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Polar bears and iPads, ice bergs and Blackberry’s, forests and Twitter.

Posted by: GeraldineKent


This week’s post deals with the issue of our world’s resources, and the severe crisis in trying to sustain these valuable commodities. I stumbled upon this post whilst wading through a very long list of new Twitter feeds. 

Now because I am a Journalism student, I've had to adapt to the habit of receiving an inordinate amount of news, at all hours of the day and using my own filter to decide what I need to read right away, what I need to read by the end of the day, and what I can add to a list of things I’ll hopefully read later on this year (key word – hopefully). 


The trick is to learn exactly what you're most interested in and whether or not learning about it will benefit your life. Up until recently, I never would have considered environmental matters - like saving the planet, going green, advocating for global warming concerns and lobbying for our planet’s survival – to be one of things that I wanted to learn about to better enrich my life. 

But despite that ignorance this snappy paragraph caught my attention, “Summary of the Summary:  The world is using up its natural resources at an alarming rate, and this has caused a permanent shift in their value.  We all need to adjust our behavior to this new environment. It would help if we did it quickly.” And I was intrigued. I filtered this story as “NB”, read it straight away and now having decoded it and analysed all its facts and ideas and people, I am delighted to add my thoughts to this topic. 

Firstly, this Jeremy Grantham dude – just another lobbyist who’s mouthing off about big corporations polluting our earth, killing polar bears and melting ice bergs? Nope, actually he’s a smart one, he understands both sides of the story – “peak oil and global warming”.

So seriously, if you’re a human who enjoys this earth and wants to keep living, and wants future generations like your children and their children and the children after that, then please read this  article . And if you’re not that kind of human, then at least read the rest of this post as I try to figure out whether there is any way new media technologies could help Mr Grantham’s cause. 

“The rise in population, the ten-fold increase in wealth in developed countries, and the current explosive growth in developing countries have eaten rapidly into our finite resources of hydrocarbons and metals, fertilizer, available land, and water.” Well, let us take a moment to thank awesome technological advances for improving the ways and means through which we can obtain such data and analyse it for indicative proposals of future growth.

“We must substitute qualitative growth for quantitative growth.” So how can we conceptualise being able to achieve this? Well, what if there was an online community that could monitor the current growth rate, and what it needs to be in order for past mistakes to be rectified? I don’t mean a complicated, scientific community that relies on formulas and data, inputs and outputs and projected scores etc. I wouldn’t even know what all of that meant! Rather, a community based on ‘informed, expert blogging’, where experts, owners and workers (farmers, tree fellers, fishermen etc) each contribute information on their growth, export and import rates, income and profit margins and such, as a way to begin building a database that can monitor the current crisis and draw information that can improve the future. 

“The problems of compounding growth in the face of finite resources are not easily understood by optimistic, short-term-oriented, and relatively innumerate humans (especially the political variety).”

I think this is the most vital point of all to consider. But to be honest, I don’t want to get into arguing that statement, without adequate data and research to back myself up. So, I am going to put my thoughts on hold for now. The next few blog posts will continue to analyse Grantham paper and rely on his statistics and arguments to look at more innovative ways that new media can help environmental causes.
Until next time, take care! Ciao ciao!

Comments (3)Add Comment
written by BakingBee, May 04, 2011
Interesting article, deep and I think some of the jargon I didn't quite grasp, feeling a little exhausted today smilies/wink.gif

“We must substitute qualitative growth for quantitative growth.” this quote - is this from the article of Mr Grantham? Personally, I am not sure I agree 100% with it, I think we need a balance of both. It's like feminism. We had male domination now we have radical feminism, instead of finding the middle ground. And this comes from a person with very strong feminist values.

Other than that I like it, there are lots of points for spring boards to other topics. I like the idea of locals blogging, the only catch in this is that not everyone can write and not everyone can write in English, so we will need to employ first teachers to make the working peoples literate, and then translators to translate the various languages. And that could be done, it would give language majors and masters and doctors a new avenue to move into.

PS welcome to the GREENer grass side (and please excuse any typos!)
written by Laurenvdv, May 05, 2011
I think new media technologies is a perfect way to keep track of environmental dearths in the modern world. If these experts can give us insight, it'll be more worthwhile to read then some self-appointed environmental guard who has a hippie-hate-the-world opinion.

Great post, Gerry. Saving the World and its resources just became interesting smilies/smiley.gifI look forward to hearing what Grantham has to say
Awesome title by the way
written by GeraldineKent, May 10, 2011
@BankingBee. Thank you for your feedback. It is greatly appreciated! I feel the same about the jargon and statistics, that's why I said I'd spend a few posts working through the paper, hopefully breaking it into smaller pieces makes it easier to digest all its ideas.

With regard to your point about English - I agree with your suggestion about educating people and translating for the workers who are the ones likely to not understand. But within the South African context, the majority of the population does not have access to the internet (another point I will deal with in this blog) so they will probably be unaware of the sites and forums. However, it could still benefit them if their employers, the farm owners, have actively participated in the forum and from that learned new ways to improve their crops, improving their revenue, putting them in a position to offer improved salaries to their workers?

I hope you will continue to read the posts on this article and thereafter.

Regards Gerry

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