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Are cycling and recycling parts of a green wonderland or are they a goal towards achieving resilience? 

Originally posted on  : thesustainabilityreader.com




Are cycling and recycling parts of a green wonderland or are they a goal towards achieving resilience?

Both activities are part of a big strategy based on the response of a sustainable system towards the relentless impact of climate change. Transport and waste management are a good summary of the best activities that describe a personal healthy “green” attitude. However, it awakens resistance because it something “new” that represents a complete change of diary habits. There is not a solid culture around the need to be sensible and make personal efforts (recycling, shopping habits, transport, etc).  In addition, we live in a historically moment in which the strong investment that climate change demands is surprisingly gather deniers and support from governments. Just to give a recent example, in Madrid, Spain the resolution to close the traffic in the centric area of this crowd city –only for Christmas period-, is generating debate and resistance. Most of the citizens do not understand the meaning even if it has a direct and immediate impact in contamination levels and has already achieved a successful 37% of reduction.

In the end, everything is reduced to a process of re-educate people that unfortunately is not being carried out in a systemic way. Is not even a struggle against climate change denials –that at least are informed of the existence of scientific material- but of raising awareness of the need to change personal habits by delivering constant information to the people.

Despite all this years of constant discussion about the need to reshape public an private policies around the environment is still seen as a matter of public decisions without personal involvement, that almost “magically” will make a reduction on contamination.

“Ignorance is the darkest night”… Indeed, and the lack of awareness of making changes through personal habits it make the goal for a green city literally impossible.

So, is it all about education and information? Yes, mainly because most of the reactions from the citizenship comes precisely because of being misinformed/no informed. Turn to a green city demands solid Education pillars as the Nordic countries have shown. A change of personal habits comes from the conviction and be educated and informed around green policies is the best way to get it.

Personal attitude has a real and direct impact on climate change and what its most important: it has a real possibility to successfully change it.

Cycling is a symbol for these changes, as transport seems to be one of the most important aspects for achieving sustainable goals. The use of fossil fuels is a big challenge that is usually associated as a matter of “public affairs”. Indeed, restrictions to its use needs strong legislation, however in a political world contaminated by corruption, private interests, and “revolving doors” not always success. Is for this reason that the pressure around individual attitude is much more powerful than any legislation and the only resilient way to push for changes.

If you make legislation without individual awareness maybe you succeed…maybe not, but if you make people aware of their own interests even in the long term you make history.

Cycling and recycling are not enough to make a world sustainable but it makes the difference from the easiest way to do it: change of personal habits. Being green is a matter of personal awareness that need to be rising by Education patterns boost by the State. Too much focus in legislation makes loss the focus in what is really important: individuals able to change systems, not systems that change through bottom up initiatives.

If there is a systemic “green education” cycling and recycling ´d be only the starting point for a tangible  wonderland! GO!






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.

Are we ‘falling or rolling towards a GREEN age?’ By @MarIntroini

Being GREEN is not just another fashion trend made up of recycling, eating ecological food or the use of solar panels, as many skeptics would argue. Being green means awareness of the negative impact of relentless climate change that needs us as individual to act to make a real difference. If not, every attempt is reduced to a mere commercial goal that doesn’t change the situation and is not able to reform the system either. However switching to a green age has become a matter of fashion, and a profitable business. The business is to promote products or services provided by a green label that gives an image of a modern and sensible business, one that cares for the environment.




Binge GREEN also has an emotional element, that it is the feeling of trying out new habits and changing the old codes of our daily life. Little sacrifices/efforts such as reducing cars circulation, recycling, buying ecological food, changing use of water or electricity suppliers and they all could make a big difference. 1st you change an attitude then a strategy, that is the main secret to building a new life. The emotional aspect is essential in the process and consists of being devoid of fear to the new and starts a sustainable process towards green habits.

The most effective way to address revolutionary changes is it through the educational system that transforms minds and build a new way of living individual and professionally. Until this critical moment arrives it reminds in our minds the idea that environment issues are not a matter of private concerns but a public issue that needs to be regulated at State level without individual efforts.  However, individual attitudes are paramount and cannot be entirely dominated by a public authority. That is the importance to educate and convince people of the relentless impact of climate change and the influential impact of our private behavior. Educating present and future generations towards green patterns of behavior. Literally the conjunction of individual efforts could have a crucial impact on global crisis, not only climate change but also other crises like migration. In Ghana people are forcing to migrate because of the dramatic rise of the sea that submerge entirely villages.

In political aspects leaders committed with the environment need to reform their agenda substantially giving priority to strategies and budget around adaptation, and investment on natural resources. In the near future green parties would not exist and will give way to an entire green political class, above political ideologies. To be green is no a chapter in the political agenda anymore but a part of a solid project to any country with higher or reduced risks to be impacted by climate change.

Investment in Education programs and educate actors of the civil society around green matters become a central pillar for building resilience and to educate the political class.

Be Green and not die trying must be the motto for the coming decades. More than ever, individual efforts are more effective and more feasible to achieve results in the short term than big bureaucratic public initiatives have tended to be.

“Falling” or “rolling” into a new Green age? For new generations means “rolling” as is part of their education process. For the latest and the skeptics means “falling” resigning to old codes of habits by integrating new concepts.

Never mind if you are falling or rolling, being green is the only sustainable investment at an individual level…. thus it is just a matter of time…




This post was originally posted by @MarIntroini for their blog : thesustainabilityreader.com

Guest post : The Rise & Fall of Wind Energy in Spain : By @MarIntroini

Disclaimer, these are the views and opinions of @MarIntroini a member of the forum and these do not represent the views of the forum as whole.

Windenergyburn (1)

Spain is the 5th world wind energy exporter country and 3rd in Europe; however, the successful reality of 2009 is absolutely different from now. Experts hesitate that this success could last in the long-term if there is not a clear political will to boost local market. Indeed, even if in 2007 was a pioneer industry producing 20% of total world wind energy as well as a leader in I+D in this sector, currently it seems that the export market is not enough to keep a productive business that is seeing the fall of local market and tariff deficit.

More than wine and shoes, Spain found another eager market in this sector by exporting 2.500 millions euros annually in wind technology.

Kristian Ruby, chief policy officer at the EWEA* called for “long-term visibility” for the industry. “Strong reforms to the operation of Europe’s electricity market and much-needed upgrades to infrastructure to help the integration of wind energy must be a priority” [1]

However, wind energy is still not considered and strategic goal on Spanish government priorities agenda.

In fact, economic austerity measures that are being implemented since the onset of the financial crisis, severely hit this sector. Since mid 2014 painful cuts to wind farm incentives—for existing projects as well as new ones— are literally destroying the continuity of the successful position that Spain holds as one of the countries along with Portugal and Denmark that generate at least 20% of energy from wind[2]

The relevance of this sector in Spain is also important to help meet goals of European Commission on renewal energy that demands an average of 20% and not the current 14.3%. In wind energy they should reach 27650 MW in 5 years, which represents 4664 MW per year, however experts conclude that reach just a 1000 MW per year is absolutely impossible.[3]

A project of this magnitude need about 6 years to be developed, is it so that build safety in regulation terms is extremely important and not the current situation in which the Spanish government has done too many changes and so little to address those impacts. Not just for future projects but also for the maintenance of current installations with support on regulation and finance.

Spain is losing the opportunity of keeping the position of pioneer in wind energy that holds in 2007. Is it clear that the negative impact of global financial crisis has been equal for all sectors, that is why the importance to take smart political decisions that establish dynamic priorities financially and on regulatory frameworks to “save” for those times in which there is no possibility of more investment.

Austerity is the strategic economic-political perspective for Spain to get out of crisis that is the reason why is imperative to release strong and resilient regulatory frameworks that help the sector on their development, even without financial government support.

Sectors like wind energy helps the society not just in environmental aspects but also on reducing public spending. Main point of struggle in Spain: manage with not sustainable levels of indebtedness (98%) and a general wrong strategic focus in finance priorities that lead to a sustained high rate of unemployment (23.7%), consequently on less investment policies.

More than ever a sound political will for a smart strategic long-term agenda is what would make the difference. Austerity -instead of investment-, seems to be the only government option for addressing recovery. Create alternative mechanisms to reduce public spending like energy savings is urgently needed. Certainly, a regulatory framework and a boost of productivity by a harmonic legislation is the path to get out of this slow growth that is pushing the country into a secular stagnation.

 

*EWEA: European Wind Energy Association

[1] http://bit.ly/1IRDByd

[2] http://bit.ly/1K3BSVA

[3] http://bit.ly/1FLtPWz


Originally posted:

Wind energy in Spain: raise & fall