Is long-wave theory useful for anticipating sustainable futures?Mark Swilling, 1 July 2014
The Centre for Studies in Complexity and STIAS hosted a colloquium on Anticipation: Complexity and the Future on 18 March 2014. Mark Swilling presented a talk that reflected on the emerging literature that applies long-wave theory to an understanding of the future. While some of this literature is extremely useful (for example the book entitled Factor Five by Ernst von Weiszacher and colleagues), most of it overly simplifies what is going on with dangerous consequences for how we then anticipate the future. This talk proposes a synthesis between the literatures on global metabolic transition perspective, Kondratieff cycles and techno-industrial waves of development. Click HERE to view the talk on YouTube.
Global Challenges, Urban FuturesMark Swilling, 30 June 2014
The talking notes below was the basis of the contribution Mark Swilling make to the seminar on Global Challenges, Urban Futures that took place at the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam on Thursday 19 June 2014Read more ...
From Acccra to RotterdamMark Swilling, 29 June 2014
Eve and I recently returned from a trip to Accra and Rotterdam. The purpose of our visit to Accra was to meet with our University partners in the Africa Climate Change Adaptation Initiative (ACCAI) funded by the Open Society Foundation. Hosted by the University of Ghana, this two-day meeting reviewed progress made at the various campuses setting up new masters programmes in climate change adaptation over the past few years. Building on this foundation it was resolved to focus future collaborations on food systems research and change. This is consistent with the focus of the African Union funded network that involves the same partners, plus others. The core ACCAI partners include University of Ghana, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Mekelle University in Ethiopia, University of the Witwatersrand and University of Dar es Salaam, plus Stellenbosch University. Besides familiarizing ourselves with Accra as a city, we also visited Agbobloshi - a plastics recycling centre run by informal operators that Green Cross Switzerland recently nominated as one of ten most polluted places on the planet.Read more ...
IRP Launches Decoupling 2Mark Swilling, 15 June 2014
During the recent EU-sponsored Green Week in Brussels, the International Resource Panel launched Decoupling 2: Technologies, Opportunities and Policy Options. Mark Swilling was a contributing author. This report demonstrates that since 2000 metal prices have risen by 176%, rubber by 350%, energy by 260% and food by 22.4% (with some projecting an increase of 120%-180% by 2030). Unsurprisingly, these trends have started to make possible alternatives that make it possible to do more with less (resource efficiency), more with renewables (substitution), and more with less damage (restoration). Decoupling 2 documents these emerging alternatives and argues the case for replicating radical resource productivity improvement on a global scale. Many examples are provided, including the potential to reduce energy and water demand in developed economies by 50%-80% using existing energy and water efficiency technologies; how developing countries investing in new energy infrastructure could reduce energy demand by half over the next 12 years if energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies were adopted now rather than later; and that decoupling technologies could result in resource savings equal to US$2.9 to US$3.7 trillion each year until 2030 if the policy, regulatory and technological innovations were put in place.
Click HERE to download a copy of the report.
The Labyrinth is back and it is beautifulLouise Bezuidenhout, 6 June 2014
This morning students from the Ecological Design and Sustainable Agriculture modules helped plant 15 Virgilia (Keurboom) trees around the new labyrinth. These trees will in time form a beautiful holding space for the labyrinth. A huge thank you goes out to Bryce, Qhinga and all the students who have helped us reconstruct the labyrinth, it looks absolutely stunning and is ready to be walked, and cleaned :), to your heart's content!
Listening to Alicia Barcena in SantiagoMark Swilling, 28 May 2014Latin America faces same challenge as Africa
Listening to Alicia Barcena, head of the Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean (ECLAC) today in Santiago was a revelation. I have not heard anywhere in Africa such a clear articulation of the profoundly anti-developmental consequences of the expanded role of the mining sector in developing country economies as a result of the commodity boom in recent years. They have calcuated that a $1 m investment in mining only creates 1 job. They are advocating various measures to improve 'resource governance', including resource rent taxation, etc. If I came all the way to listen to this, it was worth the trip. We really need to integrate these Latin American perspectives into the African discourse. Click HERE for the speech, although she did not stick totally to the script, elaborating in particular her strong belief that Latin American countries have become exporters of their natural resources in return for resource rents that have only benefitted a rich elite while the goods for everyday living are largely imported. Resource rents are not funding developmental processes, such as investments in human capital.
Trisoplast shipment arrives at the InstituteLouise Bezuidenhout, 16 May 2014
Eighty-three 1-ton bags filled with Trisplast premix all the way from Holland were offloaded at the Sustainability Institute on Wednesday. The forklift and three big trucks caused much excitement for the Lynedoch Primary school children who stumbled upon the offloading process on their way home. The Trisoplast premix will be used to line the new horizontal wetland, located next to the current vertical wetland.Read more ...
Lynedoch Youth ProgrammeMark Swilling, 5 May 2014
Check out the e-zine publication about the Lynedoch Youth programme posted on ISSUU - click HERE for the link. Truly remarkable set of interlinked activities that are changing the lives of young people every day.
Emerging African AgendaMark Swilling, 30 March 2014
I am on my way back from the joint AU/UN ECA Conference of Ministers of Finance and Economy. It was a remarkable experience watching Ministers engage in debates between peers. They were robust, well-informed and highly energized. Thanks to the influence of the World Economic Forum format of 'no speeches' and short inputs facilitated by a skilled moderator, the usual wasteful meaningless pomp and ceremony was hardly present (except when President Goodluck Jonathan's brass band started up as he came in and before his speech).Read more ...
Greening African Economies, AbujaMark Swilling, 29 March 2014
Carboon Footpringint GuideMark Swilling, 10 February 2014
Prof Russel Botman selects iShack Project as his #neknominationMark Swilling, 8 February 2014
Assessing Global Land UseMark Swilling, 2 February 2014
Letter from EthiopiaMark Swilling, 10 December 2013
Masters students present their researchMark Swilling, 9 December 2013
Josephine Musango selected for global South science workshopMark Swilling, 9 December 2013
Celebrating what Mandela celebrated - our childrenMark Swilling, 8 December 2013
Making National Development Work: SPL leads the dialogueMark Swilling, 1 December 2013
SI Supports Global Partners for a Sustainable Recycling SectorMark Swilling, 1 December 2013
Our Lynedoch Bikers RockMark Swilling, 1 December 2013
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