|Welcome to the Club of Amsterdam Journal.|
Our Club of Amsterdam Season 2008/2009 was again a series of inspiring events. We had more than 1,100 attendees at 8 events and visitors from more than 30 countries!
Please join us again the next Season. The program will be announced after the summer break.
We wish you relaxed weeks and hope to hear from you soon!
Felix Bopp, editor-in-chief
Seattle 10 years on: “Go Glocal”
|by Leif Thomas Olsen, Associate Professor, International Relations, Rushmore University|
Bangkok and Västerås in July 2009
‘Glocal’ is a fairly recent term combining the words ‘global’ and ‘local’. One definition of this term, floated at the ‘First Glocal Forum’ in Rome in 2002, is “diffused social action … that can be interpreted as a kind of ideal and cultural movement oriented towards linking the benefits of globalization to local situations, and toward governing globalization also through local situations.” According to two of the co-organisers of this ‘First Glocal Forum’ would “the guiding principles for a glocalism movement […] include references to the need for social processes that seek a better balance bet-ween the forces of globalization and local interests, values, and culture. Similarly, this movement would be seen as seeking a better balance between economic and social criteria, between short-term interests and long-term concern for sustainable communities, and between the public and private benefits of globalization.”
This paper suggests that this ‘glocal’ approach, originally minted in economic just as much as political pursuit – but still not subscribed to by any particular economic or political force – is re-engineered into a platform for the new political philosophy still waiting to be defined by the ‘green’ and ‘alternative’ movements, following almost two decades of civic mobilisation and organisation for a variety of causes. This would be a good opportunity to seize a suitable enough building block that, once re-engineered to meet the philosophical requirements, will have sufficient recognition already from the outset, not only among those who are already convinced of the need for a ‘green’ or ‘alternative’ agenda, but also among those who, by tradition rather than conviction, passively listen primarily to what the incumbent system or leader has to offer.
Those interested in political science may consider the so called neo-Gramscians. They use the Machiavellian concepts of ‘war of position’ (trench warfare) and ‘war of movement’ (attack) to explain the concept of ‘counter-hegemony’, i.e. the building of a social, economic and political force that opposes whatever existing power structure that is in place, eventually gaining strengths enough to replace that incumbent power structure. Antonio Gramsci himself talked about ‘historical blocs’. By this he meant culture-driven developments expressing themselves not only in social terms, but also in political and institutional terms, where the ‘State’ would be the highest level of representation. (By ‘culture’ Gramsci referred not only to socio-national cultures, but also – and in particular – to socio-economic cultures, i.e. ‘social classes’.) The parallel I wish to draw is that it is time for the ‘green’ and ‘alternative’ movements to mature – i.e. to move from the peripheral to the center. By viewing, organising and presenting themselves as a ‘culture’ rather than ‘movements’ can green and alternative become a truly ‘multicultural culture’, one that can build counter-hegemony not only in terms of more environmentally-friendly and humanistic approaches to global society, but also in terms of redefining our ways of selecting, organising and managing whatever institutions we need. Simply reshuffling the very same ‘components’ that industrialism put in place, and modern capitalism refined, will not offer any real change. Incumbent ‘systems’ will always suffocate new ‘ideas’ – unless they too are retired and replaced.
Naming this new platform-philosophy ‘Political Glocalism’, it should strive to com-plement socialism, liberalism and conservatism, and compete with them for popular support. However, ‘Political Glocalism’ may in the longer term (as will be argued later in this paper) also emerge as a host for certain aspects of these three traditional poli-tical ‘-isms’, once its overriding objective to redefine the role of politics – from being civic society’s Master to being its Servant – has been accomplished.
The ‘new age’ movements we often label ‘alternative’ or ‘green’ do – at least to some degree – recognise that a common political denominator is a key requirement if one wishes to challenge established political philosophies like conservatism, liberalism or socialism.
To be an ‘alternative’ requires not only to define what the alternative is, but also what it is meant to replace. By just labelling oneself ‘alternative’ does therefore not give sufficient guidance to those who are not already a part of such a movement, and far too many ideologies and movements can fit within the scope of (e.g.) ‘alternativism’ for such a term to be ideologically helpful.
In the same way is ‘green’ nowadays a term without a clear political definition, since it in its ecological meaning can refer to anything from (e.g.) improved handling of toxic waste and reduced reliance or carbon-based fuels (which even oil companies adver-tise their ambition to do in expensive TV-commercials), to (e.g.) complete elimination of processes that create toxic waste and/or make use of carbon-based fuels (that only windmill producers come even close to advertising). No doubt are the changes required for these two ‘extremes’ totally different in scope, meaning that ‘green’ is not a sufficient label either for a political challenge to the established philosophies. Also in other political aspects will ‘green’ remain a fairly vague concept.
It is therefore important to go beyond the issues that may ‘symbolise’ the perceived needs, when looking for a common political denominator. Also, even within political movements (to outsiders seen as being homogeneous enough) will stark differences in opinion present themselves when practical issues are at stake. So will e.g. conser-vative or socialist parties in Scandinavia not have their matches in e.g. the US, since the application of basic political concepts (albeit some may see them as ‘universal’) over time have come to take on national characteristics. So would e.g. the Conser-vative Party in Sweden be closer to the (perceived more liberal) Democrats in the US than to the (undoubtedly more conservative) Republicans, and perhaps even rank to the political left of the US’ Democratic Party on a range of issues.
It may instead be necessary to consider in what way the ‘alternative’ and ‘green’ (etc) ideologies actually differ from the established ones. In order to determine that, one is much helped by comparing how established political philosophies differ (or resemble) among themselves. On most day-to-day issues do politics in fact not only differ from country to country within the same political philosophy (as noted above), but also over time. The average conservative party of today stands pretty far to the political left of where it stood some 50 years ago, and most communist parties (albeit just a more ‘extreme’ version of socialism) have more or less denounced communism in the philosophical shape and form upon which they were once established.
Instead is it their focus on core issues such as economic or social interaction that tell them apart. In particular is it the conservative parties’ focus on the economy, and the socialists’ focus on social responsibilities that differ. Interestingly enough do they both originate from liberalism – the political philosophy that brought us both repre-sentative democracy (a trait that socialism maintains as ‘leading star’) and market economy (a trait that conservatives hails as their equivalent). It is hence clear that all these three ideologies (and their respective off-springs) have many ideas and ideals in common. They all assume representative democracy to play a more or less impor-tant role (albeit ‘localised’ through domestic versions of party politics), although its actual power may differ depending on the system under which their respective Head of State is elected or appointed, and which powers that position (person) is heralded.
In recent times have all these ideologies’ mainstream politicians also come to accept ‘the market’ as a key force, where even many socialist parties to quite a degree have embraced capitalism’s fundamental trust in the market as an independent rather than controlled force. Other ‘visions’ have instead entered, separating one ideology from another, such as feminism, the level of ecological concern, the view on globalisation, etc.
Today’s political spectrum is in other words narrowing, and this is why there is both a need to see and an ambition to create ‘alternatives’. A breaking point can, at least in retrospect, be traced back to Seattle 1999, i.e. the World Trade Organization-meeting held in that city that was so badly disrupted by anti-demonstrations so that the entire organisation lost its carefully crafted momentum and credibility. The crucial aspect of that event was not that it was disrupted beyond repair, but the fact that it was put in motion by a cross-section of civic movements that never before had acted in concert. Every aspect of civic representation (whether organised as NGOs or otherwise) took part, from environmentalists to gays, from religious groups to reborn socialists. This display of ‘alternatives’ did however not only help the ‘alternative’ movements to demonstrate the strength to which they grown, it also pointed to the weakness that their lack of a common political denominator constitutes. It is no doubt easier to unify against a common ‘enemy’ than it is to come up with (not to mention to implement) a common alternative agenda. The latter is still absent, ten years later.
I will therefore claim that any common ‘alternative’ and/or ‘green’ political philosophy must base itself on something different than what the traditional ideologies not only share, but also keep squabbling over. It must instead take its cue from Seattle 1999, and recognise the fact that that was the first time in such a high-powered and multi-national setting that civic society took control over the political society. This is what needs to be the common denominator for ‘alternative’ and ‘green’ movements; civic society must take control over political society. Till date is it the other way round. The only time the political society is truly concerned with the views of the civic society is ahead of general elections, and even then is it only superficial, since the so often cherished ‘levelled playing field’ is – in fact – nowhere to be seen. Politicians work to refine their arguments for years (financed by civic society), while civic society is ‘informed’ a few months prior, with the help of colourful posters, media scoops and cheerful pamphlets mixing ambitions with semi-truths.
Considering the need for greater civic society involvement in local as well as national and global governance, a significantly stronger focus on long term issues in general and ecological issues in particular, the need to replace the monopolistic world order of the last two decades and to reorient the global trade regime, etc – still recognising that globalisation as a phenomenon cannot be reversed or even stopped, only re-directed to better serve humanity – I call this common philosophical platform Political Glocalism.
When I make use of the term ‘glocal’ in this context, I do not wish to stress only the geographical meaning of the words ‘global’ and ‘local’, but to include its more general interpretations where ‘global’ also can refer to ‘unity’, and ‘local’ also can refer to ‘unit’. The ambition is to draft a political philosophy ensuring that the (global) unity respects the need of the (local) unit, at the same time as the (local) unit understands the requirements of (global) unity. The overriding task will be to inspire the ‘y’-factor, i.e. the critical factor that separates as well as bridges the words ‘unit’ and ‘unity’.
Now, in short could Political Glocalism‘s objectives read as follows:
(i) Put humanity’s collective needs ahead of vested interests’ short term desires. (ii) Put humanity’s collective priorities ahead of politicians’ short term ambitions.
(iii) Put humanity’s local needs and priorities on par with those global.
However, in greater detail could this platform be seen as a pentagon, a five cornered ‘star’ where each of its five integrated sections covers a philosophical ‘fundamental’:
1. All humans are humans. No matter our biological, socio-cultural, economical, and/or linguistic differences, we are first and foremost humans. This fact must be turned into a ‘political axiom’.
2. All humans share only one earth. Since we don’t have the possibility to divide earth into smaller and from each other independent parts (other than in the superficial ‘bits’ we call nations), we can nothing but share it. This responsibil-ity must be defined in ‘eco/eco’ terms (i.e. ecological / economic terms).
3. All humans have a shared responsibility for future generations. As long as humans inhabit the earth are we all partly responsible for future generations, no matter their (future) biological, socio-cultural, economical and/or linguistic differences. Only when humanity ceases to exist (becomes extinct), will that responsibility cease. This responsibility must be turned into a moral ‘given’.
4. All humans must take part in the process of setting the political agenda – for which each society elect their own politicians to manage. The power lies with those asking the questions, not those tasked to answer them. It must be politically recognised that power belongs to the civic society tasked to set the agenda – not to those elected, appointed or otherwise tasked to carry it out. The first political assignment is to re-organise the glocal order to reflect this revised hierarchy.
5. All societies are ‘local’. Just as local climates affect people’s way of life do all local societies’ socially accepted behavioural patterns (referred to as cultures) also matter. Although cultures continuously evolve when in contact with other cultures, has no culture the political right to oppress another. As all ‘humans’ are equal guardians of our single earth for future generations, whereby the collective sets the agenda for their respective politicians to manage, it follows that politics’ role includes ensuring a peaceful co-existence among cultures.
From these ‘fundamentals’ can different aspects of society be guided. The political axiom ‘All humans are humans’ serves as a framework for social and spiritual issues, where inclusion is based on the fact that we are all humans – not on specifics like race, gender or financial standing (compare e.g. nationalism, ethnocentrism, class-based partisanship, etc). The type of barriers that still exclude individuals or groups from social or spiritual collectives under this axiom are (e.g.) geographical proximity when physical presence is required, commitment to a cause if / when that is needed, belief in or support of ideas when that is required, age when ambitions target children or seniors, and/or the like. The unlikelihood that any single ‘community’ will ever be able to offer totally universal values or access, render improper any claims that such a political axiom is impossible to ‘sell’ due to some (false) assumption that everybody first would have to become part of some kind of ‘global happy family’ – which indeed is utopian. Practical considerations will, as always, have to be accommodated.
The eco/eco (ecological / economic) terms that need to guide the way we share our earth’s space and other resources are to a large degree already available. By putting existing frameworks to work, and maintaining a significant focus on developing these further – as well as totally new ones – will the balance soon shift towards better sus-tainability. As can be easily recognised from today’s societies is taxation both the culprit and the saviour. By re-designing taxation along eco/eco terms will human priorities change, and both the ecological and security situations will rapidly improve.
The responsibility that must be turned into a moral ‘given’ – i.e. to share responsibility for future generations – is not difficult to promote once we insert our own off-springs in the place of the general term ‘future generations’. This promotion will be facilitated even further once the above mentioned political axiom is in place.
The key to the fourth ‘fundamental’ – whereby civic society assumes control over the political society – lies in the transfer of the power to define the political agenda, from politicians to ‘humans’. No doubt are politicians also humans, but in today’s political landscape is the human sub-group ‘politicians’ not only rule-issuers, but also players, goalkeepers and referees, and even in control of the cheerleaders. If anyone is in doubt whether or not civic society can gather momentum enough to make this trans-formation happen, this is because the focus of this process is still so strong on ‘politicians’ – not on ‘humans’. So called ‘shadow parliaments’ may serve as a critical step in this development.
Finally, the idea that all societies are ‘local’ is not at all contradictory to a globalised or integrated world as such. What is expressed here is however the recognition of the individuals’ need to impact this increasingly globalised and/or integrated world, and that globalisation cannot be allowed to become a pretext for ignoring the huge scope of different needs that people have. Instead must their location and socio-economic situation be allowed to continue defining their needs, rather than ‘local needs’ being dictated by large and anonymous multinational financial or political interests, over which local communities have no influence.
As should be clear from the above are these five fundamentals not indicative of what people shall build from them. They are simply there to encourage us to build some-thing from them. They constitute the ‘foundation’, not the ‘structures’ we use to live our lives, and certainly not the ‘superstructure’ that constitute life itself. This is also where today’s socio-economic and political systems have gone wrong. So many particular conditions have been institutionalised as a sheer consequence of previous actions so the resulting gridlocks prevent all change, no matter where we start. By re-orienting the ‘fundamentals’ of our socio-economic and political ambitions – away from the financial concerns that conservatives and socialist keep bickering over, or the ‘systems’ that true liberals tend to focus on, but allowing these fairly narrow approaches to compete on new terms whereby short- and medium term policies also will need to target long term ‘glocal’ objectives in order to get approval from the constituency – we can finally start the breaking away from what keeps us locked in.
It is true that the term ‘glocalism’ till date often suggests that large urban communities challenge the authority of the State by interconnecting directly with other large urban communities, simply bypassing national governments. This term is nevertheless still politically untested, and by instilling in it a political interpretation can this ‘urban’ focus be replaced with a ‘human’ focus, simply acknowledging that the density of humans is greater in major urban areas than it is in smaller towns and rural communities. This does not suggest that the latter have less influence over local concerns, but it does suggest that decisions taken in small towns and rural communities affect a smaller number of humans than do decisions taken in mega cities.
Starting out from the pentagon’s five integrated fundamentals can any political party or movement, as well as non-political movements, build their own versions of what these fundamentals should entail – a version they can then put to the electoral test if they are political parties, or debate and lobby for if they are NGOs. What we can aspire to achieve by launching Political Glocalism as a new and competing political philosophy is not an immediate shift away from the traditional political philosophies to this new and ‘alternative’ one, but a realignment of (i) the issues on which the political establishment goes to election, (ii) how politics are conducted and (iii) along which lines politicians are being assessed. Those political institutions that already base themselves on the ‘glocal’ model will however, once this happens, enjoy a flying start.
Rather than viewing the launch of Political Glocalism as an endgame should this be seen as the starting point for a long overdue change in political practice – from narrow partisan interests to solution-driven political agendas, where civic society finally takes charge of its own destiny.
Videos about the future of Connectivity
LogMeIn provides organizations and individuals with secure, easy-to-use and cost effective solutions for remotely supporting, connecting and accessing digital information, applications and Internet-enabled devices. Our vision is to improve mobility, business productivity and connectivity through our Connectivity as a ServiceSM solutions. Our passion – delighting customers and users of our technology.
Our company was founded in 2003. LogMeIn’s world headquarters is located near Boston in Woburn, Massachusetts, with European headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and a development center in Budapest, Hungary.
Club of Amsterdam blog
News about the Future
This “report card on the future” distills the collective intelligence of over 2,700 leading scientists, futurists, scholars, and policy advisors who work for governments, corporations, non-governmental organizations, universities, and international organizations.
Fashion Model Robot
The HRP-4C female humanoid robot developed by Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) has finally made her debut on the runway, appearing in a professionally done fashion show in Osaka. Standing at 158cm tall, she was donned in a wedding dress by designer Yumi Katsura.
Australia’s Digital Economy: Future Directions
[…] This final report — Australia’s Digital Economy: Future Directions — outlines the areas of focus for government, industry and the community to maximise the benefits of the digital economy for all Australians.
[…] This paper explains how government, industry and the community can work together to improve Australia’s international standing. It provides the rationale for government taking strategic and enabling action now to ensure all parts of Australia benefit fully from the digital economy. It outlines those issues on which we must direct our attention today and in the near future to ensure that we are able to fully engage in the 21st century. […]
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
The digital economy is the global network of economic and social activities that are enabled by platforms such as the Internet, mobile and sensor networks. The digital economy refers to the devices most of us use each day such as computers, phones and game consoles. It includes the online maps that we consult, the web searches that we do to find information and our electronic banking.
A successful digital economy is essential for Australia’s economic growth and our ability to maintain our international standing. It offers new opportunities for businesses to a larger, potentially global, audience and for individuals to connect and collaborate.
This paper explains:
- why the digital economy is important for Australia
- the current state of digital economy engagement in Australia and why current metrics point to a need for strategic action
- the elements of a successful digital economy
- the role for the Government in developing Australia’s digital economy.
Advancing Australia’s digital economy requires action by government, industry and the community. The key areas of focus for government, industry and the community in order to maximise the benefits of the digital economy for all Australians are:
- for Government, to:
- lay the foundations Australia’s digital infrastructure
- facilitate innovation
- set conducive regulatory frameworks
- for industry, to:
- demonstrate digital confidence and build digital skills
- adopt smart technology
- develop sustainable online content models
- for the community, to:
- enjoy digital confidence and digital media literacy skills
- experience inclusive digital participation
- benefit through online engagement.
This Australia’s Digital Economy: Future Directions paper discusses the key initiatives being undertaken by government, industry and the community in each of these key areas. It also includes case studies of Australians from a diversity of industries who have successfully engaged with the digital economy. […]
The task of transforming Australia’s economy and society into a successful digital economy is a significant one that requires a long-term focus. This paper outlines areas for government, industry and community to work on to ensure that Australia is well on the path to a successful digital economy.
Both government and industry must devise their strategies recognising that this is a process which touches all aspects of our economy and society. Australia is not alone in realising the magnitude of this challenge. As the OECD has noted:
‘ICT policies are now becoming less sector-specific and more a part of the mainstream economic policies that concern the economy and society as a whole[…].OECD countries with long-term strategies for information societies typically emphasise the role of ICTs and the internet as key enablers of wider societal change.’
This Australia’s Digital Economy: Future Directions paper aligns with other important Australian Government initiatives to enable Australia to become a more innovative nation with world-class infrastructure that supports the smart, effective and rewarding use of technology throughout all aspects of our economy and society. This paper complements the Powering Ideas paper, which outlines an innovation agenda for the 21st century. It provides the vision underlying the Government’s existing commitments to establish a company to build the National Broadband Network and switching existing television services to digital-only.
However, digital economies are primarily market-led, with Government in the role of an enabler. In its role as enabler, the Australian Government is building or facilitating the development of our digital infrastructure, deploying smart technologies, promoting digital inclusion and reviewing Australia’s regulatory framework to support the rapid change technology facilitates.
With these commitments, it then turns to industry to take the lead to ensure that Australia realises the full potential of the digital economy. This may require a renewed effort, changed focus or new initiative by industry in order to properly leverage the Government’s investment and support.
The National Broadband Network, in particular, will allow Australia to become a global leader in terms of capacity and enjoy truly high-speed carrier grade video, data and voice services. This will have significant implications for industry in terms of new services, applications and business models. To assist Australia’s research community and commercial sector to fully map the applications and business models which will thrive in Australia’s high-speed future the Government will host a National Broadband Network: Realising the Vision forum before the end of 2009.
It is also important that industry and the public continue to provide feedback and suggestions for new ideas about how to progress the future of Australia’s digital economy or additional case studies. For those with comments or suggestions, send to:
Assistant Secretary, Digital Economy and Convergence Branch
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
GPO Box 2154
CANBERRA ACT 2601
It is not our intention to publish any comments we receive. However, should we wish to do so, we will contact you to seek your permission.
With the initiatives outlined in this paper and through these ongoing discussions, the Australian Government is confident that, in keeping with the true spirit of the online world, we can continue to collaborate, discuss and engage with all parts of Australian industry and the community to maximise the economic, social and environmental benefits of the digital economy for Australia.
Green School serves more than 100 students in Preschool and Kindergarten through Grade Nine. Our innovative curriculum combines demanding academic content taught through a holistic approach that aims to inspire and enhance all of a child’s capacities. Our goal is to foster a spirit of inquiry and a love of learning that prepares children to thrive in the challenging, complex 21st-century world.
The eight-hectare campus in Sibang Kaja is divided by the Ayung River, whose western bank supports classrooms, libraries, laboratories and kitchens, while the eastern bank serves as the setting for the School’s entrepreneurial enterprises, cultural centers, homes, and guest villas. Aquaculture ponds, organic vegetable gardens, edible mazes, and permacultural gardens are found throughout the vast campus of shaded walkways, elegantly curving bridges, and cool breezes that lift themselves off the rushing River.
Built entirely out of low-impact and environmentally-conscious materials such as bamboo and traditional Balinese mud walls, the buildings flow throughout the gardened landscape and suggest a complete harmony with nature. A working organic chocolate factory, large sports fields, a gymnasium, a high ropes course, and innovative renewable electrical power sources suggest that the school is not only for students, but for a community of open-minded and thoughtful families who wish to subscribe to an educational worldview that embraces holism and the development of the whole person.
Although learning takes place across the extensive campus, the west side of the Kul-Kul Campus is devoted to the School and its classrooms, libraries, laboratories, and other facilities, while the east side of the campus holds the Learning Village and the entrepreneurial enterprises that connect students to solving real-life problems. Both sides of the campus exist in harmony and balance, and all structures are built of sustainable natural materials such as bamboo, traditional mud walls, and alang-alang grass. Extracurricular activities such as art, sport, music, martial arts and dance all take place alongside the academic and experiential study of mathematics, natural and social sciences, foreign languages, cultural studies, technology, and health.
On the west side, the classrooms are spacious and well-ventilated. In each classroom is equipped with blackboards, books, shelves, chairs, stools, desks for individual study, and long tables for craft and group study. Each classroom thus serves multiple purposes. Similarly, the main library and its multi-media centers will provide a large selection of print and digital materials as well as areas for quiet individual and group study. The main kitchen and canteen area will serve the community healthy organic meals, and other exciting venues such as a high ropes course and an innovative “vortex” hydro-electrical generator provide opportunities for both team-building and hands-on study activities.
On the east side, staff and teachers live next to one another, in a community that hopes to foster openness and accountability. Alongside these facilities is the Learning Village, where handicrafts and various small enterprises, including an organic chocolate factory, provide the entrepreneurial and experiential learning components of the curriculum.
Green School will offer boarding facilities to interested students starting in Grade Seven. The pupils will live separately according to sex, but not according to nationality or cultural heritage. Tolerance and respect is thus a highly valued virtue. Social responsibility is practiced by mandated involvement in community building, environmental conservation, or social development activities.
Sustainability at Green School: Walking the Talk
Green School serves as a model to local and international communities not only in how we educate our students about sustainability, but in how profoundly environmental concerns are integrated into our learning, philosophy, and daily lives.
Every aspect of the site and buildings are living examples of sustainability: built on eight hectares of land straddling the Ayung River in Sibang Kaja, the School’s many buildings will cooled and powered by sustainable energy solutions including micro-hydro power, solar power, bio-diesel and predominantly natural air-conditioning. Indonesian bamboo, local alang-alang grass, traditional mud walls, and mud brick are used to construct classrooms, athletic facilities and other school buildings to minimize our use of non-sustainable materials such as concretes and plastics. Our goal is to use between 99 and 100 percent natural materials in our construction projects, to recycle as many materials as possible, and to manage our waste responsibly.
Generating Our Future
We strive to be as energy independent as we can. To that end, we are implementing an experiment in micro-hydro power generation, the nine-meter vortex generator. In addition, we are also producing methane from cow manure for fueling stoves, installing solar panels to supply permacultural projects, and developing a gasification unit that will use rice husks and other organic materials to produce electricity.
Sustaining Our Needs and Appetites
Our campus is blanketed by an organic permaculture system designed by international and local experts. Students engage in farming, which connects them to the land and what it offers, but also provides experiential learning applicable in the real world. The School’s gardens grow rice, fruits and vegetables that help to nourish the school community. Our agricultural land also produces fruits, vegetables, palm sugar and even chocolate from our own cacao trees — which are sold locally through entrepreneurial projects that students at the School will help to manage.
As another part of the experiential learning component at the School, our students are involved in growing and maintaining an edible maze; producing coconut oil from the trees flourishing across our campus; harvesting honey; and breeding fish in our aquaculture ponds, all with an aim to celebrate and take care of our campus’s remarkable natural abundance. Our composting systems are already in place and will continue to develop as more and more students, teachers, and staff move to the land.
Green School promotes alternative transportation both to and within the Kul-Kul Campus. One transportation initiative is a campus-wide co-operative bicycle program and trail network for school staff, faculty, and students. The project revolves around refurbishing discarded bicycles from the colonial era — rather than manufacturing new products — and converting them to hauling bikes equipped with bamboo trailers.
A network of bicycle paths will connect all campus facilities and link up to an extended network of existing and new trails in surrounding communities. Students and professional engineers will also design a bamboo bicycle while classroom assignments will help teach students how to build their own bikes using lessons that stem from math and science curricula. We are also in the process of designing and implementing a bio-gas-fueled buggy that will allow us to transport materials and people around campus.
The first structure completed on our campus was the elegant Kul-Kul Bridge suspended across the Ayung River. It soon became clear that not only would our students and faculty use this bridge to move through campus but that our neighbors would, too. Every day, hundreds of Balinese cross the bridge to attend temple, travel to a rice field, and head to work or school. Thus this beautiful span serves as an apt metaphor for what we believe to be true about sustainability: no program will make a real impact unless it is able to bridge cultures and embrace the weave of communities that surround and are integral to our campus. Our Balinese neighbors continue to be involved in our school not only as students, teachers, and parents, but as friends who are also committed to promoting and living within a framework of environmental responsibility.
To that end, we are educating local children about waste management and local schools are taking on projects to grow and maintain bamboo. We will soon be teaching English to community members and we are planning to sponsor a medical clinic, cultural center and other initiatives that show our respect and care for our neighbors. We are dedicated to providing a significant amount of scholarships to students from the local community so that our School fosters a diverse and vibrant mix of students from all nationalities.
We believe that if we are going to serve as a model of responsibility, Green School must be a nursery for ecologically friendly technologies and ideas. Every day, our students will be able to live within and think about environmental concerns in disciplines ranging from mathematics to current events. We will also sponsor pilot projects, such as testing plastic bags as materials with which to pave roads as well as other new recycling technologies. In addition, we are experimenting with ways to assess CO2 sequestration and to measure what we produce, with the intention of sharing our research with other companies, schools, and organizations interested in reducing and eliminating CO2 production.
|Corporate Power in Global Agrifood Governance|
by Jennifer Clapp (Editor), Doris Fuchs (Editor)
In today’s globally integrated food system, events in one part of the world can have multiple and wide-ranging effects, as has been shown by the recent and rapid global rise in food prices. Transnational corporations (TNCs) have been central to the development of this global food system, dominating production, international trade, processing, distribution, and retail sectors. Moreover, these global corporations play a key role in the establishment of rules and regulations by which they themselves are governed. This book examines how TNCs exercise power over global food and agriculture governance and what the consequences are for the sustainability of the global food system.
The book defines three aspects of this corporate power: instrumental power, or direct influence; structural power, or the broader influence corporations have over setting agendas and rules; and discursive, or communicative and persuasive, power. The book begins by examining the nature of corporate power in cases ranging from “green” food certification in Southeast Asia and corporate influence on U.S. food aid policy to governance in the seed industry and international food safety standards. Chapters examine such issues as promotion of corporate-defined “environmental sustainability” and “food security,” biotechnology firms and intellectual property rights, and consumer resistance to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and other cases of contestation in agrobiology. In a final chapter, the editors raise the crucial question of how to achieve participation, transparency, and accountability in food governance.
Futurist Portrait: Rajendra K. Pachauri
The name of Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri, Director General of TERI and Chairman of the IPCC has become synonymous with climate change and the environment. Internationally recognised as a leading global thinker and leader of research, the more so since sharing the podium with Al Gore to receive the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC, he has effortlessly worn these two hats. Now, however, he finds himself catapulted into a third unnamed role as international statesman promoting climate change awareness. As the world wakes up to the reality of imminent climate change, environmental issues have suddenly taken on an extra urgency and Dr Pachauri’s work schedule has expanded enormously. These days he is constantly on the move, criss -crossing the globe to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counter such change.
This journey began in the mountains of Nainital 68 years ago. In this picturesque hill station overlooking a lake, Rajendra Kumar Pachauri was born into a family of educators. His father was a Doctor of Educational Psychology from London University who like his son after him had studied abroad and returned home to India. His mother was born of Indian parents living in British Burma. She educated and provided her son with the high standards that have enabled him to cope with his ever-increasing workload. His well-known work ethic, entailing strict punctuality and completion of all tasks, he attributes to her. With this background and a natural ability in school, particularly in mathematics, he was able to attend the elite school in Lucknow called La Martiniere College. Here he thrived under the tutelage of a master called Arthur Flynn who encouraged his mathematical bent which was to lead initially to a career in engineering, with his undergraduate training as a mechanical engineer at the Indian Railways School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at Jamalpur. He graduated from this institution standing first in a class of 8, who were admitted through a stiff all India competition for a career highly coveted those days.
After an early managerial career in engineering in the Diesel Locomotive Works at Varanasi, he progressed through academia here and abroad, acquiring a Masters in Industrial Engineering and became doubly a Doctor -with a PhD in Industrial Engineering and another in Economics from North Carolina State University. Then came a spell as an Assistant Professor and Visiting Faculty Member in the Department of Economics and Business at NCSU. Despite this promotion he felt the pull of home and returned to India where he took up a Senior Faculty post at the Administrative Staff College of India in Hyderabad, later becoming Director of the Consulting and Applied Research Division. This period also gave Dr Pachauri a trial run for his later multi-layered career. In the short period August 1981- 1982 he assumed the roles of Visiting Professor of Resource Economics, at the West Virginia University and a Senior Visiting Fellow at The Resource Systems Institute, East-West Center in the USA.
The year 1982 marked the beginning of a more settled period for Pachauri. He took on the directorship of TERI based in New Delhi. Under his leadership, from a funding body for small research projects, TERI grew to one of the world’s best-known research institutes. As TERI expanded its activities, it moved to its new Darbari Seth Building in the India Habitat Centre in 1994. To this was added the visionary TERI GRAM in Gual Pahari, 30 km outside Delhi, which is used for field research and training activities. This complex is a favourite place for Dr Pachauri as it has been developed on the principles of sustainable resource management in terms of energy usage and is also where he plays cricket as a member of the TERI team on “Patchy Greens”.
Being Director General of TERI was always Pachauri’s over- arching commitment but he still managed to gain international experience and develop contacts with academic and other institutions overseas. This was to prove beneficial for TERI’s long term international profile and links. He did research at the World Bank in Washington DC for three months during 1990 and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) which recognized his vast knowledge and experience in the energy-environment field, particularly in sustainable management of natural resources, appointed him as part-time advisor to the administrator of UNDP. He also managed to squeeze in a spell during 2000 as a McCluskey Fellow, teaching a semester at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University, USA.
With this breadth of experience at home and abroad he was well placed to contribute to arguably one of the greatest global knowledge organisations the world has known in the shape of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This body of scientists representing all continents have come together to assemble, assess and compile knowledge on the greatest threat to the planet since the dawning of the industrial age. Climate Change has been unequivocally identified by the IPCC as already occurring and now most governments of the world are at least aware of the phenomenon, if not already developing policies to deal with it.
Dr Pachauri’s involvement with the IPCC began in 1991 when he was a lead author for the second assessment report, which laid much of the foundation for the Kyoto Protocol of 1997. By the time of the third report he was elected as one of the vice chairs. In 2002 he stood for the top job and was elected as Chairman, taking over from Robert Watson. Under his chairmanship the IPCC produced its most challenging document ever, the Fourth Assessment Report. Despite some opposition the IPCC succeeded in also producing a more accessible version of this report for public consumption, its Synthesis Report, which seemed to hit home with the media. This report condenses and brings together the scientific conclusions in a more digestible form for policy makers and generalists. This had a profound and extensive impact on creating public awareness worldwide and generated momentum towards a global agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol. In September 2008, he was re-elected by acclamation to a second term as the Chairman of the IPCC.
This same momentum or some would say ‘ tidal wave’ of public interest in global warming, has impacted on the IPCC’s most visible representative, in a dramatic way. Dr Pachauri is now on everyone’s wish list for their climate change events. As well as his primary commitments to TERI and the IPCC he is active in several international fora dealing with the subject of climate change and its policy dimensions. The Prime Minister of India has appointed him as a member of the PM’s Advisory Council on Climate Change. Earlier he served on the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, and in the 1980s as a member of the Advisory Board on Energy.
But this indefatigability has not gone unnoticed. He was recently awarded the second-highest civilian award in India, the ‘Padma Vibhushan’ as well as the Padma Bhushan before it for services to the environment. From the Government of France he received the ‘Officier De La Légion D’Honneur’ in 2006. When not speaking on climate change, chairing meetings, making decisions for TERI, travelling and assessing for the IPCC, Dr Pachauri has managed to write over a hundred articles for academic journals, more than 23 books and for light relief composes poetry. His other recreational diversion is cricket and for this he will always make time.
Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri about environmental sustainability and human progress
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