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December 1st, 2008: get more sustainability in our society

Abstract: December 1st, 2008 is a remarkable day. In Poszan (Poland) the European UNEP conference starts with discussions on an operational plan to execute earlier agreements regarding climate change, carbon footprint reduction, etc. December 1st, 2008 is also the begin of the “year of the gorilla”. Last but not least it’s the world aids day. What interlinks these very different topics: the financial crisis.

Over last couple of months the private perception on sustainability developed in the direction of a more holistic picture of our challenge to overcome next critical phases of life at this planet. Yes, it started all with the ggh or global warming. The BBC cinema film “planet earth” went through cinemas (is now also available on DVD) was one of the strong enablers to extent people’s mind about sustainability. One of the most impressive scenes in that film is the dramatic reduction of floes affecting the survival of young as well as adult polar bears.

It becomes also more common to us, that global consumption (as this is a major driver for current economy) can’t be continued. In several cases limitations of our planet are already reached. We also know that we have only a limited number of alternative resources in cases of food, energy, water, etc. The influence of the trivial biomass marketing tactic (to drive the perception of unlimited energy resource) got already reduced. One of next challenging steps is the UNEP Europe conference, opened today in Poszan, Poland. At this conference European countries have to agree on the execution of agreements of the convention earlier this year and the Kyoto protocol. The targeted discussions have also to face the financial parts of the agreements. Geographical protection targets collide in most cases with the vision of European emerging countries regarding their economical development. Although the new US president is more open to support Kyoto, UNEP, etc, he deals with the impacts of the financial crisis as well. This conference in Poland will become a benchmark for Asian, African, and Latin-American conferences as well. All these regions deal with a large variety in economical power and capabilities to develop society.

The fragile ecosystem in Africa hurts the gorilla. There are about 400 mountain gorillas living in the jungles of Africa. The guarantee to survive is very limited in national conservation parks as well. In some areas bush meat is part of “daily” food for the local population, because the sleeping illness (Trypanosomiasis) protection results in a reduction of bovine animals. The high demand of tropical wood is a reason for deforestation, as the reduction of recycling paper is as well. On top, we have only to consider the carbon footprint from deforestation (very impressive). Once again economical development on short term, imported by western countries, has strong impacts on sustainability, but “not in our (western) backyards but outside at other continents”. Back to the gorilla. It’s the mammal closest to the human being without any change to protect its living environment. In times of crime, rooted in ethical conflicts, this argument applies to any population as well.

December 1st is also the worlds aids day. 33 million people are infected and most of them don’t have a change to protect their neighborhood to be infected next. The dissemination of the illness isn’t that easy, as it deals with education and economical development. Hopefully Barbara Hogan is able to perform on the ministry targets of the South-African government. She broke with a decade of discredited policies regarding HIV, Aids, and medical services to prevent as well as to serve on this illness. Unicef expects that by the year 2010 about 3.1 million children will be Aids-orphans. This is 20% of all kids in South-Africa, younger as 17 years.

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