Put a value on nature!

July 30, 2012 § 1 Comment

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“You can’t really have a proper model for development if at the same time you’re destroying or allowing the degradation of the very asset, the most important asset, which is your development asset, that is ecological infrastructure” – Pavan Sukhdev.

We have decided to start this post about the TED video ‘Put a value on Nature’ with a quote from the speaker himself, because it effectively sums up what it is all about.

Pavan Sukhdev: Put a value on nature!

In this TED video, Pavan Sukhdev talks about the hidden value received by human beings from nature; a value that does not get priced by the markets and what he calls ‘the economic invisibility of nature’.

In 2007, using the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change as a model, a group of environment ministers of the G8+5 launched a project called The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) where the main aim was, as the name already indicates, to price Ecosystems and Biodiversity.

This talk mentions this project and highlights the importance of the ecosystems in the global economy. Here are just a few examples:

* At ecosystem level, the Amazon rainforest, besides being a massive storage of carbon and biodiversity, is also a rain factory. This rainfall factory feeds an agricultural economy in the order of 240 billion dollars-worth in Latin America. However, none of the countries pay a single penny for this vital input to their economies.

* At species level, it is been estimated that insect-based pollination, bees pollinating fruit and so on, is worth around 190 billion dollars. That is something like eight percent of the total agricultural output globally. In the county of Sichuan (China), for example, pollinators have been lost though the indiscriminate use of pesticides and the over-harvesting of its honey and honeybee have had to be replaced by workers.

China workers Owing to the lack of bees; Chinese farmer have started to pollinate their orchards by hand. Photograph: Li junsheng / Imaginechina (Guardian, 2010)

* At genetic level, 60 percent of medicines prospected, were found first as molecules in a rainforest or a reef.

As these examples indicate, ecosystems play a major role in global economy and we should reflect about this because we have much at stake. In this period of the financial crisis, we think this is a great time to integrate natural asset into the global economic system. Otherwise, the capitalist system as it is today, will not last long if all the natural capital which supports it, is being destroyed by the capitalist system itself.

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Shortest TED talk ever: how to explain the world in ten rocks!

May 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

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At TEDxSummit last April, Hans Rosling gave this impromptu talk that has become the shortest TED talk ever. Hans Rosling, a rock-statistician who has offered some of the most stunning talks on TED, surprises us again with this less-than-a-minute talk which perfectly explains by using 10 rocks how global population growth will affect wealth distribution in the future and what will happen to the gap between the rich and the poor.

Hans Rosling explaining the world in ten rocks, Doha (April – 2012).

Hans Rosling has offered some of the most viewed TED videos which have been translated into dozens of languages. His animated statistics talks have enable us to understand in a visual way our world from a global perspective and how our actions affect our health and wealth and one another across space and time. The success of his talks has been such that he has been selected among the TIME’s 100 list of influential people.

You can learn more about Hans Rosling and his TED talks here.

How do we feed the world without destroying it?

May 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

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At TEDxTC Dr. Jonathan Foley focuses on the complex relationship between global environmental systems and human civilization, using computer models to analyse changes in land use, ecosystems and resources around the world.

He shows the audience startling figures to prove why agriculture has become the largest driver of climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental destruction. These are some examples:

  • More than 40% of Earth’s land has been cleared for agriculture (a large proportion of this percentage is rainforest).
  • Agriculture generates more greenhouse gas emission than electricity and industry together. Or more emissions than from all the planes, trains and automobiles put together.
  • Global croplands cover 16 million km2 – that’s almost the size of South America – and global pastures 30 million km2 – that’s the size of Africa.
  • Irrigation is the biggest use of water on the planet. We use 2,800 cubic kilometres of water on crops every year – that’s enough to fill 7,305 Empire State Buildings every day.

And of course, there is a dilemma: as the world population grows sharply we will have to double or triple global food production without exhausting the natural resources. Dr. Jonathan Foley suggests a big conversation and international dialogue with real solutions such as precision agriculture, drip irrigation, better tillage or smarter diets. All these solutions come with the idea of “terraculture” – farming for the whole planet.

At bloomtrigger project we understand this dilemma and want to be part of the real solutions. We have to be able to feed the world’s growing population and protect the rainforest to tackle climate change and conserve biodiversity at the same time. Would you like to help us? Buy some ‘blooms’ and be part of the solution www.bloomtrigger.com

Gaming for understanding

May 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

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In 2008, inspired by her daugher who came from school asking about slavery, Brenda designed a game to explain this complex tragedy to her. A year later she won the Vanguard Award at Indiecade for her game derived from the events of the Holocaust, Train.

At TEDxPhoenix Brenda Brath describes the surprising effectiveness of this game, and others, in helping the player really understand the story. Watch the video below to see how games are used to increase the understanding.

At bloomtrigger project we use games for understanding since we help primary school children (and adults as well!) to realise why protecting rainforest is so important to conserve biodiversity and help tackle climate change. Buy some ‘blooms’ and play around with them on our rainforest map www.bloomtrigger.com

How to buy happiness : TED Talk

April 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

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At TEDxCambridge, Michael Norton shares fascinating research on how money can, indeed buy happiness — when you don’t spend it on yourself. Listen for surprising data on the many ways pro-social spending can benefit you, your work, and (of course) other people. Watch the video below to see how you can spend you money on happiness.

Looking to spend your money on someone? Why not buy some ‘blooms’ and give them to a friend so that they can help to protect their own part of the rainforest. Or invest them into one of our primary schools so that the children can earn them to help tackle deforestation and climate change. www.bloomtrigger.com

Johan Rockstrom: TED Talk: Let the environment guide our development

April 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

Human growth has strained the Earth’s resources, but as Johan Rockstrom reminds us, our advances also give us the science to recognize this and change behavior. His research has found nine “planetary boundaries” that can guide us in protecting our planet’s many overlapping ecosystems.

If Earth is a self-regulating system, it’s clear that human activity is capable of disrupting it. Johan Rockstrom has led a team of scientists to define the nine Earth systems that need to be kept within bounds for Earth to keep itself in balance.

Johan Rockstrom
Johan Rockstrom

Why you should listen to him:

Johan Rockstrom is a leader of a new approach to sustainability: planetary boundaries. Working with a team of 29 leading scientists across disciplines, Rockstrom and the Stockholm Resilience Centre identified nine key Earth processes or systems — and marked the upper limit beyond which each system could touch off a major system crash. Climate change is certainly in the mix — but so are other human-made threats such as ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity, chemical pollution.

Rockstrom teaches natural resource management at Stockholm University, and is the Executive Director of the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Stockholm Resilience Centre. He’s a leading voice on global water, studying strategies to build resilience in water-scarce regions of the world. Fokus magazine named him “Swede of the Year” in 2009 for his work on bridging the science of climate change to policy and society.

“Rockstrom has managed in an easy, yet always scientifically based way, to convey our dependence of the planet’s resources, the risk of transgressing planetary boundaries and what changes are needed in order to allow humanity to continue to develop.” Anna Ritter, Fokus magazine

Jim Hansen on TED: If you knew what I know

March 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Jim Hansen is best known for his research in the field of climatology, his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in 1988 that helped raise broad awareness of global warming, and his advocacy of action to avoid dangerous climate change. In recent years, Hansen has become an activist for action to mitigate the effects of climate change, which on a few occasions has led to his arrest.

So this man is one of the world’s leading authorities on the effects of climate change. If you come across a climate change denier challenge them to watch this TED video and then try to construct a convincing arguement to why we should not be concerned about climate change.

The effects of climate change are serious and as Jim Hansen points out in this video, time is running out. We need innovative solutions if we are going to begin to tackle climate change with the urgency that is required. We would like to thank Jim Hasen for this expert TED talk and for inspiring us to continue developing the bloomtrigger project as a simple, affordable and creative way to tackle global deforestation and climate change.

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