Inspired to eat less meat.
Poster by Pret A Manger.
Inspired to eat less meat.
Poster by Pret A Manger.
What does the future hold for us? Should we be feeling optimistic, or rather daunted?
A quick peek at the latest news from Davos and the World Economic Forum’s spotlight on The Fourth Industrial Revolution is an eye opener!
“Emerging technologies such as 3D printing and genetic engineering offer a lot of promise, but can also be double-edged swords. They can help make our lives easier, safer and healthier, but there is also potential to build weapons or dangerously modify organisms.
This post is in response to the weekly WPC: Optimistic
This is a day to celebrate: that biodiversity is recognised across the globe, right? The theme this year is linked to Sustainable Development. The focus is on efforts to integrate biodiversity targets into Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). All the buzz words and acronyms but how does it translate into actions? The goals were part of the outcome document from the Rio+20 Summit and are expected to become part of the United Nations (UN) overarching development agenda beyond 2015. There are currently 17 objectives, and the first is to ‘end poverty in all its forms everywhere’, with other goals focusing on resilient infrastructure, gender empowerment and sustainable use of natural resources.
“Biodiversity and ecosystems should be integrated and into the UN post 2015 sustainable development agenda,” says Susan Brown, Director of Global and Regional Policy at World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Andrew Deutz, Director of International Government Relations at The Nature Conservancy explains further : ” The focus of Goal 15, for example, encompasses sustainable management of ecosystems and halting and reversing land degradation and biodiversity loss. There are indicators within the SDG on food security that mention sustainable agriculture,” says Deutz. “Another Goal that deals with water discusses restoring freshwater ecosystems and managing water resources with integrated approaches.”
Deutz says one of the most important notions to come out of the SDG panel was that the environment is not a stand-alone pillar. “Environment and natural resource management need to be integrated across the full spectrum of other goals,” he says. So success looks like achievements that conserve the environment while also ensuring food security. Are these goals really achievable? In March this year during a visit to London I was lucky to get to the Syngenta Photography Exhibition held at Somerset House. The theme explores global challenges and was titled: “Scarcity Waste” and was represented under four themes: “Planet under Pressure”, “Our Footprint”, “Food Waste”, and “Shaping our Future”. A picture is worth a thousand words, so the saying goes, and how relevant it is in this context. The photographers captured seeringly desolate scenes, scenes that chill the heart. On the one hand the plight of the desparately poor and on the other the extravagant waste of the first world populations. As more than 800 million people got to bed hungry worldwide, others throw away over half of the food they buy. A third of the world’s food prodution is lost or wasted along the supply chain. In a world of limited resources, scarcity and waste have become fundamental social, political and environmental issues of our time. Something needs to change! Text and photographs below are those displayed at the Syngenta Photography Exhibition under the theme:
“Planet under Pressure”
“Our demands on nature are increasing: we are eating into our natural capital, making it more difficult to sustain the needs of the future. We have become the dominant force that is both shaping and altering the planet as a whole. Our impact is no longer local; it’s global. The effect of a growing human population will multiply the pressure we place on natural resources. Our challenge is to ensure that there is enough land, food and water for future generations.”
Shanghai, China, 2013
Czech republic, 01/05/2014
Mexico City, Mexico, 2010
Karabash, Russia, 2013
Mittelbergferner, Austria, 07/07/2012
I came away from the exhibition with a sense of hopelessness at how far reaching and at the immensity of the scale of damage. Nature is seriously in the balance. Some weeks ago there was a review in one of our weekend newspapers on the powerful book “Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot” which as with the Syngenta photo images also aims at raising awareness and highlighting the perilous state of our planet. The Global Populations Speak Out campaign is spreading globally. Here I have found voices to admire and a campaign worthy of support. Musimbi Kanyoro who writes the Foreword-
“Realizing our common humanity invites us to embrace common responsibility and to care for one another and the planet on which we live. The emergence of such grave global challenges as biodiversity loss and climate change demands our urgent and undivided attention. The health of the oceans, the air, the water, and the land affects human health. The size of the human family and the way that we live influence the quality of life for people today as well as for future generations. Moreover, our numbers and behavior profoundly affect nonhuman species, all of the creatures with which we share this beautiful but finite planet. The web of life that these species create is what makes the Earth habitable and lovely.”
and Eileen Crist who writes the Afterword and who ends her essay with the following thoughts –
“We need an authentic green revolution. Instead of holding demographic growth as given, and a biosphere-wrecking food system as normal, let’s imagine what the world could look like if we actively renounced both. Such a world would be dramatically more beautiful and sane following expansive rewilding—with abundant food, ecologically and ethically produced; with streams, rivers, lakes, and estuaries returned to being living waters; with deforestation halted and grassland ecologies reinstated; with the extinction crisis arrested and seas thriving again with Life; and with climate change made more manageable via carbon-sequestering forests and grasslands and decelerated emissions. If all these things can be achieved, what is keeping us from pursuing such a world? Indeed, what is detaining us from creating a civilization in harmony with wild Earth?”
“The economic and social needs of human populations willcontinue to rely on wild species, which implies that these willhave to be used in a sustainable way, avoiding any threats ofextinction. Solutions involve much more than looking at allliving things as an economic resource, they are about changinglegal and institutional frameworks as well as individual habits,particularly in industrialized nations, if species are to be saved.The CBD* has not reached this level of action to drive changesin economic systems that currently allow species to be over-exploited and placed on the verge of extinction”
* Convention on Biological Diversity
“It’s our turn to lead” – the theme for this year’s Earth Day calls on all citizens around the globe to unite and show support for the protection of our beautiful and green environment.
South Africans have been challenged by the Institute of Waste Management to reduce consumption at home. The president, Dr Suzan Oelofse sets out five easy steps at ways in reducing one’s needs and to live more frugally. Donating surplus clothing to managing food menus and careful catering are some of the ways in which we could streamline our needs. The link to the article is here and the ideas are practical and achievable.
I’ve added to the list and would love to hear of further suggestions ….
My faithful duo to cut down on electricity –
Ditch the plastic water bottles, instead use glass and invest in a filter system to purify tap water.
Grow window box herbs and greens, lettuce –
Get creative by using leftover pieces of material / yarn – join a handicraft group and get knitting / sewing. With winter coming the knitting needles will soon be out again ….