Search Results for Tag: environment
“No need to apologize for being on this planet”
Author: Kerstin Schnatz
He’s the man behind a number of quirky inventions – carpets that make the air cleaner, plastics free of toxic chemicals and underwear that can be tossed on the compost heap. What sounds like an eco-dream has already been turned into reality by Michael Braungart. The German chemist, who is professor of process engineering at Leuphana University of Lüneburg (Germany) and founder of the Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency (EPEA), aims to radically change the stuff around us. He offered an insight into his work at a conference hosted by the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation on inventions for a better tomorrow in Berlin on Thursday, June 6.
Braungart’s concept “Cradle to Cradle” (C2C) is about reinventing the very composition of products, making pens, office chairs and even diapers really useful, re-usable and non-toxic. It’s a concept that knows no waste at all.
You think that buying organic food, producing less waste or driving a fuel efficient car are a good start for making our world greener? According to the 55 year-old, these choices are downright wrong. “If you hit your child only two rather than five times a day, you are still making a very bad choice.” Braungart says. Just like parents looking for less painful methods of educating their offspring, Braungart wants us to become good consumers. Rather than buying fewer clothes, for example to save on water, chemicals or CO2-emissions, we need to buy smarter apparel, he says. So, clothes that helps our skin breathe better and which can be easily recycled or composted when we don’t need them anymore.
Speech by Michael Braungart at a conference in 2011
Unnoticed by most of us, Braungart’s revolution of stuff has already started: From underwear to office chairs and carpets over 1,100 products already carry a C2C label. However, the concept is highly disputed around the world. Even the title of his latest book “The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability–Designing for Abundance” has raised hackles among many traditional ecologists striving for a more sustainable lifestyle. And his reply to those who want to reduce their CO2 footprint – a trend that many companies have adopted – is devastating: “You can only be carbon neutral if you stop breathing and don’t exist.”
Rather than a zero-emission footprint, he says it’s better to opt for what he calls a “beneficial footprint.” To Braungart, life is not about limiting yourself but about enjoying life – with the right kind of products. After all, he says, there is “no need to apologize for being on this planet.”
DateJune 8, 2013
Tagscomposting, consumption, design, emissions, environment, michael braungart, recycling, sustainability, upcycling
Food for thought on World Environment Day
Today is World Environment Day and this year’s event is focused on cutting the world’s staggering amount of food waste. “Think. Eat. Save. Reduce your Foodprint“ is the motto of the global event which is being marked by marches, awareness-raising campaigns, talks, marathons and other events around the globe.
And the statistics published by the United Nations might just give you food for thought. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), an estimated one third, or 1.3 billion tons, of all food produced worldwide ends up in the trash. Farmers, transporters, retailers and consumers alike are to blame for the waste.
The FAO says this isn’t just a colossal waste of food but also a squandering of natural resources used along the production and supply chain process. The FAO is urging people to be more aware of the decisions they make regarding food consumption.
And if that isn’t enough to make you pause and think, consider this – the FAO says that to produce one single hamburger, 16,000 liters of water are used.
And here’s another chilling fact for all the meat-lovers out there – the FAO estimates that producing one kilogram of meat is far worse for the environment than a 250-kilometer-long car drive. That takes into account the massive cost of feeding animals. It’s estimated that up to 35 percent of grain harvests around the world and 80 percent of soya harvests are used as animal feed.
At the same time, 870 million people around the world go hungry every day.
DateJune 5, 2013
The climate-volunteers of Indonesia
What do you expect when you are visiting a climate protection project, supported by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)? I was pretty sure to find some supporting staff members who are well payed to do their green jobs. But what I found at Pangandaran, a bathing resort at the Southern coast of Java, was a lot more – a large number of Indonesian people are taking action themselves, as volunteers in the project. The motivations may be different, but all of them agree that something has to be done, sooner, not later.
Apip Winayadi is an activist for Sundanese Culture, he sees his task hidden in history:
When a terrible Tsunami rolled over the region in 2006, leaving more than 600 people dead, almost everything was destroyed. Mangroves had been ripped of the ground, coral reefs where smashed by the power of the wave. But also the livelihood of the whole population layed down, without any infrastructure or hotels tourism collapsed completely. But the catastrophe caused a new dawn with a lot of opportunities for the future, Enich Sarshih says. She is the principal of an elementary school here:
The STREAM Project (Sustainable Tourism through Energy Efficiency with Adaptation and Mitigation Measures) focuses mainly on the support of renewable energies (in hotels or restaurants) and a rebuilding of the destroyed environment (reforesting mangroves or building up coral reefs). This is where most of the volunteers are involved, like Bapak Iwo, a fisherman and today also an environmental activist:
Author: Kerstin Schweizer /ke
DateMay 27, 2013
Tagsawareness, climate, coral reef, environment, Indonesia, mangrove, pangandaran, tourism, volunteer
Jane Goodall: 300 days on the road for the cause
Meeting Jane Goodall, British primatologist and avid environmental activist, is an honour. Global Ideas took the opportunity to talk with the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees during a film screening in Brussels. The documentary Love MEATender focuses on earth’s growing hunger for more meat and the price we already have to pay for the excessive consumption.
A lot of people are already aware of the situation we are in, Goodall says. But that does not automaticly change something:
One of today’s main problems is that earth’s population is growing fast and with it the number of people who want to consume meat, Goodall adds. As the middle classes in the developing world are rising up, they want to have the same standards of living as the industrialized countries have. “Which is of course understandable.” But the planet is not growing, so it won’t be able to support this lifestyle much longer.
For Jan Goodall the newest generations are the key to a solution. Her organization, the Jane Goodall Institute, runs an initiative called “Roots and Shoots program,” with the goal to “provide young people with the knowledge, tools and inspiration to improve the environment and the quality of life for people and animals,” as the program’s website says. “We need to train a new generation to be better stewards than we have been,” she adds. Otherwise there would be absolutly no point:
DateMay 18, 2013
Tagsactivism, chimpanzee, environment, environmentalist, global ideas, growth, hunger, jan goodall, jane goodall institute, knowledge, meat, organization, population, vegan, vegetarian
A Song, a Dance and Spots on the Fight Against Climate Change
The event, many of whose attendees were project managers and leading figures in their respective fields, were pleasantly surprised as the youthinkgreen teams that took part in the gala showed discipline, determination and that they were not to be discouraged by the sheer size and importance of the event at hand.
The program, whose highlights were the youthinkgreen rendition of the song ,,Mut zum Handeln” (courage to act), the various student-produced environmentally oriented spots, and the Indian dance showed the unique inter-cultural connection between the various members of the Youthinkgreen.
The excitement at the event rubbed off on each and every one of our guests, with many of them on the verge of euphoria. We were standing hand-in-hand with people whose success has come to be known on every continent of the planet and watched in amazement as they relaxed and spoke to us as peers, not as minors, as friends not as climate change fighters.
All in all, to simply call our summit a success would be an understatement. The Allianz Forum will forever in our hearts be remembered as the place where we graduated into adults, supported along our journey by the constant recognition we received throughout the process.
Written by Mourad Farahat, youthinkgreen Kairo
DateMay 17, 2013
Tagsallianz forum, berlin, challenge, climate, environment, european parliament, figueres, future, global, global ideas, living, Merkel, summit, sustainability, youth, Youthinkgreen