• Dictator International Fashion Show

    Foreign Policy has a string of nice pictures showing some of our preferred authoritarian leaders in different outfits. When the magazine stated that “shoes are height enhancers for the diminutive [leader]”, I first thought it was referring to President Sarkozy, but I was wrong, they were talking of the Great Leader Kim Jong-Il. Please note that “the chest full of medals [remains] the ultimate dictator bling”, and that “the walking cane is this season’s hottest accessory”. Anyway, enjoy these pictures even if you are in the office. Given the traditional seriousness of Foreign Policy magazine, you can still pretend you were reading international analysis. Leave This Blank:Leave This Blank Too:Do Not Change…

  • Story Time – The Story of Soil

    Throughout my Permaculture journey I hear some incredible stories.  A few of them help me enormously.  By simplifying them I feel they are easier to share and can still have a massive impact on the way people think – or simply remind them of the basic connections they have lost in life. So, today’s story is the story of soil. Once upon a time (around 10 000 years ago actually) humans, likely to be living somewhere in the fertile belt, started ploughing their crops as an experiment.  Agriculture was born! They noticed that their crops now grew even faster and bigger than before and were probably quite excited and proud…

  • Global warming? Gays are the cause of it!

    Well, this is apparently what some Samoan clerics have stated: “Clerics in the South Pacific have fingered the key cause of climate change – homosexuals. The revelation came at a conference at the University of the South Pacific considering the implications of Climate Change and Creativity.” The clerics haven’t explained the rationale of their arguments though – although the Register suspects “their latching onto climate change as a consequence of gayness is informed by a more biblical sense of cause and effect.” Or maybe, as a blogger funnily posted elsewhere “Global warming is a gay issue. […]  The heat generated in discos, bath houses, the manufacture of interior furnishings, leather tanning…

  • ‘Transition’, what it’s all about?

    Whether are not you are interested by global debates on climate change, Peak Oil, overpopulation, financial, economic, food and social crises; whether you are in favour or against any systemic paradigm change; whether you believe that technology will save us or not from any doom-and-gloom future; or whether you think that it’s too late “we’ll hit the wall anyway”; you probably sense that there is something wrong in the society where you live and work. I’m not talking of the Hollywood trend of making apocalyptic blockbusters or the ‘2012’ end-of-the-world mania. But simply of the changes that you may be perceiving around you. It’s likely that you intuitively feel that, somewhat,…

  • Shark attack? Not really.

    Fascinating.  Who, since the release of the movie Jaw in 1975 isn’t afraid – openly or secretly – of sharks when swimming in the deep blue? Today, seven people who actually have been victims of shark attacks have taken a counter-intuitive step. Although they got attacked by sharks and subsequently lost limbs, they decided to get over it and raise their concerns in a United Nations forum about the increasing extinction of sharks. Indeed and as stated by the World Wild Fund, “despite their fearsome reputation as ruthless predators, sharks are much more likely to be killed by humans than the other way round.” Among the 400-ish existing species of sharks,…

  • Have you ever heard of ‘undercover marketing’?

    Imagine that you are walking along an out-of-the-way trail in a national park. A group of young hikers is standing at the side of the trail talking to one another in loud, excited voices. You cannot help but overhear them. “They would be talking about the great backpack they are wearing,” says Jonathon Ressler, CEO of marketing firm Big Fat, “how [with other backpacks] your back hurts after you hike 84,000 miles… [but] with this backpack it has a special da-da-da-da… it’s really comfortable. Boom,” says Ressler, they “have just delivered the message” to you – and you have no idea that you were just pitched a product by a…

  • Enough already!

    Yesterday, I was emphasising the need for a systemic economic change. There is nothing original about that, as it seems that an increasing number of people understand the limitations and self-destruction of our current social and economic models. As a matter of fact, the Chronicle.com has asked scholars’ views on what will be the defining question of the coming decade and why. It offers a variety of worthwhile reading answers, and one in particular has struck me. According to Professor Pat Shipman, “the defining idea of the next decade is ‘enough.’ […] The day of ‘enough’ is coming. “Enough” is part of a reaction against the overwhelming greed, violence, dishonesty, and…

  • Immigration: how much is enough?

    This, of course, is a politically incorrect question to ask – and that’s precisely why I’m raising it. Indeed, given the massive migrations to come, due among others to climate change and economic opportunities, it’s a question that needs some proper thinking. As a reminder, let me quote a 2009 United Nations Populations Fund report: “Estimating future climate change-related population flows presents [a great] challenge, with figures ranging wildly from 50 million to 1 billion people by the middle of the century, either within their countries or across borders, on a permanent or temporary basis. The most widely used estimate of people to be displaced by environmental factors by 2050 is 200 million” – compared to the…

  • Five daunting climate change scenarios

    The UNFPA 2009 State of the World Population report recalls that “Walter Kälin, Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, has identified five climate change scenarios, each of which has a different impact on the pace or scale of migration or displacement: • Hydro-meteorological disasters, including extreme weather events such as hurricanes, flooding and mudslides, which may lead to sudden-onset displacement. • Environmental degradation, including desertification, water scarcity and soil exhaustion, which may result in gradual migration or displacement. • Losses in state territory, including erosion and coastal flooding resulting from rising sea levels. Persons living in low-lying coastal areas and the so-called “sinking” small island developing states, such as the Maldives, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, will be most affected by this scenario. It may…

  • Why aren’t you composting?

    According to compostweek.com.au around 60% of the rubbish Australians put in their everyday garbage bin (destined for landfill) could actually be composted. So why don’t more people compost? This isn’t a new idea… Are they unsure how to compost? Don’t they realise the benefits? Or maybe they don’t know the negatives? Or are they just too lazy? Or maybe they think they don’t have the space? Here are just a few of the benefits of composting: Reduces landfill which also means reduced methane production. Did you know that when our waste is buried without air it doesn’t breakdown? It actually creates a large amount of methane which contributes to our total…

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