Residents of Sweden have become so good at recycling that the country has run out of garbage for its waste-to-energy incinerator plants. The result? Importing garbage.
The fact that higher education, especially business education, is in need of reform is not news. But the role of the humanities in such reform has been gaining momentum in the U.S., mostly in reaction to a recently published report by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, a sort of “humanities rescue plan.” As we see in our coverage of the Carnegie Roundtables, this is a conversation that has materialized as a movement in both the U.S. and Europe, with a gathering of key departments, faculty and major universities.
Despite recent drawbacks, the Eurozone is out of the emergency room after years of trials and tribulations. But the latest report by the European Commission throws some doubt on this assessment. It is clear that the Eurozone has issues to tackle that are beyond the immediate economic collapse of some of its members.
When we think about international environmental conferences, similar pictures come to our minds: experts flying in to chic venues, abundance of good food and long discussions of impacts that are hard to gauge. Which brings us to the question: do we really need to launch the tradition of another yearly environmental conference in Europe? Dr. Harry Lehmann, who conceived the idea of the European Resources Forum, thinks that the answer is certainly yes. Before heading for the first sessions of the ERF in Berlin, my colleague Tanaka Tabassum and I spoke to Dr Lehmann on his motivation for “another” environmental conference. As well as leading the planning division of the German Federal Environmental Agency (UBA), Dr. Lehmann is a veteran in the field of sustainability policy with an academic background in physics. Clearly, this is not a man who builds castles in the sky.
Protectionism, keeping the resources for yourself and maybe your neighbour – is that today still a considered strategy? At the World Resources Forum, the answer was clear. The energy supply chain today is more international than ever before. Countries are more interdependent than ever before. But countries are still looking at energy in terms of national self-reliance.
The SOCAP conference in Malmö Sweden has gathered around 400 people interested and involved in investment with a social impact. One of the participants is Johan Sundholm from Mikrofinansinstitutet i Sverige (the Microfinance Institute Sweden) that is giving loans to the otherwise unbankable segment in society. The bank targets entrepreneurs and helps them to build their businesses in order to repay their loans. So far so good – we’ve heard it all before. But!
Rio +20 is coming soon, and with it, a great team of student reporters from around the world. Behind all the student reporters, there are outstanding team leaders (like Caroline D´Angelo) who edit their posts and interviews while guiding them through the hectic journey of live conference-blogging. Leading a team of student reporters is certainly not an easy task. Funding, selection of students, training sessions, and much more has to be done before the start of the conference. In order to learn what it is like to be a team leader and a student reporter, I interviewed Caroline D’Angelo. Caroline D´Angelo is an editor for Student Reporter.
Dominika Czyz is an alumni reporter and reports from the 6th European Organic Congress: Organic and high nature value farming shaping future food systems, 17-18 April, 2012, Copenhagen.
I believe in “the power of words”. If I were to choose a key word to describe the 6th European Organic Congress in Copenhagen, I would choose a circle. Not because of the circle being a symbol for perfection though. I have never managed to draw a perfect circle and believe nothing is perfect. Nevertheless, the struggle for perfection already creates a chance for improvement.
With a cup of a native Finnish drink made from the flower of the fir tree, I sat down at Finland’s booth at the World Water Forum’s Exhibition Hall to learn about how the country has solved issues relating to the sustainable use of their waters. Finland has a unique position at the Forum in that it is one of the few countries to have plentiful reserves of fresh water, and whose total water use is only 2% of the total reserve. The country has been successful in protecting and managing their waters, and now feels like they are in the position to help other countries by teaching about best practices, particularly their experience in integrated water resources management and water and wastewater treatment. Finland is often at the top of the list for its environmental health, while the United States usually ranks around #50. This is due in large part to the country’s protection of land, how seriously it takes climate change, and how it responds to water pollution. As a student of public health and the environment, I was curious to learn more about Finland and their approach to such issues.
Student reporters Sharon Muli and Marissa Rosen arrived in Marseille early for the World Water Forum 6 and visited the nearby town of Cassis. We initially intended simply to explore the natural beauty of the calanques, where cliffs meet clear blue lagoons on the western point of the French Riviera. We soon learned about the region’s freshwater after being approached by Anthony Solari who offered to be our English translator for the French-only tour. Once the boat departed from the port, he explained the unique limestone rock features of the cliffs, the history of mining in this area, and the local efforts to extract drinking water. The boat went by jubilant hikers and adventurers who were strolling along the cliffs and skimming rocks into the waters below them.
Southern Europe is not known for its endless rain nor its snowy winters. Instead, the land constantly experiences a long, dry summer, followed by intermittent rain during its winter season. This is the weather that creates the rolling fields of olive and fruit trees, green vegetables, and legumes which are hailed for their anti-oxidant properties and health benefits. These foods spurred the Mediterranean Diet, which as people who live in the Mediterranean will tell you, is a way of life. It has fostered the unique and popular history, culture, economy, environment, health and nutrition of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean.