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Digital Ecosystem For The Environment: Big Data Worldwide
Big Data is a term reserved for technological advances in IT-related industries. This claim is often heard when discussing the topic of massive heaps of data collected from all kind of devices and sensors. Big Data is allegedly great in running algorithms and recognising patters, perhaps even predicting to some extent - but that is mostly beneficial to consumer- and financial industries. Right? Well, no. Completely wrong, in fact. Big Data is a player that should never be underestimated in any context. Regardless of whether you understand the benefits of collecting data that allows you to quickly act on it - the reality is that there are a whole lot of them. This also applies to the environment. Much can be said for incorporating Big Data in some kind of digital ecosystem, meant to advocate promising initiatives and analysing and predicting trends. Knowledge is key, and this is exactly what such a digital ecosystem would provide. Having environmental insights and patterns at your fingertips will make it that much easier to really act upon it - and hold others accountable if they are not. Global environment data Unfortunately, as nice as it sounds, we are still quite a way off from actually achieving something like this. This is often related to the very nature of our field: much of what we do and how we act is based on assumptions, anecdotal evidence, and largely incomplete data sets. If this is the basis for much of our financial investments and physical efforts, it is not hard to see why we are often hesitant to really push through. Yet it is important to be aware of how much there already could be for us to use. We could quite easily get access to a wealth of data on the global environment. Using the technologies, techniques and tools available for dealing with this data, we could quite easily ‘assimilate’ what we are looking for. Using those valuable insights and patterns, we can find ourselves equipped with a powerful means of creating a sustainable future and actually changing the way that we interact with our planet. Environmental history Using data, we can make informed decisions. This goes for everything that we do in our lives. When we are buying a new TV, we will browse the internet for user reviews and product videos. Through our phones, we can check the weather forecast in the morning to decide what to wear. For the environment, you will find that data has much of the same analysing and forecasting power.   The one problem? We are increasingly finding that a significant portion of the information that would be required for making such an informed decision is not readily available. For now, we are mostly piecing together snippets and tidbits of information, collected using vastly different methods and time periods - making them inherently flawed for actual use. As such, we have no steady basis that we can base our decisions on, effectively erasing the ‘informed’ from informed decision. Recent reports from the UN are alarming. They showed that out of the 93 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a staggering 64 cannot yet be measured using reliable and meaningful indicators showing its progress. This is the result of a chronic lack of data, crippling our ability to get a good report card of how we are doing thus far. It should not be hard to see why this is worrying.   This is why it is so important to start looking at ways of incorporating Big Data and related technologies in all that we do. The possibilities for monitoring the environment are endless, ranging from the use of satellites and drones to cloud computing, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, blockchain and a plethora of (mobile) apps. Through all of these technologies, we can measure and protect our environment much more efficiently than ever before. Another hard truth is that none of the efforts taken thus far to reduce our strain on the world around us has actually worked. Especially now that the click is ticking - scientists have estimated that we only have about 10 years left to radically alter our ways -, it seems like an obvious solution that will, if invested in properly, pay off near-instantly.   Granted, ten years is not a lot of time; especially considering that a bunch of different systems will have to be aligned in order to be able to take definitive action. Our social, political and economic systems must work together with the technology to be able to drastically change our ways. This might seem daunting, but it is something that has to be done.   We largely created this mess and we will leave it to our children and grandchildren if we do nothing. There really is no alternative: we’ve got to get our act together, preferably today rather than tomorrow. Creating a digital ecosystem for the environment will definitely help us in getting things done. Connecting environmental governance with public-private partnerships through big data, groundbreaking technologies and analytics will allow us to foster expert communities - and ultimately receive much better environmental insights. Global digital ecosystem for the environment A few months ago, a group of companies, academics, UN member states, intergovernmental organisations and civil society actors came together to discuss how to move forward with Big Data, Analytics and Artificial Intelligence. Their main task was to envision some kind of global digital ecosystem for the environment. What would it look like, what partnerships would it benefit from? What are the benefits and potential pitfalls? Who is accountable and how to ensure that everyone cooperates to keep it as transparant as possible? Those and many other questions were answered in the first discussion paper of this working group, that was issued in March 2019. The writers were enthusiastic and passionate about the prospect of a fully digital ecosystem, although they recognised that, if it is to become a global standard by 2020, it requires a great deal of action, leadership and trust.   Below, I will highlight a number of particularly interesting elements that, according to this paper, should be considered before working on digital ecosystem harnessing Big Data of the environment. Artificial intelligence , big data and algorithms we need First of all, we must get a better grip on the problems we are dealing with. This can only be done by measuring them properly. Through Big Data and related technologies, we can be better informed and set ourselves up to be able to properly track and assess environmental trends and innovations. In the past, the limited availability of such data left a big gaping hole in the development and modelling of environmental policy options - something that can now be remedied. After making an inventory of what data is already readily available, we will quickly find out what information is missing - and how we can go about generating this. Big Data and algorithms, generated and run using modern technologies, will most likely help us doing so - especially if data is clearly, uniformly and articulately collected by companies and governments alike.   This kind of data can include information generated by open data cubes, providing spatial data on climate change parameters; which will help us to determine areas for growth and improvement on initiatives. This will make it easier to guarantee funding and investments for all kind of innovations. Additionally, more data and insights regarding supply chains and raw resource usage will allow investors to recognise opportunities and dangers ahead of time, getting them more involved in sustainability practices and highlighting polluting and/or damaging activities . Blockchain, for instance, is slated to be a major help in this, as it allows for the creation of a transparant, traceable database showing all the steps or resources used.   Finally, through the use of artificial intelligence, big data and all kinds of machine learning algorithms, consumers can be encouraged to think more about the environmental footprints of products they are considering. By tracing the supply chain and consumption patterns, it will be possible to find a way of changing consumer behaviour and, using gamification, reward programs and apps, encourage consumers to up their sustainability efforts. People and companies Another powerful element of a digital ecosystem is the actual people and companies that are making use of it. Social media in particular hugely influences the way that we interact with the world around us. It shapes our attitudes, perceptions, and invariably determines our actions. The recent commotion surrounding election influencing through social media should be enough to highlight how impactful this could potentially be. However, while many people are looking at the dangers of this, it can be flipped around and used to our benefit as well - such as the mobilising of people, encouraging them to not only let their voices be heard in a meaningful manner, but also actively recruiting them to collect data on our ecosystem, global warming, biodiversity and other sustainability matters. Crowdsourcing and citizen science have never been more relevant than today. Even the simple act of making people and companies aware of the issues and pointing out the impact it will have on their own lives will make a difference. Understanding the implications of the problems the world is facing today will help them to take action locally. Perhaps a minor change, but if those are added up, it can become a massive movement.   Getting people aware of the problem, foregoing any ‘fake news’ probability but focussing on the matter at hand in an objective, scientific manner will get them on board and set in motion a sequence of micro-actions that can turn into something great. Markets can be influenced, just like consumer behaviour and actions - but only if they have access to the digital ecosystem that points the way forward. Making environmental data a global public good will make it easily accessible, open and available for analysis. Satellites, drones, sensors and mobile applications. What are the risks? Some of the ways in which we can generate the environmental data mentioned include satellites, drones, sensors and mobile apps that continuously measure a certain object, area of phenomenon. Therefore, those who are in control of those kinds of technologies, will find themselves a willing target for governments and international organisations hoping to get better insights. The tech companies that are now holding those cards will find themselves faced with an interesting dilemma. Historically, they have been developing and acting upon their valuable data in a private manner, using it to outwit competition and make bigger profits. Their motivation is therefore largely based on the creation of profitable business models. The ultimate idea, as proven by companies as Google, Apple and Microsoft, is to find a way of locking in customers - making sure that they only benefit if they exclusively use their (affiliated) products and services. As a result, much of the data and proprietary know-how available regarding digital infrastructures and cutting-edge data generating technologies is held close to the chest. They alone have access to the majority of this data, shifting decision-making power to a handful instead of the many. Often, valuable data is sold to another lucky few instead of shared with a larger group. An issue that has inevitably come up in this regard is that of privacy.   After all, who owns the data? The party that collected it? The party that paid handsomely to receive it? Or the party who finds himself the subject of the data? If the plan is to release an armada of satellites, drones and sensors on our planet, the issue of data governance is bound to come up. How to respect the privacy of people and private companies, while still getting meaningful intel? As cliched as it may sound, information is power - and people are understandably afraid of anything or anyone that yields great power. As no single party can or will be able to be ‘in charge’ of this data, it will likely be a scattered field of tech companies, parts manufacturers, digital gurus, infrastructure experts, scientists, governments, private persons and environmental groups. Which is great - what we need is the combined effort of all those stakeholders in order to move forward and create this global digital ecosystem where environmental data is available at a moment’s notice. Yet this makes the issue of who is in control more pressing. In an ideal world, data in this digital ecosystem would be a public good. Yet in practice, there will be some pitfalls regarding individual privacy, intellectual property, data security, data quality assurance, transparency and purposely fake or malicious data entries. A watchdog will have to be appointed, while countries around the world will have to agree on certain guidelines and restrictions - these two preventive measures will be critical in validating and running this massive undertaking. Harness the power of data, AI and mobile apps. How do we get there? The basic idea is simple. If we can harness the power of Big Data, AI and mobile apps in a responsible and sensitive manner, we will find ourselves in a position where we are able to clearly see what is happening and therefore hold governments and institutions accountable. We will finally be able to track our progress on a large number of environmental indicators that have previously gone untracked. Simultaneously, we can analyse the trends and insights to make even more meaningful changes in the ‘way we do’, the ‘way we are’, and the ‘way we should be’. Now that most of the technologies are widely available, this is the time to take action. We must move ahead of the game and look at the ten-year-deadline given to us as a challenge instead of a threat. Through the power of data, we can influence consumers on a microlevel, changing their own behaviour, awareness and actions when it comes to global warming and other pressing environmental issues. We can challenge long-held beliefs and, through millions of micro-actions and micro-changes, bring about significant change.   Companies and governments can be held accountable for what they are (not) doing, while alternatives and solutions can be analysed and optimised to ensure we keep on making the right choices, every time we find ourselves at another crossroad. We can do so by making data sets as open as possible and involving companies, encouraging them to share their expertise, infrastructure and technologies on data science, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.   Environmental data as a public good should be the norm, not the exception. Data that should be streamlined for transparency, accuracy, quality and comparability. Governments play an instrumental role in setting forth guidelines and deciding on standards and norms; while also keeping in mind the issues outlined in this article, including individual privacy, data protection and intellectual property. A global, independent watchdog organisation could be in charge of constantly verifying and purifying the generated data sets and checking the performed analyses. The end result? A digital ecosystem that thrives, is openly accessible and contributed to by many. That allows for quick, accurate analyses and insights. That sets about a revolution: which companies and communities are doing well and leading the way to a better future; and which are seemingly undermining any progress, irreversibly harming our planet and undermining our actions in doing so?   This can turn the tide for global warming and other environmental issues. Accountability is a powerful tool. Let’s use it to our benefit. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/community
Big Data is a term reserved for technological advances in IT-related industries. This claim is often heard when discussing the topic of massive heaps of data collected from all kind of devices and sensors. Big Data is allegedly great in running algorithms and recognising patters, perhaps even predicting to some extent - but that is mostly beneficial to consumer- and financial industries. Right? Well, no. Completely wrong, in fact. Big Data is a player that should never be underestimated in any context. Regardless of whether you understand the benefits of collecting data that allows you to quickly act on it - the reality is that there are a whole lot of them. This also applies to the environment. Much can be said for incorporating Big Data in some kind of digital ecosystem, meant to advocate promising initiatives and analysing and predicting trends. Knowledge is key, and this is exactly what such a digital ecosystem would provide. Having environmental insights and patterns at your fingertips will make it that much easier to really act upon it - and hold others accountable if they are not. Global environment data Unfortunately, as nice as it sounds, we are still quite a way off from actually achieving something like this. This is often related to the very nature of our field: much of what we do and how we act is based on assumptions, anecdotal evidence, and largely incomplete data sets. If this is the basis for much of our financial investments and physical efforts, it is not hard to see why we are often hesitant to really push through. Yet it is important to be aware of how much there already could be for us to use. We could quite easily get access to a wealth of data on the global environment. Using the technologies, techniques and tools available for dealing with this data, we could quite easily ‘assimilate’ what we are looking for. Using those valuable insights and patterns, we can find ourselves equipped with a powerful means of creating a sustainable future and actually changing the way that we interact with our planet. Environmental history Using data, we can make informed decisions. This goes for everything that we do in our lives. When we are buying a new TV, we will browse the internet for user reviews and product videos. Through our phones, we can check the weather forecast in the morning to decide what to wear. For the environment, you will find that data has much of the same analysing and forecasting power.   The one problem? We are increasingly finding that a significant portion of the information that would be required for making such an informed decision is not readily available. For now, we are mostly piecing together snippets and tidbits of information, collected using vastly different methods and time periods - making them inherently flawed for actual use. As such, we have no steady basis that we can base our decisions on, effectively erasing the ‘informed’ from informed decision. Recent reports from the UN are alarming. They showed that out of the 93 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a staggering 64 cannot yet be measured using reliable and meaningful indicators showing its progress. This is the result of a chronic lack of data, crippling our ability to get a good report card of how we are doing thus far. It should not be hard to see why this is worrying.   This is why it is so important to start looking at ways of incorporating Big Data and related technologies in all that we do. The possibilities for monitoring the environment are endless, ranging from the use of satellites and drones to cloud computing, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, blockchain and a plethora of (mobile) apps. Through all of these technologies, we can measure and protect our environment much more efficiently than ever before. Another hard truth is that none of the efforts taken thus far to reduce our strain on the world around us has actually worked. Especially now that the click is ticking - scientists have estimated that we only have about 10 years left to radically alter our ways -, it seems like an obvious solution that will, if invested in properly, pay off near-instantly.   Granted, ten years is not a lot of time; especially considering that a bunch of different systems will have to be aligned in order to be able to take definitive action. Our social, political and economic systems must work together with the technology to be able to drastically change our ways. This might seem daunting, but it is something that has to be done.   We largely created this mess and we will leave it to our children and grandchildren if we do nothing. There really is no alternative: we’ve got to get our act together, preferably today rather than tomorrow. Creating a digital ecosystem for the environment will definitely help us in getting things done. Connecting environmental governance with public-private partnerships through big data, groundbreaking technologies and analytics will allow us to foster expert communities - and ultimately receive much better environmental insights. Global digital ecosystem for the environment A few months ago, a group of companies, academics, UN member states, intergovernmental organisations and civil society actors came together to discuss how to move forward with Big Data, Analytics and Artificial Intelligence. Their main task was to envision some kind of global digital ecosystem for the environment. What would it look like, what partnerships would it benefit from? What are the benefits and potential pitfalls? Who is accountable and how to ensure that everyone cooperates to keep it as transparant as possible? Those and many other questions were answered in the first discussion paper of this working group, that was issued in March 2019. The writers were enthusiastic and passionate about the prospect of a fully digital ecosystem, although they recognised that, if it is to become a global standard by 2020, it requires a great deal of action, leadership and trust.   Below, I will highlight a number of particularly interesting elements that, according to this paper, should be considered before working on digital ecosystem harnessing Big Data of the environment. Artificial intelligence , big data and algorithms we need First of all, we must get a better grip on the problems we are dealing with. This can only be done by measuring them properly. Through Big Data and related technologies, we can be better informed and set ourselves up to be able to properly track and assess environmental trends and innovations. In the past, the limited availability of such data left a big gaping hole in the development and modelling of environmental policy options - something that can now be remedied. After making an inventory of what data is already readily available, we will quickly find out what information is missing - and how we can go about generating this. Big Data and algorithms, generated and run using modern technologies, will most likely help us doing so - especially if data is clearly, uniformly and articulately collected by companies and governments alike.   This kind of data can include information generated by open data cubes, providing spatial data on climate change parameters; which will help us to determine areas for growth and improvement on initiatives. This will make it easier to guarantee funding and investments for all kind of innovations. Additionally, more data and insights regarding supply chains and raw resource usage will allow investors to recognise opportunities and dangers ahead of time, getting them more involved in sustainability practices and highlighting polluting and/or damaging activities . Blockchain, for instance, is slated to be a major help in this, as it allows for the creation of a transparant, traceable database showing all the steps or resources used.   Finally, through the use of artificial intelligence, big data and all kinds of machine learning algorithms, consumers can be encouraged to think more about the environmental footprints of products they are considering. By tracing the supply chain and consumption patterns, it will be possible to find a way of changing consumer behaviour and, using gamification, reward programs and apps, encourage consumers to up their sustainability efforts. People and companies Another powerful element of a digital ecosystem is the actual people and companies that are making use of it. Social media in particular hugely influences the way that we interact with the world around us. It shapes our attitudes, perceptions, and invariably determines our actions. The recent commotion surrounding election influencing through social media should be enough to highlight how impactful this could potentially be. However, while many people are looking at the dangers of this, it can be flipped around and used to our benefit as well - such as the mobilising of people, encouraging them to not only let their voices be heard in a meaningful manner, but also actively recruiting them to collect data on our ecosystem, global warming, biodiversity and other sustainability matters. Crowdsourcing and citizen science have never been more relevant than today. Even the simple act of making people and companies aware of the issues and pointing out the impact it will have on their own lives will make a difference. Understanding the implications of the problems the world is facing today will help them to take action locally. Perhaps a minor change, but if those are added up, it can become a massive movement.   Getting people aware of the problem, foregoing any ‘fake news’ probability but focussing on the matter at hand in an objective, scientific manner will get them on board and set in motion a sequence of micro-actions that can turn into something great. Markets can be influenced, just like consumer behaviour and actions - but only if they have access to the digital ecosystem that points the way forward. Making environmental data a global public good will make it easily accessible, open and available for analysis. Satellites, drones, sensors and mobile applications. What are the risks? Some of the ways in which we can generate the environmental data mentioned include satellites, drones, sensors and mobile apps that continuously measure a certain object, area of phenomenon. Therefore, those who are in control of those kinds of technologies, will find themselves a willing target for governments and international organisations hoping to get better insights. The tech companies that are now holding those cards will find themselves faced with an interesting dilemma. Historically, they have been developing and acting upon their valuable data in a private manner, using it to outwit competition and make bigger profits. Their motivation is therefore largely based on the creation of profitable business models. The ultimate idea, as proven by companies as Google, Apple and Microsoft, is to find a way of locking in customers - making sure that they only benefit if they exclusively use their (affiliated) products and services. As a result, much of the data and proprietary know-how available regarding digital infrastructures and cutting-edge data generating technologies is held close to the chest. They alone have access to the majority of this data, shifting decision-making power to a handful instead of the many. Often, valuable data is sold to another lucky few instead of shared with a larger group. An issue that has inevitably come up in this regard is that of privacy.   After all, who owns the data? The party that collected it? The party that paid handsomely to receive it? Or the party who finds himself the subject of the data? If the plan is to release an armada of satellites, drones and sensors on our planet, the issue of data governance is bound to come up. How to respect the privacy of people and private companies, while still getting meaningful intel? As cliched as it may sound, information is power - and people are understandably afraid of anything or anyone that yields great power. As no single party can or will be able to be ‘in charge’ of this data, it will likely be a scattered field of tech companies, parts manufacturers, digital gurus, infrastructure experts, scientists, governments, private persons and environmental groups. Which is great - what we need is the combined effort of all those stakeholders in order to move forward and create this global digital ecosystem where environmental data is available at a moment’s notice. Yet this makes the issue of who is in control more pressing. In an ideal world, data in this digital ecosystem would be a public good. Yet in practice, there will be some pitfalls regarding individual privacy, intellectual property, data security, data quality assurance, transparency and purposely fake or malicious data entries. A watchdog will have to be appointed, while countries around the world will have to agree on certain guidelines and restrictions - these two preventive measures will be critical in validating and running this massive undertaking. Harness the power of data, AI and mobile apps. How do we get there? The basic idea is simple. If we can harness the power of Big Data, AI and mobile apps in a responsible and sensitive manner, we will find ourselves in a position where we are able to clearly see what is happening and therefore hold governments and institutions accountable. We will finally be able to track our progress on a large number of environmental indicators that have previously gone untracked. Simultaneously, we can analyse the trends and insights to make even more meaningful changes in the ‘way we do’, the ‘way we are’, and the ‘way we should be’. Now that most of the technologies are widely available, this is the time to take action. We must move ahead of the game and look at the ten-year-deadline given to us as a challenge instead of a threat. Through the power of data, we can influence consumers on a microlevel, changing their own behaviour, awareness and actions when it comes to global warming and other pressing environmental issues. We can challenge long-held beliefs and, through millions of micro-actions and micro-changes, bring about significant change.   Companies and governments can be held accountable for what they are (not) doing, while alternatives and solutions can be analysed and optimised to ensure we keep on making the right choices, every time we find ourselves at another crossroad. We can do so by making data sets as open as possible and involving companies, encouraging them to share their expertise, infrastructure and technologies on data science, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.   Environmental data as a public good should be the norm, not the exception. Data that should be streamlined for transparency, accuracy, quality and comparability. Governments play an instrumental role in setting forth guidelines and deciding on standards and norms; while also keeping in mind the issues outlined in this article, including individual privacy, data protection and intellectual property. A global, independent watchdog organisation could be in charge of constantly verifying and purifying the generated data sets and checking the performed analyses. The end result? A digital ecosystem that thrives, is openly accessible and contributed to by many. That allows for quick, accurate analyses and insights. That sets about a revolution: which companies and communities are doing well and leading the way to a better future; and which are seemingly undermining any progress, irreversibly harming our planet and undermining our actions in doing so?   This can turn the tide for global warming and other environmental issues. Accountability is a powerful tool. Let’s use it to our benefit. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/community
Digital Ecosystem For The Environment: Big Data Worldwide
Digital Ecosystem For The Environment: Big Data Worldwide
Water War Brewing Over New River Nile Dam: Egypt, Ethiopia
There is no doubt that water can be the cause of terrible, violent combats. Earlier we wrote about the imminent water conflict between India and Pakistan . If the Indus Water Treaty is dissolved by India, this means enormous problems for water supplies for Pakistan. But Asia is not the only country with the threat of a water war: the Nile River also causes great tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia. The cause is the construction of an Ethiopian dam in the Blue Nile. The Nile as the throbbing lifeline  The Nile can be seen as the throbbing lifeline of Egypt. The Egyptian calendar is based on the river, and the fertile mud from the Nile is reflected in many divine stories from ancient Egypt. There is a reason that the Nile has always played a prominent role - the river offers extremely fertile soil, up to five kilometres from the shore. The agriculture of the land is almost completely dependent on the river. About 94 percent of the Egyptian population lives on the Nile today. The Nile is therefore a source of civilization, but now also a source of a major conflict with Ethiopia, who wants to build a dam in the Blue Nile. Extremely important The course of the Nile Egypt is namely not the only country that needs the river as a source of life. The White Nile starts in Uganda, flows through South Sudan and Sudan and makes a leap to Ethiopia as the Blue Nile. In this country, the Blue Nile flows into Lake Tana. The rest of the river traverses Egypt as the 'complete' Nile, ending at the Mediterranean see. The five thousand kilometres long Nile is one of the longest rivers in the world and is extremely important for water supply in every country it traverses.                                                                                                 Maybe you also like this article: Water War Between India, Pakistan: Kashmir and Jammu Ethiopia is currently undergoing major development: it is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. In the ambition to transform into a middle-income country, the Nile is an important pawn. This ambition requires electricity: that is why Ethiopia has been building The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in the Blue Nile since 2011, so that the country can develop even further. The dam will allow more than six thousand megawatts of electricity to be supplied . Photo by: Gioia Forster. Grand Renaissance Dam would be seventh-largest in the world and Africa's largest hydroelectric power plant Benefit for downstream countries At this moment, Egypt has great political influence over the Nile. This has been the case for thousands of years, with the recent help of British colonialism. But the construction of the Ethiopian dam can change all this - and Egypt is not happy. Egypt is concerned that rival Ethiopia will control the flow of the river. Egypt and Ethiopia have a big disagreement, Sudan is in the middle, and a big geopolitical shift is being played out along the world's longest river. "It's one of the most important flagship projects for Ethiopia," says Seleshi Bekele, the country's Minister for Water, Irrigation and Electricity. "It's not about control of the flow but about providing opportunity for us to develop ourselves through energy development. It has a lot of benefit for the downstream countries." Sudan agrees - the dam will promote the flow of the Nile through the country. Now the difference between high and low water in Sudan is eight meters, because of the dam this difference will only be two meters. "For Sudan it's wonderful," says Osama Daoud Abdellatif, the owner of the Dal Group which runs farms and irrigation projects. "It's the best thing that's happened for a long time and I think the combination of energy and regular water levels is a great blessing. An international security issue What then is the problem for Egypt? Alastair Leithead writes that any threat to the waters of Egypt is considered a threat to his sovereignty. She spoke with Egypt's minister of water resources and irrigation, Mohamed Abdel Aty, who is very concerned. "We are responsible for a nation of about 100 million," he says. "If the water is coming to Egypt reduced by 2% we would lose about 200,000 acres of land. One acre at least makes one family survive. A family in Egypt is average family size about five persons. So this means about one million will be jobless. It is an international security issue. " Diplomacy and cooperation Negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan are not going well. The conversations do not come to the point of assessing the impact. Egypt can do nothing about the dam of the Etiopian dam, which is almost finished - apart from taking extreme military action. To avoid a water war, the only solution, according to Alastair Leithead, is that Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt resolve this conflict with diplomacy and cooperation. ‘But when issues like nationalism and the relative strength and importance of countries is concerned, it muddies the water’. {youtube} https://www.whatsorb.com/category/community
There is no doubt that water can be the cause of terrible, violent combats. Earlier we wrote about the imminent water conflict between India and Pakistan . If the Indus Water Treaty is dissolved by India, this means enormous problems for water supplies for Pakistan. But Asia is not the only country with the threat of a water war: the Nile River also causes great tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia. The cause is the construction of an Ethiopian dam in the Blue Nile. The Nile as the throbbing lifeline  The Nile can be seen as the throbbing lifeline of Egypt. The Egyptian calendar is based on the river, and the fertile mud from the Nile is reflected in many divine stories from ancient Egypt. There is a reason that the Nile has always played a prominent role - the river offers extremely fertile soil, up to five kilometres from the shore. The agriculture of the land is almost completely dependent on the river. About 94 percent of the Egyptian population lives on the Nile today. The Nile is therefore a source of civilization, but now also a source of a major conflict with Ethiopia, who wants to build a dam in the Blue Nile. Extremely important The course of the Nile Egypt is namely not the only country that needs the river as a source of life. The White Nile starts in Uganda, flows through South Sudan and Sudan and makes a leap to Ethiopia as the Blue Nile. In this country, the Blue Nile flows into Lake Tana. The rest of the river traverses Egypt as the 'complete' Nile, ending at the Mediterranean see. The five thousand kilometres long Nile is one of the longest rivers in the world and is extremely important for water supply in every country it traverses.                                                                                                 Maybe you also like this article: Water War Between India, Pakistan: Kashmir and Jammu Ethiopia is currently undergoing major development: it is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. In the ambition to transform into a middle-income country, the Nile is an important pawn. This ambition requires electricity: that is why Ethiopia has been building The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in the Blue Nile since 2011, so that the country can develop even further. The dam will allow more than six thousand megawatts of electricity to be supplied . Photo by: Gioia Forster. Grand Renaissance Dam would be seventh-largest in the world and Africa's largest hydroelectric power plant Benefit for downstream countries At this moment, Egypt has great political influence over the Nile. This has been the case for thousands of years, with the recent help of British colonialism. But the construction of the Ethiopian dam can change all this - and Egypt is not happy. Egypt is concerned that rival Ethiopia will control the flow of the river. Egypt and Ethiopia have a big disagreement, Sudan is in the middle, and a big geopolitical shift is being played out along the world's longest river. "It's one of the most important flagship projects for Ethiopia," says Seleshi Bekele, the country's Minister for Water, Irrigation and Electricity. "It's not about control of the flow but about providing opportunity for us to develop ourselves through energy development. It has a lot of benefit for the downstream countries." Sudan agrees - the dam will promote the flow of the Nile through the country. Now the difference between high and low water in Sudan is eight meters, because of the dam this difference will only be two meters. "For Sudan it's wonderful," says Osama Daoud Abdellatif, the owner of the Dal Group which runs farms and irrigation projects. "It's the best thing that's happened for a long time and I think the combination of energy and regular water levels is a great blessing. An international security issue What then is the problem for Egypt? Alastair Leithead writes that any threat to the waters of Egypt is considered a threat to his sovereignty. She spoke with Egypt's minister of water resources and irrigation, Mohamed Abdel Aty, who is very concerned. "We are responsible for a nation of about 100 million," he says. "If the water is coming to Egypt reduced by 2% we would lose about 200,000 acres of land. One acre at least makes one family survive. A family in Egypt is average family size about five persons. So this means about one million will be jobless. It is an international security issue. " Diplomacy and cooperation Negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan are not going well. The conversations do not come to the point of assessing the impact. Egypt can do nothing about the dam of the Etiopian dam, which is almost finished - apart from taking extreme military action. To avoid a water war, the only solution, according to Alastair Leithead, is that Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt resolve this conflict with diplomacy and cooperation. ‘But when issues like nationalism and the relative strength and importance of countries is concerned, it muddies the water’. {youtube} https://www.whatsorb.com/category/community
Water War Brewing Over New River Nile Dam: Egypt, Ethiopia
Water War Brewing Over New River Nile Dam: Egypt, Ethiopia
Super Food Designed To Match Your Genome: Star Trek Reality
Let’s admit it, most of us are doing a somewhat subpar job of feeding ourselves and our dependants. We are running down the aisles of the supermarket in search of something that is relatively healthy, quick to prepare, and will not lead to too much resistance from your kids. With all the pressure that we face in our day to day lives, it is understandable that we opt for ordering in pizza or dropping by the fastfood joint down the street more than we ideally would like. Even for those self-proclaimed #foodies, occupied with preparing and photographing the most gorgeous looking new superfoods, this whole food thing can get pretty confusing. A food that is hailed as the healthier, more sustainable option one month, can easily be ostracised the next month, citing a wide range of shocking health concerns. It is just a matter of time before avocados, oat milk and acai fruit will be run over by the next big food hype. Unclear food standards A big part of the problem is that we are not sure on how to feed ourselves. Not really, anyway. How much easier would it be if we could just get an objective and decisive plan that outlines what we should and should not eat and drink? Sure, there are seemingly impartial guidelines, often sponsored by governments and health institutes. The thing is that those seem to change every so many years, including new food groups that are apparently indispensable to our health, and excluding previously commonly accepted foods as being undesirable. While some might instantly point at the lobbyists and big food corporations, and their inherent interest in getting ‘their’ foods whitelisted, no matter the cost, this is not a discussion that I would like to get into now. Instead, I’d like to focus on a potential solution that has been discussed more and more in recent years. Moving away from one-size-fits-all diets After all, some of the confusion does stem from the fact that we are all different. Some of us have food intolerances or allergies, while others have specific health concerns that require a certain diet. Sporters require different nutrients than the occupants of your local elderly home. As such, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to food. This makes it harder to draw a hard line separating ‘the bad’ from ‘the good’ and everything in-between. As such, the ideal solution that has been proposed is a rather futuristic and Star Trek-esque one. Its basic premise is that food can be specifically engineered to match your personal genome. Our personal diet will be customised to ensure that it best suits us. As such, it might include ingredients that would absolutely bloat your neighbour if he were to eat it; while simultaneously his diet will have you running for the loo several times per day. Personalised nutrition This whole idea of personalised nutrition can bring much needed clarity in this food world of hazy intolerances and limits. We are not meant to be eating the same thing - all of us require different nutrients in varying quantities. Research has shown that our innate biological response to certain food items can vary wildly. For instance, in a study performed by Israeli researchers in 2015, people were presented with a brand of sugary ice cream. Their glucose levels were carefully monitored - only to find that while some showed a definite blood glucose ‘spike’, it barely registered for others. A groundbreaking finding, that paved the way for personalised nutrition enthusiasts. Genetic testing Up to now, much nutritional research assumed that all human beings were the same and would therefore react to similar food groups in a similar fashion. However, much of how we ‘handle’ food is determined by our genetics, specific microbes in our gut, as well as some distinct variations in our organs’ internal physiology. This could mean that by performing genetic testing, you can come up with a personalised diet that best suits someone’s physiology as a whole.   Today, various companies and dozens of researchers around the world are rallying around this idea and performing exhaustive genetic DNA testing to figure out exactly which genes correlate with which innate food preferences. According to Jeffrey Blumberg, who serves as a professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, DNA testing is not just the key to a better understanding of our bodies - it is also key to developing personalised nutrition: “ I’ll be able to tell you what kinds of fruits, what kinds of vegetables and what kinds of wholegrains you should be choosing, or exactly how often .” Cooking in the future And yes, some of you might already cry fowl at the thought of having to prepare individual meals for each member of your family - let alone go through the shopping process, equipped with an exhaustive list of do’s and don’ts for every member.   Thankfully, this is something that is worked on as well - for instance through engineered food products. Many scientists are hoping that by 2028, we will be able to ‘create’ our own superfoods. Chef robots are already being developed, who will have a nutritious, delicious meal waiting for you once you get home. He won’t mind having to tend to everyone’s individual wishes: his robotic arms are happy to cut, chop and stir away. Robots and 3D printers Besides this sous-chef robot, more kitchen innovations are coming up to make your life easier - including smart appliances and digital kitchen assistants. The shopping part will be significantly easier as well: what to think about smart fridges, capable of analysing and predicting? They will automatically place an order at your supermarket when you are out of eggs, and while it’s on it, order the ingredients for the dishes that your smart oven picked out for you tonight.   Or, perhaps there won’t even be supermarkets in 2028 - much like Star Trek’s replicators, 3D printers are slowly but steadily moving into the food space. 3D printers can be equipped with various ingredient capsules, that can be used to quite literally ‘print’ your lunch or dinner - using the exact nutrients and ingredients that suit your personal palette. Naturally enhanced foods Still clinging on to the idea of ‘natural’ foods? Well, then rest assured that those will certainly be able to live up to your personal genome as well. Through the engineering of food, certain food stuffs can be made to be more nutritious - like provitamin A-infused bananas -, or even healthier - like re-engineered junk food that uses only a fraction of the sugars and fats that are required today. All of this is achieved through genetics and bimolecular science, where DNA from one organism can be inserted into another - enriching the receiving organism with… well, quite literally any characteristic you would like it to have. Food purists will once again cry fowl at the idea: engineered food isn’t natural, they claim. Food is something that should not be experimented with. Those arguments are easy to counter, though, as nature has been performing this kind of engineering for centuries.   Evolution on steroids Genetic engineering is basically evolution on steroids, that uses interspecies breeding to come up with new and improved species. Without this process, we wouldn’t have our orange carrots (they were originally white), or our firm, sweet peaches (which used to be the size of cherries and very salty), or even our favourite summer snack of watermelons, that used to be small, round, hard and bitter. Nutritionally enhanced crops are all around us - and its benefits have been all too clear. Even more promising, now that genetics is moving into the area of DNA-editing, the genetic code of species can be cracked. A huge opportunity to alter the genetic codes of plants to better suit our personal genomes - and eventually improve our health tremendously.   Good food, happy people Good food makes everyone happy. This is why it is in your interest as well as mine to continue this groundbreaking research in ways of both understanding our own personal food genomes; as well as catering to it using enhanced, engineered food, specifically designed to fit you personally.   Still doubting whether this is the right way to go? Well, with almost 40 percent of all adults overweight or (morbidly) obese - a number that is growing steadily -, and obesity-related illnesses on the rise with no possible cure for this ‘obesity-epidemic’ in sight, it seems to me that we’ve got little to lose. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/lifestyle
Let’s admit it, most of us are doing a somewhat subpar job of feeding ourselves and our dependants. We are running down the aisles of the supermarket in search of something that is relatively healthy, quick to prepare, and will not lead to too much resistance from your kids. With all the pressure that we face in our day to day lives, it is understandable that we opt for ordering in pizza or dropping by the fastfood joint down the street more than we ideally would like. Even for those self-proclaimed #foodies, occupied with preparing and photographing the most gorgeous looking new superfoods, this whole food thing can get pretty confusing. A food that is hailed as the healthier, more sustainable option one month, can easily be ostracised the next month, citing a wide range of shocking health concerns. It is just a matter of time before avocados, oat milk and acai fruit will be run over by the next big food hype. Unclear food standards A big part of the problem is that we are not sure on how to feed ourselves. Not really, anyway. How much easier would it be if we could just get an objective and decisive plan that outlines what we should and should not eat and drink? Sure, there are seemingly impartial guidelines, often sponsored by governments and health institutes. The thing is that those seem to change every so many years, including new food groups that are apparently indispensable to our health, and excluding previously commonly accepted foods as being undesirable. While some might instantly point at the lobbyists and big food corporations, and their inherent interest in getting ‘their’ foods whitelisted, no matter the cost, this is not a discussion that I would like to get into now. Instead, I’d like to focus on a potential solution that has been discussed more and more in recent years. Moving away from one-size-fits-all diets After all, some of the confusion does stem from the fact that we are all different. Some of us have food intolerances or allergies, while others have specific health concerns that require a certain diet. Sporters require different nutrients than the occupants of your local elderly home. As such, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to food. This makes it harder to draw a hard line separating ‘the bad’ from ‘the good’ and everything in-between. As such, the ideal solution that has been proposed is a rather futuristic and Star Trek-esque one. Its basic premise is that food can be specifically engineered to match your personal genome. Our personal diet will be customised to ensure that it best suits us. As such, it might include ingredients that would absolutely bloat your neighbour if he were to eat it; while simultaneously his diet will have you running for the loo several times per day. Personalised nutrition This whole idea of personalised nutrition can bring much needed clarity in this food world of hazy intolerances and limits. We are not meant to be eating the same thing - all of us require different nutrients in varying quantities. Research has shown that our innate biological response to certain food items can vary wildly. For instance, in a study performed by Israeli researchers in 2015, people were presented with a brand of sugary ice cream. Their glucose levels were carefully monitored - only to find that while some showed a definite blood glucose ‘spike’, it barely registered for others. A groundbreaking finding, that paved the way for personalised nutrition enthusiasts. Genetic testing Up to now, much nutritional research assumed that all human beings were the same and would therefore react to similar food groups in a similar fashion. However, much of how we ‘handle’ food is determined by our genetics, specific microbes in our gut, as well as some distinct variations in our organs’ internal physiology. This could mean that by performing genetic testing, you can come up with a personalised diet that best suits someone’s physiology as a whole.   Today, various companies and dozens of researchers around the world are rallying around this idea and performing exhaustive genetic DNA testing to figure out exactly which genes correlate with which innate food preferences. According to Jeffrey Blumberg, who serves as a professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, DNA testing is not just the key to a better understanding of our bodies - it is also key to developing personalised nutrition: “ I’ll be able to tell you what kinds of fruits, what kinds of vegetables and what kinds of wholegrains you should be choosing, or exactly how often .” Cooking in the future And yes, some of you might already cry fowl at the thought of having to prepare individual meals for each member of your family - let alone go through the shopping process, equipped with an exhaustive list of do’s and don’ts for every member.   Thankfully, this is something that is worked on as well - for instance through engineered food products. Many scientists are hoping that by 2028, we will be able to ‘create’ our own superfoods. Chef robots are already being developed, who will have a nutritious, delicious meal waiting for you once you get home. He won’t mind having to tend to everyone’s individual wishes: his robotic arms are happy to cut, chop and stir away. Robots and 3D printers Besides this sous-chef robot, more kitchen innovations are coming up to make your life easier - including smart appliances and digital kitchen assistants. The shopping part will be significantly easier as well: what to think about smart fridges, capable of analysing and predicting? They will automatically place an order at your supermarket when you are out of eggs, and while it’s on it, order the ingredients for the dishes that your smart oven picked out for you tonight.   Or, perhaps there won’t even be supermarkets in 2028 - much like Star Trek’s replicators, 3D printers are slowly but steadily moving into the food space. 3D printers can be equipped with various ingredient capsules, that can be used to quite literally ‘print’ your lunch or dinner - using the exact nutrients and ingredients that suit your personal palette. Naturally enhanced foods Still clinging on to the idea of ‘natural’ foods? Well, then rest assured that those will certainly be able to live up to your personal genome as well. Through the engineering of food, certain food stuffs can be made to be more nutritious - like provitamin A-infused bananas -, or even healthier - like re-engineered junk food that uses only a fraction of the sugars and fats that are required today. All of this is achieved through genetics and bimolecular science, where DNA from one organism can be inserted into another - enriching the receiving organism with… well, quite literally any characteristic you would like it to have. Food purists will once again cry fowl at the idea: engineered food isn’t natural, they claim. Food is something that should not be experimented with. Those arguments are easy to counter, though, as nature has been performing this kind of engineering for centuries.   Evolution on steroids Genetic engineering is basically evolution on steroids, that uses interspecies breeding to come up with new and improved species. Without this process, we wouldn’t have our orange carrots (they were originally white), or our firm, sweet peaches (which used to be the size of cherries and very salty), or even our favourite summer snack of watermelons, that used to be small, round, hard and bitter. Nutritionally enhanced crops are all around us - and its benefits have been all too clear. Even more promising, now that genetics is moving into the area of DNA-editing, the genetic code of species can be cracked. A huge opportunity to alter the genetic codes of plants to better suit our personal genomes - and eventually improve our health tremendously.   Good food, happy people Good food makes everyone happy. This is why it is in your interest as well as mine to continue this groundbreaking research in ways of both understanding our own personal food genomes; as well as catering to it using enhanced, engineered food, specifically designed to fit you personally.   Still doubting whether this is the right way to go? Well, with almost 40 percent of all adults overweight or (morbidly) obese - a number that is growing steadily -, and obesity-related illnesses on the rise with no possible cure for this ‘obesity-epidemic’ in sight, it seems to me that we’ve got little to lose. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/lifestyle
Super Food Designed To Match Your Genome: Star Trek Reality
Super Food Designed To Match Your Genome: Star Trek Reality
‘Flygskam’: The Trend Of Scandinavian Shame Of Flying
The Scandinavian countries have a reputation to uphold for being very well-organised, sustainable, and generally scoring high in overall wellbeing and happiness. Quite a number of green initiatives have firmly planted their roots in Denmark, Norway, or Sweden; and a significant part of those economies already ‘run’ on renewable energy sources. What’s more, they actively educate (young) people to take their responsibility in being a sustainable citizen of the world. (All you have to do is take a quick look at the Swedish teen Greta Thunberg to find out whether it is working.) Significant drop in passenger numbers So, it would not be unreasonable to state that in many ways, we ought to be looking at the cluster of Northern European nations to figure out where we should be going next. And the next chapter that seems to be looming on the horizon might just surprise you. The Swedish airline industry has taken a massive hit in recent months - one that it is most likely not easy to recover from. Swedavia AB, the holding company of 10 major Swedish airports, reported a significant drop in passenger numbers, that has already been ongoing for seven consecutive months. Not coincidentally, the number of Swedish airline passengers has seen a slowing growth in recent years, with last year showing the weakest overall growth in more than a decade. While the rest of the world is steadily increasing its use of airplanes for work, family or recreational purposes; the Swedish seem to become more hesitant about getting on those fuel-guzzling jets. Experts have contributed this to the phenomenon aptly called 'flying shame', which is quite literally what it says.   Flying shame as ulterior motive   People are ashamed to admit to peers that they are getting on a plane, out of fear of being crucified for not caring about the environment. 23% of Swedes indicate that they have not set foot in a plane in the recent year in order to reduce their impact on the environment; while 18% indicate that they chose to travel by train instead. This trend has even infiltrated the Swedish vocabulary, where words such as ‘flygskam’, or flying shame, ‘tagskryt’, or train bragging, and ‘smygflyga’, or flying in secret, have found their way in daily conversations. It is an interesting development. After all, air travel has become slightly 'greener' in recent times, with today’s modern jets requiring 80% less fuel. Yet it is still a major contributor to climate change as a whole - and one that is largely exempt from government regulations and limits, being given a ‘status extraordinaire’ for their apparent importance to the economy. Nonetheless, consumers are wisening up, as proven by our Swedish friends. And this quantifiable expression of flying shame is only serving as another figurative kick in the behind of the airline industry, forcing them to become more serious about reducing their emissions and finding ways of becoming ‘greener’. Scandinavian Airlines greening up Some have clearly understood the message. The partly Swedish, partly Danish Scandinavian Airlines for instance is sending a clear message with their drastic fleet overhaul. Older airplane models, such as the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 models, are rapidly being replaced by modern ones that use only a fraction of the fuel that their older counterparts use - such as the Airbus A320neo and A350-900. Additionally, Scandinavian Airlines is one of the frontrunners in the search for a viable biofuel , such as algae or used cooking oil.   Biofuel is pretty much the 'holy grail' of the airline industry, consisting of fully renewable and emission-free fuel sources. Not too long ago, the very first airplane to run on 100% biofuel made its ‘jump’ across the Pacific Ocean on a long haul flight. Although it wasn’t one of Scandinavian, they are definitely keeping a close eye on this trend - and finding ways of creating more biofuel, as its current limited supply is the largest bottleneck. Furthermore, SAS is looking at other ways of helping passengers reduce their impact on the environment as well, by letting them pre-book their (sustainable and locally sourced) meals and offering incentives for those who travel light. After all, a lighter plane means that less fuel is required to get it from A to B.   The company is also investing in measures that may not be as visible to passengers, but important nonetheless: it is looking to offset the emissions of its frequent fliers by heavily investing in green energy projects. For the company’s directors, the reason why is obvious: the solution is not to stop flying, as it is an integral part of the world that we live in today. Instead, the goal should be do to it more responsibly: “ Airlines, like other infrastructure, are needed in order for us to have the societies we want, with growth, transparency, openness, clarity and tolerance,” SAS CEO Rickard Gustafson says. " It’s important that people can continue to meet and that the world can continue to travel. But we can’t continue to just travel without adjusting to a sustainable way." https://www.whatsorb.com/category/community
The Scandinavian countries have a reputation to uphold for being very well-organised, sustainable, and generally scoring high in overall wellbeing and happiness. Quite a number of green initiatives have firmly planted their roots in Denmark, Norway, or Sweden; and a significant part of those economies already ‘run’ on renewable energy sources. What’s more, they actively educate (young) people to take their responsibility in being a sustainable citizen of the world. (All you have to do is take a quick look at the Swedish teen Greta Thunberg to find out whether it is working.) Significant drop in passenger numbers So, it would not be unreasonable to state that in many ways, we ought to be looking at the cluster of Northern European nations to figure out where we should be going next. And the next chapter that seems to be looming on the horizon might just surprise you. The Swedish airline industry has taken a massive hit in recent months - one that it is most likely not easy to recover from. Swedavia AB, the holding company of 10 major Swedish airports, reported a significant drop in passenger numbers, that has already been ongoing for seven consecutive months. Not coincidentally, the number of Swedish airline passengers has seen a slowing growth in recent years, with last year showing the weakest overall growth in more than a decade. While the rest of the world is steadily increasing its use of airplanes for work, family or recreational purposes; the Swedish seem to become more hesitant about getting on those fuel-guzzling jets. Experts have contributed this to the phenomenon aptly called 'flying shame', which is quite literally what it says.   Flying shame as ulterior motive   People are ashamed to admit to peers that they are getting on a plane, out of fear of being crucified for not caring about the environment. 23% of Swedes indicate that they have not set foot in a plane in the recent year in order to reduce their impact on the environment; while 18% indicate that they chose to travel by train instead. This trend has even infiltrated the Swedish vocabulary, where words such as ‘flygskam’, or flying shame, ‘tagskryt’, or train bragging, and ‘smygflyga’, or flying in secret, have found their way in daily conversations. It is an interesting development. After all, air travel has become slightly 'greener' in recent times, with today’s modern jets requiring 80% less fuel. Yet it is still a major contributor to climate change as a whole - and one that is largely exempt from government regulations and limits, being given a ‘status extraordinaire’ for their apparent importance to the economy. Nonetheless, consumers are wisening up, as proven by our Swedish friends. And this quantifiable expression of flying shame is only serving as another figurative kick in the behind of the airline industry, forcing them to become more serious about reducing their emissions and finding ways of becoming ‘greener’. Scandinavian Airlines greening up Some have clearly understood the message. The partly Swedish, partly Danish Scandinavian Airlines for instance is sending a clear message with their drastic fleet overhaul. Older airplane models, such as the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 models, are rapidly being replaced by modern ones that use only a fraction of the fuel that their older counterparts use - such as the Airbus A320neo and A350-900. Additionally, Scandinavian Airlines is one of the frontrunners in the search for a viable biofuel , such as algae or used cooking oil.   Biofuel is pretty much the 'holy grail' of the airline industry, consisting of fully renewable and emission-free fuel sources. Not too long ago, the very first airplane to run on 100% biofuel made its ‘jump’ across the Pacific Ocean on a long haul flight. Although it wasn’t one of Scandinavian, they are definitely keeping a close eye on this trend - and finding ways of creating more biofuel, as its current limited supply is the largest bottleneck. Furthermore, SAS is looking at other ways of helping passengers reduce their impact on the environment as well, by letting them pre-book their (sustainable and locally sourced) meals and offering incentives for those who travel light. After all, a lighter plane means that less fuel is required to get it from A to B.   The company is also investing in measures that may not be as visible to passengers, but important nonetheless: it is looking to offset the emissions of its frequent fliers by heavily investing in green energy projects. For the company’s directors, the reason why is obvious: the solution is not to stop flying, as it is an integral part of the world that we live in today. Instead, the goal should be do to it more responsibly: “ Airlines, like other infrastructure, are needed in order for us to have the societies we want, with growth, transparency, openness, clarity and tolerance,” SAS CEO Rickard Gustafson says. " It’s important that people can continue to meet and that the world can continue to travel. But we can’t continue to just travel without adjusting to a sustainable way." https://www.whatsorb.com/category/community
‘Flygskam’: The Trend Of Scandinavian Shame Of Flying
‘Flygskam’: The Trend Of Scandinavian Shame Of Flying
Earth Day: Colonialisme, Overexploiting Of Natural Resources
This article was originally published on The Conversation, an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts. Disclosure information is available on the original site. We are currently experiencing the worst environmental crisis in human history, including a “biological annihilation” of wildlife and dire risks for the future of human civilization. The scale of that environmental devastation has increased drastically in recent years. Mostly to blame are anthropogenic, or human-generated factors, including the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil. Other industries like gem and mineral mining also destroy the world’s ecological sustainability, leading to deforestation and the destruction of natural habitats. Much of this traumatic exploitation of natural resources traces its origins to early colonialism. Unlimited resources to exploit, with little consideration for the long-term impacts Colonialists saw “new” territories as places with unlimited resources to exploit, with little consideration for the long-term impacts. They exploited what they considered to be an “unending frontier” at the service of early modern state-making and capitalist development. To understand our current ecological catastrophe, described as “a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 ,” we need to look at the role of colonialism at its roots. This exploration is not a debate over whether colonialism was “good” or “bad”. Instead, it is about understanding how this global process helped create the world we currently inhabit. Clear-cutting rainforests for industrial rubber Since the 15th century, the Indian Ocean has been the site of global trade. Colonialism built upon local economic systems but also profoundly built up and shaped many of the massive industries and processes that are currently at play in the region. For example, British colonialists transformed the Malay peninsula into a plantation economy to meet the needs of industrial Britain and America. This included the expanding demand for cheap rubber during the industrial revolution. Exploitative colonial policies in Singapore and the peninsula limited the economic options of poor Malays, Indians and Chinese. These workers were increasingly forced to clear cut vast swathes of rainforest to literally carve out a living for themselves at the expense of local ecosystems. Deforestation for palomoil plantations Meanwhile, more than half a century after the end of colonial rule in the Malay peninsula, the over-exploitation of local resources through extensive logging continues apace. Once numerous, Malayan tigers are now classified as a critically endangered species due, in part, to habitat loss from logging and road development. Deforestation in Malaysian Borneo also continues to accelerate, mainly due to the ongoing global demand for palm oil and lumber. Exporting for global markets In Myanmar (formerly Burma), trade in raw commodities goes back centuries. Under colonial rule, the export of minerals, timber and opium expanded enormously, placing unprecedented strain on local resources. The integration of regions north of the Irrawaddy River basin into the Burmese colonial state drastically increased economic integration between upland areas rich in natural resources and larger flows of European and Chinese capital. Today, despite generating billions of dollars in revenue, these regions are some of the poorest in the country and are home to widespread human rights abuses and environmental disasters . Extracting Africa’s gemstones and minerals The human cost of the diamond trade in West and South Africa is relatively well-known. Less known are the devastating effects on Africa’s environment that the stripping of natural resources such as diamonds, ivory, bauxite, oil, timber and minerals has produced. This mining serves a global demand for these minerals and gems. The intensive mining operations required to deliver diamonds and other precious stones or minerals to world markets degrades the land, reduces air quality and pollutes local water sources. The result is an overall loss of biodiversity and significant environmental impacts on human health. From 1867 to 1871, exploratory digging along the Vaal, Harts and Orange rivers in South Africa prompted a large-scale diamond rush that saw a massive influx of miners and speculators pour into the region in search of riches. By 1888, the diamond industry in South Africa had transformed into a monopoly, with De Beers Consolidated Mines becoming the sole producer. Around the same time, miners in nearby Witwatersrand discovered the world’s largest gold fields, fuelling the spread of lucrative new mining industries. As European powers carved up the continent in the so-called “scramble for Africa” during the late 19th century, commercial exports came to replace slavery as the primary economic motivation for direct colonial occupation. New transportation technologies and economic growth fuelled by the industrial revolution created a global demand for African exports, including gemstones and minerals that required extensive mining operations to extract. From 1930 to 1961, the diamond industry in Sierra Leone played a crucial role in shaping and defining colonial governmental strategies and scientific expertise throughout the region. Nearby Liberia was never formally colonized and was established as a homeland for freed African-American slaves. But American slaveholders and politicians saw the republic primarily as a solution to limit the “corrupting influence” of freed slaves on American society. To “help” Liberia get out of debt to Britain, the U.S.-based Firestone Tire and Rubber Company extended a $5-million loan in 1926 in exchange for a 99-year lease on a million acres of land to be used for rubber plantations. This loan was the beginning of direct economic control over Liberian affairs. Unequal power relations A report suggests that Africa is on the verge of a fresh mining boom driven by demand in North America, India, and China that will only worsen existing ecological crises. Consumer demand for minerals such as tantalum, a key component for the production of electronics, lies at the heart of current mining operations. Our understanding of colonialism is often limited to simple ideas about what we think colonialism looked like in the past. These ideas impede our ability to identify the complex ways that colonialism shaped and continues to shape the uneven power structures of the 21st century, as anthropologist and historian Ann Laura Stoler argues in her book, Duress. Unequal power relations between and within developed and developing countries continue to define the causes and consequences of climate change. A clearer understanding of where these problems came from is a necessary first step towards solving them. People in prosperous countries are often unaware that the garbage they throw out every day often gets shipped around the world to become somebody else’s problem. While people debate whether climate change should be taken seriously from the comfort of their air-conditioned homes, hundreds of thousands of people are already suffering the consequences. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. By: Joseph McQuade. Cover photo by: Daniel Berehulak (Tech companies says it's too hard to investigate whether they benefit from child labour ) https://www.whatsorb.com/category/community
This article was originally published on The Conversation, an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts. Disclosure information is available on the original site. We are currently experiencing the worst environmental crisis in human history, including a “biological annihilation” of wildlife and dire risks for the future of human civilization. The scale of that environmental devastation has increased drastically in recent years. Mostly to blame are anthropogenic, or human-generated factors, including the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil. Other industries like gem and mineral mining also destroy the world’s ecological sustainability, leading to deforestation and the destruction of natural habitats. Much of this traumatic exploitation of natural resources traces its origins to early colonialism. Unlimited resources to exploit, with little consideration for the long-term impacts Colonialists saw “new” territories as places with unlimited resources to exploit, with little consideration for the long-term impacts. They exploited what they considered to be an “unending frontier” at the service of early modern state-making and capitalist development. To understand our current ecological catastrophe, described as “a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 ,” we need to look at the role of colonialism at its roots. This exploration is not a debate over whether colonialism was “good” or “bad”. Instead, it is about understanding how this global process helped create the world we currently inhabit. Clear-cutting rainforests for industrial rubber Since the 15th century, the Indian Ocean has been the site of global trade. Colonialism built upon local economic systems but also profoundly built up and shaped many of the massive industries and processes that are currently at play in the region. For example, British colonialists transformed the Malay peninsula into a plantation economy to meet the needs of industrial Britain and America. This included the expanding demand for cheap rubber during the industrial revolution. Exploitative colonial policies in Singapore and the peninsula limited the economic options of poor Malays, Indians and Chinese. These workers were increasingly forced to clear cut vast swathes of rainforest to literally carve out a living for themselves at the expense of local ecosystems. Deforestation for palomoil plantations Meanwhile, more than half a century after the end of colonial rule in the Malay peninsula, the over-exploitation of local resources through extensive logging continues apace. Once numerous, Malayan tigers are now classified as a critically endangered species due, in part, to habitat loss from logging and road development. Deforestation in Malaysian Borneo also continues to accelerate, mainly due to the ongoing global demand for palm oil and lumber. Exporting for global markets In Myanmar (formerly Burma), trade in raw commodities goes back centuries. Under colonial rule, the export of minerals, timber and opium expanded enormously, placing unprecedented strain on local resources. The integration of regions north of the Irrawaddy River basin into the Burmese colonial state drastically increased economic integration between upland areas rich in natural resources and larger flows of European and Chinese capital. Today, despite generating billions of dollars in revenue, these regions are some of the poorest in the country and are home to widespread human rights abuses and environmental disasters . Extracting Africa’s gemstones and minerals The human cost of the diamond trade in West and South Africa is relatively well-known. Less known are the devastating effects on Africa’s environment that the stripping of natural resources such as diamonds, ivory, bauxite, oil, timber and minerals has produced. This mining serves a global demand for these minerals and gems. The intensive mining operations required to deliver diamonds and other precious stones or minerals to world markets degrades the land, reduces air quality and pollutes local water sources. The result is an overall loss of biodiversity and significant environmental impacts on human health. From 1867 to 1871, exploratory digging along the Vaal, Harts and Orange rivers in South Africa prompted a large-scale diamond rush that saw a massive influx of miners and speculators pour into the region in search of riches. By 1888, the diamond industry in South Africa had transformed into a monopoly, with De Beers Consolidated Mines becoming the sole producer. Around the same time, miners in nearby Witwatersrand discovered the world’s largest gold fields, fuelling the spread of lucrative new mining industries. As European powers carved up the continent in the so-called “scramble for Africa” during the late 19th century, commercial exports came to replace slavery as the primary economic motivation for direct colonial occupation. New transportation technologies and economic growth fuelled by the industrial revolution created a global demand for African exports, including gemstones and minerals that required extensive mining operations to extract. From 1930 to 1961, the diamond industry in Sierra Leone played a crucial role in shaping and defining colonial governmental strategies and scientific expertise throughout the region. Nearby Liberia was never formally colonized and was established as a homeland for freed African-American slaves. But American slaveholders and politicians saw the republic primarily as a solution to limit the “corrupting influence” of freed slaves on American society. To “help” Liberia get out of debt to Britain, the U.S.-based Firestone Tire and Rubber Company extended a $5-million loan in 1926 in exchange for a 99-year lease on a million acres of land to be used for rubber plantations. This loan was the beginning of direct economic control over Liberian affairs. Unequal power relations A report suggests that Africa is on the verge of a fresh mining boom driven by demand in North America, India, and China that will only worsen existing ecological crises. Consumer demand for minerals such as tantalum, a key component for the production of electronics, lies at the heart of current mining operations. Our understanding of colonialism is often limited to simple ideas about what we think colonialism looked like in the past. These ideas impede our ability to identify the complex ways that colonialism shaped and continues to shape the uneven power structures of the 21st century, as anthropologist and historian Ann Laura Stoler argues in her book, Duress. Unequal power relations between and within developed and developing countries continue to define the causes and consequences of climate change. A clearer understanding of where these problems came from is a necessary first step towards solving them. People in prosperous countries are often unaware that the garbage they throw out every day often gets shipped around the world to become somebody else’s problem. While people debate whether climate change should be taken seriously from the comfort of their air-conditioned homes, hundreds of thousands of people are already suffering the consequences. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. By: Joseph McQuade. Cover photo by: Daniel Berehulak (Tech companies says it's too hard to investigate whether they benefit from child labour ) https://www.whatsorb.com/category/community
Earth Day: Colonialisme, Overexploiting Of Natural Resources
Earth Day: Colonialisme, Overexploiting Of Natural Resources
Community

A community is you and me. A network of social, economic, ecological and many other relationships. We all work together and live in urban, suburban and rural areas. Social sustainability is becoming increasingly important on our small planet. We define: support, quality of life, development, adaptation, rights and labour.

We belong to a group of individuals - our society - in which we belong geographically. Certain environmental issues play an important role in our society. Here, sustainable solutions are sought, developed and implemented. This may differ from societies in other countries, but because of our global environmental issues and dependence, we must learn to work more together so that we can all benefit from sharing sustainable knowledge to tackle, for example, climate change.

Green architecture is important. Building with local materials that can be recycled and reused brings us a big step forward to have less impact on the environment. With green architecture we can build smart cities where resources can be used more efficiently and information can be shared, thus improving our society, your community.

Lifestyle is the way we live, the dynamics of personality. Fashion defines our self and together with food it is getting - at present - an even more important role in our society. It's not just about taste, but especially about the burden that the fashion industry, agriculture and the meat industry have on our resources, especially water.

If there was an urge to come up with a sustainable way of living solutions and share these topics globally it’s now! WhatsOrb Global Sustainability X-change Platform is for you, storytellers and influencers to write about tiny houses, your experiences and expectations for the future at home and globally. 

Global Sustainability X-change, that’s what you can do together with WhatsOrb. What's in for me?

 

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