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UN COP17 Climate Negotiations kick off in Durban

The 17th UN negotiations to try and limit the harmful effects of greenhouse gas emissions and potentially catastrophic climate change began on 28th November, in Durban South Africa. Since the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entered into force in 1995, the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC have been meeting annually to assess progress in dealing with climate change.

With the slogan “Working Together; Saving Tomorrow Today”, it seems as though there is plenty of optimism and a will to achieve. However, recent COP meetings, in Copenhagen and Cancun, were felt by some to have failed to deliver lasting commitments from countries to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions.

Here’s an update from the UKYCC delegation in Durban on Monday 5 December:

“It’s the first day of the second week and the pressure’s started to build. This is the make or break week for the negotiations and I’ll be  honest – I’m afraid it’s going to be break time. There are some really important issues on the table – the one a lot of people are talking

about is the Kyoto Protocol. It’s the only legally binding treaty we have to reduce carbon emissions but it runs out in 2012. If we want to have emissions reduction targets (which we do), then we need action now.  The KP (as it’s called) only applies to developed countries. The US never signed up to it (they just don’t like playing fair or acknowledging that they’re part of the world) and now Canada is actively trying to kill it so it can sell highly polluting tar sand oil to every other country in the world for maximum profits. Japan and Russia are being lame too.

It’s not often I’m proud to be British but the EU, and the UK within it, are doing their best to keep it alive – I’m 100% of the way behind them. Say it loud and say it proud: ‘I heart KP!

Other important issues are having a broader mandate for a universal treaty that will cover both developed and developing countries come out of Durban. That, and money. Always with the money! But the UNFCCC want to create a Green Climate Fund to manage the money that will support mitigation and adaptation to climate change. The big question is, who’s going to take care of the money and where’s it going to come from?

For a more in-depth insight, check out the second UKYCC hand puppet video. If talking hands can’t explain what’s going on, nothing can!”

Websites to keep up to date with progress of the talks:

Go to Arcola Energy

Campus Party

This post comes to you from Engage by Design

Campus Party is the largest Internet event in the world, with several different ‘parties’ being held all over the globe. For seven days they open their doors to thousands of people all working in the digital sector. Campus party believe that the human factor is at the heart of the festival and run by the slogan ‘The Internet is not a network of computers, it’s a network of PEOPLE’.

The event has evolved into a 7-day, 24-hour festival connecting online communities, gamers, programmers, bloggers, governments, universities and students and has a broad focus, covering technology innovation and electronic entertainment, with an emphasis on free software, programming, astronomy, social media, gaming, green technology, robotics, security networks and computer modeling.Their stated goal is to bring together the best talent in areas regarding technology and Internet to share experiences and innovate for a “better tomorrow”#.

In collaboration with ‘Apolorama a popular online cultural magazine, and Sari Dennise  the volunteer coordinator of Campus Party Mexico, we were invited to hold a 30 minute video call workshop from the UK with the Campus Party Mexico in Mexico City.

Using one of our values; innovation, as a tool for social change as the basis for the workshop, we asked ‘what is innovation?’. We outlined the Kaleidoscope project and then introduced the concept of innovation* as we see it. For the most of the developers, gamers and participants once we asked the question ‘what is innovation? the response was associated to words like new and the development of technology.

As the workshop was held online we had support in Mexico from the Apolorama team. We presented a slide show which shares the main following ideas;

  1. Explore the perception of Innovations under The Kaleidoscope Project scope.
  2. The kaleidoscope Project diagram.
  3. Intervention and innovation as a social revulsive.
  4. Examples of innovation? from iPhone 1, 5, GMC (genetic modified crops), hummer limousine, chocolate 3d printer, COMA Torolab, Clorus bulbs and mobile apps.
  5. Our understanding of innovation.
  6. The process to be innovative, beta stage as trigger for action and development.

The feedback was really positive from the participants. The Q&A at the end of the workshop shows their attitude and awarenes to develop meaningful innovations with a different paradigm.

 

Engage by Design is a social enterprise developed through the final Master research of Rodrigo Bautista and Zoe Olivia John in sustainability and design. As a consultancy they specialize in strategic interventions that aim to support the transformation of your product or service into a more sustainable one.

Engage by Design’s research arm intends to act as a platform which enables dialogues and actions between a diverse range of disciplines around sustainability and design.

Rodrigo Bautista – Rodrigo is an Industrial Designer and has worked in many different industries including media, products, services and telecommunications. Today his work focuses on strategic interventions and tools to apply sustainability and design instruments within a company.

Zoë Olivia John – Zoë’s background in Fashion & Textiles has lead her into the research and development of better ways to integrate learning about sustainability for Higher Education students and tutors, particularly within the F&T programme. She is interested in finding new ways to readdress our value structure from one of linear economic quantity to one of circular quality.

Go to Engage by Design

How Green Is Green? | No Orangutans Were Harmed In The Making Of This Scenery | Aug 2008

This is an excerpt from Robert Usdin’s article for Live Design in April, 2008. Remember that November 19th is Green Day at LDI and they’re looking for nominees for green production of the year.

“No Orangutans Were Harmed In The Making Of This Scenery.” That was a proposed slogan that came out of a brainstorming session during a green marketing seminar held recently at Showman Fabricators. As a New York commercial scene shop, we have made a commitment to sustainability over the last few years and used this seminar as an opportunity to help with future plans. Another idea was edible scenery, but we wont go there. Fortunately, there are many established green practices that have become standard at Showman and other shops, so orangutans and edible scenery can be left out of the marketing plans. Showmans EMS Environmental Management System is a detailed roadmap, structured in two parts, charting a course for personnel to act green. The first part outlines best practices, and the second part provides clients with solid options to greatly lessen the environmental impact their projects have. Getting the word out is the first of many steps to encourage clients to think beyond what theyve always done.

via How Green Is Green? | No Orangutans Were Harmed In The Making Of This Scenery | Aug 2008.

Artists responding to empty store fronts

Free Store invite, by Athena Robles and Anna Stein, 2009
Free Store invite, by Athena Robles and Anna Stein, 2009

The Free Store in Nassau Street, Manhattan, created by artists Athena Robles and Anna Stein has been creating a stir. It was inspired by a liberal hippie initiative from 1967, the Diggers Free Store which operated under the slogan “Don’t Waste Give To The Diggers”. This time Robles and Stein have created their own Free Store just a few from Wall Street in New York’s financial district.

The idea is simple. Everything in the store is free. You’re encouraged to donate something too, of course. In return for your purchase you’re issued with a receipt that declares no money has changed hands.

“Alternative and generous systems such as bartering have long been used in times of financial hardship,” say Robles and Stein. “Artists, in particular, are familiar with having to be creative to make ends meet and have functioned on generous systems, especially artist-to-artist. Free Store aims to broaden this circle of trust and exchange by including the general public.”

From an economic perspective, it appears a facile response to crisis.  Are the artists seriously saying that we should abandon materialist ideas of value? As art though, it’s a playful, optimistic gesture, questioning what we place our trust and value in, especially given the context. With all the vacant store-frontage in our High Streets, even with Wellworths, there’s so much potential to play/do something productive in the dead space in middle of our cities.

Any nominations for best used empty shop?

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

O Brother: The Coen Brothers target the coal industry

In the month that James Hansen asked for a total moratorium on coal-burning, the Coen Brothers have completed their first advert for The Reality Coalition , a campaign targeting the US coal industry. The coal-based energy industry is one of world’s most significant producers of greenhouse gasses. The Coen’s mock the coal industry’s as yet unproven claims that it can produce “clean coal” power through carbon capture – the untried technology to be used at the new Kingsnorth power station planned by EON. “Clean coal,” goes the ad’s slogan cynically, “harnesses the awesome power of the word ‘clean‘.”

 

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology Blog