What do we value in society?

Together for a Fair Climate Future
Discussion 2

Tuesday 9 March 2021

What do we value in society? considered how social values may have shifted through the Covid-19 crisis and lockdowns, as well as what values we need to live more sustainably and how these can be put into action.

The ideas presented here are those of the panellists and video contributors - full credit must be attributed to them. Find out more about the speakers at the end of the summary note.


Panellists and video contributors reflected on experiences of the pandemic, what they value most, and whether values have shifted through the Covid-19 crisis. Contributors spoke about their experiences of loss and sadness at not being able to see friends and family whilst finding new ways to connect online and unlock creativity at home.


"[The pandemic] has definitely made us have to consider, prioritise, and appreciate what is most important in our lives. It allowed us to laser focus and put our values to the test" – Dylan Ngan


Reflecting on these experiences, the event asked what values we need to live sustainably. Contributors spoke about the importance of deep connections with others, through community and cooperation, and feeling part of something bigger than ourselves. A centring of wellbeing, happiness, and physical & mental health. Good jobs and livelihoods that are important for our sense of purpose. Nature and accessible green space are important for health, wellbeing, and quality of life. And creativity and innovation to help us problem solve and be more resilient.


"Creativity will always thrive in times of adversity, it’s the necessity to innovate and expand and problem solve that allows us to move forward" – Darren John 


But how can these be put into action? The event looked at how these values might be put into practice at multiple levels, from in our local communities, to policy and legislation, to examining the economic models that underpin our society. Suggestions for action included: locally-owned community gardens and food growing projects; repositioning GDP amongst other ways of valuing and measuring performance in society with a focus on wellbeing metrics; and designing public spaces in ways that are accessible and incorporate our values, such as social connection.


Live event illustration: William Bock – Visual Scribe


James Cameron – Senior Climate Advisor, Friend of COP

James Cameron – Senior Climate Advisor, Friend of COP

An award-winning recognised authority in the global climate change movement, James is an advocate for sustainability and a catalyst for galvanising change where it has the biggest impact on environmental challenges globally. A qualified Barrister with 30+ years’ experience across legal (Baker & McKenzie), academic (Yale, University of Oxford, Imperial College London, Overseas Development Institute), business (Climate Change Capital, Pollination Global, Systemiq, Tulchan, Solarcentury), Government (UK Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group, COP22, COP23, COP26), and advisory roles (NESTE, Heathrow 2.0, AVAIO Capital), James is uniquely placed to advise on the complex challenges that hinder progress to a more sustainable future.

Tatheer Fatima – Project Coordinator, Climate Challenge Fund, Networking Key Services, Edinburgh

Tatheer Fatima – Project Coordinator, Climate Challenge Fund, Networking Key Services, Edinburgh

Coming from the very northern region of Pakistan (Gilgit-Baltistan). Moved to Edinburgh, UK in 2016. I have completed my engineering degree in 2009, worked in the research department, at the Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan (CRCP) and helped the department in carrying out research activities on energy, environment, policymaking and policy implementation in Pakistan 5 in the sector for four years. Joined NKS in 2017, and serving NKS for its Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) project since 2018. My seven years of experience in the field gives me a strong understanding of community behaviour and how it can be improved to be more sustainable in future. At NKS, we are dealing with tasks related to travel, waste, energy and edible garden project in the south Asian Community, in Edinburgh.

Nancy Hey – Executive Director, What Works Centre for Wellbeing

Nancy Hey – Executive Director, What Works Centre for Wellbeing

Nancy Hey is a global leader in the field of wellbeing. Prior to setting up the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, she worked in the UK Civil Service in nine departments as a policy professional and coach, delivering cross UK Government policies including on constitutional reform. She has worked with the UK's top civil servants to introduce wellbeing into public policy and to establish the professional policy community in the UK. She is currently specialist advisor on wellbeing to the UK House of Lords Life After Covid Inquiry into wellbeing impacts on the acceleration of digital of the pandemic.

Dylan Ngan – Philosophy Undergraduate, University College London and Join Second-Prize, Sustainability First Essay Competition 2020

Dylan Ngan – Philosophy Undergraduate, University College London and Join Second-Prize, Sustainability First Essay Competition 2020

I'm a 3rd Year University Student studying BA Philosophy at University College London. My interests are focused on the philosophy of self and persons, in order to “know thyself”. From the metaphysics of identity, to personhood, morality, to epistemology and perception, I wish not only to satisfy a joy of discovery, but I also want to examine what it means to be a person, to live well, and what it means to be good. Therefore, I want to explore and critically analyse our values. I write and publish both nonfiction and fictional pieces and have made publications surrounding individuality, racial equality and justice, feminism, aesthetics, and sustainability.

Video Contributors

  • South Asian Community participants - NKS

  • Lianne Dee – Centre Manager, Christians Against Poverty

  • Darren John – Artist and Image Maker

  • Kennedy Walker – Lead Campaigner, Platform

  • Dr Mark Williamson – Director, Action for Happiness

  • Rob Shorter – Communities & Art Lead, Doughnut Economics Action Lab

  • Katherine Trebeck – Co-Founder, Wellbeing Economy Alliance

Project partner