’s not the only waste stream.” In addition, it must be explained that some tough decisions have to be made if we want to make lasting changes. Whether it’s the com- plete abandonment of fossil fuels or the fact that change triggers costs. Upton: “There will be transitional costs, and we need to be honest about that. Those who can afford to bear those costs will have to bear them. Those who can’t need to be protected.” In view of the highly complex situation, Simon Upton advised the Forum to get all decision-makers and knowledge-bearers on board, to exchange ideas, and play out real scenarios. “And don’t go and choose easy cases, please!” Rt Hon Simon Upton is Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment based in Wellington, New Zealand. The office contributes to maintaining and improving the quality of the environment in New Zealand through advice given to Parliament, local councils, business, communities, public agencies, and the Maori people. He was Director of the Environment Directorate at the OECD (2010-17). He led the team that released OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of Inaction analyzing the envi- ronmental consequences of “business-as-usual” growth at the global level. He was previously Chairman of the OECD Round Table on Sustainable Development (1999-2010), and at the age of 23 was elected to Parliament in New Zealand becoming one of the country’s youngest Cabinet Ministers and Minister for the Environment. He was a member the Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation (2004-17). Simon Upton “Politicians will go as far and as fast as people let them.”