Recent stories

Return of the Luddites – The Changing Nature of Work

“The economy, stupid,” was the quote hanging at President Bill Clinton’s Little Rock 1992 campaign headquarters. Although the quote has gone through many incarnations in the past decades, it really captured the zeitgeist for the President. Perhaps it has even captured every zeitgeist to ever have existed for every political candidate – this for the simple reason that the economy is something that affects each and every one of us.

Calculating Your Water Footprint: Raising Awareness Through Technology

What is your water footprint for the day?  You might be able to give a pretty accurate guess of the amount of direct water you have used today through drinking or showering, but what about the amount of indirect water?  Are you aware of how much water was used to produce that can of soda you had with lunch, raise the cow that became the burger you ate, produce your jeans, sneakers, or t-shirt? You might be surprised to learn that the production of a pair of cotton jeans consumes 1,800 gallons of water.  And that burger…producing half a pound of beef requires approximately 850 gallons of water. Everything we consume and produce contains both direct and indirect water, and as consumers in a world facing increased water scarcity, we need to be aware of our water footprint.  But how can academics communicate this information to the public and raise awareness without our eyes glazing over?  Fortunately the spread of the internet and the abundance of smart phones has encouraged the creation of a number of apps and programs to help us calculate our water footprint and influence our spending choices. Below is a list of some of the popular calculators, apps and games. Have you tried one of the programs below or other footprint tools?

The favourite scapegoat

Free market economy is often blamed to be the scapegoat these days, especially  in discussions on sustainability and resources efficiency. Enterprises are accused for using resources irresponsibly. Some experts demand for stronger regulations, others claim that adapted economic models and even command economy are needed to solve the resources problem. In my opinion, the  implementation of measures that go against free market economy does not make any sense. Why?

Necessary aims are announced – but when will the Turning Point happen?

WRF 2011 has started and I am currently listening to the opening session. The goal of the conference has become clear: Delivering the immediately needed impact on resources management. The reason for this: change towards a more efficient use of resources and towards a closed circles economy is going to be a lot more difficult once shortness of resources has reached an even more alarming level than today. Some key facts of the opening speaches:

Commissioner Janez Potocnik mentioned the necessity of dematerializing Europe which is not the same thing as deindustrializing. According to him,  shift towards efficient and sustainable resource management can only be achieved by using our industrial intelligence, engineering skills and intelligent policies. In contrast to the past: using them not only for material growth but for sustainable resources management.