Chasing Sustainability Conference 2018

It was a pleasure to be in a room with so many bright minds at the Chasing Sustainability 2018 Conference in Vancouver, an annual sustainability-focussed business conference hosted by the undergraduate and graduate students of the University of British Columbia at CUS Sustainability and Net Impact.

This full-day conference was packed with keynote speakers, interactive workshops, networking sessions, and intelligent discussions. I had the chance to be a part of the second half of the conference, where I interacted with students and listened to two speakers.

Presenter Allen Langdon,  President and CEO of Encorp Pacific (Canada) busted myths such as BC sends recyclables overseas and that plastic bags can’t be recycled. He explained his role and vision as a new appointee, presented statistical facts of waste generated and recycled, and raised concerns on ocean plastics.

Presenter Shaun Frankson, the co-founder of Plastic Bank, a social enterprise that makes plastic waste a currency to stop ocean plastic while reducing global poverty, talked about how Plastic Bank provides a universal income for the world’s poor that is earned through Social Plastic recycling programs. He talked about how IBM is helping them realize this project and how blockchain technology further strengthens it.

Students had opportunities to connect with business leaders to engage in discussions around business and sustainability. It was an honour to be a part of the delegation and to discuss my work as a Sustainability Developer at IKEA with students (I’m now a part of the Operations team at IKEA CDC in Richmond, BC). All in all, it was clear that Sauder undergraduate and MBA students aim to have a huge impact around the world. I was so happy to see their enthusiasm and passion around environmental and social issues.

Keep it up, CUS team!


Event cutlery was by Fairware, maker of eco-friendly promotional products ethically sourced.

Lanyards were reused.

Greener Print Solutions, a one-stop shop for sustainably-driven printing and design solutions, was one of their sponsors.

2018 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals

I studied the 2018 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals to understand how India, Canada, and the USA are doing. It is safe to assume that this post is going to talk a lot about India because it is a lower middle-income country with a lot of progress to show because from where it is coming from as compared to the other two countries who have already done a lot of progress before. It contains over 180 maps and charts and shows the progress societies are making towards the 17 SDGs. It’s a big report, hence the cherrypicking.

India

  • Home to 260 million people in poverty. No – extreme poverty. Which means all these people do not have the pleasure of basic necessities and facilities.
  • Has the largest number of people practicing open defecation. When I was a kid, I’ve done it too. In fact, hear this. I’ve experienced both open defecation and dirty public toilets. Not during the occasional travels, but for a good 20 years of my life. It was accepted as a way of life. It wasn’t such a bother until I leaped over to the other side of the world that uses good smelling toilets and soft tissue rolls.
  • 100% village electrification achieved – exhilarating to hear about, but it hasn’t reached each and every house.
  • 780 million (59%) people do not have access to clean fuels for cooking. People are now talking about indoor (ambient) air pollution. Although I do enjoy the occasional wood-fired/dung-fired food.
  • Don’t even ask about North India’s air pollution. The area is practically living in soot instead of clean air.
  • Forest cover has been slightly increasing.
  • Low CO2 emissions per capita.
  • More than 9% animal species threatened.

Canada

  • Forest cover looks steady. As if nothing is growing, nothing is dying.

USA

  • Increase in patents being designed to encourage innovation by providing incentives for research and development.
  • Alongside China, it collects the most municipal waste, the majority of which makes its way to landfills.
  • High CO2 emissions per capita.
  • Forest cover has been slightly increasing.
  • 16% animal species threatened.

It is not a competition. This report is calling for harmony. It is an in-depth and compelling report to read. I encourage you to read it and learn even more insights into our world today, such as:

  • 71% of the world gets safely managed drinking water.
  • One-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have been growing steadily.
  • Fish stocks are increasingly overfished.
  • Activities on land are causing marine dead zones.
  • Only about 7% of the world’s ocean area is designated as marine protected area, officially reserved for long-term conservation.
  • Oceans are warmer and more acidic because of climate change.
  • Globally, about 14% of the land is protected as national park, wildlife preserve, or a similar designation.
  • China’s forest cover has been growing substantially.
  • Over half of assessed plant species and one-quarter of assessed animal species are threatened.

Sustainable consumption and lifestyle in modern times – My research paper is out!

 

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The Hulk face of accomplishment

 

For the first time, I tried to write a research paper, and the journal accepted it. “Sustainable consumption and lifestyle in modern times” was the subject of my research. Published by AIMS Journal of Research. Such a delight!

This paper looks at the advances in sustainable consumption & lifestyles and the current trends of material consumption in our day to day lives globally. It showcases the ripple effect of consumption and therefore our resources on people, industries, countries, our planet and outer space. The goal is to identify the influences of and on individuals and collective consumption patterns, and the consequences thereof on our finite and non-renewable material resources. Making linkages to the human psychology, mass media, politics and trade, living standards, education, culture, social groups, demography, urbanization and accessibility, health and wellbeing, technology, certifications and labels, and activism, provides insights into consumers’ buying behaviour. Balancing economic growth, environmental concerns, and improved quality of life for all remains to be the challenge. Global movements in the form of green lifestyles, the boycott of Black Friday, and fair trade show shifting patterns in the consumer culture towards a more conscious society. Value-based businesses are developing relationships with the community for a positive impact through value-based management strategies, and consumers are buying products that are aligning with certain values. Industries are integrating circular and sharing economy; and sustainable production and consumption (SCP) practices in their operations. The knowledge of consumption patterns and influencing factors can be input to policy analysis and technological solutions to challenges to our sustenance.

Wouldn’t have been possible hadn’t Dr Sharma introduced me to this Journal.

Download:

Copy of the issue.

Is population control overrated?

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Source

In my very first blog post, ‘Major Challenges to Sustainability‘, puts the population on the top of the list. In such a case, if all of us stopped consuming like we do, will we still run out of resources? Will we have alleviated poverty and famine? Will we have eliminated all other issues just by tackling this one? Is population, the most significant challenge in the world?

I’m pinning two works of thoughts that go against the grain to try to answer these questions. First is from a review of a book called Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation by Amartya Sen and second is from a book It’s Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear by Gregg Easterbrook.

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This is a JSTOR article. You can read 6 articles for free for every 30 day period when you sign up.
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Visit your nearest library to read thought-provoking books.

Are we running out of resources? We have a lot of resources, but we are not managing them well. Are we running out of time? When it comes to climate change, yes we are. Climate change could cause a lack of access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

Above all, is population control the panacea? I don’t think so. If we could only manage our time and resources well, we could do a lot better. Just think about how much time and resources we waste and how much we could save by working together – through efficient management and knowledge transfer.

What are your thoughts?

Here’s your freebie! – Environment & Sustainability Web Resources

Looking for free web resources on environment and sustainability? Click here to access it! 

It’s first of the many freebies I’m going to create for you. All of which can be accessed from here, anytime you want.

This first freebie is a list of web resources covering environment and sustainability in general. I’ve taken all my years of web search and came up with this list of web resources – websites, newspapers, educational, etc.

Why free? Because everyone needs to start somewhere and it saves your time.

Happy reading!

Anuja

Happy New Year!

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Looking back. Literally. :D

Hello all,

Here’s wishing you all a very happy new year! I hope you have had a great start to it. I wanted to start by thanking you all for reading my blogs from 2017. I’ve listed some of them below in different categories that were particularly liked more than the others.

I also got a chance to interact with Vritti who is making a difference in the environmental movement through her company Vritti Designs. I wish her more power and success. She will be an inspiration for me for years to come and hopefully for you as well.

It is also amazing to see that all of you are spread across the whole wide world. I love making friends around the world, so come and say hi sometime. :)

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2017 viewers, I know where you live, haha! Thank you all for reading!