1 October 2021
“Consider your choices”, “act now” and “make your voice heard” was the advice from this year’s Dineen Lecture, given by Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and Co-Chair of UN-Energy. The lecture, organised by WPSA, was watched by hundreds of students, staff and guests in the school auditorium and online.
Also a Commissioner for the Global Commission to End Energy Poverty, Damilola shared powerful information in her talk called “Working to leave no one behind: a sustainable future for people and the planet”, including that 759 million people, mostly in Africa and Asia, still live without electricity and 2.6 billion people don’t have clean energy for cooking. Though apologising at one point for “all the doom and gloom”, Damilola also brought optimism with data on how greater access to clean energy will lead to better economic, health and gender outcomes.
Focusing on students, Damilola said there is no better time for young people to be heard by governments and policy makers and to drive change for the better in terms of combatting climate change and providing sustainable energy for all. But she also urged everyone to start to do something now, such as switching off phones and iPads when they’re not being used, considering what we buy and where we buy from. As Damilola said to conclude her lecture, “The actions of many united together can make bold impactful change. We can all be leaders for sustainable development starting today”.
The lengthy applause and the many heartfelt questions put to Damilola by students showed how much her message had resonated with the audience.
The Dineen Lecture is financed by a gift from parents following Dr Dineen’s retirement as Headmistress of Woldingham in 1997. It was her wish that an annual lecture be delivered by a “notable person whose personality and achievements can provide inspiration to the girls” and Damilola, who as a parent we are fortunate to have as a member of the Woldingham community, did just that.