An excellent article by Alex Steffen on why consumption and greening our way out through purchases is not going to change the world, or build us a better one on a massive enough scale. He raises the cynical voice that has been playing inside of my mind since I first laid eyes on the assembly line of green products coming my way via any suburban Walmart or mega-store. As he points out, the most sustainable product is the one you never bought!
Alex doesn’t toss consumption entirely out the window, rather he proposes multiplying the leverage of consumption in five strategic ways in order to send strong market signals through the economy to the people that can really produce systemic change. Amen.
I just heard from Patrick who is manufacturing kites in the urban slums and refugee camps of Chad, and as he writes in his own words “then passing out a good number of them to orphanages and schools where all those HIV orphans need a good dose of loving child psychology.” My heart goes out to all those with bigger hearts, restless souls and endless supplies of bravery.
As I told him I can just imagine those little faces light up as the great big blossoming kite hits the sky. Wonderful potential.
Today marked the end of the Drivers of Change demographic roundtables. It was a bit of a quiet start last week with the Americas, but we picked up a little steam with the EU and by the time Australia and East Asia came around this week, it seemed like a more global perspective on the issues. It made me realize in some ways how much I have learned through the process, and how much more there is to learn.
Some of the key points that roundtable chair Tristram Carfrae raised for emphasis::
- Population stabilisation by 2050
- There are huge differences in terms of population growth: where it is happening (developing regions), where it isn’t happened (EU)
- Can the development and growth in poor, urban areas be matched by much needed infrastructure
- The ratio of the working to the dependent is set to decrease. How are we going to handle that?
- Demographics affects us as individuals and as a firm
And finally, there are local issues in every country, region and city, despite some of the clear overlaps.
The next step will include meeting with business sectors in order to determine the business imperative for the research agenda. I am looking forward to this phase. It would give me great satisfaction to integrate the facts into out business in a way that makes sense for all of us.
As I seat here in Hong Kong’s quiet room 1 (freezing due to the overactive AC) I can’t help but wonder where the next chapter of demographic research will lead.
I am in Hong Kong to do my last series of demographic roundtables. The front page of the South China Morning Post tells the story of 6,200 marathon runners needing first aid because of the difficult weather conditions: high humidity and pollution. 35 were admitted to hospital during the run. Poor air quality was blamed for one death and 5000 cases of reported sickness. The pollution reading was medium according to officials (first time ever it has been released), but later rose to 71 in the central district, which is apparently half of the reading recorded in last year’s marathon.
Just another friendly sign of our tampering with the environment.
The silence is finally broken. In some ways I can’t believe four days have passed without a word from fb. In other ways, maybe the world breathed a sigh of relief. So I have decided to tie in a big belch of a start to the month of March. On my way to work today I was passed a leaflet, and I have decided to run one of the many runs organised by the Gorilla Foundation. Each runner is provided with a gorilla suit and must complete the physical challenge in full gorilla gear. Apparently there are only 700 gorillas remaining at wild. What could be better? If you care to help sponsor me, as I must raise £500 to be able to participate, please please email me
I am even considering contacting the Guerrilla Girls to see if there may be a synergy… Wild minds think alike.