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Category Archiveagriculture

Life’s Evils & The Damage of Climate Change

There is an exponential global risk of growing poverty and displaced people induced by extreme weather, political turbulence and environmental damage many of which are events beyond our imagination. Global warming is taken scientifically as a given, with nearly all scientists agreeing that climate change would happen with or without people’s interference, though to a lesser degree and slower pace. It is therefore safe to say that the climate is not helped by the human populace. The collective lack of preparations to mitigate the effects of global warming are bordering on self-induced mass harm, while the switch to more environmentally friendly policies and clean and sustainable energy is nowhere near fast nor bold enough to provide the alternative. Surely these perpetrators are aware that we are all on the same planet and so far nobody can get off. As of 2013 renewable energy provides 21.7% of all electricity generated across the globe, not enough. This is heading in the right direction but with oil licenses still being given and mines still opening for coal and other fossil fuels the percentage change is demeaned by the negative impact of continued bad practice.
Since the beginning of time civilisations have fought and changed, almost evolved as a society often with its back to the wall. A classic example is to think of when man used to live in caves during an ice age, to when societies were formed and measures to stop us killing each other were implemented. Laws that govern societies and progress towards a better level of health and the tackling of the evils of life such as poverty, were met with ambitious targets to alleviate these plights. The issues are now more of regulatory capture of states such as those with powerful fossil fuel lobbies, or an.over reliance on fossil fuels such as OPEC countries. OPEC countries such as Venezuela rely on oil revenues to sustain a response to the other often immediate issues such as poverty or political stability. There are also those who refuse to switch to sustainable energy based on perceptions of how they work, how much they cost and for the classic problem of ‘range rage’ for electric vehicles which is slowly falling due to an increase in battery performance and more super fast charging stations being installed. The relative price of solar or wind is now so good that it is more than competing against alternative or what we have come to call traditional or conventional fuel sources.

So I implore you to take one simple message, we can’t carry on like this and if you personally take a stance and take the plunge towards a greener more sustainable world, others will follow. Switch energy provider, divest from fossil fuels and invest in community owned sustainable forms of energy, plant a tree, drive less and walk more. Need I go on? We all know that there is no time to lose, so go green.
If your looking for an alternative way to fill a Christmas Stocking or spend money on Black Friday or Cyber Monday try our shop and support the forum as we try to grow and support the green community. CrowdLeaf Store we are doing our own version of Black Friday here early CrowdLeaf, Green Friday and Cyber Monday for us is Clean Monday. Keep an eye on our store for sone pretty amazing world friendly products with discounts for the weekend only.




Man-Made Earthquakes ?! What & How on BBCRadio4

Fellow readers – I stumbled across this rather daunting piece of information while looking for a possible man-made disaster for an upcoming ‘Climate Mitigation Game’ that is currently in the early formation phases. I continue to be hocked by the size, scale and scope of human and human made climate change or disasters we collectively are responsible for.

This is worth listening to in its entirety – Man-made Earthquakes are rarely explained but here they are and it is done so very concisely in this BBC Radio 4 snippet.

 

Horror stories from mining that upset the balance of the earths crust, to damns in China causing magnitude 8 quakes. This just further emphasizes how much of an impact we as human are having on earth.

While I have your attention  – Crowdleaf’s store is doing Black Friday & Cyber Monday a bit differently (would you expect anything else) were offering 10% discount between the 24th and 27th of March by using the code Green&Clean10 .

 







SDG´s 12+14= the panoptic for plastic waste by @MarIntroini

Arch2O-Whilwind-01

When Foucault creates the concept of a panoptic for the criminal system he didn’t realized its real potential and that it could be applied for other areas in which there is danger for our societies, in this case for our oceans.

If there were a constant surveillance and a rational and responsible consumption maybe plastics would not represent a threat, however under current circumstances without a proper waste management and recycling process it becomes a real challenge.

Millions of plastic bottles finish in the ocean, which means that there is a terrible lack of awareness from individuals that goes beyond the own negative impact in the environment. Is an endemic problem that starts with indifference and misbehaving and end on lack of Education. Indeed, about 8m tones of plastic waste end up in the oceans every year, more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic float in the world’s oceans, breaking into smaller pieces*.

U.N. goals 12+ 14 may be the clue for addressing this relentless path towards contamination; Responsible Consumption and Production and Life below waterare the two main goals to search for resilience in terms of plastic waste management and preservation of oceans. But how could we plan our response effectively?

Is estimated that by 2050 it will be more plastic than fish in the oceans, coincidentally by the same year, there is another forecast establishing that the entire SDG´s will not be achieved. Which is the real burden? Lack of information seems to be the answer, at least right now. Sadly instead of being focused on strategic planning we are still delivering basic info.

 But let´s be positive and focusing in those actions that are succeeding and delivering solutions in the short-term: Projects Faro 360 in Kaolack, Senegal a “waste tolerance” city exposure the fact that individual action + innovation makes possible a recycling process of plastics and minds.

Commitment from corporations: the road ahead. Changing cultural business codes is the clue and could only be achieved working on the following roads:

1) Cleaning –literally- oceans from plastic waste

2) Innovative forms of packaging

3) Education process at all levels to get commitment from the people: responsible consumption and waste management.

In the end Education becomes another key element and a sort kind of “panoptic” from which we could control corporation’s work, public policies and individual action.

Control, supervision, regulation, etc., a close look to SDG´s and their ambitious targets make us conclude that without pressure there is no results. We need to build new innovative structures through raise awareness and strong legislation based on creativity and capacity to influence people effectively. It is proven that information is currently the main challenge, a fact that transforms any effort for success useful if there is not a solid political will to address it.

Financial aspects seems to be a controversial point; SDG´s supposes an investment of 5 to 7 trillions and even if the world has never been wealthier as now is it also true that there are big troubles in terms of distribution. It´s important to highlight that this is not an ideological matter, the equal distribution is much more than a political position but a reality that is driven the world into stagnation. If there are still countries submitted into poverty means the total failure of a goal on sustainability There is not a possibility to get to successful goals if parts of the planet are still under basic standards for accessing to clean water or safe environments, that is so that the “plastic issue” become and universal issue and also an universal responsibility.

 

Tolerance 0 to plastic waste! 12 + 14= sustainable oceans.







Architecture as a tool for building resilient cities by @MarIntroini

Being resilient means face uncertainty with pillars that guarantee stability and capacity to response to the “new”. This is how new realities forces to reshape a world in which infrastructure and services become flexible and versatile. Migration crisis or climate change pushes us to rethink a world in which urban spaces are designed for new-revolutionary standards of living.

Half of humanity, around 3.5 billion of people lives in cities today. By 2030, almost 60% of the world’s population will live in urban areas which represents a strong reason for building cities that welcome this overwhelming number of people and their demands in a threaten environment.




Even if there is a political global commitment to achieve Goal 11 of the SDG´s: “Make cities and human resettlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” is important to raise awareness and build new parameters at local level that mark the road for the next decade in a determinate and ambitious way. In the context of current “broken” world of weak commitment to global standards there is much more challenge and the search for stronger tools become paramount.

Architecture has become that tool, the relief that the world is awaiting. With innovation and creativity is showing its capacity to reinvent itself and construct the unimaginable. Rooftop gardens, urban farming, self-energy efficient houses, office-building with an integrated farm, are just examples of the impressive changes that architecture could make in societies. Is it not just a matter of changing design of construction styles but also a new way of living, above all producing a feeling. The emotional element that determinate the need for achieving results from a different perspective. In which multicultural spaces boost a mentality and a culture around tolerance and inclusiveness. The Pavilion in Vojvodina, northern Serbia* it’s a good model of this new trend that is helping to boost a new innovative concept that –in this case- assures freedom of religion. The acceptance of a “melting pot” of religions becomes also a matter of “architecture design”.

Globalization has brought more movement of people and also new demands for clean and healthy standards of living in which the cultural aspect cannot be missed. People move through public patterns of behavior and the sense of being part of a general consensus. Despite confrontation there is an important element of “being part of…” that allow them to be in one position or another. Is with this spirit that cities has contributed greatly to create multicultural societies. “Being part of….” is not a matter of local perspective but of the creation of open and inclusive spaces. The boost of globalization comes from the free movement of people –please do not confuse it with massive flow or refugees- that transform societies in a different and better place. Indeed, little towns that keep traditions intact are inclined to disappear as it doesn´t deliver the needed standards that fit in current world. Precisely migration has brought this element of merger of traditions and birth of a new layered of societies. That is the reason of being a value added for the growth of cities, therefore societies.

The complementary work of architecture and urban planning are key elements to achieve these new and ambitious standards. A green way of living means a smart urban planning and architecture enough flexible and versatile that gives room to a new philosophy of living.

Concrete, wood, timber, natural materials and a smart mind to be creative and innovative enough to build cities able to welcome all nature of people and “knit” new habits to protect the environment and adapt to current and future crises.

“Whatever you do, promise me that every project you make or design, you´ll take the risk of doing something for humanity”. Frank Ghery. Indeed, whatever is done should be focused on a creative and innovative architecture that helps to boost pillars around adaptation and an urban planning, ambitious enough to boost a resilient society.

Mar Introini

Blogger/Analyst Political-Economy thesustainabilityreader.com




Isolating the US from green policies would make it less competitive by @marintoironi

We have seen with astonishment a recent resolution from American government, announcing its commitment ditch its Climate Change Action Plan.

After COP21 the world became a block against climate change as never before. That includes not only policies but also the consolidation of the concept of global leadership that emerges as a solid and stable pillar that marks the beginning of an effective interconnected system of joint action. However, this is not suitable for anti-globalist forces that see in this kind of initiatives a threat for their isolationist strategy that helps them to boost a far right agenda. Surprisingly climate change action has become dangerous from a nationalist political perspective.




Trump makes America an isolated Nation not only on political and foreign affairs terms but also regarding green policies and a world that is moving towards a joint action focus.

The U.S. is not rich enough in natural resources to be self-sustaining in future decades. Isolate US from global green policies in addition to not investing on innovation is an explosive combination that would make the U.S. less competitive and no resilient. Indeed, green policies are part of being resilient at national level but are not enough if is it not in conjunction with global action and cooperation: that is the only resilient way out. That goes directly in relation to a global and safe system of international relations…. not multiple-selective-bilateral relations. Even if there were political will for investing in green energies like solar or wind, they’re will not being enough if is not under good and healthy international relations. It´s for this reason the imperative for generating a new trend and a new culture among American people: to reduce individual consumption, invest in green clean energies and above all on innovation.Taking in account that US is the country that spends more in energy than the rest of the world. Americans constitute 5% of the world’s population but consume 24% of the world’s energy.

If there is a boycott from US to a global joint action by cancelling international agreements this could only be translated in loneliness in resilient terms.

That´s not good news for American people although good for those American industries that are not willing to invest in clean energies. Paradoxically one of the main argumentations for this switch in American focus was “recovering our jobs” however it doesn´t seem to include the ones generated by clean energies.“8.1 million renewable energy jobs that exist globally, 3.5 million are in China, compared to less than one million in the U.S.”.*China will invest £292bn in renewable power by 2020, which means new and more employment at national level. Investing in renewables is it also part of a growth strategy.

This “break” with the rest of the world is it also a break within America as it goes against the will of many citizens that have seen in climate change action a priority in the political agenda. Which represents a stronger political failure worst than the investment in itself. Going back in time and loosing all the work done at Educational level, making citizens aware of their commitment with the environment, means literally destroying an emerging American green culture as well as divided a community of ideas and potential. Joint action is the way out at global and national level.

US will become weaker and this lack of investment and sensibility towards the new challenges would make it vulnerable concerning the most important aspect of a society: Education.

Cooperation will become the only way for surviving and become resilient from a world hit by multiple crises. Joint action represents the way out that US will not have if there continue in this line of isolation and “personal” foreign affairs relations. No commitment with international agreements in addition with no solidarity is generating a negative spiral. This is not only about a unilateral anti-global focus it will generate an anti-US boycott against American products and no cooperation in times of crises.

That is the devastating impact of Trump´s anti-green policies that are not just focusing in destroying this industry but the impact that creates: becoming not competitive. Not even their allies are in line with this focus. Russia -despite their intention to have a good relation with US- has developed a strong investment in clean energies, e.g. bio fuels.

Saying no to investment in clean energies means saying no to sustainability in the medium term and saying yes to profits to private interest in the short term.

In terms of competitiveness, the development of clean energies has become part of a modern industrial and commercial way of living and producing. US will become an outsider that even there new and bilateral alliances will not accompanied them.

The only basis to explain this resistance to be out of a green global world is because of a short-term vision on financial investment. There is not a logical or visionary reason that could support a decision that will leave US behind on new technologies. Hence, more vulnerable for facing a world submerged in multiple crises. An unjustified denial for investing in innovation completes this stage of chaos in which short-termism is leading the way without vision and a smart strategy able to make US resilient.

 

*http://bit.ly/2jd6rSl

*Surrealist picture: Hossein Zare




The goal of a sustainable world within an unsustainable political framework by @MarIntroini

Originally posted on  : thesustainabilityreader.com




“In anxious anticipation” the name of Aaron Tilley´s sculpture that illustrates our article represents the threaten impact of an unsustainable political system. Paradoxically the pillar message from political leaders is precisely: a sustainable system. The question is: Does the current political system give a framework sufficiently solid to boost a sustainable world? Let´s go to the own concept of sustainability. Among different definitions there are three pillars that gather the essence: social, economic and environment, and its only through a harmonic interaction that we could get to a balanced result. However, sustainability is mainly associated with environmental aspects and left behind the importance of economic and social misbalances. Many of the changes that the world is experimenting as a direct consequence of the advance of far-right populism, demands a reshape of the system also in terms of sustainability.In which denial of climate change is only one aspect of the devastating impact on the rest of this complex roadmap, which is launched in an isolationist message. When we focus strategies around sustainability, is precisely joint action at national and global level and the harmonic combination of the 3 main pillars that shape a holistic approach. That is so, that build extreme defences of sovereignty has an impact on sustainable goals as it demands a global approach that connect with the rest of the world. A work of harmonisation of policies at global level is also part of a sustainable agenda developed by leaders with vision.

The power to agglutinate social-economic and environmental pillars towards a goal of a sustainable system it should be based on political systems that give equal relevance to each pillar in a global context. Is in this sense that we see the inequality of priorities and the preeminence for environmental aspects over the rest. Green business has become a great goal but it could only be considered successful if is it under a holistic analysis on sustainability if not it is only about short-term business profits. Being green is also a matter of boosting sustainable goals as an essential element for a real evolution and changes. “Falling or rolling towards a Green age?”http://bit.ly/2eKDRmD. However, a culture around green is not necessary translated in a sustainability culture. This ambitious goal demands a new and strong step that fully integrates the social and economic pillar. Under current framework in which lack of transparency and accountability is the guideline of political systems (Panama papers, Brexit´s impossible promises, anti-globalist, anti-European Union, etc.) the counterbalance of social and economic pillars connecting with environmental issues seems an important challenge.

A goal of a sustainable system is not only a matter of accepting climate change challenges but also the reshape of current frameworks at political, economic and financial level if not, ineffectiveness would be the result. The crack of the global financial system confirms the “unsustainability” of current codes.

For instance, if there is an official commitment towards climate change and at the same time there is not a boost of policies (subsidies, investment, etc.) there will not be coherence with the original message. A good example of these contradictions is illustrated by failed Spanish government´s policies around wind energy, although with a strong political message in favor. “Wind energy in Spain: raise and fall”

Is not possible to get to sustainable goals if we move through unsustainable political systems. Social and economic pillars need to be addressed by a strong political will and tangible agenda. The role of political leaders play as catalyst of changes and currently are only being part of big campaigns carefully studied at marketing level but without accountability over their proposals. Maybe this is part of a transitional process in which the population needs an emotional, subjective message rather than proven and achievable objective goals.




An “anxious anticipation” is the feeling that best describe the disempowered role of the civil society and the weak but determinate message from political leaders. Making of sustainability their leading message although without delivering alternative models that radically reform the system.

Without a reshape of the political system there will not be an in-depth counterbalance of social-economic-financial-environmental pillars towards a sustainable system…not only sustainable goals.

The Climate Change Challenge to Overcome in the UK Agriculture Sector – Jason Light

With explicit consent Jason Light has allowed us to repost his article as titled above : Originally posted on Jason’s linkedIn profile, this gem looks at what is involved in the challenge for the UK Agriculture sector to lower and neutralise their footprint in the fight against climate change.

Article below:





 

Just a week after some DBEIS published Wave 18 of the Environmental perception stats, which continued the trend of increased public support for the low carbon activities. DEFRA published a update to it’s Agriculture GHGs Indicator Framework which show there is a little way to go in that sector.

The Climate Change committee attribute approximately 10% of the UKs emissions to the Agriculture and forestry sector.

Despite equating for around half that of the Power, Transport and Industry sector emissions, 2013s estimated 48MtCO2e is about a third of the UKs 2050 carbon target. The latest figures found that 47% did not believe any action to reduce their emissions was necessary, worryingly this is an increase of 7% from this time last year.

The stats appear to show a divide between small business owners and large in the sector, with the latter far less likely to support action.

Overall the DEFRA update paints a fairly stagnant picture across the indicators, but there are glimmers of hope in that around 57% of respondents have carried out carbon reduction measures.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of the authors employer.