Browsing articles tagged with " Consumption "

The Uncomfortable Truth

The time has come for you to see
That love is something else you practise it to be
The line is long
For you and me
That leads us to the very debt of our hearts
We’re still on the surface deceiving ourselves…

The Uncomfortable Truth  by NNEKA

This is a reworked old post. I hope that it did not lose it’s ‘punch’ in 15 months while it gathered 2657 page views in Think About It Water . I am inspired by Somnath’s comment in my last post ‘ Eradicate Excess Wealth alongside Poverty ‘ where he suspected my content as hard core communism, almost Pol Potish.

Any suggestion about examining limits of personal wealth is decidedly unlikable. Pol Pot is a fair measure of such distaste. Possibly communism as well. Read more >>

Eradicate Excess Wealth alongside Poverty

The world leaders will discuss sustainable development, the bedrock of 1992 Rio vision this June in Rio+20. A greater political convergence is urged by the UN for the matter because the ‘needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ has not gained much traction since the 1992 conference – largely because countries continued to equate development with economic growth, and sustainable development languished as a fringe environmental concern. Twenty years after Rio 1992, “sustainable development remains a generally agreed concept, rather than a day-to-day, on-the-ground, practical reality,” says a report by the UN High-level Panel on Global Sustainability.

May be Millennium Development Goals were set up prematurely, too? Read more >>

Why a Doughnut Now?

Kate Raworth Photo : IISD http://www.iisd.ca/

Kate Raworth is a Senior Researcher of Oxfam Great Britain. In a recent discussion paper she has proposed a metaphorical doughnut as a safe and just space for humanity to thrive (Full discussion paper can be downloaded here ). ‘Can we live within the doughnut?’ Kate asks, presenting a visual framework – shaped like a doughnut – which brings the concept of planetary boundaries together with the complementary concept of social boundaries, creating a safe and just space between the two, in which humanity can thrive.

​Kate argues primarily from the perspective of social equity and the foreword of her discussion paper says, ‘ Humanity’s challenge in the 21st century is to eradicate poverty and achieve a prosperity for all within the means of the planet’s limited natural resources. In the run-up to Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, this Discussion Paper is an exploration of what such a model of prosperity might look like.’ It also says, ‘ Moving into this safe and just space demands far greater equity – within and between countries – in the use of natural resources, and far greater efficiency in transforming those resources to meet human needs.’ Read more >>

Limits To Growth And Beyond – Part II

Affluence is a relative term in societal contexts because in each society standards there are rich and poor. But there are few in the world, as many from North as from South, who are rich by any standard. Similarly, despite raised standard of living, there are under-privileged people in both the developed and developing nations, people who lack jobs, health security, education, food and home. And there are a large number of people under famine, malnutrition, water and sanitation stress and vulnerable to diseases and death. When world economy collapses and industrial output plummets down the curve, it is the most vulnerable section of humanity that receives the mortal blow first. But for now, the Limits to Growth are felt by the affluent societies of the developed world more than the developing world.

Read more >>

Limits To Growth And Beyond – Part 1

In my post ‘ Darker side of growth ’ in European Journalism Centre I asked a question: In a pond if lotuses grow such that every next minute they double and if this minute the pond is half full, how long will it take for the lotuses to fill the pond?

While it sounded like a quiz to some, I intended to impress my readers about the scary aspect of exponential growth in any finite system. Such growth is certainly runaway and anything designed to grow in that manner is easily unsustainable. I cannot take Kenneth Boulding lightly. Meanwhile I found a more impressive audio visual way to carry the message home.

Read more >>

Can Water Dissolve Geo-political Boundaries? Part 1

Water can dissolve material boundaries – well known

Water is known as universal ‘solvent’ as it can dissolve a lot of substances. This is a scientific fact but even if not very clearly realized, this scientific fact works subtly in our cultures and societies since prehistory. The whole idea of cleaning things by washing and letting the dirty water flow into streams or seas works on the idea that given sufficient ‘dissolution’ the ‘dirt’ will be rendered harmless. This is not untrue so to say, as it is easily understandable that when the concentration of a solute becomes negligibly low, the solution is considered effectively harmless and suitable for human use. For less scientifically oriented:

Solution = Solvent + Solute Read more >>

To Drink Water From Air

The picture shows an atmospheric water generator, commercially known as Yeti AC-12, which can sit snugly in the corner of a room and generate as much as 10 gallons of pure drinking water per day just from atmospheric moisture. It runs on electricity and the power consumption is well within affordability of most people. If you are interested look up Everest Water here .

Though our water planners largely neglected the unseen Green Water (or more fashionably White Water, which is that part of the vertical unseen water that large water bodies evaporate away into atmosphere, you are not stealing from plants’ water so do not need to feel bad at all), human ingenuity saw this source right from antiquity and tapped it with innovation, as and when required. It’s just that this common wisdom was not trumpeted big time in the name of TECHNOLOGY, as our modern planners love to do. Read more >>

The Holy Grail Of Water Security

Water Security is a situation of reliable and secure access to water. When we project this definition on a national perspective things start to get really complex. Reliability of water source is dependent on few factors:

  • Population growth
  • Food production
  • Climatic change and variability
  • Land use
  • Water quality
  • Water demand
  • Sectoral resources and institutional capacity
  • Poverty and economic policy
  • Legislation and water resource management
  • International waters
  • Sectoral professional capacity
  • Political realities
  • Sociological issues Read more >>

Climate Change And Future Of Technology

“There can be no absolute reality, there can be no absolute truth”.                                  -Kevin Warwick

While we discuss the Climate Change mitigation through economic, social and political options available to us and also on being innovative to embrace a new life-style to lower our carbon foot-prints, technology, or more accurately low emission technology becomes one important aspect of that discussion. I do not personally feel that a blind faith on a technological ‘cure’ of Climate Change is wise, but science and technology have always remained one great window of human ingenuity and they can certainly come handy for effectively combating Climate Change. Read more >>

The Final Choice

Last evening, in a friendly discussion with a scientist friend of mine, my idea of combating Climate Change by conscious human choice to change life-styles (with a drastic reduction of consumption) along with a conserver economy (with resource re-distribution to reduce stark differences in life style standards between the poor and rich nations – tackling poverty, malnutrition, lack of education amongst others) and effective environmental governance (managing deforestation, habitat loss, species extinction amongst others) came under serious scrutiny and criticism. While this is hardly a subject that can be discussed over a cup of coffee, the main objections that my learned friend put forward were these:

a) Human choice, in the context of life in general, is hardly conscious. A conscious choice demands a perfect informative perspective, which is a near impossibility. Therefore, humans can not consciously reduce consumption by sacrificing life styles they have gotten used to.

b) A conserver economy, by definition the one that produces just enough to be consumed by population with practically zero waste and with an emphasis on spending within means, is a freakonomy, particularly looking at a world obsessed with growth.

c) Effective Environmental Governance is an ‘ideal’ concept, not necessarily valid in a world which is far off from a consensus about the scale of the damage and it’s accountability between nations.

The questions are by no means trivial. I feel compelled to answer them. Read more >>

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All opinions are solely those of the author. Reader's discretion necessary for using any of the contents of this website. (c) Pabitra Mukhopadhyay 2011
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