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SMART COMMUNITIES: ECO-LIVING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
Meet ReGen Villages. A concept for a smart community, based on eco-friendly living, as ideated by a Danish architectural firm. It is meant to actively combat  climate change and wasteful emissions, while living in a greener and more sustainable manner - through the philosophy of going ‘back to the basics’. After all, not too long ago, the world was not as connected as it is today. In earlier times, trade was limited to the exchanging of goods between villagers (“I give you fresh meat, if you share your berries with me”) or, at the most, between bordering villages. Just the thought of having tropical fruits such as pineapple and bananas available to you in Western Europe in the dead of winter, would be nothing short of laughable in medieval times. Community  were built to be self-reliant, rather than reliant on external factors, excessive power demands, and complicated (inter)national trade relations. If something could not be produced or generated, it was simply not available. In essence, this sums up what ReGen Villages are hoping to achieve. WHAT ARE REGEN VILLAGES? Essentially, ReGen villages aim to be a micro-city, which offer residents the luxury of living in a “high-tech eco village”. So, back to basics, in a high-tech manner! To reach this unique goal, artificial intelligence is integrated with self-providing systems. As such, this entire community is self-reliant and minimises its waste and energy use. Even if this means converting trash into sources of energy to fuel other projects in the village. And no, this project is not the ambitious dream of a dreamer. Plans for implementing it are in an advanced stage, with the first pilot community planned to be built in the Almere area in the Netherlands at the end of this year. Plans for similar ReGen Villages in Northern Europe, the USA, and even in Asia are well underway as well. So if you are looking to play your part in making the world a better place and always wanted to live in a small-scale, self-sufficient village, this might just be your chance. AGRICULTURAL COMMUNES The inventors drew inspiration from the idea of small  agriculture communes, that produce all the food that they need. And such initiatives could prove to be very valuable and much needed: one of the greatest threats to our earth is the excessive agriculture, serving to feed billions and billions of people. Resulting in deforestation, scarcity of water, higher CO2 emissions and excessive consumption water and fertiliser. Hence, a huge threat to the wellbeing of our future generations. By combining existing techniques, ReGen Villages will help the environment recover instead of actively destroying it. The small community hosts various buildings that are dedicated to the cultivation of certain vegetables and crops, all grown in a favourable climate through the use of greenhouses. This leads to a quiet and rustic, yet cohesive neighbourhood that feeds its diverse population with organic food, that meets the equally diverse nutritional needs. OFF-GRID SUSTAINABLE NEIGHBOURHOODS The villages will be positively off-grid, cleverly playing in to the ever increasing need of a place to unwind and settle down, in this increasingly noisier and busier time. They are comprised of power positive homes alone, while completely running on renewable energy, employing smart and sustainable water management, and using advanced waste-to-resource systems. All of these systems will continuously be subject to ongoing research to further improve and optimise its efficiency.   For these systems to work smoothly, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things play an important role. Such as for the infrastructure of the community, eventually leading to more energy, water and organic food being produced per household than that it actually uses. The surplus can be exchanged for reduced mortgage payments.   WHY SHOULD YOU JOIN THE WAITING LIST? ReGen is just one of the many eco-village concepts that are popping up left, right and center. Although, as most of these projects are still in the stage of being built, you might not be able to move into one of these communities instantly. But if you are excited and passionate about the concept, you are welcome to join the waiting list for any of the planned communities in your desired country. Why, you ask? Well, for one, living in such a micro-city will ensure that the life of your family does not negatively impact the planet. Such eco villages combine smart living and the technology of  smart cities with a higher quality of life and more of that unique community-feel. At the same time, they offer an open platform for more innovation initiatives, especially when it comes to solutions for renewable energy, smart agriculture, and water and waste management. And, even more importantly, a platform that can easily be duplicated.   All of these are arguments that you could use to convince your spouse or significant other to pack your bags, put the house on sale, and secure your spot in a true eco-community. Although they might be more tempted by the stunning house and lack of noisy neighbours that come with the deal. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/general
Meet ReGen Villages. A concept for a smart community, based on eco-friendly living, as ideated by a Danish architectural firm. It is meant to actively combat  climate change and wasteful emissions, while living in a greener and more sustainable manner - through the philosophy of going ‘back to the basics’. After all, not too long ago, the world was not as connected as it is today. In earlier times, trade was limited to the exchanging of goods between villagers (“I give you fresh meat, if you share your berries with me”) or, at the most, between bordering villages. Just the thought of having tropical fruits such as pineapple and bananas available to you in Western Europe in the dead of winter, would be nothing short of laughable in medieval times. Community  were built to be self-reliant, rather than reliant on external factors, excessive power demands, and complicated (inter)national trade relations. If something could not be produced or generated, it was simply not available. In essence, this sums up what ReGen Villages are hoping to achieve. WHAT ARE REGEN VILLAGES? Essentially, ReGen villages aim to be a micro-city, which offer residents the luxury of living in a “high-tech eco village”. So, back to basics, in a high-tech manner! To reach this unique goal, artificial intelligence is integrated with self-providing systems. As such, this entire community is self-reliant and minimises its waste and energy use. Even if this means converting trash into sources of energy to fuel other projects in the village. And no, this project is not the ambitious dream of a dreamer. Plans for implementing it are in an advanced stage, with the first pilot community planned to be built in the Almere area in the Netherlands at the end of this year. Plans for similar ReGen Villages in Northern Europe, the USA, and even in Asia are well underway as well. So if you are looking to play your part in making the world a better place and always wanted to live in a small-scale, self-sufficient village, this might just be your chance. AGRICULTURAL COMMUNES The inventors drew inspiration from the idea of small  agriculture communes, that produce all the food that they need. And such initiatives could prove to be very valuable and much needed: one of the greatest threats to our earth is the excessive agriculture, serving to feed billions and billions of people. Resulting in deforestation, scarcity of water, higher CO2 emissions and excessive consumption water and fertiliser. Hence, a huge threat to the wellbeing of our future generations. By combining existing techniques, ReGen Villages will help the environment recover instead of actively destroying it. The small community hosts various buildings that are dedicated to the cultivation of certain vegetables and crops, all grown in a favourable climate through the use of greenhouses. This leads to a quiet and rustic, yet cohesive neighbourhood that feeds its diverse population with organic food, that meets the equally diverse nutritional needs. OFF-GRID SUSTAINABLE NEIGHBOURHOODS The villages will be positively off-grid, cleverly playing in to the ever increasing need of a place to unwind and settle down, in this increasingly noisier and busier time. They are comprised of power positive homes alone, while completely running on renewable energy, employing smart and sustainable water management, and using advanced waste-to-resource systems. All of these systems will continuously be subject to ongoing research to further improve and optimise its efficiency.   For these systems to work smoothly, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things play an important role. Such as for the infrastructure of the community, eventually leading to more energy, water and organic food being produced per household than that it actually uses. The surplus can be exchanged for reduced mortgage payments.   WHY SHOULD YOU JOIN THE WAITING LIST? ReGen is just one of the many eco-village concepts that are popping up left, right and center. Although, as most of these projects are still in the stage of being built, you might not be able to move into one of these communities instantly. But if you are excited and passionate about the concept, you are welcome to join the waiting list for any of the planned communities in your desired country. Why, you ask? Well, for one, living in such a micro-city will ensure that the life of your family does not negatively impact the planet. Such eco villages combine smart living and the technology of  smart cities with a higher quality of life and more of that unique community-feel. At the same time, they offer an open platform for more innovation initiatives, especially when it comes to solutions for renewable energy, smart agriculture, and water and waste management. And, even more importantly, a platform that can easily be duplicated.   All of these are arguments that you could use to convince your spouse or significant other to pack your bags, put the house on sale, and secure your spot in a true eco-community. Although they might be more tempted by the stunning house and lack of noisy neighbours that come with the deal. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/general
SMART COMMUNITIES: ECO-LIVING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
SMART COMMUNITIES: ECO-LIVING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
WorldWaterDay
The annual 'World Water Day' is an international day dedicated to water on 22 March. In 1992 a resolution was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations to declare 'World Water Day' every year as from March 1993. Member States are called upon to make public the global water issue on that day by a wide public, by organizing events and disseminating information about water. In the Netherlands, this initiative has been taken up by many parties that annually organize water related events around 22 March. They often organize an event in which collaboration, knowledge transfer and innovative development aid are central. The goal of the World Water Day campaign is to promote preparedness for disasters and the sharing of knowledge at regional level and to increase public awareness about the various elements of disasters related to water. It is also intended to inspire worldwide political and community actions to prevent and reduce water-related disasters, so that lives and possessions can be saved. In addition, the actions organized from World Water Day must contribute to the Millennium Development Goal with regard to reducing poverty and building sustainable development. One of the millennium goals for 2015 is to reduce the number of people without or with a shortage of clean drinking water by half. Kofi Annan: "Water is essential for all life, yet millions of people in the world suffer from water shortages, millions of children die of water-borne illnesses every year, and the poorest countries in the world are regularly plagued by drought. World Water Day plan to do more to give all people in the world access to safe and clean water. " King Willem Alexander (Netherlands): ‘It is unacceptable that a large part of the world's population still lives under conditions that we did not accept in the Netherlands 150 years ago.’ What did we write about this subject 20 years ago (1997) The last drop Sometimes predicting the future is not that difficult. In this way we already know with certainty that mankind will face gigantic water shortages in the next century. Entire populations will flock en masse. Wars will be waged for water. But there is no one who does anything about it. A person can for a while without solid food . Only after a day or fourteen without food does the human body begin to suffer damage. Really noticeable problems usually only occur after about twenty days. Some people, like hunger strikers, can survive for more than forty days without food. But no one can last longer than a day or six without water. After having drunk nothing for one day, the first problems start to get started. After two days the first serious symptoms occur and on the third day the body starts to show signs of serious problems. Body functions begin to fall out and people begin to hallucinate. So between the fifth and the sixth day one gets into a coma. Man needs at least one to one and a half liters water per day to survive. Although the form in which we take it to us can vary a lot - with or without addition, cooled or cooked - water is literally the source of our existence. 'Only a few realize what that means', Henk Saeijs argued in his inaugural lecture at the acceptance of the extraordinary professorship Water Quality and Sustainability at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam (Netherlands). 'Water is essential for our lives. Not only do we need it to survive, but the quantity that we have at our disposal also determines to a large extent the quality of that same life. ' Water & natural resources Like many other natural resources, the amount of water is limited. More than 75 percent of the earth consists of water, but only a very small part of it is suitable for consumption, agriculture and industrial processes. Fresh water is a very scarce commodity, although many in the rich West do not seem to realize that. The stocks, which are stored in glaciers, underground water basins, lakes and rivers, are not inexhaustible. And the supply in the form of rain and snow, caused by the evaporation of sea water, is no longer sufficient to meet the ever-growing demand. All experts in the field of water management agree that the freshwater supplies will become exhausted in the coming century. According to estimates (1997), which were confirmed at the environmental summit in New York, half of the world's population will have to deal with water scarcity before the year 2010. And those people will not only live in the third world. Fresh water, according to the prediction, will become so scarce that it can even lead to wars. 'Water scarcity' becomes the biggest problem of the next century. As an export article, water will become more important than petroleum. Countries such as Greenland, Alaska and Norway will become water exporters. They will put the Arab sheiks to the crown in terms of income. Water will become expensive. There will be fights for clean water. The shortage of water will become such an explosive problem that the oil crisis will fade.' Norway. Photo by: Getty images This disturbing statement is less futuristic than it seems. In 1994 - the then Egyptian secretary of the United Nations, Boutros Ghali - threatened to take all possible measures against 'countries that want to obstruct the water supply of Egypt'. He referred to the plans of both Sudan and Ethiopia for the construction of large-scale water works on the upper reaches of the Nile. This would drastically reduce the amount of water that reaches Egypt via this river. And King Hussein of Jordan recently stated that in the future he did not expect any more war between his country and neighboring Israel, except "if the national water supply is jeopardized by irresponsible action by the other party". The following day he was reminded in the commentary of the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz that one of the reasons for the 1967 war lay in the fact that Jordan and Syria were together planning to inflict a severe blow on Israel's water supply. . These two Arab states wanted to use the water in the basin of the river Yarmuk completely for their own purposes. However, this river is one of the most important supply streams of the Sea of ​​Galilee, where Israel draws a large proportion of its fresh water. Countries such as Greenland, Alaska and Norway will become water exporters. They will put the Arab sheiks to the crown in terms of income. Water will become expensive. There will be water fighting. The shortage of water will become such an explosive problem that the oil crisis will fade. ' This disturbing statement is less futuristic than it seems. In 1994 the then Egyptian secretary of the United Nations, Boutros Ghali, threatened to take all possible measures against 'countries that want to obstruct the water supply of Egypt'. He referred to the plans of both Sudan and Ethiopia for the construction of large-scale water works on the upper reaches of the Nile. This would drastically reduce the amount of water that reaches Egypt via this river. And King Hussein of Jordan recently stated that in the future he did not expect any more war between his country and neighboring Israel, except "if the national water supply is jeopardized by irresponsible action by the other party". The following day he was reminded in the commentary of the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz that one of the reasons for the 1967 war lay in the fact that Jordan and Syria were together planning to inflict a severe blow on Israel's water supply. . These two Arab states wanted to use the water in the basin of the river Yarmuk completely for their own purposes. However, this river is one of the most important supply streams of the Sea of ​​Galilee, where Israel draws a large proportion of its fresh water. The Middle East The Middle East is the region where the problems associated with the distribution of scarce water already manifest themselves. Israel and its neighbors argue about the water of the Jordan and the amount of water that the Arab countries withdraw from the supply flows of the Sea of ​​Galilee. In addition, Israel has a problem with the Palestinians about pumping up groundwater in the areas inhabited by Palestinians. Then there is also the quarrel between Israel and Lebanon about the fact that Israel is allowing all the water of the Litani River to flow into the Israeli water supply network. Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian mayors and municipal representatives participate in an event in the lower Jordan River, to call on the two governments to rehabilitate the river. (photo credit: ECOPEACE MIDDLE EAST) Two other countries in the region, Syria and Turkey, have high-level arguments about the use of the water of the Euphrates River. Turkey has built some dams in the upper reaches of that river. The immense reservoir that is created by this must supply energy and drinking water to a large part of Southeast Turkey. In addition, an area as large as the Netherlands must be irrigated with that water. In order to fill the lake, the Turks have already stopped the supply of water to the Syria on the lower course of the Euphrates. Syria also has major problems with the neighboring Euphrates with another neighbor. Syria is building rapid dams in the territory of the Euphrates and its tributaries on its territory. The further downstream Iraq has recently protested against this. Given the political isolation of that country since the Gulf War, however, this protest was hardly heard internationally. But the Middle East is not the only region where there are problems. "It is already the case now," says Saeijs, "that there are 26 countries where less than a thousand cubic meters of water per capita are available each year in the form of rainfall or spring water." A thousand cubic meters of water per year per head of According to the UN, the population is the minimum requirement. In countries where the input of water is lower, according to this definition, there is a water shortage, and that means a serious obstacle to economic development, food production and the welfare of the inhabitants of that country. Strictly speaking, the Netherlands also belongs to the group of countries with a water shortage. In our country, the annual input is less than seven hundred cubic meters per person. This local shortage is happily supplemented with fresh water from the major rivers and the IJsselmeer, which functions as a huge freshwater buffer. But in spite of this, there is a great shortage of water in the Netherlands. 'We go', according to Saeijs, 'totally irresponsible with our water reasources . We belong to the poor countries in terms of input, but globally we belong to the major consumers. We use between five and ten thousand cubic meters per person per year. Therefore we have to rely on the groundwater. And that goes at an alarming rate. Since 1950, the groundwater level has dropped on average by more than twenty centimeters, and in meters with intensive cattle breeding a meter. ' Pumping groundwater is not just happening in the Netherlands on a very large scale. The underground supplies are being used up quickly all over the world. For example, the amount of water in the largest underground freshwater reservoir in the world - the so-called Ogallala basin that is located under the territory of the American state of Texas - has already decreased by thirty percent since the beginning of this century. And the huge water reserves that are hidden under the sand of the Arabian desert are also shrinking at a rapid pace. In Saudi Arabia, seven billion cubic meters of water are pumped every year. A natural reserve that has been built up over the course of millions of years has almost been used up in fifty years. Photo by: mideastposts.com Pumping up groundwater on a large scale still has an adverse effect. Because much more water is pumped up than is supplied in a natural way, the remaining groundwater settles at a fast pace. In some parts of Africa, this process has already led to the groundwater becoming totally unsuitable for consumption in large areas. A lot of groundwater has also become unusable due to the increased pollution. Years of over-fertilization and pollution of surface water have affected the groundwater in many places. This pollution is much more serious than the surface pollution because it is usually impossible to purify contaminated groundwater. The subterranean currents have often not yet been mapped, which means that local pollution above ground can sometimes affect groundwater over vast distances. Population growth Photo by: travelerfood.com But the biggest problem is and remains the unrestrained population growth, according to a Dutch UN spokesman at a meeting on population issues. 'More and more people who also use more and more water. Our grandparents would have been able to live very well with the current minimum UN standard of one thousand cubic meters per year. We already use it five to tenfold in the Netherlands. And our children will start consuming more water again. But nobody who seems to be really concerned about that. The disappearance of the tropical rainforest and the damage to the ozone layer are on all political agendas. We do not hear politicians or policymakers talking about the fact that our water supplies decrease much faster than the primeval forests or the ozone layer. UNHCR Also at the headquarters of the UNHCR in Geneva, the alarm was sounded recently with regard to the water problem. "Between now and ten years, the number of people fleeing for ecological reasons will have exceeded the number of people who fled for political reasons. And the majority of them will flee because no water is available in their original habitat. ' Now we have known for a long time the images of streams of refugees in Africa that move out of drought-stricken areas in search of water for themselves and their livestock. But most of those refugees return home once the rainy season has started. What is now about to arrive, however, are large groups that will definitely leave. There are areas where life is no longer possible at all. One of the first areas where that is already the case is the region around the Aral Sea. The size of this largest lake in the world has decreased by about a third in twenty years. The reasons for this are the construction of enormous cotton plantations along one of the most important rivers that flow into this lake, and the shifting of a number of other supply waters by the Russians in an attempt to develop economically the area north of the Aral Sea. As a result, an area as large as Belgium and the Netherlands has together turned into a dusty, hot salt desert. Flora and fauna around the lake have almost completely disappeared and the lake itself has changed from a sweet lake into a salt lake. One and a half million people who lived along the shore have already left. At the Aral Sea you can no longer live. Of course, all kinds of initiatives are being developed to limit water consumption. We already had the first advertising campaign of the SIRE on this subject in the Netherlands. But virtually nothing happens. There is an ecological time bomb, but everyone seems to ignore it. Water is still seen as something that is always there. Until it runs out, and then it's too late. By Joost Vermeulen Water shortages could affect 5bn people by 2050, UN report warns (2018) Conflict and civilizational threats likely unless action is taken to reduce the stress on rivers, lakes, aquifers, wetlands and reservoirs More than 5 billion people could suffer water shortages by 2050 due to climate change, increased demand and polluted supplies, according to a UN report on the state of the world’s water. The comprehensive annual study warns of conflict and civilizational threats unless actions are taken to reduce the stress on rivers, lakes, aquifers, wetlands and reservoirs. The World Water Development Report – released in drought-hit Brasília – says positive change is possible, particularly in the key agricultural sector, but only if there is a move towards nature-based solutions that rely more on soil and trees than steel and concrete. “For too long, the world has turned first to human-built, or ‘grey’, infrastructure to improve water management. In doing so, it has often brushed aside traditional and indigenous knowledge that embraces greener approaches,” says Gilbert Houngbo, the chair of UN Water, in the preface of the 100-page assessment. “In the face of accelerated consumption, increasing environmental degradation and the multi-faceted impacts of climate change, we clearly need new ways of manage competing demands on our freshwater resources.” Photo by: raseef22.com Creating strains on water resources Humans use about 4,600 cubic km of water every year, of which 70% goes to agriculture, 20% to industry and 10% to households, says the report, which was launched at the start of the triennial World Water Forum. Global demand has increased six fold over the past 100 years and continues to grow at the rate of 1% each year. This is already creating strains that will grow by 2050, when the world population is forecast to reach between 9.4 billion and 10.2 billion (up from 7.7 billion today), with two in every three people living in cities. Demand for water is projected to rise fastest in developing countries. Meanwhile, climate change will put an added stress on supplies because it will make wet regions wetter and dry regions drier. Natural disaster Drought and soil degradation are already the biggest risk of natural disaster, say the authors, and this trend is likely to worsen. “Droughts are arguably the greatest single threat from climate change,” it notes. The challenge has been most apparent this year in Cape Town, where residents face severe restrictions as the result of a once-in-384-year drought. In Brasília, the host of the forum, close to 2m people have their taps turned off once in every five days due to a unusually protracted dry period. By 2050, the report predicts, between 4.8 billion and 5.7 billion people will live in areas that are water-scarce for at least one month each year, up from 3.6 billion today, while the number of people at risk of floods will increase to 1.6 billion, from 1.2 billion. In drought belts encompassing Mexico, western South America, southern Europe, China, Australia and South Africa, rainfall is likely to decline. The shortage cannot be offset by groundwater supplies, a third of which are already in distress. Nor is the construction of more dams and reservoirs likely to be a solution, because such options are limited by silting, runoff and the fact that most cost-effective and viable sites in developed countries have been identified. Water quality is also deteriorating. Since the 1990s, pollution has worsened in almost every river in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and it is expected to deteriorate further in the coming two decades, mainly due to agriculture runoffs of fertiliser and other agrochemicals that load freshwater supplies with nutrients that lead to the growth of pathogens and choking algae blooms. Industry and cities are also a significant problem. About 80% of industrial and municipal wastewater is discharged without treatment. Vegetation helps to recycle and distribute water Crucially, the report emphasizes a shift away from watershed management towards a wider geographic approach that takes in land use in distant areas, particularly forests. Although farmers have long seen trees as a drain on water supplies, the authors recognize more recent studies that show vegetation helps to recycle and distribute water. This was apparent in the São Paulo drought of 2014-15, which the city’s water authorities and scientists have linked to Amazon deforestation. The key for change will be agriculture, the biggest source of water consumption and pollution. The report calls for “conservation agriculture”, which would make greater use of rainwater rather than irrigation and regularize crop rotation to maintain soil cover. This would also be crucial to reverse erosion and degradation, which currently affects a third of the planet’s land, a different UN study found last year. Perhaps the most positive message of the report is that the potential savings of such practices exceed the projected increase in global demand for water, which would ease the dangers of conflict and provide better livelihoods for family farmers and poverty reduction. Positive case studies Nature-based solutions can be personal – such as dry toilets – or broad landscape-level shifts in agricultural practices. The report contains several positive case studies that show how environments and supplies can improve as a result of policy changes. In Rajasthan, more than 1,000 drought-stricken villages were supported by small-scale water harvesting structures, while a shift back towards traditional soil preservation practices in the Zarqa basin in Jordan are credited with a recovery of water quality in local springs. The authors stress the goal is not to replace all grey infrastructure, because there are situations where there is no other choice, for example in building reservoirs to supply cities with water. But they urge greater take-up of green solutions, which are often more cost-effective as well as sustainable. They also encourage more use of “green bonds” (a form of financing that aims to reward long-term sustainable investments) and more payments for ecosystem services (cash for communities that conserve forests, rivers and wetlands that have a wider benefit to the the environment and society). Two-thirds of the world’s forests and wetlands have been lost Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of Unesco, which commissioned the report, noted two-thirds of the world’s forests and wetlands have been lost since the turn of the 20th century – a trend that needs to be addressed. “We all know that water scarcity can lead to civil unrest, mass migration and even to conflict within and between countries,” she said. “Ensuring the sustainable use of the planet’s resources is vital for ensuring long-term peace and prosperity.” The World Water Forum is the biggest single gathering of policymakers, businesses and NGOs involved in water management. It is being held in the southern hemisphere for the first time, and is expected to draw 40,000 participants. Among them are indigenous and other grassroots activists who believe the event is too close to government, agriculture and business. They are staging an alternative forum in Brasília that puts greater emphasis on community management of water as a free public resource. https://www.whatsorb.com/gardening---agriculture/wastewater-farming---a-forced-risk-that-could-become-a-solution By: Jonathan Watts in Brasília. Photo cover by: justoneafrica.org
The annual 'World Water Day' is an international day dedicated to water on 22 March. In 1992 a resolution was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations to declare 'World Water Day' every year as from March 1993. Member States are called upon to make public the global water issue on that day by a wide public, by organizing events and disseminating information about water. In the Netherlands, this initiative has been taken up by many parties that annually organize water related events around 22 March. They often organize an event in which collaboration, knowledge transfer and innovative development aid are central. The goal of the World Water Day campaign is to promote preparedness for disasters and the sharing of knowledge at regional level and to increase public awareness about the various elements of disasters related to water. It is also intended to inspire worldwide political and community actions to prevent and reduce water-related disasters, so that lives and possessions can be saved. In addition, the actions organized from World Water Day must contribute to the Millennium Development Goal with regard to reducing poverty and building sustainable development. One of the millennium goals for 2015 is to reduce the number of people without or with a shortage of clean drinking water by half. Kofi Annan: "Water is essential for all life, yet millions of people in the world suffer from water shortages, millions of children die of water-borne illnesses every year, and the poorest countries in the world are regularly plagued by drought. World Water Day plan to do more to give all people in the world access to safe and clean water. " King Willem Alexander (Netherlands): ‘It is unacceptable that a large part of the world's population still lives under conditions that we did not accept in the Netherlands 150 years ago.’ What did we write about this subject 20 years ago (1997) The last drop Sometimes predicting the future is not that difficult. In this way we already know with certainty that mankind will face gigantic water shortages in the next century. Entire populations will flock en masse. Wars will be waged for water. But there is no one who does anything about it. A person can for a while without solid food . Only after a day or fourteen without food does the human body begin to suffer damage. Really noticeable problems usually only occur after about twenty days. Some people, like hunger strikers, can survive for more than forty days without food. But no one can last longer than a day or six without water. After having drunk nothing for one day, the first problems start to get started. After two days the first serious symptoms occur and on the third day the body starts to show signs of serious problems. Body functions begin to fall out and people begin to hallucinate. So between the fifth and the sixth day one gets into a coma. Man needs at least one to one and a half liters water per day to survive. Although the form in which we take it to us can vary a lot - with or without addition, cooled or cooked - water is literally the source of our existence. 'Only a few realize what that means', Henk Saeijs argued in his inaugural lecture at the acceptance of the extraordinary professorship Water Quality and Sustainability at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam (Netherlands). 'Water is essential for our lives. Not only do we need it to survive, but the quantity that we have at our disposal also determines to a large extent the quality of that same life. ' Water & natural resources Like many other natural resources, the amount of water is limited. More than 75 percent of the earth consists of water, but only a very small part of it is suitable for consumption, agriculture and industrial processes. Fresh water is a very scarce commodity, although many in the rich West do not seem to realize that. The stocks, which are stored in glaciers, underground water basins, lakes and rivers, are not inexhaustible. And the supply in the form of rain and snow, caused by the evaporation of sea water, is no longer sufficient to meet the ever-growing demand. All experts in the field of water management agree that the freshwater supplies will become exhausted in the coming century. According to estimates (1997), which were confirmed at the environmental summit in New York, half of the world's population will have to deal with water scarcity before the year 2010. And those people will not only live in the third world. Fresh water, according to the prediction, will become so scarce that it can even lead to wars. 'Water scarcity' becomes the biggest problem of the next century. As an export article, water will become more important than petroleum. Countries such as Greenland, Alaska and Norway will become water exporters. They will put the Arab sheiks to the crown in terms of income. Water will become expensive. There will be fights for clean water. The shortage of water will become such an explosive problem that the oil crisis will fade.' Norway. Photo by: Getty images This disturbing statement is less futuristic than it seems. In 1994 - the then Egyptian secretary of the United Nations, Boutros Ghali - threatened to take all possible measures against 'countries that want to obstruct the water supply of Egypt'. He referred to the plans of both Sudan and Ethiopia for the construction of large-scale water works on the upper reaches of the Nile. This would drastically reduce the amount of water that reaches Egypt via this river. And King Hussein of Jordan recently stated that in the future he did not expect any more war between his country and neighboring Israel, except "if the national water supply is jeopardized by irresponsible action by the other party". The following day he was reminded in the commentary of the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz that one of the reasons for the 1967 war lay in the fact that Jordan and Syria were together planning to inflict a severe blow on Israel's water supply. . These two Arab states wanted to use the water in the basin of the river Yarmuk completely for their own purposes. However, this river is one of the most important supply streams of the Sea of ​​Galilee, where Israel draws a large proportion of its fresh water. Countries such as Greenland, Alaska and Norway will become water exporters. They will put the Arab sheiks to the crown in terms of income. Water will become expensive. There will be water fighting. The shortage of water will become such an explosive problem that the oil crisis will fade. ' This disturbing statement is less futuristic than it seems. In 1994 the then Egyptian secretary of the United Nations, Boutros Ghali, threatened to take all possible measures against 'countries that want to obstruct the water supply of Egypt'. He referred to the plans of both Sudan and Ethiopia for the construction of large-scale water works on the upper reaches of the Nile. This would drastically reduce the amount of water that reaches Egypt via this river. And King Hussein of Jordan recently stated that in the future he did not expect any more war between his country and neighboring Israel, except "if the national water supply is jeopardized by irresponsible action by the other party". The following day he was reminded in the commentary of the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz that one of the reasons for the 1967 war lay in the fact that Jordan and Syria were together planning to inflict a severe blow on Israel's water supply. . These two Arab states wanted to use the water in the basin of the river Yarmuk completely for their own purposes. However, this river is one of the most important supply streams of the Sea of ​​Galilee, where Israel draws a large proportion of its fresh water. The Middle East The Middle East is the region where the problems associated with the distribution of scarce water already manifest themselves. Israel and its neighbors argue about the water of the Jordan and the amount of water that the Arab countries withdraw from the supply flows of the Sea of ​​Galilee. In addition, Israel has a problem with the Palestinians about pumping up groundwater in the areas inhabited by Palestinians. Then there is also the quarrel between Israel and Lebanon about the fact that Israel is allowing all the water of the Litani River to flow into the Israeli water supply network. Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian mayors and municipal representatives participate in an event in the lower Jordan River, to call on the two governments to rehabilitate the river. (photo credit: ECOPEACE MIDDLE EAST) Two other countries in the region, Syria and Turkey, have high-level arguments about the use of the water of the Euphrates River. Turkey has built some dams in the upper reaches of that river. The immense reservoir that is created by this must supply energy and drinking water to a large part of Southeast Turkey. In addition, an area as large as the Netherlands must be irrigated with that water. In order to fill the lake, the Turks have already stopped the supply of water to the Syria on the lower course of the Euphrates. Syria also has major problems with the neighboring Euphrates with another neighbor. Syria is building rapid dams in the territory of the Euphrates and its tributaries on its territory. The further downstream Iraq has recently protested against this. Given the political isolation of that country since the Gulf War, however, this protest was hardly heard internationally. But the Middle East is not the only region where there are problems. "It is already the case now," says Saeijs, "that there are 26 countries where less than a thousand cubic meters of water per capita are available each year in the form of rainfall or spring water." A thousand cubic meters of water per year per head of According to the UN, the population is the minimum requirement. In countries where the input of water is lower, according to this definition, there is a water shortage, and that means a serious obstacle to economic development, food production and the welfare of the inhabitants of that country. Strictly speaking, the Netherlands also belongs to the group of countries with a water shortage. In our country, the annual input is less than seven hundred cubic meters per person. This local shortage is happily supplemented with fresh water from the major rivers and the IJsselmeer, which functions as a huge freshwater buffer. But in spite of this, there is a great shortage of water in the Netherlands. 'We go', according to Saeijs, 'totally irresponsible with our water reasources . We belong to the poor countries in terms of input, but globally we belong to the major consumers. We use between five and ten thousand cubic meters per person per year. Therefore we have to rely on the groundwater. And that goes at an alarming rate. Since 1950, the groundwater level has dropped on average by more than twenty centimeters, and in meters with intensive cattle breeding a meter. ' Pumping groundwater is not just happening in the Netherlands on a very large scale. The underground supplies are being used up quickly all over the world. For example, the amount of water in the largest underground freshwater reservoir in the world - the so-called Ogallala basin that is located under the territory of the American state of Texas - has already decreased by thirty percent since the beginning of this century. And the huge water reserves that are hidden under the sand of the Arabian desert are also shrinking at a rapid pace. In Saudi Arabia, seven billion cubic meters of water are pumped every year. A natural reserve that has been built up over the course of millions of years has almost been used up in fifty years. Photo by: mideastposts.com Pumping up groundwater on a large scale still has an adverse effect. Because much more water is pumped up than is supplied in a natural way, the remaining groundwater settles at a fast pace. In some parts of Africa, this process has already led to the groundwater becoming totally unsuitable for consumption in large areas. A lot of groundwater has also become unusable due to the increased pollution. Years of over-fertilization and pollution of surface water have affected the groundwater in many places. This pollution is much more serious than the surface pollution because it is usually impossible to purify contaminated groundwater. The subterranean currents have often not yet been mapped, which means that local pollution above ground can sometimes affect groundwater over vast distances. Population growth Photo by: travelerfood.com But the biggest problem is and remains the unrestrained population growth, according to a Dutch UN spokesman at a meeting on population issues. 'More and more people who also use more and more water. Our grandparents would have been able to live very well with the current minimum UN standard of one thousand cubic meters per year. We already use it five to tenfold in the Netherlands. And our children will start consuming more water again. But nobody who seems to be really concerned about that. The disappearance of the tropical rainforest and the damage to the ozone layer are on all political agendas. We do not hear politicians or policymakers talking about the fact that our water supplies decrease much faster than the primeval forests or the ozone layer. UNHCR Also at the headquarters of the UNHCR in Geneva, the alarm was sounded recently with regard to the water problem. "Between now and ten years, the number of people fleeing for ecological reasons will have exceeded the number of people who fled for political reasons. And the majority of them will flee because no water is available in their original habitat. ' Now we have known for a long time the images of streams of refugees in Africa that move out of drought-stricken areas in search of water for themselves and their livestock. But most of those refugees return home once the rainy season has started. What is now about to arrive, however, are large groups that will definitely leave. There are areas where life is no longer possible at all. One of the first areas where that is already the case is the region around the Aral Sea. The size of this largest lake in the world has decreased by about a third in twenty years. The reasons for this are the construction of enormous cotton plantations along one of the most important rivers that flow into this lake, and the shifting of a number of other supply waters by the Russians in an attempt to develop economically the area north of the Aral Sea. As a result, an area as large as Belgium and the Netherlands has together turned into a dusty, hot salt desert. Flora and fauna around the lake have almost completely disappeared and the lake itself has changed from a sweet lake into a salt lake. One and a half million people who lived along the shore have already left. At the Aral Sea you can no longer live. Of course, all kinds of initiatives are being developed to limit water consumption. We already had the first advertising campaign of the SIRE on this subject in the Netherlands. But virtually nothing happens. There is an ecological time bomb, but everyone seems to ignore it. Water is still seen as something that is always there. Until it runs out, and then it's too late. By Joost Vermeulen Water shortages could affect 5bn people by 2050, UN report warns (2018) Conflict and civilizational threats likely unless action is taken to reduce the stress on rivers, lakes, aquifers, wetlands and reservoirs More than 5 billion people could suffer water shortages by 2050 due to climate change, increased demand and polluted supplies, according to a UN report on the state of the world’s water. The comprehensive annual study warns of conflict and civilizational threats unless actions are taken to reduce the stress on rivers, lakes, aquifers, wetlands and reservoirs. The World Water Development Report – released in drought-hit Brasília – says positive change is possible, particularly in the key agricultural sector, but only if there is a move towards nature-based solutions that rely more on soil and trees than steel and concrete. “For too long, the world has turned first to human-built, or ‘grey’, infrastructure to improve water management. In doing so, it has often brushed aside traditional and indigenous knowledge that embraces greener approaches,” says Gilbert Houngbo, the chair of UN Water, in the preface of the 100-page assessment. “In the face of accelerated consumption, increasing environmental degradation and the multi-faceted impacts of climate change, we clearly need new ways of manage competing demands on our freshwater resources.” Photo by: raseef22.com Creating strains on water resources Humans use about 4,600 cubic km of water every year, of which 70% goes to agriculture, 20% to industry and 10% to households, says the report, which was launched at the start of the triennial World Water Forum. Global demand has increased six fold over the past 100 years and continues to grow at the rate of 1% each year. This is already creating strains that will grow by 2050, when the world population is forecast to reach between 9.4 billion and 10.2 billion (up from 7.7 billion today), with two in every three people living in cities. Demand for water is projected to rise fastest in developing countries. Meanwhile, climate change will put an added stress on supplies because it will make wet regions wetter and dry regions drier. Natural disaster Drought and soil degradation are already the biggest risk of natural disaster, say the authors, and this trend is likely to worsen. “Droughts are arguably the greatest single threat from climate change,” it notes. The challenge has been most apparent this year in Cape Town, where residents face severe restrictions as the result of a once-in-384-year drought. In Brasília, the host of the forum, close to 2m people have their taps turned off once in every five days due to a unusually protracted dry period. By 2050, the report predicts, between 4.8 billion and 5.7 billion people will live in areas that are water-scarce for at least one month each year, up from 3.6 billion today, while the number of people at risk of floods will increase to 1.6 billion, from 1.2 billion. In drought belts encompassing Mexico, western South America, southern Europe, China, Australia and South Africa, rainfall is likely to decline. The shortage cannot be offset by groundwater supplies, a third of which are already in distress. Nor is the construction of more dams and reservoirs likely to be a solution, because such options are limited by silting, runoff and the fact that most cost-effective and viable sites in developed countries have been identified. Water quality is also deteriorating. Since the 1990s, pollution has worsened in almost every river in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and it is expected to deteriorate further in the coming two decades, mainly due to agriculture runoffs of fertiliser and other agrochemicals that load freshwater supplies with nutrients that lead to the growth of pathogens and choking algae blooms. Industry and cities are also a significant problem. About 80% of industrial and municipal wastewater is discharged without treatment. Vegetation helps to recycle and distribute water Crucially, the report emphasizes a shift away from watershed management towards a wider geographic approach that takes in land use in distant areas, particularly forests. Although farmers have long seen trees as a drain on water supplies, the authors recognize more recent studies that show vegetation helps to recycle and distribute water. This was apparent in the São Paulo drought of 2014-15, which the city’s water authorities and scientists have linked to Amazon deforestation. The key for change will be agriculture, the biggest source of water consumption and pollution. The report calls for “conservation agriculture”, which would make greater use of rainwater rather than irrigation and regularize crop rotation to maintain soil cover. This would also be crucial to reverse erosion and degradation, which currently affects a third of the planet’s land, a different UN study found last year. Perhaps the most positive message of the report is that the potential savings of such practices exceed the projected increase in global demand for water, which would ease the dangers of conflict and provide better livelihoods for family farmers and poverty reduction. Positive case studies Nature-based solutions can be personal – such as dry toilets – or broad landscape-level shifts in agricultural practices. The report contains several positive case studies that show how environments and supplies can improve as a result of policy changes. In Rajasthan, more than 1,000 drought-stricken villages were supported by small-scale water harvesting structures, while a shift back towards traditional soil preservation practices in the Zarqa basin in Jordan are credited with a recovery of water quality in local springs. The authors stress the goal is not to replace all grey infrastructure, because there are situations where there is no other choice, for example in building reservoirs to supply cities with water. But they urge greater take-up of green solutions, which are often more cost-effective as well as sustainable. They also encourage more use of “green bonds” (a form of financing that aims to reward long-term sustainable investments) and more payments for ecosystem services (cash for communities that conserve forests, rivers and wetlands that have a wider benefit to the the environment and society). Two-thirds of the world’s forests and wetlands have been lost Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of Unesco, which commissioned the report, noted two-thirds of the world’s forests and wetlands have been lost since the turn of the 20th century – a trend that needs to be addressed. “We all know that water scarcity can lead to civil unrest, mass migration and even to conflict within and between countries,” she said. “Ensuring the sustainable use of the planet’s resources is vital for ensuring long-term peace and prosperity.” The World Water Forum is the biggest single gathering of policymakers, businesses and NGOs involved in water management. It is being held in the southern hemisphere for the first time, and is expected to draw 40,000 participants. Among them are indigenous and other grassroots activists who believe the event is too close to government, agriculture and business. They are staging an alternative forum in Brasília that puts greater emphasis on community management of water as a free public resource. https://www.whatsorb.com/gardening---agriculture/wastewater-farming---a-forced-risk-that-could-become-a-solution By: Jonathan Watts in Brasília. Photo cover by: justoneafrica.org
WorldWaterDay
WorldWaterDay
Food waste: symptom of a malfunctioning system.
Companies in the lead for a transition to a circular food system ' The business case for circularity in the food sector has been proven. Nevertheless, relatively few companies are investing in it. That is what organizations want to change. They cannot do this alone, because cooperation is the key to success. In 2015, the State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment (Netherlands) had to report how much food waste had been reduced. The goal: a reduction of 20 percent. The conclusion: nothing happened. "That was the moment that the 'Waste Factory' started. ‘Three-Sixty’, an innovation center for circular economy was also involved. We realized that there was no place where people could go for information about food waste reduction. 6 percent of CO2 emissions are generated by the production of food that is not eaten. ‘Three Sixty’, is place with information to prevent and reduce food waste and to value waste flows. Our conclusion was that a consortium would have to come from large parties who all speak out against food waste. This idea grew into ‘Three-Sixty’ and the ‘Taskforce’ Circular Economy in Food. Wageningen University & Research (WUR) has been working on the theme for fifteen years. Taskforce Circular Economy in Food The Taskforce is an initiative of WUR and has been realized in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Alliance for Sustainable Food. Members from the entire food chain, from SMEs to multinationals, are members. Agriculture has always been circular. Focusing on the themes climate-friendly agriculture and reduction of food waste. Producing more food on more land will not work, instead we have to extract value from food waste. Food waste is smart business. That is why companies have to move.  Bringing companies from the entire food chain together is our priority. The ambitions of companies and the government are great, but now action is the most important thing: there is so much potential, so we really have to do it now. Food waste: symptom of a malfunctioning system One of the problems of food waste is that the problem is 'no ones'. There is waste at almost every company in the food sector. It is so natural that it is included in our economic models. At the same time, the subject has been taboo for a long time, it was not talked about. " Food waste in North America In the meantime, food waste has risen to 50 percent in North America, says Hutten. In the Netherlands the counter is between 30 and 33 percent. This means that about a third of our food ends up wasted. For example, vegetables that do not meet the beauty requirements: they are of good quality, but look crazy. This food waste also has an impact on the environment: "Six percent of CO2 emissions are generated by the production of food that is not eaten." At the same time, 800 million people go to bed hungry every day. "Food waste is the symptom of a poorly functioning food system", which means that reducing food waste is interwoven with a system change. Food waste as part of a transition to a circular food system. The mixed company as a circular example Circularity is not new in agriculture. "Agriculture has always been circular. We used everything on the farm. After the Second World War, the focus was on scaling up to eradicate hunger. The farmers have succeeded so well that we now have a surplus and the Netherlands is the second exporter in the world. In that process, circularity has been slain. The mixed farm can now serve as an example for the design of a circular chain. "What you want is to build a closed system". Why do you want that? Because it is maximally sustainable: you use everything you want to use. This means reducing food wastage and building a circular food system in practice close together. The business case Combating food waste leads to a profit. Every euro that is invested yields 14 euros. Yet companies often do not respond to this, because knowledge is lacking, complete processes have to be changed or the advantage occurs at a different location in the chain. If food waste is tackled, it often happens fragmentarily on different fronts, while the knowledge gained is not shared. That is why a joint approach such as the Taskforce offers a solution. Companies can learn from each other and stimulate each other. Sector ambassadors Each participant has drawn up one or two concrete goals that he will pick up. In addition, every new member must be prepared to become an ambassador for his sector. "The best example is Lamb Weston / Meijer, that company has all companies in the sector," says Timmermans. The common goal is to have halved food waste by 2030. Sub-goers Taskforce Four sub goals have been drawn up. The first of these is to measure how the Taskforce stands for. The second is to innovate in the chain, whereby companies that do not yet do so are helped by the front runners. The third is changing consumer behavior through campaigns. And the fourth goal is to change the rules of the game, so that food waste is no longer the norm. Legislation can play a role here. Ultimately, the emphasis is on the role of companies: "Companies must take the lead. If they do not move, it will not work. "The companies that have joined the Taskforce dare to take on that role:" They are all leaders in tackling food wastage and wanting to involve other companies. " Companies have to take the lead. The hope and wish is that even more companies want to shape circularity in the food sector and join the Taskforce: for companies that want to make circularity concrete, this is the right way! International example function In the field of food waste, the Netherlands is not necessarily doing better than other countries at the moment, but we are the first country with a serious task force. Despite the fact that we do not communicate so much about it yet, you see that more and more parties look to the Netherlands as an example. There is good hope that the Taskforce will take care of change in the food sector: now we have to solve food waste.  By: Rianne Lachmeijer. Cover photo by: citypassguide
Companies in the lead for a transition to a circular food system ' The business case for circularity in the food sector has been proven. Nevertheless, relatively few companies are investing in it. That is what organizations want to change. They cannot do this alone, because cooperation is the key to success. In 2015, the State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment (Netherlands) had to report how much food waste had been reduced. The goal: a reduction of 20 percent. The conclusion: nothing happened. "That was the moment that the 'Waste Factory' started. ‘Three-Sixty’, an innovation center for circular economy was also involved. We realized that there was no place where people could go for information about food waste reduction. 6 percent of CO2 emissions are generated by the production of food that is not eaten. ‘Three Sixty’, is place with information to prevent and reduce food waste and to value waste flows. Our conclusion was that a consortium would have to come from large parties who all speak out against food waste. This idea grew into ‘Three-Sixty’ and the ‘Taskforce’ Circular Economy in Food. Wageningen University & Research (WUR) has been working on the theme for fifteen years. Taskforce Circular Economy in Food The Taskforce is an initiative of WUR and has been realized in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Alliance for Sustainable Food. Members from the entire food chain, from SMEs to multinationals, are members. Agriculture has always been circular. Focusing on the themes climate-friendly agriculture and reduction of food waste. Producing more food on more land will not work, instead we have to extract value from food waste. Food waste is smart business. That is why companies have to move.  Bringing companies from the entire food chain together is our priority. The ambitions of companies and the government are great, but now action is the most important thing: there is so much potential, so we really have to do it now. Food waste: symptom of a malfunctioning system One of the problems of food waste is that the problem is 'no ones'. There is waste at almost every company in the food sector. It is so natural that it is included in our economic models. At the same time, the subject has been taboo for a long time, it was not talked about. " Food waste in North America In the meantime, food waste has risen to 50 percent in North America, says Hutten. In the Netherlands the counter is between 30 and 33 percent. This means that about a third of our food ends up wasted. For example, vegetables that do not meet the beauty requirements: they are of good quality, but look crazy. This food waste also has an impact on the environment: "Six percent of CO2 emissions are generated by the production of food that is not eaten." At the same time, 800 million people go to bed hungry every day. "Food waste is the symptom of a poorly functioning food system", which means that reducing food waste is interwoven with a system change. Food waste as part of a transition to a circular food system. The mixed company as a circular example Circularity is not new in agriculture. "Agriculture has always been circular. We used everything on the farm. After the Second World War, the focus was on scaling up to eradicate hunger. The farmers have succeeded so well that we now have a surplus and the Netherlands is the second exporter in the world. In that process, circularity has been slain. The mixed farm can now serve as an example for the design of a circular chain. "What you want is to build a closed system". Why do you want that? Because it is maximally sustainable: you use everything you want to use. This means reducing food wastage and building a circular food system in practice close together. The business case Combating food waste leads to a profit. Every euro that is invested yields 14 euros. Yet companies often do not respond to this, because knowledge is lacking, complete processes have to be changed or the advantage occurs at a different location in the chain. If food waste is tackled, it often happens fragmentarily on different fronts, while the knowledge gained is not shared. That is why a joint approach such as the Taskforce offers a solution. Companies can learn from each other and stimulate each other. Sector ambassadors Each participant has drawn up one or two concrete goals that he will pick up. In addition, every new member must be prepared to become an ambassador for his sector. "The best example is Lamb Weston / Meijer, that company has all companies in the sector," says Timmermans. The common goal is to have halved food waste by 2030. Sub-goers Taskforce Four sub goals have been drawn up. The first of these is to measure how the Taskforce stands for. The second is to innovate in the chain, whereby companies that do not yet do so are helped by the front runners. The third is changing consumer behavior through campaigns. And the fourth goal is to change the rules of the game, so that food waste is no longer the norm. Legislation can play a role here. Ultimately, the emphasis is on the role of companies: "Companies must take the lead. If they do not move, it will not work. "The companies that have joined the Taskforce dare to take on that role:" They are all leaders in tackling food wastage and wanting to involve other companies. " Companies have to take the lead. The hope and wish is that even more companies want to shape circularity in the food sector and join the Taskforce: for companies that want to make circularity concrete, this is the right way! International example function In the field of food waste, the Netherlands is not necessarily doing better than other countries at the moment, but we are the first country with a serious task force. Despite the fact that we do not communicate so much about it yet, you see that more and more parties look to the Netherlands as an example. There is good hope that the Taskforce will take care of change in the food sector: now we have to solve food waste.  By: Rianne Lachmeijer. Cover photo by: citypassguide
Food waste: symptom of a malfunctioning system.
Food waste: symptom of a malfunctioning system.
#Circular Economy. From tax on labor to tax on natural resources
The tax system: an essential puzzle piece in the transition to a circular economy From tax on labor to tax on natural resources. It sounds like a big task, but according to Femke Groothuis, founder of Ex'tax, (Netherlands) that is not so bad. "It is not all that hard, but we have to start." Ex'tax was founded in 2012 and is committed to a system change of the tax system, to pave the way for circular business models. Femke Groothuis is the founder of this foundation and think tank. Femke Groothuis is the founder of Ex'tax Why is it necessary to change our tax system? "The tax system plays a fundamental role in the transition to a circular economy. It provides extremely powerful financial incentives in one direction or another. These incentives are currently fully in line with a linear economy. " "The circular economy requires new business models. If we want these business models to be and remain viable, we have to adjust the preconditions. It is therefore time for us to adjust the tax system to the challenges of this century. " What has to happen? "Because of the high tax on labor, entrepreneurs are currently saving on people's work, even if this means consuming more raw materials. That is a shame, because we have a huge untapped labor potential, in the Netherlands and worldwide. When you burden natural resources, such as raw materials, water and emissions, you stimulate entrepreneurs to do the opposite. " "That's important because circular business models are almost always labor-intensive. Think of repair and refurbishment. In addition, we need a great deal of knowledge to design out these new business models. A lot of R & D is needed for that. Circular business models start because of the high tax on labor with a backlog; there is no level playing field yet. " You have been committed since 2009 to market this body of thought. What have you seen since then? "Too little. In the Netherlands, the burden on labor has only risen and has fallen on natural resources. That is a shame, because a tax shift offers opportunities. " "In 2011 we succeeded in getting the big four tax offices (Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG Meijburg and PwC, ed.) At the table. Together we have developed a scenario for the Netherlands: what can a tax shift look like? In 2016, we also examined this at EU level. The chances are gigantic: from billions of savings to more opportunities on the labor market. " Yet little happens. How is that possible? "First of all, the short term rules in politics. Changing a system takes many years, but the average age of a cabinet is now two years. That is a problem. The long-term vision is lacking for a circular and inclusive economy. " "Secondly, working together with other countries is essential to make this transition, but we also find that difficult. We use it rather as an excuse to do nothing and wait for each other. " "There are many more reasons to come up with. On the one hand, it is striking that nothing happens, but on the other hand it is logical again. We have lived under the assumption that we could continue on the same foot. That is only tilting in the last years. Changing the status quo always hurts a bit. " "Changing the status quo always hurts a bit". What do you see as the biggest obstacle? "That we are inclined to talk about measures immediately. That is because you score only one thing in politics: that you know how to introduce something. But this is about so much more: what role does our tax system play in the future? What does our economy look like in the future? Which policy fits the sustainability objectives we have set? " "You do not answer these questions with separate measures. The underlying system, that must be on the shovel. And that requires a long-term vision. " What is step one? "Put a price on pollution. Enter a CO2 tax, enter the water tax, shift the energy tax so that large consumers pay more than the consumer. That is the low-hanging fruit. We can then use the proceeds to reduce the tax on labor. " "This can be expanded step by step. That is also necessary, because shifts like this cannot take place in one go. We have to discover it, but in order to do that, we have to start. " What can the business community do to stimulate this transition? "Companies moving towards a circular economy have to be on the stage together, to let them know what a shift in taxes can mean for them. That is something governments have little idea of. " "The business world can just become the decisive factor" After all, governments are strongly influenced by companies, both in a positive and negative sense, and a lot is already happening. For example, hundreds of companies already work with an internal CO2 price. That is not legally required, but they want it. I think that is a very special development and a very strong signal to politicians: 'We expect that CO2 emissions will not stay free.' " "In addition, the circular economy is now really on the cards in business. That is a huge push factor in implementing the required policy. In quantity, for example, you see enormous growth in circular initiatives. Whether they are or become profitable is a second. We now have to create the preconditions for that. " What do you expect from the future? "I am a huge positive, so I believe we will turn the tide on time. I only hope that it is not the shore that turns the ship, but that we make adjustments ourselves on time. If we use our minds, we have made great strides in this area in five years' time. " "There is an important role for the Netherlands. After all, we have a name in the field of taxation and we have a lot of knowledge. This is therefore the perfect place to start this shift step by step. That requires a bit of daring, but it fits perfectly with the idea of ​​the Netherlands as a circular hotspot. " What can we expect from the upcoming time of Ex'tax? "We are launching a new program called United by Tax, together with all parties that support us and support our ideas. The importance of taxation in the emergence of the circular economy must become even clearer, so we will explain and visualize that. Once governments understand the added value better, they are much more likely to help. " By: Hidde Middelweerd
The tax system: an essential puzzle piece in the transition to a circular economy From tax on labor to tax on natural resources. It sounds like a big task, but according to Femke Groothuis, founder of Ex'tax, (Netherlands) that is not so bad. "It is not all that hard, but we have to start." Ex'tax was founded in 2012 and is committed to a system change of the tax system, to pave the way for circular business models. Femke Groothuis is the founder of this foundation and think tank. Femke Groothuis is the founder of Ex'tax Why is it necessary to change our tax system? "The tax system plays a fundamental role in the transition to a circular economy. It provides extremely powerful financial incentives in one direction or another. These incentives are currently fully in line with a linear economy. " "The circular economy requires new business models. If we want these business models to be and remain viable, we have to adjust the preconditions. It is therefore time for us to adjust the tax system to the challenges of this century. " What has to happen? "Because of the high tax on labor, entrepreneurs are currently saving on people's work, even if this means consuming more raw materials. That is a shame, because we have a huge untapped labor potential, in the Netherlands and worldwide. When you burden natural resources, such as raw materials, water and emissions, you stimulate entrepreneurs to do the opposite. " "That's important because circular business models are almost always labor-intensive. Think of repair and refurbishment. In addition, we need a great deal of knowledge to design out these new business models. A lot of R & D is needed for that. Circular business models start because of the high tax on labor with a backlog; there is no level playing field yet. " You have been committed since 2009 to market this body of thought. What have you seen since then? "Too little. In the Netherlands, the burden on labor has only risen and has fallen on natural resources. That is a shame, because a tax shift offers opportunities. " "In 2011 we succeeded in getting the big four tax offices (Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG Meijburg and PwC, ed.) At the table. Together we have developed a scenario for the Netherlands: what can a tax shift look like? In 2016, we also examined this at EU level. The chances are gigantic: from billions of savings to more opportunities on the labor market. " Yet little happens. How is that possible? "First of all, the short term rules in politics. Changing a system takes many years, but the average age of a cabinet is now two years. That is a problem. The long-term vision is lacking for a circular and inclusive economy. " "Secondly, working together with other countries is essential to make this transition, but we also find that difficult. We use it rather as an excuse to do nothing and wait for each other. " "There are many more reasons to come up with. On the one hand, it is striking that nothing happens, but on the other hand it is logical again. We have lived under the assumption that we could continue on the same foot. That is only tilting in the last years. Changing the status quo always hurts a bit. " "Changing the status quo always hurts a bit". What do you see as the biggest obstacle? "That we are inclined to talk about measures immediately. That is because you score only one thing in politics: that you know how to introduce something. But this is about so much more: what role does our tax system play in the future? What does our economy look like in the future? Which policy fits the sustainability objectives we have set? " "You do not answer these questions with separate measures. The underlying system, that must be on the shovel. And that requires a long-term vision. " What is step one? "Put a price on pollution. Enter a CO2 tax, enter the water tax, shift the energy tax so that large consumers pay more than the consumer. That is the low-hanging fruit. We can then use the proceeds to reduce the tax on labor. " "This can be expanded step by step. That is also necessary, because shifts like this cannot take place in one go. We have to discover it, but in order to do that, we have to start. " What can the business community do to stimulate this transition? "Companies moving towards a circular economy have to be on the stage together, to let them know what a shift in taxes can mean for them. That is something governments have little idea of. " "The business world can just become the decisive factor" After all, governments are strongly influenced by companies, both in a positive and negative sense, and a lot is already happening. For example, hundreds of companies already work with an internal CO2 price. That is not legally required, but they want it. I think that is a very special development and a very strong signal to politicians: 'We expect that CO2 emissions will not stay free.' " "In addition, the circular economy is now really on the cards in business. That is a huge push factor in implementing the required policy. In quantity, for example, you see enormous growth in circular initiatives. Whether they are or become profitable is a second. We now have to create the preconditions for that. " What do you expect from the future? "I am a huge positive, so I believe we will turn the tide on time. I only hope that it is not the shore that turns the ship, but that we make adjustments ourselves on time. If we use our minds, we have made great strides in this area in five years' time. " "There is an important role for the Netherlands. After all, we have a name in the field of taxation and we have a lot of knowledge. This is therefore the perfect place to start this shift step by step. That requires a bit of daring, but it fits perfectly with the idea of ​​the Netherlands as a circular hotspot. " What can we expect from the upcoming time of Ex'tax? "We are launching a new program called United by Tax, together with all parties that support us and support our ideas. The importance of taxation in the emergence of the circular economy must become even clearer, so we will explain and visualize that. Once governments understand the added value better, they are much more likely to help. " By: Hidde Middelweerd
#Circular Economy. From tax on labor to tax on natural resources
#Circular Economy. From tax on labor to tax on natural resources
#Circular economy is entering the facade industry
The façade builder remains the owner of the facades, allowing him to take re-use into account during the design phase. The chances are that he will more often opt for replaceable constructions or products. VMRG (The Association of Metal Windows and Facade Industry Netherlands) points out that the industry sees the circular economy as the economic model to guarantee long-term prosperity, maximizing the reusability of products and raw materials and minimizing value destruction. The first contract whereby the façade of a building remains the property of the façade builders was signed at the end of January for a pilot project at the Eneco EnergyCampus in Utrecht. The so-called Facade Identification System (FIS) is implemented in the project. Eneco EnergyCampus in Utrecht (Netherlands) from the air. Identification system monitors window frames and doors. 'FIS makes it possible to make a façade element, such as a door frame or a door, identifiable throughout the life cycle and to link digital information to it', according to VMRG on the website. The trade association has developed the system in collaboration with SlimLabs, Root and Tagologic. In 2016 TUDelft already carried out a trial with the lease of different types of façades. The university wanted to gain insight into the performances, the comfort provided, the costs and the ideal design. In short: the business case. Scientists at TU Delft are developing a circular business model for building facades to enable sustainable buildings on a large scale. In the pilot project Facade Leasing, the researchers have made four façade panels, with which buildings can be preserved. For example, a façade system consists of an aluminum frame and must have a service life of 75 years. Furthermore, a facade element has been processed with PV cells, ventilation systems and LED lighting. By: Rianne Lachmeijer Sustainable lease concept According to the scientists, the facade systems can indicate to building users, by newly developed technology, when they need to be replaced. This contributes to reducing maintenance costs. With the lease concept of the façade elements, the producers remain the owner of the product and the materials. Building users pay a monthly fee to use the façade elements and the façades can be replaced with a new one after a while, after which the old façade will be recycled or reused by the producer. In this way the project contributes to the circular economy, in which cycles of building materials are closed. Circular building Together with a consortium of companies, the scientists will install the façade systems on the EWI building of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science on the campus of TU Delft this month. "The test must give us insight into the costs and benefits of different types of façade", says Alexandra den Heijer of the Facade Leasing Project on behalf of the Faculty of Architecture at TU Delft, Bouwwereld. The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science on the campus of TU Delft This pilot project must show that the innovative façade systems can actually make buildings more sustainable and reduce the energy consumption of the built environment. With proven success, the researchers are looking for new opportunities to apply the lease concept. By: Fitria Jelyta
The façade builder remains the owner of the facades, allowing him to take re-use into account during the design phase. The chances are that he will more often opt for replaceable constructions or products. VMRG (The Association of Metal Windows and Facade Industry Netherlands) points out that the industry sees the circular economy as the economic model to guarantee long-term prosperity, maximizing the reusability of products and raw materials and minimizing value destruction. The first contract whereby the façade of a building remains the property of the façade builders was signed at the end of January for a pilot project at the Eneco EnergyCampus in Utrecht. The so-called Facade Identification System (FIS) is implemented in the project. Eneco EnergyCampus in Utrecht (Netherlands) from the air. Identification system monitors window frames and doors. 'FIS makes it possible to make a façade element, such as a door frame or a door, identifiable throughout the life cycle and to link digital information to it', according to VMRG on the website. The trade association has developed the system in collaboration with SlimLabs, Root and Tagologic. In 2016 TUDelft already carried out a trial with the lease of different types of façades. The university wanted to gain insight into the performances, the comfort provided, the costs and the ideal design. In short: the business case. Scientists at TU Delft are developing a circular business model for building facades to enable sustainable buildings on a large scale. In the pilot project Facade Leasing, the researchers have made four façade panels, with which buildings can be preserved. For example, a façade system consists of an aluminum frame and must have a service life of 75 years. Furthermore, a facade element has been processed with PV cells, ventilation systems and LED lighting. By: Rianne Lachmeijer Sustainable lease concept According to the scientists, the facade systems can indicate to building users, by newly developed technology, when they need to be replaced. This contributes to reducing maintenance costs. With the lease concept of the façade elements, the producers remain the owner of the product and the materials. Building users pay a monthly fee to use the façade elements and the façades can be replaced with a new one after a while, after which the old façade will be recycled or reused by the producer. In this way the project contributes to the circular economy, in which cycles of building materials are closed. Circular building Together with a consortium of companies, the scientists will install the façade systems on the EWI building of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science on the campus of TU Delft this month. "The test must give us insight into the costs and benefits of different types of façade", says Alexandra den Heijer of the Facade Leasing Project on behalf of the Faculty of Architecture at TU Delft, Bouwwereld. The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science on the campus of TU Delft This pilot project must show that the innovative façade systems can actually make buildings more sustainable and reduce the energy consumption of the built environment. With proven success, the researchers are looking for new opportunities to apply the lease concept. By: Fitria Jelyta
#Circular economy is entering the facade industry
#Circular economy is entering the facade industry
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