#14 Why we need to think differently about sustainability

This is one of my favorite TEDx talks. I love the way Leyla Acaroglu communicates with the crowd and I am fan of her. At TEDxMelbourne, Leyla talked about Why we need to think differently about sustainability and why sustainability at all matters to us? What is the wrong approach in our present solutions or actions? Why we need to think beyond individualistic systems and starts considering interdependent systems? What is law of unintended consequences and how it is affecting us and mother nature? Let’s explore these questions in this “Exploring TED” blog post.

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In 1987, world leaders came together and they signed the Montreal Protocol. In 1989, it came into affect, CFCs are eradicated from production in 1995. In spite of these actions we are still damaging our mother nature and depleting natural resources. We need to be careful of “law of unintended consequences”. Whenever choices or decisions are made, there is a possibility-+ve, -ve or perverse unintended outcome will come. History is riddled with unintended consequences. Let’s see an example- Few years back Mexican government brought a law, according to which no car can be used more than 2 days in a week, so there is licence of only two days for a car. But people are intelligent than government, rather people sharing their vehicles as thought by government, people started buying 3-4 cars so that they can use their own car everyday. Hence exact opposite happened to what government speculated about people’s actions. Lets take another example- emerging economies like Africa experienced food crisis few years back when EU focused too much on biofuels that farmers started growing crops for biofuels rather than for food as that gives them more money.  So, EU actions affected Africa and other developing economies which were dependent on EU for food supply!

We also need to understand sometimes “Good intentions can result in far bigger problems”. It’s not just the intentions, that we can solve the world problems. This is very important when we are trying to solve world’s complex problems like poverty, climate change, etc. And this applies to politics also, intentions are not enough. So, we need to consider “Casualty Principle” or “Law of Unintended consequences” before taking any actions or creating any solution.

According to GAIA Theory “Everything in nature is inter connected”. And what system thinking tell us “World is made up of incredibly beautiful and complex systems. Systems are underline core to everything that exists on Earth.” and all these systems interrelate. Systems are not just big systems, it’s not just the industrial systems, it’s not just the systems, it’s about everything.

Sustainability is about

  • Self preservation
  • understanding the systems and our mother nature
  • Doing more with less ( i.e. providing solutions with limited resources)

Worst thing is “Only 2.7 % of all applications of technological patents are for environmental innovations or sustainability”- World Economic Forum.

That’s what we are doing we are constantly using short term approach to layer upon simple solutions to simple solutions on complex problems or we can say we are increasing the complexity of the systems. Let’s take an example to understand this phenomena. There is an OS on your mobile and your mobile is suffering from some glitches, rather than making changes in root code or vanilla OS code, we are developing an app on that OS, so in the end we are adding layers on problematic vanilla OS in a hope that it will solve our problem. But it won’t, it gonna increase complexity that’s all. So in the end we are sustaining the unsustainable,

Sustainability is an opportunity, all we have to do is we have to see it differently. We have to think differently, so that we can have positive consequences on the planet.

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Corporations, universities and the government are all starting to embrace and implement the concept of sustainability. Think differently!

I am taking a step forward to solve these problems by joining a social innovation fellowship program “IDEX-IDea and EXecution”. For that I need your help https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-sagar-lone-nut-to-join-idex-fellowship/x/7276871. Also I am taking two courses on sustainability “Introduction to sustainability” and “The Age of Sustainable Development” on coursera. Help me in my campaign!

#12 The Earth is Full

It’s been long time I have not written anything. I really apologies that I am not able to regularly update my blog. This blog means to me a lot, and now I am thinking of extending this blog to a book “Exploring TED/x- Ideas Worth Spreading” which will be an informative non-fiction book about leaders, artists, storytellers, feminists, social activists, business leaders, scientists, etc who have shared their ideas and stories on TED/x. 

For a long time, I have been TED/x talks on sustainability, so today I will be discussing this topic using the TED 2012 Talk by Paul Gilding on “The Earth is Full”.

“Earth is full of us, it’s full of our stuff, full of our demands”, by saying this Paul Gilding is trying to mean that we have reached the saturation level, we are on the verge of destroying earth’s resources, we are doing things in unsustainable manner. So, he is warning us “Earth is full because of our unsustainable actions”.

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Humans are brilliant, creative and innovative species. But we have created a little too much stuff  so much stuff that our economy is bigger than its host, our planet. This is not a philosophical statement but this is just science. We are living beyond our means. We need approximately 1.5 Earths to sustain our present organisation. According to present need and growth rate of our ever increasing economy, we need 50% more earth than we have got. As we can’t borrow natural resources so we are burning through our capital or stealing our future. As described by Alex Steffen in his TED talk on Seeing a Sustainable Future that we are “Stealing our future, selling it in the present and call it GDP”. We are going to run out of future really fast. This means our economy is fairly unsustainable. Basically not just fairly, it is completely unsustainable. And more than that when things are not unsustainable according to laws of physics, they stopped working. But we are keeping ourselves blind and saying it is not even possible that our economy will stop growing because Earth is full.

It will stop because of two factors

  • End of trade resources
  • growing demands of us on all the resources, which is now having economic damage.

But we are ignorant, we think and say “This is not possible” because economic growth is so essential to our society that is rarely questioned. Actually we have a damn crazy idea that ” we can have infinite growth on a finite planet”. Also we all know technology is amazing, people are innovative, there are so many ways we can improve the way we do things with amazing creativity. We can smoothly transition to a highly efficient solar powered, knowledge based economy transformed by Science and Technology so that 9 billion people can live in 2050. When you operate a system past its limits and then keep on going at an an ever accelerating rate is that the system stop working and breaks down.

We need to come out of denial mode and recognize that we are not acting, we are not close to acting and we are not going to act until this crisis hits the economy. The biggest problem why we are not able to solve some highly complex social problems is that “we tend to look at the world not as an integrated system but as a series of individual issues”. We see debt crisis, we see growing inequality, we see corruption in politics and business, we see resource constraints, etc and we see them as individual problems to be solved but we also know “everything in nature is inter connected and interrelated”.

The only thing we need to change is how we think, how we feel and how we act. Every entrepreneur , every artist, every scientist, every communicator, every mother, every father, every child need to come forward and save our planet.

Of-course we can’t know what will happen in future. The future is inherently uncertain, what we can do is we can act in a sustainable manner. Let’s hope we can stop stealing the future.

 

I am taking a step forward to solve these problems by joining a social innovation fellowship program “IDEX-IDea and EXecution”. For that I need your help https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-sagar-lone-nut-to-join-idex-fellowship/x/7276871. Also I am taking two courses on sustainability “Introduction to sustainability” and “The Age of Sustainable Development” on coursera. Help me in my campaign!

What you are upto? Share your ways how you are going to solve these complex problems-it can be technical, social, literary, philosophical, etc it can be any way. But taking a step forward is very important.

#11 Online Harassment

This is first post in the series of #stopsexism Initiative. Anita Sarkeesian, gave a TEDx talk in TEDxWomen 2012 curated and produced by Paley Center for Media. In this TEDx talk Anita talked about a real story that she faced in her life for being a feminist, a woman and because through feminist frequency-which deconstruct miss-representation of women in media. Feminist frequency talks about sexism, gender issues in TV shows, comic books and video games.

As video games are increasing at an alarming rate but this video game industry present sexual objectified, demeaning, misogynist portrayal of women. So, Anita took initiative and launched a fund raising campaign on kickstarter to make videos about how video games sexually objectify women and misogynist. But Gamers are not at all excited with this, which leads to online bullying, online harassment against this project and Anita faced sexist backlash.

Anita suffered from massive online hate campaign, all her social media flooded with rape threats or vulgar messages. Messages like “Tits or get fuck out”, “Wouldn’t it be funny if five guys raped her”, “I would totally rape Anita Sarkeesian” and there are so many which saddened me, even i don’t have the courage to write all these. It’s not a joke, it’s not just a backlash it is angry misogyny. Her Wikipedia article was vandalized with sexism, racism and pornographic images. A comapign was started by Anita’s haters to prove Anita as fraud and report her social media profiles. So, these haters had also leaked personal information about Anita-her phone number, address, etc. Even, hack down her email, knock down her website and this list goes on and on. These haters have not stoped, they made a misogynist game, in which you need to punch a face and that face was Anita’s.

We generally don’t think online harassment as social activity. But this online harassment against Anita,  is not a game but angry misogyny. It’s not boys being boys, it’s not just how internet works. It’s not a game. This can be described as cyber-mob, whether this is a cyber mob or handful of hateful comments. This leads to sexism and supporting gender biases where women are silenced, marginalized and exclude from full participation. How to keep women away?- By creating an environment which is toxic and hostile to women.

Let’s engage women and men and ask women not to be silent. We can create a cultural shift, where women without fear of threats and harassment can  be active participants in digital world.

I would highly recommend you to watch this TEDx talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZAxwsg9J9Q

To know more about feminist frequency: http://www.feministfrequency.com/

Stay tuned for more blog posts related to #stopsexism Initiative. Thanks for reading!

#10 Don’t Just follow your passion!

This is the first post in the series of my #passion project. Today, I want to review a TEDx talk by Eunice Hii, one of the best TEDx talks i have ever listened. I personally tweeted to Eunice Hii and amazingly she replied and tweeted back also. That’s why I feel more connected to this TEDx talk. More than that we have many things in common, she is passionate, finding her passion, started passion project in canada in her college, we both feel confused when somebody comes and ask us what you gonna do after your graduation, we feel annoyed because we still don’t have any idea.

So, lets figure out why I love her talk. Different people different aspects of passion. One entrepreneur said: you should do what caters your strength. If you get it, just go do it so, still confused what to do :o . Another artist said move to new york if you want to be successful. But some writer said don’t move to new york, if you want to be happy. Really ridiculous, what to do?

Let’s see what Steve Jobs said “Don’t settle anything, less than work that you love.” so in a way, Do what you love but follow your passion also. Graduates are basically confused whether to follow passion:but it leads to uncertainty and unfamiliarity and on another side, let’s take a job, find some financial security, may be follow passion later in life.

Then she talked about our generation- Gen Y- People regard our generation as lazy, pampered, hardest generation to handle in workforce and more than that NY post stated “Worst generation ever”, we are really busy on Fb to get noticed. But she argues “We can become a better generation and follow our passion.”

But how to follow our passion

  1. We can follow our passion, not necessarily in our work. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, we can find time to do what we love. You know what i mean “Go and do some voluntary work”. Recently, if you follow LinkedIn, you have noticed they are promoting to add volunteer work in your profile and resume.
  2. We can follow our passion, even if we don’t know what it’s yet. But you will question, how to do a thing, when you don’t know the thing, then go and f**k explore yourself, find meaning to your life.
  3. We should remember passion is the privilege. So, follow your passion by showing gratitude, and giving back to people who are unprivileged.
  4. We can follow our passion without leaving our responsibilities.

There are so many ways through which you can reach out to communities, connect to like minded people without actually meeting them personally. For e.g. through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, Twoo, etcetera.

It doesn’t mean anything to follow your passion. If it is nor in service of others. So, find your passion, but sided by side understand what are the community needs.  Find a passion to serve the community, because there lies the true potential and equilibrium of supply(passion) and demand(community needs). You will get what I am talking about, if you have idea of supply-demand :D .

At the end, her words touched my heart and soul. She said “When I am preparing this talk, I felt little skeptical & loosing lot of confidence in what I was saying because when I look to people who write amazing career  advice, they are really successful people in the world, and whom am I giving this advice to you,when I haven’t even made a dent in what I am suppose to do, when I am graduate.” So, true when I initiated my initiatives, started my blog, stood on stage and give talk on passion- who i am? still unsuccessful? still unemployed in front of others, but still somebody there in the world who believes and gives you strength #mirror.

Who you are not to be, who you are not to chose purposeful and passionate life. Yes you can!

Those people who still ask me about my future “I still have no idea, but I do know I will be passionate about it. “

For more watch her TEDx talk and I highly recommend you to do so : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgbzbdxTm4E

This is one is also dedicated to the mirror which show you there is more in you. I want to thank my dad also.