My page // Emil

First book done, now for second book and looking up papers. E-mail if needed:

Exam questions

I created a list of questions aimed at making the responder think a bit and give their own response. They are all related and show an understanding of the topic at hand (assuming the response is fairly well constructed and logical, of course).

  • 1. What are the main reasons that people don't care about the environmental or ecological aspects of sustainability?

Since behavior is a core part of the problem, this question's answer will show how much the responder understands the problem at hand. Things such as scale of time, space and coefficient of relatedness should be mentioned. Also complexity is relevant, and social aspects and culture can be discussed as well.

  • 2. What is the justification of including all 3 elements in the sustainability analyses?

A good explanation here will show both: that you know the 3 sides & how they are all relevant and to some extents connected. Examples might be needed to point out relevance and correlations.

  • 3. How is education relevant in this field, and which forms of education are relevant?

Here an understanding in teaching and learning is shown. Mentioning both vertical and horizontal learning, formal vs informal, mentioning simulations and their benefits/limitations are some possible parts of the answer.

  • 4. Reflect on the importance of population growth and its implications on consumption and waste production. What are the current challenges that we face, and how can try and overcome them?

Hopefully here the responder will point out the current over-consumption and the implications a rising population mean for our resources and the pollution it creates. Other things one could relate to are education to decrease birth-rate, increase standard of living to make people care at all (depends where they are in Maslow's pyramid of needs). Consumerism, consumption-based society and capitalist system could also be worth mentioning and discussing.

Coursera replacement: EdX course UQx: META101x Philosophy and Critical Thinking

As mentioned in news, we need to do some other task. I think I will opt for doing the “Philosophy and Critical Thinking” course recommended in the edx start starting on Feb 22nd:

Screenshot of results.

Media on Sustainability

Search and select five (5) documents (web pages, articles, videos, …) of the topic of your course (Sustainability) and explain why those documents are relevant for the course.

Since videos (image+audio) may be my favorite media-form, and since it has been lacking in this course, I will present mostly video-based suggestions.

1. Documentary: Chasing Ice

This is - in my opinion - one of the most impacting videos on climate change and global warming/climate change. It explains and shows well changes with the help of images, video covering the perspectives of the volunteers, and historical comparisons at various locations, and also some global data and statistics to make it extremely clear that change is happening.

To me it also shows how much can be impacted with video. Even though it speaks against science to try and get people to understand an issue, emotion plays a big role, and using media well (such as video, pictures, music) can in the long term make a real difference. It also makes the point that we can really see changes as they happen if we gather enough image data and compare it just historically at a few locations.

2. TED talk: Allan Savory: How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change

A TED talk on desertification and how to fight against it. I like talks in general, but this one was an eye-opener for me, and I like how he presents the pictures of before/after with the animal experiments that he talks about too, giving the message very clearly of what could help, and what will happen if we don't try it more. Just planting trees or grass or watering them briefly doesn't help if not other parts of the eco-system are helping (herds of animals!).

It paints also a very clear picture of how the greenhouse gasses (GHG), at least CO2, could be reduced if we just reverse desertification and increase green lands of the world.

3. YouTube Channel: thejuicemedia

It is hard to give a categorization to this, as it is a YouTube Channel focusing on various political grass-roots issues ranging from environmental, economical, and privacy-/security-related to starvation, war, weapons, religion, etc. The channel and videos are very good since they are made in a very creative fashion, are satirical (and thus funny), yet also tries to be fairly objective by presenting multiple sides and presenting a multitude of references in the videos' descriptions. They also give suggestions for people to actively give their voice on the topics to the responsible governments, usually via volunteer/non-governmental organizations. They sometimes take on real spokesmans from related organizations (e.g. Julian Assange & Kristinn Hrafnsson of Wikileaks, famed philosopher and linguist Noam Chomsky, etc). Subtitles are also available in a large range of languages due to public contributions. Besides their famed 'Rap News' videos they also do some regular videos on various initiatives.

Main YouTube Page.

Some examples covering environmental challenges are the following:

4. Book: Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature

Recommended by our professor in France, this book gave an inspiration to look into other areas of sustainability that I thought were irrelevant before. E.g. it talked about organic multi-culture farms, which was why reading about Smart Food-systems in this course didn't feel too strange for me. The book is fairly story-focused and tells the interviews more like a story of a journeying scholar or scientist, which sometimes is a bit too detailed, but also gives insight into various technologies that are being (or were being) researched into, including such things as imitating photosynthesis on a molecular level.

  • Benyus, J. M. (1997). Biomimicry : Innovation Inspired by Nature. 308 pages, ISBN-13: 978-0060533229
  • Buy on Amazon (or just look at the cover & description :D)

5. YouTube Video: CGP Grey: Humans Need Not Apply

A youtube video describing the computerization revolution that is currently ongoing and will make us face a large socio-economic crisis. It highlights the robotization and how robots and automation will remove the need for many traditional jobs. To me, I also think of Basic Income and other socio-economic issues when looking at it, but it is also easy to start thinking of the environmental challenges that might be associated with the explosion of robot construction and usage, as well as the electricity required for their operation.

As far as social and economical sustainability is concerned, only automation and large poverty is what interests me, and this is one of few videos that talk about it very well while relating it to technological breakthroughs.


Carbon footprint calculations.

Out of interest I did a quick calculation on all three sites we could choose from (WWF UK Tool, Nature Tool, Finnish Environmental Inst. Tool). The results were quite interesting to compare, as well as the methods in which questions were posed. My results and reflection.

Personal reflections

Here I may add some extra reflections on the books since I feel some topics were extra interesting and worth a few words that may or may not were mentioned during the discussion sessions.