Community

About: <p>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.</p> <p>We belong to a group of individuals - <a href="https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/society">our society</a> - 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&nbsp;<span lang="en" tabindex="0">dependence</span>, we must learn to work more together so that we can all benefit from sharing sustainable knowledge to tackle, for example, climate change.</p> <p><a href="https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/green-architecture">Green architecture</a> 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 <a href="https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/smart-cities">smart cities</a> where resources can be used more efficiently and information can be shared, thus improving our society, your community.</p> <p><a href="https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/lifestyle">Lifestyle</a> 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.</p> <p>If there was an urge to come up with a sustainable way of living solutions and share these topics globally it&rsquo;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.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Global Sustainability X-change, that&rsquo;s what you can do together with WhatsOrb.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.whatsorb.com/blog/your-shared-sustainable-ideas-make-our-earth-a-better-place">What's in for me?</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
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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’. Smart Communities: What Are Regen Villages? 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. What does eco living mean? Eco-friendly literally means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment (see References 1). This term most commonly refers to products that contribute to green living or practices that help conserve resources like water and energy. Eco-friendly products also prevent contributions to air, water and land pollution. 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. Recommended:  Regenerative Agriculture: Basics For Safe Food (Part 1 of 3) 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. What is the difference between eco friendly and environmentally friendly? Eco-friendly isn't quite so broad. It means that something doesn't harm the planet. Compared to 'green” and eco-friendly',sustainability has much higher standards. Sustainability includes eco-friendly activities and green products, but green doesn't necessarily mean sustainable. Eco-Living Through Technology: ReGen Villages The Netherlands The Netherlands is set to have the World’s First Self-Sustaining Eco Village near Amsterdam. The world’s first self-sustaining eco village near Amsterdam is coming in 2020: truly the height of Dutch innovation. The village has been designed and will be built by ReGenVillages.  ReGenVillages, how does this work exactly? This 60-acre village in Almere does what it says on the tin – it’s going to be self-sustaining. This means that roads will only be the width of a bike or pedestrian path and no houses will have a driveway, so no cars allowed! The surrounding landscape will be filled with fruit and vegetable patches and greenhouses, complete with collected rainwater, to feed the neighbouring residents. Rainwater will also be filtered through these 194 homes and then it can be used as drinking water. Any food waste that the residents have will be used to feed fish and other animals, which are used for farming. You’ll even be able to volunteer at the community centre and in return, you would get Home Association fee discounts. And if you want to go into Amsterdam and the center of Almere, self-driving electric buses and cars, located on the outskirts of this village will take you there. Clever, huh? The construction company ReGen Villages, wanted to be able to tackle the issues of our time – population growth, housing shortages and environmental and sustainability issues. This is definitely one way of doing it! ReGenVillages: How much will they cost? Prices will range quite considerably within this village. On the lower end of the scale, the smaller houses will go for around €200,000, whereas a much larger place will go for around €850,000. Once you’ve bought a house there, you are expected to maintain the sustainability by helping out. Like I said earlier, as a reward you’d get HOA free discounts, which is possible by logging the number of hours worked by using blockchain technology. When is this new Regen Village coming to Almere? While 203 homes were approved by Almere in July 2018, ReGen filed for more land for more homes this year. If approved, they could be breaking ground in 2020! Click here for more information. What are your thoughts on this new self-sustaining eco village near Amsterdam? Let us know in the comments! {youtube}                                                       Smart Communities: Eco-Living Through Technology                                                                                  Regen Villages   Eco-Living Through Technology: 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. How can I be eco friendly?  Ten Easy Ways To Live A More Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Eat less meat Use paper less and recycle more Use canvas bags instead of plastic Start a compost pile or bin Purchase the right light bulb Choose cloth over paper Cut down on energy in your home Borrow instead of buying 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. Eco-Living: 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.   Recommended:  Regenerative Farming: Agro-Ecology In Practice (Part 2 of 3) Eco Living: 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. Before you go! Recommended:  Regenerative Agriculture: Its Full Potential (Part 3 of 3) Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
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’. Smart Communities: What Are Regen Villages? 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. What does eco living mean? Eco-friendly literally means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment (see References 1). This term most commonly refers to products that contribute to green living or practices that help conserve resources like water and energy. Eco-friendly products also prevent contributions to air, water and land pollution. 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. Recommended:  Regenerative Agriculture: Basics For Safe Food (Part 1 of 3) 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. What is the difference between eco friendly and environmentally friendly? Eco-friendly isn't quite so broad. It means that something doesn't harm the planet. Compared to 'green” and eco-friendly',sustainability has much higher standards. Sustainability includes eco-friendly activities and green products, but green doesn't necessarily mean sustainable. Eco-Living Through Technology: ReGen Villages The Netherlands The Netherlands is set to have the World’s First Self-Sustaining Eco Village near Amsterdam. The world’s first self-sustaining eco village near Amsterdam is coming in 2020: truly the height of Dutch innovation. The village has been designed and will be built by ReGenVillages.  ReGenVillages, how does this work exactly? This 60-acre village in Almere does what it says on the tin – it’s going to be self-sustaining. This means that roads will only be the width of a bike or pedestrian path and no houses will have a driveway, so no cars allowed! The surrounding landscape will be filled with fruit and vegetable patches and greenhouses, complete with collected rainwater, to feed the neighbouring residents. Rainwater will also be filtered through these 194 homes and then it can be used as drinking water. Any food waste that the residents have will be used to feed fish and other animals, which are used for farming. You’ll even be able to volunteer at the community centre and in return, you would get Home Association fee discounts. And if you want to go into Amsterdam and the center of Almere, self-driving electric buses and cars, located on the outskirts of this village will take you there. Clever, huh? The construction company ReGen Villages, wanted to be able to tackle the issues of our time – population growth, housing shortages and environmental and sustainability issues. This is definitely one way of doing it! ReGenVillages: How much will they cost? Prices will range quite considerably within this village. On the lower end of the scale, the smaller houses will go for around €200,000, whereas a much larger place will go for around €850,000. Once you’ve bought a house there, you are expected to maintain the sustainability by helping out. Like I said earlier, as a reward you’d get HOA free discounts, which is possible by logging the number of hours worked by using blockchain technology. When is this new Regen Village coming to Almere? While 203 homes were approved by Almere in July 2018, ReGen filed for more land for more homes this year. If approved, they could be breaking ground in 2020! Click here for more information. What are your thoughts on this new self-sustaining eco village near Amsterdam? Let us know in the comments! {youtube}                                                       Smart Communities: Eco-Living Through Technology                                                                                  Regen Villages   Eco-Living Through Technology: 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. How can I be eco friendly?  Ten Easy Ways To Live A More Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Eat less meat Use paper less and recycle more Use canvas bags instead of plastic Start a compost pile or bin Purchase the right light bulb Choose cloth over paper Cut down on energy in your home Borrow instead of buying 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. Eco-Living: 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.   Recommended:  Regenerative Farming: Agro-Ecology In Practice (Part 2 of 3) Eco Living: 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. Before you go! Recommended:  Regenerative Agriculture: Its Full Potential (Part 3 of 3) Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Smart Communities: Eco-Living Through Technology
Smart Communities: Eco-Living Through Technology
Amazon Water War: Fires, Hydro Dams, Climate Change S.O.S.
The Amazon has long served as one of the world’s final frontiers. It covers well over 7 million square meters, largely comprised of rainforest. The vast size and the unfriendly terrain have led to portions of it still being uncharted, with entire indigenous tribes having only recently been discovered. This has led to an air of mysticism surrounding the region, serving as an active magnet in attracting adventure seekers from all around the world. Amazon Water War All the more reason why it is such a shame that this precious land is disappearing as we speak. Thousands and thousands are suffering directly from the development projects currently being executed in the Amazon. And in a few years, all of us around the world will be suffering from the loss as well.   Why, you ask? There are some key developments that have put the future of the world’s largest rainforest at stake, along with the people, animals and plants that live in it. Some of these developments are initiated by Brazil, the country with the largest share of Amazon land, while others are indeed a truly global effort. Eventually, companies from all over the world will have a hand in the destruction of this glorious piece of nature’s glory. Brazil Belo Monte Dam. Flooding Of Altamira Town And Displacement (2015) Altamira on the Xingu River, a staging area for the controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric project now nearing completion. Long time residents lament the loss of the forests and grittiness of the town. One person who has made it their personal mission to stop this from happening, is Antonia Melo. This impressive lady was born in 1949 and has spent a considerable amount of her life in the Xingu Alive Forever Movement, a coalition of organisations and social movements that are fighting the construction of the Belo Monte dam. Her movement has rallied churches, schools, communities and NGOs in an effort to stop the Belo Monte from being built. This construction project will have far-reaching consequences for the town of Altamira, which will be flooded if the dam is finished. It is not surprising that the locals are speaking out against their forced displacement. Projects like the Belo Monte are at the heart of the issue, showing everything that is wrong with the governmental treatment of the Amazon. Indigenous and non-indigenous communities alike will feel the consequences of this profit-driven decision. The Belo Monte project has been flawed with illegality and prosperous mismanagement, from the unlawful blocking of the river up to the failure to implement health services and the forgoing of demarcation of indigenous lands.   Dismolishing, flooding of Altamira Town and displacement Ultimately, nature and local communities will be hit the hardest by this blatant display of governmental greed. The indigenous people will lose their access to clean drinking water and fishing waters, while the 400+ islands lost represent a disastrous loss of ecosystems, not to mention a drastic hit to the local economy. Recommended:  Asia’s Water War: China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam Brazils Amazon Dams Risk Destroying Heart Of The Amazon (2016) The Belo Monte dam is not an isolated case. Across the Amazon, there are dozens of major dam projects underway that will irrevocably and irreparably harm its natural glory. Anyone arguing that the economic benefits to this are worth the loss of land and the negative impact that it will have on indigenous people will be hard pressed to find arguments to back up this claim. Just look at the multitude of dams occupying the Tapajós river, which have been hailed by the Brazilian government as the solution to the country’s pressing electricity shortages. They go a long way in fulfilling the country’s ambition to increase their hydropower capacity by 25 gigawatt, while simultaneously leading to the construction of a major waterway that will serve as the highway for the country’s export of soy and crops to Europe. While this sounds like a great plan, the downside is considerable. There is much debate regarding the amount of energy that these dams will actually generate, while the ecological effects are significant. It will flood acres and acres of valuable forest lands, destroying millions of trees and opening the way for major exploitation projects.   Similarly, a project setting out to build the sixth largest hydroelectric dam in the world - the 8,000 megawatt São Luiz do Tapajós dam - will completely obliterate the land of the Munduruku people, once again flooding a considerable amount of the rainforest. Not just dangerous for the Munduruku people, but also for the rest of us, all around the world. Without wanting to sound obnoxious: these rainforests truly are the lungs of the world. A member of the Munduruku indigenous group. The Munduruku people, with a population of 12,000, have lived in the region for centuries. They have been resisting hydropower developments on tributaries of the Tapajós for decades The Munduruku and other people impacted by the construction of dams in the Tapajós river have called out the authorities for their blatant disrespect for nature. Unfortunately it looks as if they are not to be swayed, now that various international companies and banks have expressed their interest in projects like the São Luiz do Tapajós dam. {youtube}                                                           Stand for the Amazon - Keep Tapajós Alive                                            Amazon Water War: Fires, Hydro Dams, Climate Change S.O.S. Recommended:  Water War Between India, Pakistan: Kashmir and Jammu Not a Single Drop More of Indigenous Blood (October, November 2019) As we speak, a group of Brazilian indigenous leaders is taking matters in their own hands. They will attempt to defend the rights of their people and territory by visiting a dozen European countries, starting in Italy and ending in Spain, via Germany, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Here, they will shed light on the violations and crimes committed by the Brazilian government, and most notably its highly controversial president Jair Bolsonaro.   Recommended: Indigenous Blood: Not a Single Drop More These leaders include Sonia Guajajara, Nara Baré, Alberto Terena, Angela Kaxuyana, Celia   Xakriabá, Dinamam Tuxá, Elizeu Guarani Kaiowá, and Kretã Kaingang. Every single one of them impressive human beings, who want to establish a dialogue and gain the support of European citizens. Eventually, they hope to kickstart real political action, and highlight the violations of human rights in the region.   Sonia Guajajara By making people, companies and governments aware of the actual circumstances under which goods are produced, they are hoping to call a halt to the growing investments in the region. This is a very important issue, as data from an APIB report published back in April shows that companies from the United States and Europe are most definitely complicit in the destruction of the Amazon. Under the stress of increasing competition, rising demand and falling prices, we are looking at the ugly face of global trade rearing its head. This has now led to blatant ignorance and borderline criminal activities taking place in one of the world’s most sacred places. In the past, it has even led to the armed invasion of indigenous lands in order to exploit their natural riches. Alberto Terena Even criminal organisations and networks are playing a part in the deforestation and wildfires in the Amazon. With the impactful changes in policy made by president Bolsonaro, which have mainly served to loosen environmental regulations, illegal logging and other forms of exploitation of the land have taken flight. Once again, those living in the forest are suffering most from those often violent attacks on their land. The word ‘genocide’ has even been coined to describe this effect. Angela Kaxuyana in the middle A shame, knowing that those indigenous people might play an important role in combatting global climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has actually credited those communities as being the ‘guardians of the forest’, with their sustainable practices and extensive knowledge of the land serving as the guiding principle for meaningful climate change action. Recommended:  Climate Change: Water Scarcity, Hunger, Agriculture And Food Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam In The Amazon Poorly Planned (Nov 2019) Coming back to the controversial Belo Monte dam example mentioned at the beginning of this article, the one that Antonia Melo and her people are fighting hard to prevent. It is not just the matter of preventing the flooding of Altamira town that should bother you. There is a critical flaw in the design of this massive hydroelectric project, one that could potentially threaten human life and global ecosystems in one go. Insider documents and expert testimonies have indicated that the dam’s engineers may have underestimated the undeniable impact that water shortages will have on the Pimental dam, that is currently serving as a downstream barrier. Now, a choice will have to be made between a structural weakening of the dam or the reallocation of water in the reservoir or on the Xingu river. The latter solution will have a major impact on the indigenous communities who live here and rely on the water for their livelihood.   There is a significant risk of the dam rupturing, something so alarming that it has led to federal prosecutors calling for a suspension of the project and emergency aid for those living in the fishing villages that are now faced with a major decline in fish, their main source of food and income. Despite all of this, the dam is still scheduled to open this month, having cost a measly €9.3 billion thus far. While the last of its 18 turbines is being installed, the low water levels in the reservoirs have highlighted those structural problems. A section of the Pimental dam downstream has been exposed, unveiling its incapacity of dealing with major waves that might occur now that the Belo Monte dam is completed. Deforestation at Belo Monte Those living downstream of the dam are rightfully worried, with recent dam disasters in Brumadinho and Mariana still fresh in the collective memory. As of yet, the Brazilian government has not committed to any remedial action or acknowledgement of the risk to the public.   Recommended:  Water War Brewing Over New River Nile Dam: Egypt, Ethiopia Save The Amazon, Save The World It is once again testament to the unwillingness of Brazilian leaders and, indeed, world leaders to take action to save the Amazon. Paradoxically, the Amazon might just be what saves us, provided that it is well taken care of. Now that this appears to be unlikely, we will be facing increasing deforestation, as well as a disastrous loss of valuable ecosystems and a general decline of biodiversity.   The Belo Monte dam actually serves as the personification of everything that is wrong with our management of the Amazon. Fuelled by corporate greed and political games, the project has been pushed through - despite obvious and pressing concerns for both human life and biodiversity. The loss of valuable nature has been deemed acceptable, while construction errors have made it obvious that the project is a big mistake. Yet this will most likely be ignored - consequences for the people living downstream be damned.   A better metaphor for global environmental policies will be difficult to find. Before you go! Recommended:  Brazil Is Burning For Your Beef: Amazon’s Nature, Our Luxury Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
The Amazon has long served as one of the world’s final frontiers. It covers well over 7 million square meters, largely comprised of rainforest. The vast size and the unfriendly terrain have led to portions of it still being uncharted, with entire indigenous tribes having only recently been discovered. This has led to an air of mysticism surrounding the region, serving as an active magnet in attracting adventure seekers from all around the world. Amazon Water War All the more reason why it is such a shame that this precious land is disappearing as we speak. Thousands and thousands are suffering directly from the development projects currently being executed in the Amazon. And in a few years, all of us around the world will be suffering from the loss as well.   Why, you ask? There are some key developments that have put the future of the world’s largest rainforest at stake, along with the people, animals and plants that live in it. Some of these developments are initiated by Brazil, the country with the largest share of Amazon land, while others are indeed a truly global effort. Eventually, companies from all over the world will have a hand in the destruction of this glorious piece of nature’s glory. Brazil Belo Monte Dam. Flooding Of Altamira Town And Displacement (2015) Altamira on the Xingu River, a staging area for the controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric project now nearing completion. Long time residents lament the loss of the forests and grittiness of the town. One person who has made it their personal mission to stop this from happening, is Antonia Melo. This impressive lady was born in 1949 and has spent a considerable amount of her life in the Xingu Alive Forever Movement, a coalition of organisations and social movements that are fighting the construction of the Belo Monte dam. Her movement has rallied churches, schools, communities and NGOs in an effort to stop the Belo Monte from being built. This construction project will have far-reaching consequences for the town of Altamira, which will be flooded if the dam is finished. It is not surprising that the locals are speaking out against their forced displacement. Projects like the Belo Monte are at the heart of the issue, showing everything that is wrong with the governmental treatment of the Amazon. Indigenous and non-indigenous communities alike will feel the consequences of this profit-driven decision. The Belo Monte project has been flawed with illegality and prosperous mismanagement, from the unlawful blocking of the river up to the failure to implement health services and the forgoing of demarcation of indigenous lands.   Dismolishing, flooding of Altamira Town and displacement Ultimately, nature and local communities will be hit the hardest by this blatant display of governmental greed. The indigenous people will lose their access to clean drinking water and fishing waters, while the 400+ islands lost represent a disastrous loss of ecosystems, not to mention a drastic hit to the local economy. Recommended:  Asia’s Water War: China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam Brazils Amazon Dams Risk Destroying Heart Of The Amazon (2016) The Belo Monte dam is not an isolated case. Across the Amazon, there are dozens of major dam projects underway that will irrevocably and irreparably harm its natural glory. Anyone arguing that the economic benefits to this are worth the loss of land and the negative impact that it will have on indigenous people will be hard pressed to find arguments to back up this claim. Just look at the multitude of dams occupying the Tapajós river, which have been hailed by the Brazilian government as the solution to the country’s pressing electricity shortages. They go a long way in fulfilling the country’s ambition to increase their hydropower capacity by 25 gigawatt, while simultaneously leading to the construction of a major waterway that will serve as the highway for the country’s export of soy and crops to Europe. While this sounds like a great plan, the downside is considerable. There is much debate regarding the amount of energy that these dams will actually generate, while the ecological effects are significant. It will flood acres and acres of valuable forest lands, destroying millions of trees and opening the way for major exploitation projects.   Similarly, a project setting out to build the sixth largest hydroelectric dam in the world - the 8,000 megawatt São Luiz do Tapajós dam - will completely obliterate the land of the Munduruku people, once again flooding a considerable amount of the rainforest. Not just dangerous for the Munduruku people, but also for the rest of us, all around the world. Without wanting to sound obnoxious: these rainforests truly are the lungs of the world. A member of the Munduruku indigenous group. The Munduruku people, with a population of 12,000, have lived in the region for centuries. They have been resisting hydropower developments on tributaries of the Tapajós for decades The Munduruku and other people impacted by the construction of dams in the Tapajós river have called out the authorities for their blatant disrespect for nature. Unfortunately it looks as if they are not to be swayed, now that various international companies and banks have expressed their interest in projects like the São Luiz do Tapajós dam. {youtube}                                                           Stand for the Amazon - Keep Tapajós Alive                                            Amazon Water War: Fires, Hydro Dams, Climate Change S.O.S. Recommended:  Water War Between India, Pakistan: Kashmir and Jammu Not a Single Drop More of Indigenous Blood (October, November 2019) As we speak, a group of Brazilian indigenous leaders is taking matters in their own hands. They will attempt to defend the rights of their people and territory by visiting a dozen European countries, starting in Italy and ending in Spain, via Germany, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Here, they will shed light on the violations and crimes committed by the Brazilian government, and most notably its highly controversial president Jair Bolsonaro.   Recommended: Indigenous Blood: Not a Single Drop More These leaders include Sonia Guajajara, Nara Baré, Alberto Terena, Angela Kaxuyana, Celia   Xakriabá, Dinamam Tuxá, Elizeu Guarani Kaiowá, and Kretã Kaingang. Every single one of them impressive human beings, who want to establish a dialogue and gain the support of European citizens. Eventually, they hope to kickstart real political action, and highlight the violations of human rights in the region.   Sonia Guajajara By making people, companies and governments aware of the actual circumstances under which goods are produced, they are hoping to call a halt to the growing investments in the region. This is a very important issue, as data from an APIB report published back in April shows that companies from the United States and Europe are most definitely complicit in the destruction of the Amazon. Under the stress of increasing competition, rising demand and falling prices, we are looking at the ugly face of global trade rearing its head. This has now led to blatant ignorance and borderline criminal activities taking place in one of the world’s most sacred places. In the past, it has even led to the armed invasion of indigenous lands in order to exploit their natural riches. Alberto Terena Even criminal organisations and networks are playing a part in the deforestation and wildfires in the Amazon. With the impactful changes in policy made by president Bolsonaro, which have mainly served to loosen environmental regulations, illegal logging and other forms of exploitation of the land have taken flight. Once again, those living in the forest are suffering most from those often violent attacks on their land. The word ‘genocide’ has even been coined to describe this effect. Angela Kaxuyana in the middle A shame, knowing that those indigenous people might play an important role in combatting global climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has actually credited those communities as being the ‘guardians of the forest’, with their sustainable practices and extensive knowledge of the land serving as the guiding principle for meaningful climate change action. Recommended:  Climate Change: Water Scarcity, Hunger, Agriculture And Food Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam In The Amazon Poorly Planned (Nov 2019) Coming back to the controversial Belo Monte dam example mentioned at the beginning of this article, the one that Antonia Melo and her people are fighting hard to prevent. It is not just the matter of preventing the flooding of Altamira town that should bother you. There is a critical flaw in the design of this massive hydroelectric project, one that could potentially threaten human life and global ecosystems in one go. Insider documents and expert testimonies have indicated that the dam’s engineers may have underestimated the undeniable impact that water shortages will have on the Pimental dam, that is currently serving as a downstream barrier. Now, a choice will have to be made between a structural weakening of the dam or the reallocation of water in the reservoir or on the Xingu river. The latter solution will have a major impact on the indigenous communities who live here and rely on the water for their livelihood.   There is a significant risk of the dam rupturing, something so alarming that it has led to federal prosecutors calling for a suspension of the project and emergency aid for those living in the fishing villages that are now faced with a major decline in fish, their main source of food and income. Despite all of this, the dam is still scheduled to open this month, having cost a measly €9.3 billion thus far. While the last of its 18 turbines is being installed, the low water levels in the reservoirs have highlighted those structural problems. A section of the Pimental dam downstream has been exposed, unveiling its incapacity of dealing with major waves that might occur now that the Belo Monte dam is completed. Deforestation at Belo Monte Those living downstream of the dam are rightfully worried, with recent dam disasters in Brumadinho and Mariana still fresh in the collective memory. As of yet, the Brazilian government has not committed to any remedial action or acknowledgement of the risk to the public.   Recommended:  Water War Brewing Over New River Nile Dam: Egypt, Ethiopia Save The Amazon, Save The World It is once again testament to the unwillingness of Brazilian leaders and, indeed, world leaders to take action to save the Amazon. Paradoxically, the Amazon might just be what saves us, provided that it is well taken care of. Now that this appears to be unlikely, we will be facing increasing deforestation, as well as a disastrous loss of valuable ecosystems and a general decline of biodiversity.   The Belo Monte dam actually serves as the personification of everything that is wrong with our management of the Amazon. Fuelled by corporate greed and political games, the project has been pushed through - despite obvious and pressing concerns for both human life and biodiversity. The loss of valuable nature has been deemed acceptable, while construction errors have made it obvious that the project is a big mistake. Yet this will most likely be ignored - consequences for the people living downstream be damned.   A better metaphor for global environmental policies will be difficult to find. Before you go! Recommended:  Brazil Is Burning For Your Beef: Amazon’s Nature, Our Luxury Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Amazon Water War: Fires, Hydro Dams, Climate Change S.O.S.
Amazon Water War: Fires, Hydro Dams, Climate Change S.O.S.
Climate Change And Flu: Is there A Connection?
No one will be surprised to hear that there is a worryingly wide range of problems associated with climate change. From extreme weather events to melting ice caps and the extinction of animal species - these have all been well-researched to fall somewhere in the range of ‘likely’ to ‘highly probable’. Perhaps not as obvious is the rise of the flu, as a direct result of climate change. How does that even work? Let’s try to find out in this article and read the Tips & Tricks to avoid or treat Flu! Climate Change And Flu Ironically, initial research seemed to point towards climate change actually benefitting our health. It was thought to be one of the few positives to a very negative, with fewer deaths to mourn as a result of respiratory illnesses. After all, those are common in colder areas, where flu gets to spread like a wildfire as the result of harsh winter days and poor ventilation. Warmer weather would, logically speaking, counteract this. Unfortunately, new research has cast doubt over this hypothesis. In a worrisome twist, some are now concerned that climate change could actually worsen pandemics. This has to do with the way in which viruses, including influenza and HIV, develop and spread. It has already been proven that certain strains of influenza, usually occurring in the winter, are now able to survive in warmer temperatures. Recommended:  Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected What has also been found is that seasonal diseases like the influenza are rearing their ugly heads earlier in the year - all while being more powerful. There appears to be a strong link between warm winters and the consequent flu breakouts immediately after. Meaning, a warm winter with a mild flu season will usually trigger an earlier and more severe flu outbreak in the following year. This explains why these viruses have been found in Asia during their summer months, having been brought over by birds, who have been pushed further north by climate change and warmer winters. This allows them to come in contact with other bird species and, consequently, other forms of influenza. Together, this leads to poultry interchanging flu types and incubating new and potentially dangerous new strains. These feathered migrating creatures then hold the power of spreading these diseases over the world, with our regular influenza seeding in Southeast Asia before taking over the rest of the world in a miserable swoop during our winters. Older adults (above 65 years) According to the CDC , people aged 65 and older are at a greater risk for serious complications from the flu. This is because the immune system typically weakens with age. Flu infection can also worsen long-term health conditions, like heart disease, lung disease, and asthma. Some of this has been contributed to the changing La Niña, an increase in the intensity and frequency of this weather phenomenon, causing different flu types to converge as a result of birds and animals that are normally not found together mixing. Not only does this lead to more creatures being infected, it also moulds influenza genetic material in new combinations. We Can’t Predict How Bad 2019th Year’s Flu Season Will Be The outlook for 2019’s flu season is not particularly rosy, based on the relatively mild 2018 season and warm winters. Yet it is nearly impossible to predict until we find ourselves in the midst of the epidemic - at which point there is not much to do but sit it out. And ‘sitting it out’ can be anything from a mild nuisance to a life-threatening event. The influenza illness, or the flu in short, is characterised by a sudden onset of a high fever, chills, muscle aches, tiredness and a dry cough - symptoms that get progressively worse over the first few days. Although most people infected will not require any medical attention, there are instances where high-risk groups, including the pregnant and elderly, could suffer from very dangerous complications. {youtube}                                                                      Flu Virus 101 | National Geographic                                                            Climate Change And Flu: Is there A Connection?   In 2018, the World Health Organisation characterised that year’s flu season as pretty mild. This characterisation is made based on the speed of circulation, the seriousness, and the impact of the  disease. So, in short, how fast it spreads, how many people are hospitalised or even die, and the strain it puts on hospitals and doctors. In 2017, on the other hand, there was a pretty serious outbreak, that started early and had a serious impact on society. And it looks as if 2019 is going to follow in its footsteps. Flu, Why Is It So Hard To Predict? The problem with making predictions regarding the severity of the flu season is the fact that there are actually four different types of viruses to consider, that can be categorised in influenza types A, with subtypes H1N1pdm09 and H3N2, and B, with lineages B/Victoria and B/Yamagata. Although those at higher risk may choose to get vaccinated, these vaccinations only protect against certain of those (sub)types. What this means is that those vaccinated will not be fully covered against all types - nor will a previous infection with one type protect you against other types. Add to this that influenza viruses are in constant flux, meaning that a certain vaccine or previous infection will not grant immunity for next season’s slightly altered viruses, and it is not hard to see why flu can be such a tough opponent. Additionally, it poses a problem for tracking the specific (sub)types: hospitals and doctors generally do not collect information on the specific viruses that they come across in their practice. Not only is this process time-consuming and costly, it does not add anything of value to the treatment plan either. An unfortunate side effect is that it makes it that much harder to observe the circulation pattern of a specific virus, in turn making general flu patterns across seasons hard to predict. Flu, What’s Happening Elsewhere In The World? Not only is it hard to predict flu trends over time, it is equally hard to find trends over space. Even though increased (air) travel has made it easier for viruses to mutate and find their way across the globe, there is no consistent pattern of flu viruses travelling the globe. During the same flu season, very different viruses can dominate on different continents. Where is influenza most common? A study in 2015 looked into where influenza is most common, alongside how it spreads around the globe. While there are cases of it appearing all around the world, scientists found that it is far more prominent in the east than in the west, particularly in Southeast Asia. Even the timing can differ. Particularly in (sub)tropical areas, where there are no real winters, there can be multiple flu seasons each year, circulating at vastly different times. Some have pointed at climate or even tourism as the reason for this variation, although a causal relationship is yet to be established. It is notoriously hard to predict those kind of patterns as well, although we are slowly getting to a place where modern technologies and an increased understanding of the flu are allowing for better analysis and tracking. Yet there is still a long way to go. Definite History Of The Flu Looking back in time, though, we are certainly much more on the ball than we ever were before. We are documenting and analysing far more than our ancestors. The very first reported instances of the flu might date back to 500 BCE, with Greek historians reporting on a so-called ‘three-year plague’, that boasted symptoms much like our flu. However, descriptions were so scarce that many historians are not convinced that it actually was. What we do know is that the disease did not get its name until well in the 14th century, when the term ‘influenza’, the Italian word for ‘influence’, was coined to describe it. This ‘influence’ was contributed to either cold weather or a misalignment of stars and planets. And although many different terms have been used to describe it since, this is the one that stuck. Although the beast had been given a name, it was not until some 80 years ago that scientists actually managed to debunk the flu virus, thanks to the invention of the electron microscope. Pictures of the flu could now be made and shared, with distinctions finally made between the most prominent types. Soon after, the first influenza vaccines hit the market, including those that were capable of preventing more than one strain. As the world evolved, so did the flu and our ways of dealing with it. Unfortunately, with climate change ramping up, we are about to enter a new phase of epidemics, pandemics and the spread of diseases like the flu. Climate change might even amplify its causes and effects and lead to the creation of mutated, vaccine-resistant strains that can be equally hard to control and contain. Tips & Tricks to Avoid Colds And Flu This Winter That sounds like doom and gloom. Yet it is important to realise that there is always something that we can do about it. What is the best way of staying ahead of the flu, even in this time of climate change possibly amplifying its spread and severity? There are a few tips and tricks that will minimise your chances of contracting it. Wash hands For most of us, washing our hands is a totally normal thing to do. During flu season, you might consider doing so a bit more often. Most viruses are transmitted by air, although they can just as easily be transferred through physical contact. Once we get the disease-spreading germs on our hands, they can easily invade our bodies when we touch our eyes, mouths or noses. By frequently washing our hands with soap and drying them using clean hand towels or paper towels, it will be much harder for a virus to get a hold of us. Dress appropriately Although the concept of ‘having caught a cold’ by standing out in the literal cold has been somewhat debunked, it is still imperative to stay warm and dress appropriately during the colder seasons. Once we are cold, we tend to shiver - an action that affects our immune system, making us more susceptible to lurking viruses. Get yourself a decent sweater and coat, and don’t forget your hat, as we lose quite a bit of our body heat through our head. Avoid crowded spaces One of the preferred breeding grounds for viruses is public transportation, alongside crowded stores and poorly ventilated office buildings. Basically, small and cramped spaces in which a lot of people crowd together. Here, infections spread easily, jumping from one person to the next. The fact that central heating is blasting in most of those spaces does not help either, as this tends to weaken our natural defences and negatively affect our respiratory system. Take vitamins Vitamins are a great way of boosting your immune system. Various minerals and herbs have been proven to help us kick nasty viruses to the curb. Zinc, vitamin C and garlic have been found to reduce the frequency of colds and flu. Echinacea, a plant used by the native Americans to combat infections, is another great booster of our immune system. Taking some kind of multivitamin that includes those minerals and herbs can really do wonders in avoiding the next round of flu going around. Keep an eye on the weather Certain weather conditions have been found to be a real breeding ground for nasty germs. Especially when there are low cloud, dull and misty conditions, so when there is a lot of moist in the air, viruses tend to survive (much) longer. They will attach themselves to the water droplets, while a lack of wind will keep them around, instead of being blown away. So be wary of going outside when this kind of weather is forecast. Sleep well One of the hardest things to do in our busy lives is to ensure that we get a decent night’s sleep. Unfortunately, it is extremely important for our health: a lack of sleep has been found to be a risk factor for contracting the flu or other infections. Yet it is not just getting enough hours of sleep that matters, your state of mind also helps. If you are happy and content, this will reflect positively on your immune system. Being stressed and overworked, on the other hand, will be a sure way of catching that nasty bug going around at work. Drink plenty Drinking plenty of water is one of the most commonly given pieces of advice by doctors and medical professionals worldwide. Water will quite literally flush out all toxins and bad elements from our bodies, making it harder for any viruses to gain a foothold. And even if you find yourself having caught an infection, water will once again be your best friend, helping you to get it out of your system again as soon as possible. Exercise frequently Did you know that regular exercising will summon the so-called natural killer cells in our bodies? These little soldiers are tasked with finding and fighting all kind of invaders, making us more resistant against infections. At the same time, going on a jog or hitting the gym will be a great way of keeping our circulation going. Our bodies are simply better at dealing with any foreign threats when subjected to regular exercise. Recommended:  Getting Healthier By Eating Sustainable Food And Taking Exercise Tips & Tricks To Ease Flu Symptoms Still managed to contract a nasty flu? Then rest assured that you are not alone, as millions and millions of people are hit by this disease each year. And while there really is not much that you can do to prevent or cure it, there are some natural ways of relieving its worst symptoms. How long does it take to get over the flu? In general, healthy people usually get over a cold in 7 to 10 days. Flu symptoms, including fever, should go away after about 5 days, but you may still have a cough and feel weak a few days longer. All your symptoms should be gone within 1 to 2 weeks. Rest at home The healing power of a good nap in your own bed might even outshine that of the commonly prescribed medicines. Make sure that you cancel all and any plans that you may have, preferably for the next few days - as you are now contagious and pretty sick. Make good use of those extra hours in bed to give your ailing body some rest. Drink, drink, and drink some more! Drinking is important in preventing infections, but even if you already find yourself the unfortunate owner of a brand new strain of the flu, drinking is a great way of getting rid of it as soon as possible. It does not necessarily have to be water. If you prefer fruit juices, sports drinks or broth-based soups, they will do the trick as well. Staying hydrated does wonders for your respiratory system and will flush that bug out of your system before you know it. Fight the fever Running a fever means that your body is busy fighting this nasty invader. The best thing for you to do is help it by getting your hands on appropriate over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen, which will both lower your fever and fight the associated aches. Fight the cough While you are already in the pharmacy, you might want to pick up something for that nasty cough that has accompanied the infection. Other ways of clearing your airways and unclogging that runny nose include sitting in a hot, steamy bathroom, using a humidifier, sucking on a lozenge, or trying out a salt-based nose spray. Fighting The Flu Whether you are simply suffering from the ‘sniffles’ or a climate change activist warning against the effect that global warming will have on the flu, it is important to realise that we can do quite a bit in preventing the disease from grabbing a hold of us in the first place. The earlier tips on preventing the flu are vital in staying healthy, although the question remains whether this will sustainable in the long run. With climate change drastically changing the world as we know it, it is likely to also change the way in which we get sick. This might mean that the flu will change from something relatively innocent into something looming and potentially dangerous. New mutations and variations might spread across the world faster than ever before and create more havoc as winters get warmer and flu seasons intensify. Up to us to avoid a future where the simple common cold might actually turn into a killer epidemic. Before you go! Recommended:  Smart Sustainable Lifestyle Changing Tips & Tricks For 2019 Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
No one will be surprised to hear that there is a worryingly wide range of problems associated with climate change. From extreme weather events to melting ice caps and the extinction of animal species - these have all been well-researched to fall somewhere in the range of ‘likely’ to ‘highly probable’. Perhaps not as obvious is the rise of the flu, as a direct result of climate change. How does that even work? Let’s try to find out in this article and read the Tips & Tricks to avoid or treat Flu! Climate Change And Flu Ironically, initial research seemed to point towards climate change actually benefitting our health. It was thought to be one of the few positives to a very negative, with fewer deaths to mourn as a result of respiratory illnesses. After all, those are common in colder areas, where flu gets to spread like a wildfire as the result of harsh winter days and poor ventilation. Warmer weather would, logically speaking, counteract this. Unfortunately, new research has cast doubt over this hypothesis. In a worrisome twist, some are now concerned that climate change could actually worsen pandemics. This has to do with the way in which viruses, including influenza and HIV, develop and spread. It has already been proven that certain strains of influenza, usually occurring in the winter, are now able to survive in warmer temperatures. Recommended:  Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected What has also been found is that seasonal diseases like the influenza are rearing their ugly heads earlier in the year - all while being more powerful. There appears to be a strong link between warm winters and the consequent flu breakouts immediately after. Meaning, a warm winter with a mild flu season will usually trigger an earlier and more severe flu outbreak in the following year. This explains why these viruses have been found in Asia during their summer months, having been brought over by birds, who have been pushed further north by climate change and warmer winters. This allows them to come in contact with other bird species and, consequently, other forms of influenza. Together, this leads to poultry interchanging flu types and incubating new and potentially dangerous new strains. These feathered migrating creatures then hold the power of spreading these diseases over the world, with our regular influenza seeding in Southeast Asia before taking over the rest of the world in a miserable swoop during our winters. Older adults (above 65 years) According to the CDC , people aged 65 and older are at a greater risk for serious complications from the flu. This is because the immune system typically weakens with age. Flu infection can also worsen long-term health conditions, like heart disease, lung disease, and asthma. Some of this has been contributed to the changing La Niña, an increase in the intensity and frequency of this weather phenomenon, causing different flu types to converge as a result of birds and animals that are normally not found together mixing. Not only does this lead to more creatures being infected, it also moulds influenza genetic material in new combinations. We Can’t Predict How Bad 2019th Year’s Flu Season Will Be The outlook for 2019’s flu season is not particularly rosy, based on the relatively mild 2018 season and warm winters. Yet it is nearly impossible to predict until we find ourselves in the midst of the epidemic - at which point there is not much to do but sit it out. And ‘sitting it out’ can be anything from a mild nuisance to a life-threatening event. The influenza illness, or the flu in short, is characterised by a sudden onset of a high fever, chills, muscle aches, tiredness and a dry cough - symptoms that get progressively worse over the first few days. Although most people infected will not require any medical attention, there are instances where high-risk groups, including the pregnant and elderly, could suffer from very dangerous complications. {youtube}                                                                      Flu Virus 101 | National Geographic                                                            Climate Change And Flu: Is there A Connection?   In 2018, the World Health Organisation characterised that year’s flu season as pretty mild. This characterisation is made based on the speed of circulation, the seriousness, and the impact of the  disease. So, in short, how fast it spreads, how many people are hospitalised or even die, and the strain it puts on hospitals and doctors. In 2017, on the other hand, there was a pretty serious outbreak, that started early and had a serious impact on society. And it looks as if 2019 is going to follow in its footsteps. Flu, Why Is It So Hard To Predict? The problem with making predictions regarding the severity of the flu season is the fact that there are actually four different types of viruses to consider, that can be categorised in influenza types A, with subtypes H1N1pdm09 and H3N2, and B, with lineages B/Victoria and B/Yamagata. Although those at higher risk may choose to get vaccinated, these vaccinations only protect against certain of those (sub)types. What this means is that those vaccinated will not be fully covered against all types - nor will a previous infection with one type protect you against other types. Add to this that influenza viruses are in constant flux, meaning that a certain vaccine or previous infection will not grant immunity for next season’s slightly altered viruses, and it is not hard to see why flu can be such a tough opponent. Additionally, it poses a problem for tracking the specific (sub)types: hospitals and doctors generally do not collect information on the specific viruses that they come across in their practice. Not only is this process time-consuming and costly, it does not add anything of value to the treatment plan either. An unfortunate side effect is that it makes it that much harder to observe the circulation pattern of a specific virus, in turn making general flu patterns across seasons hard to predict. Flu, What’s Happening Elsewhere In The World? Not only is it hard to predict flu trends over time, it is equally hard to find trends over space. Even though increased (air) travel has made it easier for viruses to mutate and find their way across the globe, there is no consistent pattern of flu viruses travelling the globe. During the same flu season, very different viruses can dominate on different continents. Where is influenza most common? A study in 2015 looked into where influenza is most common, alongside how it spreads around the globe. While there are cases of it appearing all around the world, scientists found that it is far more prominent in the east than in the west, particularly in Southeast Asia. Even the timing can differ. Particularly in (sub)tropical areas, where there are no real winters, there can be multiple flu seasons each year, circulating at vastly different times. Some have pointed at climate or even tourism as the reason for this variation, although a causal relationship is yet to be established. It is notoriously hard to predict those kind of patterns as well, although we are slowly getting to a place where modern technologies and an increased understanding of the flu are allowing for better analysis and tracking. Yet there is still a long way to go. Definite History Of The Flu Looking back in time, though, we are certainly much more on the ball than we ever were before. We are documenting and analysing far more than our ancestors. The very first reported instances of the flu might date back to 500 BCE, with Greek historians reporting on a so-called ‘three-year plague’, that boasted symptoms much like our flu. However, descriptions were so scarce that many historians are not convinced that it actually was. What we do know is that the disease did not get its name until well in the 14th century, when the term ‘influenza’, the Italian word for ‘influence’, was coined to describe it. This ‘influence’ was contributed to either cold weather or a misalignment of stars and planets. And although many different terms have been used to describe it since, this is the one that stuck. Although the beast had been given a name, it was not until some 80 years ago that scientists actually managed to debunk the flu virus, thanks to the invention of the electron microscope. Pictures of the flu could now be made and shared, with distinctions finally made between the most prominent types. Soon after, the first influenza vaccines hit the market, including those that were capable of preventing more than one strain. As the world evolved, so did the flu and our ways of dealing with it. Unfortunately, with climate change ramping up, we are about to enter a new phase of epidemics, pandemics and the spread of diseases like the flu. Climate change might even amplify its causes and effects and lead to the creation of mutated, vaccine-resistant strains that can be equally hard to control and contain. Tips & Tricks to Avoid Colds And Flu This Winter That sounds like doom and gloom. Yet it is important to realise that there is always something that we can do about it. What is the best way of staying ahead of the flu, even in this time of climate change possibly amplifying its spread and severity? There are a few tips and tricks that will minimise your chances of contracting it. Wash hands For most of us, washing our hands is a totally normal thing to do. During flu season, you might consider doing so a bit more often. Most viruses are transmitted by air, although they can just as easily be transferred through physical contact. Once we get the disease-spreading germs on our hands, they can easily invade our bodies when we touch our eyes, mouths or noses. By frequently washing our hands with soap and drying them using clean hand towels or paper towels, it will be much harder for a virus to get a hold of us. Dress appropriately Although the concept of ‘having caught a cold’ by standing out in the literal cold has been somewhat debunked, it is still imperative to stay warm and dress appropriately during the colder seasons. Once we are cold, we tend to shiver - an action that affects our immune system, making us more susceptible to lurking viruses. Get yourself a decent sweater and coat, and don’t forget your hat, as we lose quite a bit of our body heat through our head. Avoid crowded spaces One of the preferred breeding grounds for viruses is public transportation, alongside crowded stores and poorly ventilated office buildings. Basically, small and cramped spaces in which a lot of people crowd together. Here, infections spread easily, jumping from one person to the next. The fact that central heating is blasting in most of those spaces does not help either, as this tends to weaken our natural defences and negatively affect our respiratory system. Take vitamins Vitamins are a great way of boosting your immune system. Various minerals and herbs have been proven to help us kick nasty viruses to the curb. Zinc, vitamin C and garlic have been found to reduce the frequency of colds and flu. Echinacea, a plant used by the native Americans to combat infections, is another great booster of our immune system. Taking some kind of multivitamin that includes those minerals and herbs can really do wonders in avoiding the next round of flu going around. Keep an eye on the weather Certain weather conditions have been found to be a real breeding ground for nasty germs. Especially when there are low cloud, dull and misty conditions, so when there is a lot of moist in the air, viruses tend to survive (much) longer. They will attach themselves to the water droplets, while a lack of wind will keep them around, instead of being blown away. So be wary of going outside when this kind of weather is forecast. Sleep well One of the hardest things to do in our busy lives is to ensure that we get a decent night’s sleep. Unfortunately, it is extremely important for our health: a lack of sleep has been found to be a risk factor for contracting the flu or other infections. Yet it is not just getting enough hours of sleep that matters, your state of mind also helps. If you are happy and content, this will reflect positively on your immune system. Being stressed and overworked, on the other hand, will be a sure way of catching that nasty bug going around at work. Drink plenty Drinking plenty of water is one of the most commonly given pieces of advice by doctors and medical professionals worldwide. Water will quite literally flush out all toxins and bad elements from our bodies, making it harder for any viruses to gain a foothold. And even if you find yourself having caught an infection, water will once again be your best friend, helping you to get it out of your system again as soon as possible. Exercise frequently Did you know that regular exercising will summon the so-called natural killer cells in our bodies? These little soldiers are tasked with finding and fighting all kind of invaders, making us more resistant against infections. At the same time, going on a jog or hitting the gym will be a great way of keeping our circulation going. Our bodies are simply better at dealing with any foreign threats when subjected to regular exercise. Recommended:  Getting Healthier By Eating Sustainable Food And Taking Exercise Tips & Tricks To Ease Flu Symptoms Still managed to contract a nasty flu? Then rest assured that you are not alone, as millions and millions of people are hit by this disease each year. And while there really is not much that you can do to prevent or cure it, there are some natural ways of relieving its worst symptoms. How long does it take to get over the flu? In general, healthy people usually get over a cold in 7 to 10 days. Flu symptoms, including fever, should go away after about 5 days, but you may still have a cough and feel weak a few days longer. All your symptoms should be gone within 1 to 2 weeks. Rest at home The healing power of a good nap in your own bed might even outshine that of the commonly prescribed medicines. Make sure that you cancel all and any plans that you may have, preferably for the next few days - as you are now contagious and pretty sick. Make good use of those extra hours in bed to give your ailing body some rest. Drink, drink, and drink some more! Drinking is important in preventing infections, but even if you already find yourself the unfortunate owner of a brand new strain of the flu, drinking is a great way of getting rid of it as soon as possible. It does not necessarily have to be water. If you prefer fruit juices, sports drinks or broth-based soups, they will do the trick as well. Staying hydrated does wonders for your respiratory system and will flush that bug out of your system before you know it. Fight the fever Running a fever means that your body is busy fighting this nasty invader. The best thing for you to do is help it by getting your hands on appropriate over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen, which will both lower your fever and fight the associated aches. Fight the cough While you are already in the pharmacy, you might want to pick up something for that nasty cough that has accompanied the infection. Other ways of clearing your airways and unclogging that runny nose include sitting in a hot, steamy bathroom, using a humidifier, sucking on a lozenge, or trying out a salt-based nose spray. Fighting The Flu Whether you are simply suffering from the ‘sniffles’ or a climate change activist warning against the effect that global warming will have on the flu, it is important to realise that we can do quite a bit in preventing the disease from grabbing a hold of us in the first place. The earlier tips on preventing the flu are vital in staying healthy, although the question remains whether this will sustainable in the long run. With climate change drastically changing the world as we know it, it is likely to also change the way in which we get sick. This might mean that the flu will change from something relatively innocent into something looming and potentially dangerous. New mutations and variations might spread across the world faster than ever before and create more havoc as winters get warmer and flu seasons intensify. Up to us to avoid a future where the simple common cold might actually turn into a killer epidemic. Before you go! Recommended:  Smart Sustainable Lifestyle Changing Tips & Tricks For 2019 Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Climate Change And Flu: Is there A Connection?
Why Is Our Renewable Technology Powered By Child Labor?
An estimated 8 to 10 million people in DRC are dependent on artisanal mining for their livelihood. Forcing companies to pull out from the DRC could lead to mass devastation and result in causing many more complicated problems than it solves. Powered By Child Labor: Amnesty International A 2016 investigation by Amnesty International revealed that several major electronics brands were not even attempting to carry out the most basic inspections to make sure child labor wasn’t used to mine the cobalt for phones. These brands included Apple (which has a net worth of more than $1 trillion), Samsung (also with a net worth of more than $1 trillion), and Sony (with a net worth of about $74 billion). The job of sourcing cobalt is often designated for children as young as seven years old, who spend up to 12 hours every day in mines. With every breath these children take, they inhale potentially deadly mineral dust whose lethal consequences may not happen until years later. And with each rock they dig, they risk causing a fatal tunnel collapse that could kill them instantly. In return, they are often paid the equivalent of $1-$2 (U.S.) per day. Amnesty’s report, This Is What We Die For, documents these hazardous conditions. More than three years after these problems were exposed, the human rights abuses remain widespread.                                          Special report : Inside the Congo cobalt mines that exploit children                                               Why Is Our Renewable Technology Powered By Child Labor? Renewable Technology And By Child Labor Are Tech Companies At Fault? All major electronics brands publicly state they will not tolerate human rights abuses in their supply chains. But it’s easy to say this; verifying it is another matter. The reality is that supply chains are so complicated that very few companies are able to verify the information they receive from their suppliers — and some companies aren’t even trying. How dangerous is cobalt? Cobalt dust may cause an asthma-like disease with symptoms ranging from cough, shortness of breath and dyspnea to decreased pulmonary function, nodular fibrosis, permanent disability, and death. Exposure to cobalt may cause weight loss, dermatitis, and respiratory hypersensitivity. Perhaps more shockingly, even the companies that do carry out investigations have not revealed to the public any risks and abuses they’ve found. A 2017 Amnesty International report revealed how the richest, most powerful industry giants are still failing to tackle child labor allegations in cobalt battery supply chains. Should Companies Just Stop Buying Cobalt From The DRC? At a glance, the solution seems simple: Just stop buying from the DRC. But there are many issues with boycotting cobalt sourcing from the entire country. In addition to cutting out the world’s largest cobalt producer, it would be likely to endanger citizens’ lives even further. The entire reason they are doing this work is to escape poverty. As hopeless as the job might be, so few alternatives for work exist that cobalt mining is the only means of survival for many people there. Recommended:  Smartphones Not Sustainable: Designed To 'Downgrade Humans' Many of the mines are controlled by armed groups, but a large portion of them are not. As a result, a complete boycott of all minerals from the DRC — even in places where there is no conflict — would be detrimental to the people who work there and would likely cause further damage. When it comes to mines that are controlled by armed groups, the issue is that virtually none of them are entirely dependent on mining revenue for their existence; it is just one of many methods they use to funnel money into their pursuits. So if these cobalt mines were to disappear, the armed groups would still function, but the people who rely on the mines for their income would lose what is likely their only means of survival. Tracing the supply chain is not as simple as it may seem. In most of the DRC, state capacity is extremely low, and there is virtually no road infrastructure. Setting up the systems required to regularly assess the thousands of mining sites that are spread all across the DRC would be a severe challenge. As a result, it is extremely difficult for companies to prove exactly where the minerals were sourced, which means that carrying out basic checks for human rights violations becomes even more difficult. Demanding that companies prove where their cobalt was mined would merely incentivize buyers to pull out of the region and source their minerals from elsewhere. When an estimated 8 to 10 million people in the country are wholly dependent on artisanal mining for their livelihood, forcing companies to pull out from the DRC could lead to mass devastation and result in causing many more complicated problems than it solves. Renewable Energy: Cobalt There are more than 40 different chemical elements in a mobile phone. Many of these elements have shady sourcing practices. The human rights issues surrounding cobalt especially are so dubious that the metal is often referred to as ‘the blood diamond of batteries’. What elements are used in smartphones? Smartphones are made up of around 30 elements, including copper, gold and silver for wiring and lithium and cobalt in the battery. The bright colours of the display are produced by small amounts of rare earth elements, including yttrium, terbium and dysprosium. Cobalt is primarily produced by reducing the byproducts of copper and nickel mining. It’s expensive, and manufacturers have spent a long time searching for an alternative, but for the foreseeable future, it remains an essential component in all lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. The copper belt found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and its neighboring country Zambia yields most of the world’s cobalt production, and it is where most companies source the chemical. This is also where the worst human rights violations occur because many of the mines are controlled by armed groups. The DRC alone produces at least 50% of the world’s cobalt. Around 20% of the DRC’s cobalt is extracted by hand in a process called “artisanal mining.” The remainder is produced by large industrial mines that are typically owned by foreign companies — many of which are Chinese. China also owns most of the companies that buy products from the children who work at these mines. The hours are long, the conditions are bad, and the wages are very low. Child Labor And iPhones There is no trace of toxic dust on the sleek, shiny iPhones lined up in the Apple Store — that would be terrible for marketing campaigns. And there is nothing mentioned about the 40,000 children in the southern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who are forced to mine cobalt with their bare hands to create mobile phone batteries. But there is toxic dust in those mines, and those children are almost always given nothing to protect themselves from it. Inhaling cobalt dust can cause fatal lung diseases, chronic rashes, vomiting, and convulsions. If the children want to keep these jobs they need to survive, they have no other choice but to work in these horrendous conditions. Recommended:  Your Smartphone Is Polluting And Generating Massive Waste At the beginning of 2019, there were more than 5.1 billion unique mobile phone users in the world. But very little is disclosed about how mobile phones are made, particularly the suffering that takes place at the beginning of the supply chain. Starting advertisements with clips of young children coughing and spluttering wouldn’t be very glamorous. Instead, electronics companies do everything they can to cover up all the links between their supply chains and the horrific human rights abuses. Renewable Technology: What Are The Alternatives? Apple is leading the way in responsible sourcing. It became the first company to publish a list of its suppliers in 2017. For the last few years, it has focused on tackling child labor in the supply chain of Huayou Cobalt, China’s largest cobalt producer. And in March 2017, the company decided to further investigate the working conditions in the mines of the DRC, temporarily putting a hold on purchases of artisanal cobalt from the country. However, putting even a temporary hold on cobalt purchases has consequences for miners in the DRC. In August, the Swiss mining giant Glencore suspended cobalt production for at least two years in the southern part of the DRC as a result of the closure of the Mutanga mine — the producer of almost 20% of the world’s cobalt. The company asserted the mine was no longer economically viable. This resulted in more than 3,000 jobs lost. Around the same time, Huayou Cobalt pulled out of a deal to invest $66.3 million in a cobalt mine in the DRC following a slump in the price of cobalt. It’s clear that boycotting minerals from the DRC will simply cut off the income of workers who need it most. What we really need are companies to directly engage with initiatives in countries like the DRC to encourage more responsible mining practices. Renewable Technology: Fairphone One such company is Fairphone — a phone manufacturer whose unique selling point is “caring for the people and the planet” by improving the conditions of the workers lower down in their supply chain. Fairphone is partnering with a number of initiatives in an attempt to help formalize the sector and increase the transparency of the supply chains for the minerals used in mobile phones. This requires visiting suppliers in the DRC, building relationships on the ground, and taking steps to cut out the middlemen and buy directly from factories.   But the company currently has only a very small market share, and we need to put more pressure on the industry giants to follow suit if we can hope to make the slightest difference. Increased demand for renewable energy is likely to mean an increased demand for cobalt. It is vital that our increasing drive for renewable energy is not powered by the misery of workers being forced to work in horrific conditions. But as renewable technologies that require lithium-ion batteries become more popular, the drive for cobalt is likely to increase even further. According to one prediction, cobalt demand will exceed 120,000 tonnes per year by 2020 — an increase of approximately 30% from 2016. In 2018, Elon Musk tweeted that “we use less than 3% cobalt in our batteries & will use none in next gen,” but there is no guarantee that other battery manufacturers are on the same timeline. And if we do stop using cobalt, what happens to people living in the DRC who rely on cobalt mining for their livelihood? Before you go! Recommended:  Environmental Costs Of Lithium Battery Addiction: Worldwide Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
An estimated 8 to 10 million people in DRC are dependent on artisanal mining for their livelihood. Forcing companies to pull out from the DRC could lead to mass devastation and result in causing many more complicated problems than it solves. Powered By Child Labor: Amnesty International A 2016 investigation by Amnesty International revealed that several major electronics brands were not even attempting to carry out the most basic inspections to make sure child labor wasn’t used to mine the cobalt for phones. These brands included Apple (which has a net worth of more than $1 trillion), Samsung (also with a net worth of more than $1 trillion), and Sony (with a net worth of about $74 billion). The job of sourcing cobalt is often designated for children as young as seven years old, who spend up to 12 hours every day in mines. With every breath these children take, they inhale potentially deadly mineral dust whose lethal consequences may not happen until years later. And with each rock they dig, they risk causing a fatal tunnel collapse that could kill them instantly. In return, they are often paid the equivalent of $1-$2 (U.S.) per day. Amnesty’s report, This Is What We Die For, documents these hazardous conditions. More than three years after these problems were exposed, the human rights abuses remain widespread.                                          Special report : Inside the Congo cobalt mines that exploit children                                               Why Is Our Renewable Technology Powered By Child Labor? Renewable Technology And By Child Labor Are Tech Companies At Fault? All major electronics brands publicly state they will not tolerate human rights abuses in their supply chains. But it’s easy to say this; verifying it is another matter. The reality is that supply chains are so complicated that very few companies are able to verify the information they receive from their suppliers — and some companies aren’t even trying. How dangerous is cobalt? Cobalt dust may cause an asthma-like disease with symptoms ranging from cough, shortness of breath and dyspnea to decreased pulmonary function, nodular fibrosis, permanent disability, and death. Exposure to cobalt may cause weight loss, dermatitis, and respiratory hypersensitivity. Perhaps more shockingly, even the companies that do carry out investigations have not revealed to the public any risks and abuses they’ve found. A 2017 Amnesty International report revealed how the richest, most powerful industry giants are still failing to tackle child labor allegations in cobalt battery supply chains. Should Companies Just Stop Buying Cobalt From The DRC? At a glance, the solution seems simple: Just stop buying from the DRC. But there are many issues with boycotting cobalt sourcing from the entire country. In addition to cutting out the world’s largest cobalt producer, it would be likely to endanger citizens’ lives even further. The entire reason they are doing this work is to escape poverty. As hopeless as the job might be, so few alternatives for work exist that cobalt mining is the only means of survival for many people there. Recommended:  Smartphones Not Sustainable: Designed To 'Downgrade Humans' Many of the mines are controlled by armed groups, but a large portion of them are not. As a result, a complete boycott of all minerals from the DRC — even in places where there is no conflict — would be detrimental to the people who work there and would likely cause further damage. When it comes to mines that are controlled by armed groups, the issue is that virtually none of them are entirely dependent on mining revenue for their existence; it is just one of many methods they use to funnel money into their pursuits. So if these cobalt mines were to disappear, the armed groups would still function, but the people who rely on the mines for their income would lose what is likely their only means of survival. Tracing the supply chain is not as simple as it may seem. In most of the DRC, state capacity is extremely low, and there is virtually no road infrastructure. Setting up the systems required to regularly assess the thousands of mining sites that are spread all across the DRC would be a severe challenge. As a result, it is extremely difficult for companies to prove exactly where the minerals were sourced, which means that carrying out basic checks for human rights violations becomes even more difficult. Demanding that companies prove where their cobalt was mined would merely incentivize buyers to pull out of the region and source their minerals from elsewhere. When an estimated 8 to 10 million people in the country are wholly dependent on artisanal mining for their livelihood, forcing companies to pull out from the DRC could lead to mass devastation and result in causing many more complicated problems than it solves. Renewable Energy: Cobalt There are more than 40 different chemical elements in a mobile phone. Many of these elements have shady sourcing practices. The human rights issues surrounding cobalt especially are so dubious that the metal is often referred to as ‘the blood diamond of batteries’. What elements are used in smartphones? Smartphones are made up of around 30 elements, including copper, gold and silver for wiring and lithium and cobalt in the battery. The bright colours of the display are produced by small amounts of rare earth elements, including yttrium, terbium and dysprosium. Cobalt is primarily produced by reducing the byproducts of copper and nickel mining. It’s expensive, and manufacturers have spent a long time searching for an alternative, but for the foreseeable future, it remains an essential component in all lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. The copper belt found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and its neighboring country Zambia yields most of the world’s cobalt production, and it is where most companies source the chemical. This is also where the worst human rights violations occur because many of the mines are controlled by armed groups. The DRC alone produces at least 50% of the world’s cobalt. Around 20% of the DRC’s cobalt is extracted by hand in a process called “artisanal mining.” The remainder is produced by large industrial mines that are typically owned by foreign companies — many of which are Chinese. China also owns most of the companies that buy products from the children who work at these mines. The hours are long, the conditions are bad, and the wages are very low. Child Labor And iPhones There is no trace of toxic dust on the sleek, shiny iPhones lined up in the Apple Store — that would be terrible for marketing campaigns. And there is nothing mentioned about the 40,000 children in the southern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who are forced to mine cobalt with their bare hands to create mobile phone batteries. But there is toxic dust in those mines, and those children are almost always given nothing to protect themselves from it. Inhaling cobalt dust can cause fatal lung diseases, chronic rashes, vomiting, and convulsions. If the children want to keep these jobs they need to survive, they have no other choice but to work in these horrendous conditions. Recommended:  Your Smartphone Is Polluting And Generating Massive Waste At the beginning of 2019, there were more than 5.1 billion unique mobile phone users in the world. But very little is disclosed about how mobile phones are made, particularly the suffering that takes place at the beginning of the supply chain. Starting advertisements with clips of young children coughing and spluttering wouldn’t be very glamorous. Instead, electronics companies do everything they can to cover up all the links between their supply chains and the horrific human rights abuses. Renewable Technology: What Are The Alternatives? Apple is leading the way in responsible sourcing. It became the first company to publish a list of its suppliers in 2017. For the last few years, it has focused on tackling child labor in the supply chain of Huayou Cobalt, China’s largest cobalt producer. And in March 2017, the company decided to further investigate the working conditions in the mines of the DRC, temporarily putting a hold on purchases of artisanal cobalt from the country. However, putting even a temporary hold on cobalt purchases has consequences for miners in the DRC. In August, the Swiss mining giant Glencore suspended cobalt production for at least two years in the southern part of the DRC as a result of the closure of the Mutanga mine — the producer of almost 20% of the world’s cobalt. The company asserted the mine was no longer economically viable. This resulted in more than 3,000 jobs lost. Around the same time, Huayou Cobalt pulled out of a deal to invest $66.3 million in a cobalt mine in the DRC following a slump in the price of cobalt. It’s clear that boycotting minerals from the DRC will simply cut off the income of workers who need it most. What we really need are companies to directly engage with initiatives in countries like the DRC to encourage more responsible mining practices. Renewable Technology: Fairphone One such company is Fairphone — a phone manufacturer whose unique selling point is “caring for the people and the planet” by improving the conditions of the workers lower down in their supply chain. Fairphone is partnering with a number of initiatives in an attempt to help formalize the sector and increase the transparency of the supply chains for the minerals used in mobile phones. This requires visiting suppliers in the DRC, building relationships on the ground, and taking steps to cut out the middlemen and buy directly from factories.   But the company currently has only a very small market share, and we need to put more pressure on the industry giants to follow suit if we can hope to make the slightest difference. Increased demand for renewable energy is likely to mean an increased demand for cobalt. It is vital that our increasing drive for renewable energy is not powered by the misery of workers being forced to work in horrific conditions. But as renewable technologies that require lithium-ion batteries become more popular, the drive for cobalt is likely to increase even further. According to one prediction, cobalt demand will exceed 120,000 tonnes per year by 2020 — an increase of approximately 30% from 2016. In 2018, Elon Musk tweeted that “we use less than 3% cobalt in our batteries & will use none in next gen,” but there is no guarantee that other battery manufacturers are on the same timeline. And if we do stop using cobalt, what happens to people living in the DRC who rely on cobalt mining for their livelihood? Before you go! Recommended:  Environmental Costs Of Lithium Battery Addiction: Worldwide Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Why Is Our Renewable Technology Powered By Child Labor?
Why Is Our Renewable Technology Powered By Child Labor?
Asteroid Mining: Industrial Revolution And Population Growth
This final part (part 4 of 4) in the asteroid mining series will zoom in on some of the reasons why we should engage in this futuristic practice of going out to space to find huge amounts of Earth-scarce resources on asteroids. Now that we have explored the background of the concept (in part 1), its economic feasibility, required infrastructure and mining techniques (in part 2), and looked at some of the advocates who are working hard to make it a reality (in part 3), we ought to consider the societal impact as well. How will asteroid mining impact humanity? And how can it help us in dealing with our growing population and intensifying industry? Those questions will be answered in this fourth part. Industrial Revolution And Population Growth We are living on a tiny, tiny blue dot in the vast expanse of space. One of the first things most astronauts will say once they get to look at us from afar, is how small it is. How insignificant, if you wish, in the grander scheme of things. This is why it is so worrying that we are hardly treating her with the respect that she deserves for keeping us safe and sound. Will the human population ever stop growing? At the moment (2019) the global population sits at 7.7 billion. But soon - or at least, soon in the context of human history - the number of people on Earth will stop growing. Based on the latest figures from the United Nations, demographers' best guess for when this will happen is about 2100. The strain that we are putting on our home planet has multiplied in the last couple of centuries. With the kickoff of the industrial revolution in the 18th century, Earth has seen our population numbers explode from 1 billion back in 1800 to 6 billion in 2000 - almost at the same rate at which she found her own resources dwindling. Exponential growth is great when it comes to profits, but not so handy when it concerns the strain we put on our planet. Climate Change And Resource Consumption Growing consumerism is almost as damaging as the growing population numbers. Granted, the former is a logical consequence of the latter. With the population having increased sevenfold, it was to be expected that our consumption of resources would follow suit - although few would have expected the thirtyfold increase in energy that we managed to rake up. Recommended:  Consumerism In ‘The West’: A Society Built On Exploitation With the Earth’s population expected to reach almost 10 billion by 2050, you can guess what this would do with our energy consumption - at a time that we should be cutting back instead to prevent the worst effects of climate change. We will have to find other ways of feeding, housing, clothing and sustaining ourselves, all while our numbers are still increasing rapidly.   Are we overpopulated? Depending on which estimate is used, human overpopulation may or may not have already occurred. Nevertheless, the rapid recent increase in human population is causing some concern. The population is expected to reach between 8 and 10.5 billion between the years 2040 and 2050.   One of the most popular solutions? To look to outer space and find off-world solutions for our overpopulation and depleted resources. Enter asteroid mining. The great risk associated with this? That we are merely shifting our burden onto a larger environment and, ultimately, creating an even larger problem. Asteroid Mining: Can/Should We Do It? The crux of asteroid mining is that, within the immediate future, there is no economically viable way of bringing the obtained minerals and metals back to Earth. Leaving aside the potentially disastrous effects on the resource prices on Earth - if there suddenly were a massive influx of gold, one could only imagine what this would do with the gold price and the gold industry at large -; it is simply too costly to make its infrastructure work. {youtube}                                                                  How Close Are We to Mining in Space?                                               Asteroid Mining: Industrial Revolution And Population Growth Instead, resources obtained through asteroid mining will rely on customers in space. Meaning, industry will have to be outsourced to space as well. A blossoming space industry economy and its infrastructure is both the supplier and customer. Something that might be profitable in the long run, but for now, it does not get us any closer to obtaining those scarce resources on Earth. The costs of bringing resources back to Earth are far greater than the costs of producing it ourselves, polluting as it may be. Similarly, the cost of delivering resources obtained in space to a space station or in-orbit factory is much lower than getting it up from Earth. So eventually, if we are able to get a flourishing space industry going, it would potentially reduce the need for heavy industry on Earth - although it will not be the thing that saves us in the short run. Climate Change, Food, Energy And Resources What are the 5 types of resources? Air, water, food, plants, animals, minerals, metals, and everything else that exists in nature and has utility to mankind is a 'Resource'. The value of each such resource depends on its utility and other factors. Meanwhile, we are still battling climate change, overpopulation, food shortages and resource depletion down on Earth. Perhaps the conclusion that asteroid mining will not solve this in the next couple of decades is a painful one, but it is one that needs to be accepted before moving on with our space activities.   Recommended:  Our Food system Under Threat By Decline In Biodiversity Our economy will have to transition in a major way to accept space industry as its main driver, while we have to continuously focus on sustainable solutions and green technologies to ensure that our home stays upright. Making Earth a residential zone and moving all industry out into space is definitely something that is feasible - ultimately. Asteroid mining will play a crucial role in this.   And further down the road? Asteroid mining could be the thing that really kicks off space exploration and - possibly - colonisation. So while it will not save Earth by adding to its supplies, it will certainly have the capability of unburdening her from both excessive population and industry. In the first article in this series, I compared asteroid mining with the Klondike Gold Rush. Actually it really is not that far off. Only instead of settling in the previously unexplored areas of America and building an economy and society on the retrieved gold, we might now be doing so in outer space. Before you go! Recommended:  Solar Farms In Space: Next Step In Renewable Energy Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
This final part (part 4 of 4) in the asteroid mining series will zoom in on some of the reasons why we should engage in this futuristic practice of going out to space to find huge amounts of Earth-scarce resources on asteroids. Now that we have explored the background of the concept (in part 1), its economic feasibility, required infrastructure and mining techniques (in part 2), and looked at some of the advocates who are working hard to make it a reality (in part 3), we ought to consider the societal impact as well. How will asteroid mining impact humanity? And how can it help us in dealing with our growing population and intensifying industry? Those questions will be answered in this fourth part. Industrial Revolution And Population Growth We are living on a tiny, tiny blue dot in the vast expanse of space. One of the first things most astronauts will say once they get to look at us from afar, is how small it is. How insignificant, if you wish, in the grander scheme of things. This is why it is so worrying that we are hardly treating her with the respect that she deserves for keeping us safe and sound. Will the human population ever stop growing? At the moment (2019) the global population sits at 7.7 billion. But soon - or at least, soon in the context of human history - the number of people on Earth will stop growing. Based on the latest figures from the United Nations, demographers' best guess for when this will happen is about 2100. The strain that we are putting on our home planet has multiplied in the last couple of centuries. With the kickoff of the industrial revolution in the 18th century, Earth has seen our population numbers explode from 1 billion back in 1800 to 6 billion in 2000 - almost at the same rate at which she found her own resources dwindling. Exponential growth is great when it comes to profits, but not so handy when it concerns the strain we put on our planet. Climate Change And Resource Consumption Growing consumerism is almost as damaging as the growing population numbers. Granted, the former is a logical consequence of the latter. With the population having increased sevenfold, it was to be expected that our consumption of resources would follow suit - although few would have expected the thirtyfold increase in energy that we managed to rake up. Recommended:  Consumerism In ‘The West’: A Society Built On Exploitation With the Earth’s population expected to reach almost 10 billion by 2050, you can guess what this would do with our energy consumption - at a time that we should be cutting back instead to prevent the worst effects of climate change. We will have to find other ways of feeding, housing, clothing and sustaining ourselves, all while our numbers are still increasing rapidly.   Are we overpopulated? Depending on which estimate is used, human overpopulation may or may not have already occurred. Nevertheless, the rapid recent increase in human population is causing some concern. The population is expected to reach between 8 and 10.5 billion between the years 2040 and 2050.   One of the most popular solutions? To look to outer space and find off-world solutions for our overpopulation and depleted resources. Enter asteroid mining. The great risk associated with this? That we are merely shifting our burden onto a larger environment and, ultimately, creating an even larger problem. Asteroid Mining: Can/Should We Do It? The crux of asteroid mining is that, within the immediate future, there is no economically viable way of bringing the obtained minerals and metals back to Earth. Leaving aside the potentially disastrous effects on the resource prices on Earth - if there suddenly were a massive influx of gold, one could only imagine what this would do with the gold price and the gold industry at large -; it is simply too costly to make its infrastructure work. {youtube}                                                                  How Close Are We to Mining in Space?                                               Asteroid Mining: Industrial Revolution And Population Growth Instead, resources obtained through asteroid mining will rely on customers in space. Meaning, industry will have to be outsourced to space as well. A blossoming space industry economy and its infrastructure is both the supplier and customer. Something that might be profitable in the long run, but for now, it does not get us any closer to obtaining those scarce resources on Earth. The costs of bringing resources back to Earth are far greater than the costs of producing it ourselves, polluting as it may be. Similarly, the cost of delivering resources obtained in space to a space station or in-orbit factory is much lower than getting it up from Earth. So eventually, if we are able to get a flourishing space industry going, it would potentially reduce the need for heavy industry on Earth - although it will not be the thing that saves us in the short run. Climate Change, Food, Energy And Resources What are the 5 types of resources? Air, water, food, plants, animals, minerals, metals, and everything else that exists in nature and has utility to mankind is a 'Resource'. The value of each such resource depends on its utility and other factors. Meanwhile, we are still battling climate change, overpopulation, food shortages and resource depletion down on Earth. Perhaps the conclusion that asteroid mining will not solve this in the next couple of decades is a painful one, but it is one that needs to be accepted before moving on with our space activities.   Recommended:  Our Food system Under Threat By Decline In Biodiversity Our economy will have to transition in a major way to accept space industry as its main driver, while we have to continuously focus on sustainable solutions and green technologies to ensure that our home stays upright. Making Earth a residential zone and moving all industry out into space is definitely something that is feasible - ultimately. Asteroid mining will play a crucial role in this.   And further down the road? Asteroid mining could be the thing that really kicks off space exploration and - possibly - colonisation. So while it will not save Earth by adding to its supplies, it will certainly have the capability of unburdening her from both excessive population and industry. In the first article in this series, I compared asteroid mining with the Klondike Gold Rush. Actually it really is not that far off. Only instead of settling in the previously unexplored areas of America and building an economy and society on the retrieved gold, we might now be doing so in outer space. Before you go! Recommended:  Solar Farms In Space: Next Step In Renewable Energy Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Asteroid Mining: Industrial Revolution And Population Growth
Asteroid Mining: Industrial Revolution And Population Growth
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. 

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