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Tag Archives: Global Environment Outlook

Green Bussiness Idea: Sustainable Trade Practice is possible.


Driving the circular economyIn the recently concluded Accenture Sustainability 24 Webinar, closed loop recycling was given its due weight-age. The beautiful explanation  in info-graphics must be shared for one and all in this planet to understand the importance of sustainability. As one reads through this article while the graphics scrolls side by side (click to enlarge graphics) one would be amazed as to how easy it is to understand that we are at the very edge of entering a resource depleted world.

A BBC Special report on Thursday, 25 October 2007 gave State of the planet, in graphics with these comments – Globally human populations are growing, trade is increasing, and living standards are rising for many. But, according to the UN’s latest Global Environment Outlook report, long-term problems including climate change, pollution, access to clean water, and the threat of mass extinctions are being met with “a remarkable lack of urgency”. Global Environment Outlook [21.9MB]

The implications of this is evident from the various events which are unfolding is bits and pieces between then and 2013 AD. If seen from a perspective, one can easily see that as resources become scarce and traditional monopolies erode, regional and international tensions are bound to grow. And the tragedy is that sustainable practices would become the first casualty. Simply because it is perhaps the only sunshine industry in this despondent atmosphere.

China solar panel imports investigated by European Union &  China files EU solar subsidy complaint with WTO are just a few headlines on anti-dumping and protection news in the BBC webpage.

As long as the paradigm of Business and Trade remains entrapped in the archaic mode, our lifestyle will not let us stop from consuming 5 times of what is available to live sustainably. Even while we clearly understand that we are living in a shrinking world Graphicof resources.

While in Germany the primer company Solar World is anxious at the way the state of China is helping its domestic industry to produce cheaper Solar panels thus foreboding doom for stellar Solar PV company; somewhere in Britain nascent industries which make the balance of systems for the SPV’s are happy at the rise of the Dragon and would in no way want anti-dumping laws to be initiated against China.

Thus there are no easy solution out of this.That is if we still continue to follow the same patterns of Trade & Politics since Marco Polo.

However, we don’t need to and can’t afford to do any more.

While I can’t even think of suggesting Economics or Socio-Politics to the masters of the game, I do believe that at times simple ideas become the stepping stone of success. What is needed is to pick up the best created by the masters themselves and apply some innovation.

If we look at the idea of the Public Distribution System (PDS); better understood in India as ration shops and the concept of MNREGA we perhaps could create an idea which can at least be a fair attempt to slow down the depletion of resources until better model of adaptation and mitigation is developed in this rapidly warming Globe to give us the chance to live Sustainably.

The Circular economy advocates in the graph alongside show how from Minerals,Metals to Fossil fuel we are looking at an increase of consumption of 118% in just a span of 20 years (AD 2010-2030 ).

GraphHow this exponential increase would effect the planet is well documented in the 3 graphs above. The human ecological footprint is way above the straight line of the Biocapacity of this planet.And that straight line was created by Nature in a complex chain of event which we are still “researching” on.

With this piece of evidence I would reinforce my humble thought that, its time we think of a global rationing system. From Minerals to Metals to Fossil Fuel. It is time to put a stop to this mindless Business As Usual model.

Let us explore and expand the idea further.

The word Execution has very ominous meaning.

And some gentlemen have played their part in the destruction of this Planet very well in their Avatars as CEO’s. It is time when, we yank those CEO’s who should actually be the “Chief Environment Officer” as was mentioned during the Sustainability 24 – 2013 Webinar; than Chief Executive Officers. And make them responsible for the preservation and judicious use of  resources which are finite.

And let the Academicians and Scientist, instead of Trade & Political pundits of all Nations sit and decide the quantum of Quota which should be applied to de-pressurise the planets resource utilization.

Once they have achieved this, let the Corporates and MSME’s come in a common platform to innovate and scale up the process of  R’s. Reuse -Recycle-Refuse-Regenerate and thus like a Phoenix rise from a linear economic model to that of a Circular economy.

Additionally we must through the help of UN make this a true ONE WORLD than just a lyric in a song. To do that we can start by stopping to  count human population and poverty Country wise.

It is time we talk of Human population and poverty in global perspective rather than roll out the demography of a Country. Why should there be a rule of one child per couple in one country while there are no such limitations in another? Do we count insects, birds, fishes and other animal species in such a fashion?

Does it not occur to the most intelligent of animal species that the impact of Human is no more localized? If we have 9 Billion people with only, say as few as 500,000 in some Arctic country and a Billion in another, does it really mean that the one with higher demography is consuming it’s own resources more and the country with less population has limited impact on the consumption of produce within its own geographical limits and beyond? It is the Human species which has created a Political boundary into a Geographical one.

The planet and its forces do not conform to it. Read up on any Earthquake or Tsunami.

It encompasses all and everything from Minerals, Metals to Fossil Fuel and Life itself. No one Nations owns one over the other. No one Nations has aplenty while it is scarce for the other.

And  the Geographical boundary begins and finishes with the Sphere itself.

And to retain that life which till date is understood to be found only in this Sphere called Earth, we must ration its resources.

Production of each and every goods must be based on a quantum per year. Recycling and consumption of recycled products by each country in equal measure should be mandatory. No hand -outs to so called Third World Country, while the rich retain the right to plunder.

The issue of trade and economy can be addressed by the WTO quite well. Never was there a time when one country has not felt aggrieved and the other supposedly advantaged, in the polarized World we live in. And never will it be possible to think rationally until we actually become United as a Nation. Understand the power as well as the limitation of being ONE.

Sustainability can be practised and the concept of Circular Economy can truly succeed only if each Nation agrees to follow a rotary format of what it can produce and consume every five to ten years cycle. Shorter or longer cycle can be put in place depending on the type of industry and its gestation period.

And the most important aspect perhaps for success of such ideas is that of Human resources. Why should there be competition say for example, amongst IT professionals of one Nation with that of the other? Why can’t the Countries on whose share development of IT and its related products fall, pool all the best Human Resources across Nations? And here too individual professionals can be rotated based on the numbers, thus giving each a guaranteed employment such as in MNREGA, which I mentioned above at the start.

This model would insure equity in participation from all Nationals in making this World a better place to live in while in the process Wealth instead of Riches can be created.

If there would be even an iota of rational thinking in this process, I would request all those who can think and act better to reach out and make it happen.

 

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Killing is not a crime,only Murder is;The difficulty of preaching Sustainable Living.


Ants originated 145 million years ago and were witness to the extinction of dinosaurs.………….

I killed my first Ant when I was five years old. I was called a brave lad and explained that I should not be afraid of Ants, Mosquitoes, Cockroaches; on the 10th year, I learnt not to be afraid of Mouse,stray Cats, stray Dogs, Crow, Pigeon and by year 12 I was pretty much unafraid of any bird or animal be it snakes which we always saw being stoned to death, or Lions and Crocodiles we saw people pelting with stones and sticks in the Indian zoos.

But I was always warned to stay away from strangers, meaning unknown Humans. And be very afraid of them. As a inquisitive child I asked our man-servant,(who was slicing the throat of a few chickens and dropping their head-less body into a big tin box so that they death throes need not bother me) about this being afraid of strangers, he was not able to explain so he asked me to talk to the Gardner who was burning and slashing away wild plants and trees at the edge of our sprawling home to create an English lawn, which my grand-father wanted, as my cousin sister would be married that year and the guests needed to be entertained by the small pond nearby that patch of land. He also had ordered the local fishermen to come and clean up the pond and take away any turtles and  other small fish etc and seed it with a particular type of fish which is very popular among us, from the state Bengal and its a must during weddings.

I’m sure, that many of the readers of this article would find similar tales to tell. The society we live in sadly does not consider the destruction of any other living being other than Man as crime.

Whatever the modern man has touched, it has insured its doom – Terrestrial & Marine life even the Water and Air. It can not manage its food, its either wasted on the table or rots in the ware-house (Indian wheat story is the prime example), Saints die unsung to save the river Ganga, which is the very identity of the concept of being a Hindu. As without its waters no Hindu sacrifice can be considered complete. Man has managed to chop down trees to such an extent that once lush green meadows have become arid or semi -arid regions where the final bell already tolls for man himself, as stories of farmer suicide becomes more of a norm than exception. Yet the modern man refuses to learn. While I do not advocate vegetarianism or any “ism”; totally apolitical in my views, I do believe we must stop being wasteful. We must let go the concept of hoarding and over-producing thus creating a cycle of market forces which makes us destroy more. We must stop the concept of “buy 2 and take 1 free”. Nothing is FREE!! Its ripple effect is felt somewhere along the supply chain.

It is time for the United Nation‘s  condemn and make punitive laws to stop the destruction of the Ecosystem by the actions of Man, especially when through proper review and scientific conclusion, it be proved beyond doubt that the destruction was wilful and for aggrandisement of an individual or a Corporation.

Is it not the failure of the collective intelligence of the most intelligent living being on this planet? Perhaps the self declared ‘most intelligent’ animal Man bestowed upon itself ages back, was nothing but pompous Ego which is getting deflated by each evidence of utter failure in managing its life-style?

Studio Earth - Severn Cullis-Suzuki

Studio Earth – Severn Cullis-Suzuki (Photo credit: JuliannaYY)

Will he then be able to prove his intelligence during the UNFCCC summit. Will after 20 long years the prayers of Severn Suzuki be finally be heard ? Let the collective gauntlet from all the environmentalist be thrown at Rio+20 to make laws which are Earth positive. Its win would be the win for Humankind and Man would survive.

Ants originated 145 million years ago and were witness to the extinction of dinosaurs…..and will survive Man too!

 

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Why Environment Impact Assessment is must for all projects.


The Global Environment Outlook (GEO) integrated environmental assessment (IEA) and reporting processes are led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). UNEP derives its mandate from the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 2997 of 1972, which led to the establishment of the organization. The resolution states in part that UNEP should keep the global environment under review. The UN Conference on the Human Environment whose recommendations led to Resolution 2997 highlighted the importance of environmental assessment and reporting.

Form the above every common man would understand that EIA /IEA is a very important matter. However the Corporate & political class using the same very common man and his “development” needs willingly sideline this every-time everywhere around the World. In this article I will use India and one of its major states – Maharashtra & its capital City Mumbai as an example.

In India states like Maharashtra would like to “fast track” 14 projects which have been languishing for a long time. Why this sudden announcement from none other than the Chief Minister of the state? Simple, its election time and the money bags on whose donations the political parties thrive are not to pleased that their corporate greed has been restrained by such a mundane law like Environment Impact Assessment.

If this is done with the narrow political vision the leaders at present have, it would lead to disastrous consequences for the State and contribute to the Global Warming accelerating the process even further. Here is how.

By mid-century, the scientists say, in some parts of the World; that heat waves could by 5°C hotter. By the end of this century that could be 9°C hotter than they are today. Moreover, it’s no surprise that cities get a lot hotter than rural areas. Metro areas have more roads and taller buildings than the countryside, the better to collect sunlight by day and prevent the release of warmth by night. These distinguishing elements can cause city temperatures to reach greater relative heights — a phenomenon known as the urban “heat island” effect.

The Politicians & the Corporates live and have their HQ is Metro Cities!

Just recently, Australia celebrated a huge achievement, with the passage of the Clean Energy Future legislation that finally puts a price on pollution and gets the Country ready for historical investments in clean, renewable energy, energy efficiency and protection of landscape carbon. Their leaders say that it’s a vote for a new beginning in their campaign for serious climate action, not the end.

Just why did Australia do what it did ? To understand this one must understand the Drivers of Global Warming.

Drivers (including demographic changes, economic and societal processes) lead to more specific pressures on the environment (including land use change, resource extraction, emissions of pollutants and waste, and modification and movement of organisms). These pressures lead to changes of the state of the environment, which are in addition to those that result from natural processes. The environmental changes include climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, changes in biodiversity and pollution or degradation of air water and soils. These changes lead to changes of the services that the environment provides to humankind, such as the provision of clean air and water, food and protection from ultra-violet radiation. As a result of changes in services and mediated by demographic, social and material factors, there are impacts on human well-being (health, material assets, good social relations and security).

Australia being one of the leading polluters and cause of global warming and suffering the consequences of the Ozone hole have had to respond. These responses include both formal and informal attempts to either adapt to the changes in environmental services or to reduce the pressures on the environment.

India’s global warming foot-print is extremely small compared to the developed Nations and this is why it must become more responsible now and prepare by driving the energy revolution and the opportunity to move to 100% renewable energy, plan in the national interest, make the right investment decisions now and put the right management policies in place. The state of Maharashtra and its leadership should show the way how to address  food, water, energy and climate crises – namely, food security. We need to maximise food production and export by lifting agricultural productivity in the face of escalating climate change and oil depletion. Competition for land and water between agriculture, coal seam gas, carbon storage, urbanisation and land grabs must be resolved.

The Development laws should be designed in such a way that they can guide decisions on land use and encourage decisions that will benefit the climate, our biodiversity and our farmers, indigenous communities and other land managers. It is only then all business can be sustained.

Therefore its imperative that EIA should not be treated as an impediment to growth but a valuable tool to assess the long-term sustainability of the project and thereby its profit for the Corporate and Society at large.

 

 

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