Today’s is the International Day of Forests

ForestsAnd the Mother Nature Network published a brilliant article on this occasion on how forests are vitally important not only to our civilization but to Life on our beautiful planet as a whole.

They have found no less than 21 reasons why we should protect forests. While most of them are well known to the readers of this humble website, some are truly amazing ( I am thinking about #18, jobs creation)

So today, more than ever, let’s remember that not only do we have to fight for already standing forests but also to plant more trees around the globe.

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Water scarcity to hit half Mankind by 2050

Water, water everywhereAccording to researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ” by 2050 more than half the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas and about a billion or more will not have sufficient water resources. “

” (…) The researchers expect 5 billion of the world’s projected 9.7 billion people to live in water-stressed areas by 2050. They also expect about 1 billion more people to be living in areas where water demand exceeds surface-water supply. “

The threat is, as you can imagine, to be exarcebated by global warming and increasing water demand. Lucky us, there are solutions to both problems.

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The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid

Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid Book coverWhile reading Richard Branson’s latest book, Screw Business As Usual, I came across an interesting concept : the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid. The term refers to the basic goods and services to sell to the poorest people.

To a report from the World Resources Institute quoted in Branson’s book,  the Bottom of the Pyramid in Asia and the Middle East represent no less than 2.8 Billion people, with a total income of  $3.47 Trillion.

Counting in Africa, South America and Eastern Europe, this amounts to a $5 Trillion market which can be addressed ethycally by companies.

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Annie Leonard presents the Story of Solutions

Story of solutionsAnnie Leonard, of Story of Stuff fame did it all again and presented another great video on how we have to and can change the world. Called The Story of Solutions, it focuses on changing the end-game of MORE to a one focusing on BETTER.

We have seen it already, working on ever increasing the Gross – gross as in disgusting ? – Domestic Product (aka GDP) simply depletes natural resources to make money.

As a graduate in Management and Business – for hire – this message particularly resonates with me as this blog has shown time and again that the current model simply isn’t working.

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Frightening food quantities frittering away

So much food, so much wasteTo the UNEP : “The waste of a staggering 1.3 billion tonnes of food per year is not only causing major economic losses but also wreaking significant harm on the natural resources that humanity relies upon to feed itself. “

1.3 billion tonnes of food ! This has profound repercussions on our world as it emits up to 3.3 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide per year. If food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third largest, just behind the United States and China.

This also amounts to a staggering loss of no less than $750 billion – around 550 billion euros – as a third of the food produced globally goes to the bin uneaten.

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Yesterday was Earth Overshoot Day

Earth Overshoot Day 2013You probably know it : we consume way too much stuff : food, water, energy… As a matter of fact we consume so much that we are depleting the resources our beautiful planet gives us.

As Business Green noted : ” Today the world dips into its environmental overdraft as mankind’s demands for resources since the beginning of 2013 exceeds what the planet can renew in a year. “

Just like for financial capital, consuming more natural capital than what we have can be excessively dangerous. It is high time we change this.

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Turning trash to gold : global waste market to double

A landfill signAccording to a leading American bank, the global waste industry could double to $2 trillion by 2020. This is due to as Business Green notes to ” the combination of urbanisation, looming resource shortages and environmental regulation “

This takes into account municipal and industrial waste management, recycling, waste-to-energy and sustainable packaging. Europe is seen as facing the “toughest strategic challenges ” while Asia and Latin America see the fastest growth.

Opportunities are due to abound in waste management, waste to energy (WtE), wastewater and sewage and recycling among others.

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Food waste : a HUGE issue

Global food, waste not want notAccording to a new study by the Institute of Mechanical EngineersBetween 30 and 50 percent of all the food that’s produced on the planet is lost and wasted without ever reaching human stomachs.”

Treehugger wrote a compelling article on how this is such a huge and awful waste as there are still hundred of million people around the world that are starving as I write those lines. This problem as many other implications.

Indeed, all this wasted food leads to methane emissions, the excessive production to more carbon dioxide and to less water in our water tables.

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FSC and MSC : two labels you should know

MSC and FSC logosIt has been a while since I wanted to introduce you to two different kind of sustainable labels : the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

As you must have guessed, the former is concerning everything that is related to sustainable wood (paper, wooden flooring and other products) while the latter will concern sustainable fish and sea foods…

Of course, these products will be a bit more expensive than plain traditional ones. But this will force you too cut your waste.

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Here come the toilets of the future

Here is a smelly question : why are we putting together what Nature separates ? This is the question asked by a Swedish researcher about toilets. Putting urine and feces together is not a good idea as it is simply a waste of resources.

Moreover, flushing with liters and liters of perfectly drinkable water is a bad idea as water scarcity is already striking around the world and will spread as climate gets warmer.

Now here come scientists from Singapore with an idea that could revolutionize the way we dispose from our bodily waste.

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Coffee is at risk because of climate change

As a tea drinker, I seldom drink coffee. But since over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed in the world every day (source), I thought this might interest you. As the 2 Degrees Network blogs in a post about Cafédirect :

” Climate change has had a noticeably dramatic effect on the cultivation of coffee. With resource-starved small farmers responsible for most of the world’s production, we may soon see soaring prices and shortages in production. “

Let’s face it, whether you are a chocolate nut, a maple syrup afficionado, or you simply just want to have food in your plate, climate change is a considerable threat…

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Global collapse could occur by 2030

It seems the great Albert Einstein was right all along when he stated that “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” Indeed, according to Care2 :

In 1972, MIT researchers published “Limits to Growth.” In it, they used models to analyze economic data, and predicted that if civilization continued on its path toward increasing consumption, the global economy would collapse by 2030.

Forty years later, instead of seeming unlikely, the prophesies of this controversial study appear to be coming true, right on schedule.

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