Noble: What if we completely reconfigured how we
make building materials and everyday products to be healthier and more
efficient, to have lower carbon footprints, to be regenerative, recyclable,
and compostable. What if that reconfiguration resulted in a sustainable
circular pattern of waste material utilization, manufacturing conversion,
and production of thousands of high performance, environmentally superior,
non-toxic, cradle-to-cradle compliant, clean and healthy products and
systems. What if we had a core composite material conversion technology
that would enable that reconfiguration.
"... backcasting is not concerned with predicting
the future; rather, it is a strategic problem-solving framework, in
the quest for the answer to how to reach specified outcomes in the future.
This involves finding ways of linking goals that may lie more than a
generation in the future to a set of steps performed now and designed
to achieve that end In backcasting, one envisions a desirable
future endpoint and then works backward to determine what programs would
be required to attain that specified future or to construct a plausible
causal chain leading from here to there. ..."
"We will move to a low-carbon world because nature will force us,
or because policy will guide us. If we wait until nature forces us,
the cost will be astronomical."
The Critical Path Model
Thomas Olsen, Master of Philosophy & Master of International Relations
Critical Path Model is a new and game-oriented
version of a planning instrument that Futurists call 'Backcasting' -
which differs significantly from both Forecasting and Foresight.
movie 'Back to the Future' from 1985 was basically about time-travel.
A fictitious journey between future, present and past, where the hero
used a supersonic space-vehicle, looking like a sportscar (it was a
DeLorean), to revisit his youth - which was 30 years prior to 'now'
- but indeed 'the present' once he arrived back there. In this way he
could understand why things became the way they came to be in the future
- and even influence the future by acting in the present.
Backcasting is based on a similar line of thinking. Backcasting also
starts out from the future - or rather the Desired Future. From there
it moves back towards the present, and continues to the past, before
charting the best route forward from the present to the Desired Future.
You are probably well acquainted with both 'Forecasting' and 'Foresight'.
Backcasting, a third tool in the Futurists' toolbox, is however less
commonly used by practitioners. Current Backcasting approaches are cumbersome
and lengthy processes, often taking years to carry out. The Critical
Path model changes all that, making it a much more game-oriented activity
that easily can be carried out in both the public and the private sectors,
as well as the NGO-sector.
Before I present the model, I will give those of you who feel the need
for it a few background reading-links. Read them if you want, but if
you feel they are redundant, just pass them over:
of you who wish to read even more about these and/or related topics,
I have listed a few additional, very helpful and interesting, links
at the end of this article.
The Critical Path Model
This model constitutes a blend of two from each other totally separate
theories. One is Jürgen Habermas' Public Sphere Theory. The other
is Leif Thomas Olsen's Cultural Formula.
Jürgen Habermas is a German, world-leading, sociologist. His theory
was first launched in 1962, but has been updated several times since,
and is still valid for how most of our societies are structured. Leif
Thomas Olsen is neither a leading nor a well-known sociologist, but
still a seasoned researcher in the field of inter-cultural cooperation
and consequent structures cum systems.
Having said that, there is a key to Backcasting that must be recognised
from the outset. This key can most easily be shown in a comparative
graph. In the graph below, note the orientation of the triangles - which
describes what emphasis the analytical process itself has (on the past,
present or future?) - and the direction of the arrows, which describes
in which order the data is scrutinized (from past to current to future,
or from future to current to past)
Public Sphere Theory
In the shortest of short summaries, this theory groups every society
into five different realms. Starting from 'the top', we find the realm
that all the other realms wish (and try) to influence. This is the Governing
Realm. This realm has political power and is ruled by law. In The Critical
Path Model this is also the realm that needs to influence the assumptions
and actions of the four other realms - the four others being those that
actually create the future. Hopefully, the Desired Future. This realm
is therefore - as we will soon see - both continuously influenced by
the other realms and engaged in a constant effort to influence the same
four realms that are trying to influence it. Those setting / owning
the Desired Future identified for each Backcasting process will therefore
- once the more game-driven part of this process starts - have to take
on the role of the Governing Realm.
Then comes two different institutional realms. Habermas calls them 'public'
realms. One is the realm of corporations and NGOs, which he calls the
'Public Economic Realm'. To the rest of us, the term 'Corporate and
Institutional Realm' may be easier to relate to. This realm has political
influence based on economic power, and is driven by their respective
(and hence biased) special interests, rather than by the public interests
which the Governing Realm supposedly represents. This realm's influence
is often described as 'lobbying'. For instance, the global (corporate)
oil and gas lobby is in a perpetual conflict with the global environmental
NGOs. The former has abundant resources to lobby for the economic interests
that our societies typically rank as top political priority. The latter
has limited resources to lobby for the survival of our habitats - without
which we will not survive. The Governing Realm's role is to balance
such diverse interests, in their struggle to achieve the Desired
The second of Habermas' public realms is 'Media' ('Public Intimate Realm').
Although many media outlets are privately owned, and hence could be
seen as 'corporate', Habermas notes that this realm has a communicative
role, infused with cultural power, driven by the intent to shape and
communicate public interests to the Governing Realm. The key in this
particular context is that they intend to 'shape' public interests -
i.e. to influence the general public's ideas about the present and future
they then convey to the Governing Realm. This means that any part of
the 'public' that is not represented by the Media Realm has no channel
to the Governing Realm. This is of course why the www matters. Here
anybody with sufficient skills or resources can create their own 'media
channel', through which they can - more or less successfully - convey
their particular interests to the Governing Realm.
Moving from Habermas' two 'Public Economic Realms', we come to his final
group of actors. He calls this group the 'Private' realms. This is also
split in two sub-groups. The first is the 'Private Economic Realm',
which in essence refers to our societies' capital owners and edu-cated
classes. According to Habermas this realm is infused with intellectual
and economic powers, driven by 'true reason'. Its societal role is to
define economic strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (S.W.O.T.)
of different scenarios, from which 'public will' emerges in the shape
of priorities. This public will is echoed by media and, as far as possible,
implement-ted by this realm's members in the Corporate and Institutional
Realm. This 'Private Economic Realm' actually controls these two others
through their individual intellectual and economic powers; the two realms
they control representing biased institutional economic and cultural
The final realm is the 'Private Cultural Realm', which refers to folks
in general, by Habermas defined as 'the family'. No doubt, all of us
are part of this realm, but our role here is different from the one
some of its members also have as 'Private Economic Realm'-members. This
realm is the recipient of 'culture' (which it is media's role to deliver)
and infused with electoral power but driven by opinion. Interesting
enough it is this realm that actually elects the Gover-ning Realm through
the ballot box, but it simply builds its opinions (i.e., not the kind
of true reason Habermas assigns to the 'Private Economic Realm') about
the Desired Future on what they see, hear and read. And opinions vary
from group to group, and from time to time, large-ly driven by the culture
they hold and over time develop in the light of their past and present.
These opinions are highly influenced by media, why Habermas argues this
realm is 'recipient' rather than producer of the cultural content included
in the communication targeting the Governing Realm.
This means that all these four realms, each one having its particular
set of roles and interests, must be guided by the Governing Realm -
which is in charge of looking after the interests of the general public
- if the Desired Future shall at all be possible to materialise. On
a national level the Governing Realm is the government, which is what
Habermas was talking about. It can also be elevated to a global level,
where international institutions and their backers con-stitute this
realm or 'stepped down' to the corporate cum institutional level, where
the Board of Directors and Executive Management equal the Governing
No matter for which micro- or macro level one sets a Desired Future,
the need to align assum-ptions and actions throughout the population
concerned is pivotal. Obstruction from any of the realms may not only
delay the implementation of a Desired Future, but also cause havoc to
the entire project. In the Critical Path Model Jurgen Habermas' Public
Sphere Theory is used as a means to ensure that this is done.
OIsen's Cultural Formula
The second dimension is the 'Cultural Formula'. This was first documented
in 2005 and was later used as an analytical tool in a German-based research
project in 2013 - its results pub-lished in 2015. This formula describes
the links and steps between our cultural values and the actual actions
we take. We may not always think of our actions as being culturally
derived, but looking carefully at the links, we will find a strong correlation
between our values and our actions.
This 'formula' is divided into four levels. The first
level is the Social Level. Here we start out from a relevant set of
Cultural Values, to which we add the Environment in which they are being
applied. We thereby arrive at the Cultural Application. No doubt will
most of us - some sooner and some later - adjust our ways of representing
our culture, depending on the envi-ronment we are in. Take any person
moving from outside a small town in the countryside (like Wellsville
in upstate New York) to a mega-city (like New York City), some 500 kms
away. Still the American dream, still the same religion, still the same
ethnicity. But different application - now adjusted to city-life instead
of a rural one.
The second level is the Empirical Level. Starting out from the Cultural
Application one now adds one's Experiences, both collective and personal.
These will differ from group to group, and from individual to individual,
and constitute the platform for our Cultural Premises (i.e. assumptions).
Therefore, our premises (assumptions) will also differ - not only from
culture to culture, but also among a culture's members. Many premises
may of course be shared, but some will differ. Think for instance how
typical male and female premises can differ. And they differ more in
some cultures than they do in other.
That a lot of our premises are culturally derived becomes obvious if
we view 'culture' from a wider perspective. Culture can be social, generational,
professional, corporate, class-based or otherwise - all of which will
influence our premises.
Now, assume two or more people making exactly the same observation.
Take for instance a street-demonstration against some injustice experienced
by the demonstrators. Some observers will assess this observation based
on the premise that such injustice cannot be tolerated, why this observer
may applaud, or even join in, when the demonstrators pass by. A different
observer of the very same demonstration can disagree with the demands
of the demonstrators, may boo at them, and even try to stop them. This
although both observers may come from the very same cultural community.
But if they have different Experiences with which they mix their Cultural
Application, they may draw totally different Cultural Conclusions -
which in fact is what most disagreements are all about. But to argue
over the Cultural Conclusion, without first sharing and recognising
each other's Cultural Applications and their ensuing Cultural Premises,
is like trying to convince each other that one colour is 'nicer' than
Based on our Cultural Conclusion we decide to act - or not to act. The
survey titled Perceptions of the appropriate response to norm violation
in 57 societies (Eriksson et al., 2021), found that some societies
encourage direct action when social norms are breached, while other
societies discourage such action in favour of indirect ways of disapproving
- such as gossiping. Thus, culture does not only affect how we think,
but also how we actually act, or abstain from acting.
But two factors are crucial for our decision if and how to act or not
act. One is our resources. Do we have the resources it takes to actually
do 'it'? The other is our resolve. Are we deter-mined enough, or is
it easier to do nothing? History shows that resources may not always
win over resolve. A lot of resources, but a low resolve, may not win
over an adversary with limited resources but limitless resolve. Take
the war in Afghanistan as a modern example of this. In the late 1980's
the far less resource-rich Taliban movement (albeit at the time with
covert support from USA) threw out the Soviet Union from their land.
Now they also won a 20-year war against the USA and its NATO-allies.
Their staying-power is mainly a matter of resolve - unfortunately based
on the premise that yet one more civilian life lost does not matter.
These four levels constitute the 'Cultural Formula'. In the Critical
Path Model this formula is used to ensure that both 'past' and 'present'
are systematically covered in the analysis. To expect that a Desired
Future shall materialize if the premises do not support it, is futile.
If the premises are the obstacle, why are they so? Is it a matter of
Experiences, Environment or Cul-tural Values? The process must start
on whichever of these levels the root cause is found. And one must make
sure it targets the correct realm. To convince 'folks in general' (i.e.
the Private Cultural Realm) to stop throwing trash on the beach or driving
their petrol- or diesel cars may be a good thing, but it will not help
unless the Private Economic Realm (the elites) actually en-sures that
the Corporate and Institutional Realm they control ends its polluting
practices. The former can only have a minor impact as compared to the
latter, why one - in such a scenario - must start by changing the latter
realm's current premise that GDP and growth are more im-portant than
the 1,5 (now 2.0) degree target that the Paris Accord established.
These are the two dimensions upon which the Critical Path Model is built.
Trying to demon-strate this graphically, we first need to view the Public
Sphere Model and the Cultural Formula as a chart. That will look as
Then we insert
the Backcasting triangle we used to compare Backcasting to Forecasting
This triangle indicates that although it may seem easy
to change the population's obvious actions (behaviour) by giving instructions,
or simple-to-earn incentives, this will not create sustainable change.
The change must be based on common and/or suitable premises, con-sidering
all parts of the concerned society's member-groups (not only those of
the 'experts') developed through the recognition and tolerance of their
respective premises' underlying causes. This model is designed to guide
and support such a process. Note that the Desired Future is inserted
at the chart's far right.
In order to systematically deal with the respective realms' respective
actions and assumptions - in spite of the impossibility to have all
of them represented in person - the team working on the Backcasting
project must assume different roles: one group representing the particular
realm in the matrix-column that is being discussed, other groups representing
other realms. And one group must always take on the role of the Governing
Realm. The order of rectangles to cover are - since this is called Backcasting
- from bottom right to top left, as can be under-stood from the below
version of the chart.
two-part multi-step exercise questionnaire by which each rectangle is
scrutinized is available as a part of this model, allowing the team
to cover all the concerns that the chart holds in a systematic manner.
This will make the team's output transparent and clear also to those
not taking part in the process.
The Critical Path Model is a model for how Backcasting can be done in
a systematic manner - for the sake of clarity and transparency. It builds
on Jürgen Habermas' Public Sphere Theory for identifying groups
of actors influencing the overall outcome, and Olsen's Cultural Formula
for the analysis of the different actor-groups' various assumptions
and actions, as well as their underlying causes.
The model is meant to be used by teams assigned to better understand
how a Desired Future can be achieved, and where the critical
path lies for potential success. It will require a period of time from
a week for more limited target-futures, to several months for more complex
and wide-ranging target-futures.
The process is designed to apply a predefined two-part multi-step exercise
questionnaire that systematically expands the analysis from the chart's
bottom right to its top left. Once all the rectangles have been covered,
the team will be able to trace back the best way forward, from current
day's status to the still-distant Desired Future. Having documented
this process, the same - or even a different - team can go back to this
process' output and amend the plan, if or when the development seems
to notably divert from that anticipated, whereby a focused rather than
'best-guess' attempt to redirect the development can be done without
starting all over again.
For those of you who want to read more on this and related
topics, I can recommend:
Leif is a former management- and management-training consultant turned
property investor. During this millennium he also dedicated around half
of his time to research on cross- / multicultural interaction, and its
socio-economic consequences. A Swede by birth he spent half his life
elsewhere and lived in South-East Asia since 1993. In 2005 he completed
a Master of Philosophy and a Master of International Relations.
A healing initiative to help Covid healthcare workers
with Yoga & Music Therapy
By Arnab Bishnu Chowdhury
pandemic has opened up new challenges for the healthcare system for
the care receiver and caregiver. The pressure on especially the psychological
wellness and well-being has reached enormous proportions. Amid all the
stress, we often tend to forget the wellness and well-being of the caregiver
and their needs. Caregivers too need healing to raise their well-being
and wellness so that they sustain and raise their caregiving capacity.
As response, our Know Your Rhythm team designed Project Susthiti, an
online program blending Yoga Therapy & Music Therapy to help Covid
healthcare workers in India to battle, engage and lower stress, anxiety,
burnout and depression. The word Susthiti denotes stable position and
well-being in Sanskrit.
At a design stage back in mid-2020, we realised we did not have direct
access to various Covid healthcare workers consisting of doctors, nurses
and paramedics working in isolated Covid-19 wards at various hospital
locations with different shift schedules. We simply had to leverage
the power of the Internet based on its characteristics of digitisation,
immediacy, globalisation and virtualisation. A flexible online therapy
program is what emerged that offered free of charge to Covid healthcare
workers as an acknowledgement and gratitude for the bravery that they
continue to offer to the entire society. The Indian government has termed
the Covid healthcare workers as 'Covid warriors'.
Our program consists of modules with basic postures (Asanas), breathing
exercises (Pranayama), chanting of basic Mantras leading to a session
of deep relaxation with our specially composed therapeutic music as
Receptive Music Therapy. Our music has been designed on the art and
science of Ragas, the ancient melodic modes of Indian Classical Music
system which serve as healing modalities.
In mid-2020, our first pilot study was successfully conducted at Shree
Krishna Hospital, Sri Pramukshwami Medical College, Anand, Gujarat.
According to the psychometric assessment, 68% participants recorded
significant change in alertness followed by calmness and control over
anger. The study was presented as an oral paper at the 5th Medicine
Annual Conference Virtual 2020, Department of Medicine, Christian Medical
College, Vellore, south India, in November 2020. So far about 300 Covid
warriors have received Project Susthiti. At the National Conference
on World Peace Through Indian Music, hosted by Mohanlal Sukhadia University,
Udaipur, India, Project Susthiti team presented a paper titled 'Composing
Raga-Based Music and Applying it to Yoga and Music Therapy for COVID
Warriors to Evoke Susthiti' from a musicology and aesthetics perspective.
In June 2021, Project Susthiti received Seva award at SYTAR 2021 (Symposium
of Yoga Therapy & Research), organized by International Association
of Yoga Therapists (IAYT, USA).
Listen to Arnab's short interview on Project Susthiti presented at SYTAR
Listen to 'Playing with Sunlight - re-imagining our world
beyond Covid', a therapeutic music composition, dedicated to all the
Covid healthcare workers of the world:
A big thank you to Foundation
for World Education, International Association for Yoga Therapists,
Give Back Yoga Foundation, Silver Thread Foundation and numerous therapists,
musicians, doctors and well-wishers who have offered their goodwill,
empathy and financial support to build, sustain and grow Project Susthiti.
We sincerely aspire and hope that our Project Susthiti continues to
evolve as an emitter of peace, positivity and gratitude towards humanism
About Arnab Bishnu
Arnab Bishnu Chowdhury is a composer, therapist, teacher and explorer
of Consciousness with over twenty-five years of experience. He is the
initiator of Project Susthiti. He is founder of Know Your Rhythm (https://www.ninad.in),
a training program which helps you find your rhythm in life and work,
and has reached over 20,000 caregivers across the world. Arnab is a
certified therapist from International Association for Yoga Therapists
(IAYT) and member of International Association for Music & Medicine
(IAMM). He is third generation from a family of Indian Classical musicians
based out of Pondicherry, south India. He serves as researcher at Sri
Aurobindo Ashram where he grew up, and as senior faculty at Sustainable
Livelihood Institute at Auroville, India. His therapeutic music compositions
have been applied in healthcare settings, yoga studios and clinics.
In the late 90s, he was associated with MIT Media Lab's 'Music, Mind
and Machine Group' exploring music composition and cognition with AI.
The Circular Economy is conceived by many as paramount
to decouple economic growth from environmental impacts and resource
depletion. Implementing this economic paradigm in the private sector
is challenging. While SMEs represent 99% of all businesses and 67% of
employment in Europe, the available support for a CE transition has
been mainly focused on large corporations. Furthermore, most strategic
decision-making activities lack the capability to understand the role
that the future plays in influencing the present and the skills to generate
the imaginary futures to catalyse change today.
Giulia Viero, Business Process and Data
Analysis at ECOR Global, the Netherlands Ricardo Weigend, Circular Economy Business Developer at ECOR
Global, the Netherlands
In a circular
economy, we wouldn’t have any waste or pollution. Instead,
everything we make and all our byproducts would be reused or repurposed,
helping to end the over-exploitation of our finite resources and damage
to our environment and climate.
To make this process profitable, the manufacturers of
complex items such as vehicles are likely to use advanced internet-based
data systems that can track components and products throughout their
life cycles, from source to final use. That means that the companies
best suited to helping introduce a circular economic model are the big
tech firms that already use similar online data technology, such as
Microsoft, Amazon and Google.
And that will inevitably create concerns about the implications
on data privacy and security. Further sacrificing our privacy might
be the price we have to pay to achieve a waste-free economic model.
Or to put it another way, data protection may ultimately become a barrier
to a circular economy.
Most research on the circular economy doesn’t examine
it from a data-driven perspective. To maximise the value and life of
a vehicle, manufacturers need to track its location, ownership and state
of disrepair at all times. This is now possible with the use of miniaturised
and digital technologies that are behind what is known as the fourth
Tiny sensors can monitor the status and performance
of and its components and GPS chips can track its location, from as
soon as it leaves the production line until it is disposed of. This
data can be gathered by connecting the object to what is known as the
“Internet of Things”, and stored throughout the object’s lifecycle in
the cloud. By analysing this data en masse, artificial intelligence
can then predict when maintenance or replacement is required, as well
as prescribing how to recycle the object.
These tracking capabilities already exist at the supply
chain level to make the manufacturing process as cost-effective as possible,
and are increasingly used to enable self-driving capabilities. In the
future, this technology will also be used to assess the vehicle’s state
of disrepair and schedule preventative maintenance and, eventually,
to arrange its disposal and recycling.
The leading providers of these technologies are the
large tech firms, which are more efficient at accruing, managing and
analysing large amounts of data than traditional industrial companies.
This has led to partnerships between the two sectors.
For example, Volkswagen and Amazon Web Services have
recently launched an “industrial
cloud” initiative to link up all Volkswagen’s factories and
those of its global supply chain and enable them to easily share data.
This allows the firm to track all the components that make up a vehicle
throughout the entire production process.
Microsoft and BMW have launched the Open
Manufacturing Platform that similarly enables BMW to integrate
data from across its supply chain, monitor components as they are manufactured
and assembled into vehicles, thereby enhancing the efficiency of the
process. Microsoft has also developed partnerships
with Volkswagen and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.
This creates the opportunity for the global automotive
sector to produce a genuine circular economy ecosystem,
with clear benefits for the environment in terms of reduced resource
and energy use and waste production. This will also help end the over-exploitation
of valuable resources.
But using self-driving and component-tracking technology
for the secondary purpose of making a circular economy model profitable,
which involves monitoring vehicle use after they’ve been purchased,
raises questions about data ownership, security and privacy, as well
as monopoly power.
Problems with data tracking
Tech companies would have the capability to track vehicle
use and consumer behaviour on a regular basis to even more depth and
sophistication than they already do. Internet-enabled cars are also
highly prone to attack from hackers, which means this data could also
Not all consumers are fully aware of how such technology
is capable of invading their everyday lives. Tracking real-time mobility
may be one step too far in some countries, and for a section of the
population that isn’t willing to trade their privacy for environmental
rights groups are also concerned about the level of power
that lies in the hands of the leading tech companies due to their monopoly
ownership of consumer data and their ability to monetise it. A circular
economy model would only increase this level of power since the technology
companies’ cloud platforms would be used to capture, store, manage and
analyse the data.
There are several ways that manufacturers and tech firms
could alleviate some of these concerns. For example, they could protect
the data against use for advertising, only collect metadata (data about
the data) rather than any personal information, and set out clear policies
to manage and control the data. This might include opt-out clauses for
consumers who don’t want to have their products monitored for environmental
purposes. Without these things, manufacturers might find it much hard
to put their circular economy plans into action.
This article is republished from The
Conversation under a Creative
Deepfakes or fake videos produced to look
real through the use of artificial intelligence pose a growing
challenge. Thats why an EPFL research group has been teaming up
with the Swiss startup Quantum Integrity to develop a deepfake detection
solution over the past two years. The team has been awarded an Innosuisse
grant starting on 1 October, with deployment as early as next year.
EPFLs Multimedia Signal Processing Group
has been working with Quantum Integrity, a startup based at EPFL Innovation
Park, on a deepfake detection solution for the past two years. The research
team has already completed two pilot tests and recently obtained a grant
from Innosuisse, Switzerlands innovation agency, to accelerate
development of a software. The project will start on 1 October. Quantum
Integrity already markets fake detection software. Our role is to make
the software more powerful so that it can be used more widely,
says Touradj Ebrahimi, head of the Multimedia Signal Processing Group.
His group provides expertise in multimedia signal processing, while
the startup brings its many years of experience in detecting fake images.
Ebrahimi is affiliated to the Center for Digital Trust (C4DT)
and coordinates its Digital Information domain. Detection
of image and video forgery to fight against malicious manipulations
is clearly one of the applications where Artificial Intelligence helps
to regain trust says Olivier Crochat, Executive Director of the
The biggest fear that most people face vis-a-vis deepfakes is that they
will be used to steal their identity. But the threat actually runs much
deeper fraudulent contents can also be used to deceive manufacturers,
insurers, and even customs officials. For instance, goods can be digitally
added to or removed from a cargo ship before it leaves the dock, or
transactions could be approved using photos that have been counterfeited.
brings concrete infrastructure to life by a unique combination of propriety
bio-enhancing concrete admixtures, complex surface textures and innovative
science based designs, while improving structural performance
environmentally sensitive technologies harness biological processes
for the benefit of the environment on one hand, and the structure on
the other. Our products are tailored to encourage growth of flora and
fauna, which provide valuable Bioprotection . Whether it be oysters
and corals that physically protect the concrete from scour and chloride
attacks, or plant canopy capable of buffering temperature changes and
humidity level on the concrete surface; ECOncretes products harness
the added level of bioprotection to create robust structures.
Apart from the highly valuable
ecological and structural advantages, Bioprotection also provides economic
advantages associated with increased stability, longevity, as well as
a reduction in maintenance costs.
Engineers and scientists
are trying to intervene in the Earths geochemical cycles. Because
it appears efforts to cut CO2 wont suffice to avoid irreversible
climate change. But does geoengineering offer a real solution? Or is
it just human hubris?
Some scientists believe
that we need to explore radical, and perhaps dangerous, technologies
in order to be able to lower the earths temperature through geoengineering
in the near future.
Science journalist Ingolf Baur explores the feasibility and risks of
leading geoengineering projects. His journey takes him to meet scientists
in Switzerland, Iceland, the US and Peru. Along the way, he encounters
two very different strategies: One is to fish climate-damaging CO2 from
the atmosphere and sink it underground or in the deep sea. The other,
and this is the far more controversial strategy, seeks to develop techniques
that dim sunlight.
Global warming is causing
entire mountain ridges like the Moosfluh above Switzerlands Aletsch
Glacier to break off. Such dramatic changes could increase the pressure
to try geoengineering.
Its most prominent proponent is David Keith from Harvard University
in the US. Hes devised experiments to to sound out the possibilities
of "solar geoengineering." His idea is for fleets of aircraft
to dump millions of tons of sulfur into the stratosphere every year,
where it should reflect part of the incoming sunlight back into space.
As audacious as this method seems, its actually no different to
what happens during volcanic eruptions.
Or could we still manage
to get greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere again? In Iceland, a group
of researchers is using a special process to filter carbon dioxide from
the air and pump it 2,000 meters deep into basalt rock. The surprise:
after a few months, the CO2 is already reacting chemically and turning
to stone, which renders it harmless - permanently. The quantities are
still far too small, but it shows that as controversial and risky as
some geoengineering methods may be, in the end we may need technology
to avert or at least mitigate the effects of climate collapse.
Climate change: it is arguably
the most urgent and consequential issue humankind has ever faced. How
we address it in the next thirty years will determine the kind of world
we will live in and will bequeath to our children and to theirs.
In The Future We Choose,
Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac - who led negotiations for
the United Nations during the historic Paris Agreement of 2015 - have
written a cautionary but optimistic book about the world's changing
climate and the fate of humanity.
The authors outline two possible scenarios for our planet. In one, they
describe what life on Earth will be like by 2050 if we fail to meet
the Paris climate targets. In the other, they lay out what it will be
like to live in a carbon neutral, regenerative world. They argue for
confronting the climate crisis head-on, with determination and optimism.
The Future We Choose presents our options and tells us what governments,
corporations, and each of us can and must do to fend off disaster.
Figueres is an internationally recognized
leader on global climate change. She was Executive Secretary of the
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 2010-2016.
Assuming responsibility for the international climate change negotiations
after the failed Copenhagen conference of 2009, she was determined to
lead the process to a universally agreed regulatory framework. Building
toward that goal, she directed the successful Conferences of the Parties
2013, and Lima
2014, and culminated her efforts in
the historical Paris
Agreement of 2015. Throughout her tenure
Ms. Figueres brought together national and sub national governments,
corporations and activists, financial institutions and communities of
faith, think tanks and technology providers, NGOs and parliamentarians,
to jointly deliver the unprecedented climate change agreement. For this
achievement Ms. Figueres has been credited with forging a new brand
of collaborative diplomacy.
Singapore Uses Science to Stay Cool By Bloomberg
and Future Cities Lab (FCL) Global
Heat waves kill more people than
any other extreme weather event: more than tornados, hurricanes, and
even floods. Thats why scientists are coming up with novel, new
designs to help keep temperatures down in Singapore
Cities Lab (FCL) Global
is a research collaboration between ETH Zurich and the Singapore universities
National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological
University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and the Singapore University of
Technology and Design (SUTD) with support from the National Research
Foundation (NRF). It operates under the auspices of the Singapore-ETH
Centre was established in Singapore in 2010 as a joint initiative between
ETH Zurich and Singapores NRF, as part of the NRFs CREATE
campus. The centre frames three research programmes: Future Cities Lab
(FCL), Future Resilient Systems (FRS), and Future Health Technologies
(FHT). The centre aims to strengthen the capacity of Singapore and Switzerland
to research, understand and actively respond to the challenges of global
Urban Parks: Tools to keep you Cool
Cities like Singapore experience the Urban Heat Island effect, where
the air temperature is higher in urban compared to rural areas. With
climate change causing increased temperatures worldwide, urban planners
and designers are looking to quantify the potential cooling influence
of urban parks.
To address theUrban
Heat Island effect, FCL researchers use a three-dimensional
urban microclimate model using OpenFOAM software to show how urban parks
provide a cooling effect of 1°C on air temperatures.
have climate laws in place but Denmark is ensuring those laws do not
get neglected. Denmark recently passed an ambitious new climate law
to help them stay committed to mitigating climate change. With this
new law, climate targets are legally binding and are subject to yearly
approval. If members of government fail to meet climate targets they
must step down from their position.
But how could we actually
outlaw climate change? Denmark is also not relying on purchasing carbon
credits to offset their carbon footprint. Instead, they are taking real
action to reduce GHG emissions within the country's boarders. One way
they are doing this is by taking a look at the impact of danish imports
and consumption and examining in what ways this can be reduced. It will
also be a country wide initiative by getting local businesses involved
Badminton is a world-renowned futurist speaker,
the Chief Futurist, Consultant, Author, Media Producer, and Executive
Advisor that has spoken to, and worked with, over 300 of the worlds
most impactful organizations and governments. He helps shape the visions
that shape impactful organizations, trillion-dollar companies, progressive
governments, and 200+ billion dollar investment funds.
Nikolas Badminton has collaborated with numerous CEOs, executive teams,
and organizations to implement practical tools for imagining futures,
creating futures literacy and implementing strategic foresight in their
organizations. Nikolas proven Foresight Development Framework
is a foundational approach that presents principles and critical tasks
scanning for signals, creating hypothetical scenarios, and developing
speculative fiction needed to start the establish foresight as
a practice that augments existing strategic planning processes. As Chief
Futurist he runs a world-leading think tank at futurist.com
and he can bring together incredible expertise to help you.
of Retail - Renewable Energy and Circular Economies - futurist speaker
WHAT IS TO WHAT IF... - IRC Global Executive Search Partners Keynote
with Nikolas Badminton