Religion has always been a broad topic. Rather than simply being two sides of the same coin, a discussion on religion is an octagonal die; loaded with biases, experiences, and deep rooted beliefs. Add to this the inherently subjective nature of religion, and you’ve got a piece controversial enough for some to admonish and others to re-tweet. Johnny Cash’s “I walk the line” never sounded more relevant. That being said, we turn now to the discussion.
At every gathering of the World Economic Forum, the term “Davos Man” comes alive across the mediasphere and leaves a bad taste in the mouth of many. Perhaps now would be a good time as any to define it. Coined by political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, the term Davos Man was meant to refer to members of the global elite who view themselves as completely international.
Often times we find ourselves using words simply in (or rather out of) context: the green economy, resource efficiency, hybrid environmentally friendly cars and free range poultry. At the 2012 European Resources Forum, I got a chance to catch up with Mr. Schmid-Bleek, the founding president of the Factor 10 Institute – a group of academics who study global resource productivity and sustainability. We discussed the issue of resource use in today’s world. Unfortunately for us, he stated that “We live in a civilization that forces us to destroy nature to further our own ends.” This creates a market which values “efficiency” of resources rather than the actual intensity of resources used. (more…)
I had the pleasure to run into Dr. Michael Appleby who works for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (yes they did help ban bullfighting in catalonia) as a scientific advisor. He gave a presentation at the WRF regarding food security and animal welfare and was perhaps the only person who dealt with the topic considering the interrelation between resources and food. Since food shortage is a real issue and will be even more so in the future I decided to highlight this important topic and interview Michael Appleby. Our conversation touches many fields related to food consumption and animal welfare. Also possible solutions to the obvious problems are discussed.
Given that Professor Munasinghe is a man of many disciplines, it is not surprising that our discussion with him was not bounded by any categories. One interesting theme included in our talks with him is the concept of changing values at the very base of our society. Those values ultimately also determine consumption and consequently myriads of environmental problems on all levels. Consumption has traditionally been attributed to the atomistic individual but its root is more grounded in societal value. Thorstein Veblen described this concept with the term “conspicuous consumption” by highlighting that a majority of consumption was driven merely by the need to display social standing and power.
I cannot stress the grandeur of the China National Convention Centre. It sweeps you off your feet and mops the gleaming floor with your flabbergasted face. I’ve been to smaller airport terminals and I have visited a sheikh’s palace that would fit five times over. Should the might of the late great leader ever be lost among Beijing’s smog and active lifestyle, the buildings will most definitely remind you of what you so gravely forgot. Walking past a gargantuan hallway, stumbling in and out of doors you do eventually end up in what happens to be the World Resources Forum 2012.
As far as grass root foundations are concerned, they are plentiful and abundant. However it is unfortunate that few hit the mainstream media, and many forcibly diffuse just as quickly as they start. The ones that do succeed display certain characteristics and criteria that can be generalized to a relative extent. The criteria for such sustainable development projects can be narrowed down to cheap replication, effectiveness and ease of use. One such initiative that’s spreading around the globe is the Solar Bottle Lamp (it’s known by other names including the water-lamp, water-bottle-lamp etc.).