Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

We are unprepared for the worst-case scenario

Jem Bendell, a professor of sustainability leadership at the University of Cumbria asks the most depressing question of our age in his paper entitled Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy: what will happen if the most pessimistic scenario plays out concerning global warming?

What if, despite all the efforts, we fail to contain warming within a scope that does not jeopardise life on the planet? What if it is already too late to avoid an environmental catastrophe and its consequences? Are we prepared for the worst?

In his study, which only relies on new and relevant scientific results, Jem Bendell emphasises that we should make plans for the less positive scenarios as well.

“Examining the way Native American Indians coped with being moved on to reservations, Lear looked at what he calls the “blind spot” of any culture:
the inability to conceive of its own destruction and possible extinction.
(...) He explains how some of the
Native American chiefs had a form
of ‘imaginative excellence’ by trying
to imagine what ethical values would
be needed in their new lifestyle on the reservation. He suggests that besides the standard alternatives of freedom or death (in service of one’s culture) there is another way, less grand yet demanding just as much courage:
the way of ‘creative adaptation.’
This form of creatively constructed hope may be relevant to our Western civilisation as we confront disruptive climate change,”

writes Bendell in his paper, which, along with the original English, is also available in German, French, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese by clicking here.

Most of the plans associated with climate change start with the hopeful assumption that warming can still be limited. But what shall we do if it turns out that we are not winning the fight against climate change? Image: Shutterstock
Further information: Professor Jem Bendell

Shaping attitudes the Danish way: free kayaking in return for picking up waste

Protecting our waters against pollution is in all our interests. It is no accident that an increasing number of initiatives are trying to engage society at large in taking part in the protection of the environment. The Danish NGO GreenKayak, for instance, offers free kayaking in locations around Northern Europe and all they ask in return is that kayakers should pick up waste they find in the water along the way.

The psychology of the waters

Many studies have shown that time spent in nature, fresh air and a green environment has benefits not only for our bodies but also for our souls and minds. In addition to mountains, forests and meadows, waterfronts are particularly attractive destinations.

50 foods that could save Earth

From cacti through algae and vitamin-rich flowers to drought-resistant root vegetables, Knorr and WWF have compiled a list of 50 nutritious foods whose consumption would be more advantageous for human health, while their cultivation would benefit our planet relative to our present dominant food sources.

Climate change on the catwalk

A number of fashion designers have reacted to climate change and its consequences with their collections shown at the Paris Fashion Week.

The five steps of saving water

Clean water is a great treasure, yet we waste a lot of it for no good reason: for instance, a dripping tap can waste up to 75 litres per day. It is our obligation to save water: it leaves more for others, and we can also save money.

How to avoid polluting the Earth with our clothing

The fashion industry is one of the most harmful for the environment: it wastes water, pollutes the air, encourages overconsumption, wastefulness and also produces massive quantities of waste. The damage caused by the monthly replacement of fast fashion collections on the shelves of fashion stores would fill a very long list. But how can we counteract it?

Overeating fattens ecological problems, too

Most people are aware that any unnecessary calories we ingest are detrimental to our health, but few consider that food consumed in excess of our real needs – and the energy, water and other resources used for its production – is of little utility, it is practically wasted.

Sustainable materials for the fashion industry?

The textile industry is one of the most polluting industries of all: it produces microfibres and chemicals and uses huge quantities of water while making 150 billion new articles of clothing every year. The environmental load caused by the fashion industry causes inestimable damage, and the best way to counteract that is to choose clothing made of more sustainable textiles. But where are they?

New perspectives for the feast table – or what on earth is insect marketing?

Food waste is a growing problem in developed countries. Massive amounts of perfectly edible food is thrown away because of merely aesthetic blemishes. The psychological factor behind the phenomenon is disgust, which may apply in relation to edible insects, as well. That attitude ought to be reconsidered from a climate protection perspective.

Washing tips to reduce the quantity of microplastics

In recent years, a new concept related to environmental pollution has gained wide-ranging recognition: microplastics. The term denotes pieces of plastic smaller than 5 mm resulting from the break-up of plastic items. During washing, clothing made of synthetic fibres sheds many microfibres that pollute our waters and damage our environment.