The World Water Forum provided a unique opportunity for some of the authors and directors of wH2O: The Journal for Gender, Water and Sanitation at the University of Pennsylvania to meet face-to-face for the first time. StudentReporter.org Editor Caroline D’Angelo, co-chair and Editor-in-Chief of wH2O, sat down with Marcia Brewster, an wH2O author, to discuss green growth, water and gender. Ms. Brewster is a phenom in the water and development world: she has worked with the United Nations, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Water Association, Gender and Water Alliance and the World Water Council. She also is a contributing author to UNESCO’s World Water Development Report, and chaired the IANWGE Task Force on Gender and Water. While much of her work and expertise lies in gender and water, she has recently been a part of the Water and Green Growth Project.
At the World Water Forum 6, Student Reporter Eva Papadimas and I were interviewed by Suez Environment’s Water Blog. It was a rare case of reversing roles: the previous day Student Reporter Maria-Tzina Leria had interviewed Jean Marc Jahn, CEO for a Suez-affiliated company in Algeria. For the reverse interview, Suez staffers asked us about the Student Reporter program, our backgrounds and what we hope that the Forum achieves. To view the write-up and video, please click here for the Suez Water Blog. You can also view the video below:
Today is the beginning day of the World Water Forum 2012 in Marseille, France. The WWF is the world’s largest meeting about water – previous forums in Istanbul and Mexico were attended by 25,000 people. Participants and presenters include members of international bodies like the United Nations, global NGOs like The Nature Conservancy and local NGOs such as NetWWater, a Sri Lankan organization working to ensure water supply to schools and hospitals. Officials from governments and the private sector also contribute to and participate in the Forum. The multitude of viewpoints allows deep discussions on several topics in water; the WWF organizes these topics into themes such as supply; the water, energy and food nexus; infrastructure; water as a right; gender and water; and more.
Welcome to the application form to the Student Reporter at the World Water Forum 2012! In partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Master of Environmental Studies program (US), oikos invites 10 students from the University of Pennsylvania to take part in the Student Reporter coaching programme and live blogging at the World Water Forum 2012 in France-Marseille, 11-17 of March. The team is lead by Reporter-in-Residence and editor Caroline D’Angelo from the University of Pennsylvania and managing editor Tim Lehmann from oikos. The application Deadline is 8th of February. You will be informed about your application after the 10th.
I was one of only a handful of Americans at the World Resources Forum 2011. A few times I was asked was how I felt about America’s besieged environmental policies, or the lack of America’s participation in global climate talks, or other questions along those lines that acknowledged some international frustration with America in the environmental sphere. How do I feel? Pretty discouraged. The current US political landscape and debate is alarming for a conservationist.
Corporate reporting and assessment frameworks are powerful tools to help investors and consumers choose their investments and products wisely. In the wake of the World Resources Forum 2011, corporate sustainability assessments are an important tool to help consumers and investors drive change towards a less-resource-intensive world. One of the oldest, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI) started in 1999 as a way to list the top 10 percent of sustainable global companies for investors. SAM, a boutique sustainable investing fund, invites the largest 2500 companies each year to submit sustainability data for DSJI scoring; companies are added and dropped from the list based on their performance. The process is third-party reviewed by Deloitte Consulting. Two companies that attended the World Resources Forum 2011 are ranked on the DJSI; Kraft Foods and Syngenta.
Whenever I go backpacking, I choose a flask of liquor over beer, even though I prefer beer. Why? Because the flask is lighter than a few bottles of beer. But in the ecological backpack, beer is among the lighter items you can bring! An ecological backpack, or rucksack if you prefer, measures a product’s impact by expressing its natural resource consumption in ratio of how many kilograms of natural resources are used to make one kilogram of the product.
Here’s the conundrum: so far, more resource use means higher GDP, but we are running out of global resources. Here at WRF2011, it is widely agreed that we need to cut consumption of resources, but can we tell people to limit resource use if that means they take a corresponding hit economically? In a nutshell, should we limit the use of resources? Plenary Session 1 asked this question. The panel had views from both sides of the coin: large resource consumers (the EU) and large resource exporters (Africa, Sri Lanka).
Here’s the dirty secret behind my attendance at the World Resources Forum 2011: I caused 1.12 metric tons of CO2 emissions to come here from the US. (Roundtrip, all calculations from Carbonfootprint.com) Four hundred people have flown in from around the world for WRF2011; can we do enough good to outweigh our collective and individual carbon harms? From a personal carbon standpoint, flying is by far the worst thing I do to the atmosphere, followed by a distant 2nd of occasional driving. My estimated 2011 flying carbon footprint alone adds up to more than 6 metric tons. For comparison’s sake, the average U.K. citizen emits fewer than 10 metric tons of CO2 per year, and on average, each person in the world produces around 4 tons/year. How guilty am I of climate harm right now?
The United Nations projects that by 2050, the world population will reach more than 9 billion people. How will we provide the necessities for these extra two billion people, when we have not even met the needs of our current population? Technology is an answer. Advances in medicine, agriculture or engineering, have allowed the population to reach its current numbers. But can we rely on technology alone? We cannot escape the fact that we are using unsustainable amounts of non-renewable resources in our daily lives.