Climate change and the great transition has multiple facets belonging to one global phenomenon and problem. As much relies on complex projections and interpretations when it comes to consequences of climate change it is much easier to talk about the current issues that occur due to climate change.
The format „When I think of …“ focuses on the local appearance of different aspects of the great transition and aims to collect individual perspectives by asking people from all over the world the same question because every region of the world will be affected.
What comes into your mind if you think of growth and resources in your direct surrounding?
Anne about Berlin: When I think of growth and industrial growth what comes to my mind is migration into the cities and urbanisation – which in Germany is over European average.
The effects and consequences of the constant population increase in Berlin bring new challenges to the city: Higher traffic volume cause higher pollution. Gentrification and increasing living costs are changing neighbourhood structures and culture and risk social tensions and/or ghettoization. Incountable – partially questionable – investments and construction projects replace free public spaces. Why investing in a superfluous extension of an underground line and highways if you can spend the money in a car-free city center reserved for public transport and emission free vehicles? Why privatizing public and „culturally fertile“ property instead of supporting free public spaces for initiatives of civil society like urban gardening, open co-working spaces and social projects that strengthen solidarity? Why investing in the past (reconstruction of the Berlin city palace) instead of the future? „Berlin is poor – but sexy“ is how the mayor Klaus Wowereit once pushed the image of the metropole successfully. And I wish Berlin is smart enough to profit from its human resources and intellectual and creative potential to maintain this image. I dream of a city where changing your lifestyle and practicing alternative ways of living is possible.“
Arlen adds: “There are some projects in Berlin that deal directly or indirectly with climate change. Among them are extremely creative sample projects aimed on a long-term change. However, I lack many large-scale projects with a high media attention that worked with the same aim. Rarely they focus on a deep transformation based on a critical discussion about growth. The resource consumption is still very high and the population seems to prefer a quick and easy availability of consumer good than a sustainable lifestyle. In general it seem to me, that the advance, especially from politics a business actors, is quite hesitant. In respect of the need for an acute action this hesitation is rather annoying.”
Lisa about Munich: “If I think about growth and resources in my hometown Munich I think of sustainable growth and communication – already existing things should build more and more the basis to create new things. There is a story about I can tell to give an example- there is this architect Muck Petzet who stands for the approach „Architecture as Ressource“. He is the founder of the idea and approach to reuse and recycle old buildings and to use the already invested energy in the constructions and resources (grey energy) as a basic construction for the new architecture. Instead of tear the old construction down to build up a new house, that is more energy efficient, here you use the old basis and give it a new frame . Thus you reduce the energy and resource allocation and demonstrate a sustainable use of material. At the end you are saving resources, energy while reaching the same goal: building up a more environmental friendly and energy saving house. This concept „Reduce, Reuse, Recycle“ got presented at La Biennale di Venezia 2012. Reduce/Reuse/Recycle stands for a successful shift in value from waste to reusable material. The three R’s form a waste hierarchy in which avoidance comes first followed by direct reuse and, in third place, recycling which changes the properties of the material. For example, there’s right now getting up a petition against the demolition of the local public health department in Munich – under the motto „Addition instead of demolition“-founded by this architect and his students. Instead of tearing down this building the group established the proof of the building and its energy-improvement, redevelopment and addition of the existing architecture.
In my opinion when we discuss due to climate change, environmental protection and sustainability the topics growth and resources, every idea which leads to save resources in the end and shows people that there are several ways using already existing things, could be a successful strategy of transformation. For me it is a good example to demonstrate what can come out of a good concept in combination with communication, digital marketing and events.”
Bounmy about Laos: “Nowadays, the population is growing every years also my hometown ( LAO PDR ), we are a part of this situation. Laos is the landlocked country, the population is about 6 million, actually we don’t have a big problem with the population yet, anyhow it seems the number of population is increasing every year. There are still have nature resources, The main export products in country are mining, hydropower, agriculture, tourisms, etc. Because of mining, which make the water become dirty, the forest become the smaller area, these make the weather is warmer, flooding, etc. According these situations, the government has plan as the long term and short-term sustainable as well, they also have cooperation with the NGOs, etc. have been trying to convinces, promoting, etc that everybody can participants that how to save the environment. One example is the GIZ project in Laos, they convince in the people make the small garden to grow some kind of vegetables such as chilies, tomatoes, green vegetables, this strategy that can help people to save money also can reduce the CO2 as well, etc.”
Mic about Zimbabwe: “I would like to point a spotlight to one of the many negative effects that climate change has caused so far, to have an idea of its seriousness. In my last stay in a SSA country, Zimbabwe, I must say I have attended to a severe issue resulting from the climate change. It is now affecting the whole population. The rainy season has seen very little rainfall and crops and farming, which greatly rely on this resource, have gone wasted. The irrigation system still is not capable to cope in providing enough water to make the country’s rich resources to be exploited, in emergency cases like this.
The lack of water also affected the hydro generated energy system that was providing the country with electricity. As a result power stations have to rely on imported fuel and on coal, which is greatly available in Zimbabwe’s territory. But its unregulated mining implies severe damage to the environment and causes harsh water pollution. Hence investors are not interested in agriculture or farming.
All this is creating a vicious cycle that brings the nation’s economy to the ground level.
It must be said that as a country there is a great environment awareness but legislation rules are not easy to be put into action. Action should be taken to improve infrastructure and thermal energy deriving from coal extraction is not an option. It would last for only 30 years and its usage greatly damages the environment health. As we can see, it is important to be prepared in dealing which such extreme conditions and take action in order to avoid or reduce the impact climate change can bring to our lives and to the planet.”
Caro about Egypt: “I remember one recent documentary with the title The green city about perfect eco housings on the French- German channel ARTE. Houses were presented with the newest technology so they were supposed to be very passive concerning energy consumption. But the conclusion was that mud and straw are the most eco-friendly building materials because they let the walls breathe naturally. Traditionally the Egyptians used to build houses with these materials. Concerning growth we could think also of our old tradition because it sometimes discloses sustainable ideas. For me going back to the roots could also be regarded as growth. Therefore economic growth does not exclude sustainability. Some effort is being done to implement green construction with natural materials in Egypt within the framework of Egyptian Green Building Council that was established in 2009.
In my opinion we all have to start working on green growth – that means efficient and smart use of energy and resources- in order to reduce the climate impact without restricting poverty alleviation and economic growth.”
The topic “growth and resources” is highly connected to climate change as it will not occur in a vacuum. In order to collect various statements on this topic insiders from Germany and other countries were asked to give their impression and knowledge. The results of this format are not intended to be exhaustive but give a insightful snapshot on complex topics. We are delighted to discuss these different and individual perspectives with you during our collaboration within the framework of the International Summer University.