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Entries in sustainability (56)


Article for University of Wales

The University of Wales are pushing the boundaries, integrating sustainability into all of their teaching, so it was a privilege to be interviewed for the magazine that goes out to their 23000 students. Here it is.


Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones at the Hay Festival 2013

The Sustainability Bill

Hay Festival 2013, Saturday 25 May 2013, 7pm

The Welsh Government’s First Minister discusses how the groundbreaking Sustainability Bill, due to be ratified later this year, will affect both the public and private sectors in Wales. How will the high-level policies filter down to the day-to-day activities such as procurement and infrastructure? He talks to The Telegraph’s Environment Editor, Geoffrey Lean


Organisations changing the world of food

Via Food Tank

1. Al Maha Desert Resort (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) –In an effort to attract clients, many hotels and restaurants tempt guests with access to a wide range of elaborate–and often large–meal options. To prevent waste, the Al Maha resort incorporates uneaten items into later meals – for example, serving breakfast pastries as lunchtime desserts.


2. City of Austin’s Zero Waste Initiative (Texas, United States) – In April, the Austin City Council voted unanimously in support of a city ordinance to require all restaurants over 460 square meters (5,000 square feet) to separate all compostable materials from other waste by 2016. Smaller restaurants will have to undertake the initiative by 2017. This is part of Austin’s goal to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills by 90 percent by 2040.


3. Culinary Misfits (Berlin, Germany) –Started by two friends, Culinary Misfits seeks out the ugly vegetables at grocery stores, farmers markets, and restaurants and turns them into delectable dishes at the events they cater in the city.


4. DC Central Kitchen (District of Columbia, United States) – From the 370,131 kilograms (816,000 pounds) of food it recovered in 2011, DC Central Kitchen provided almost 2 million meals to those in need in the DC area.  In addition to recovering food from organizations and restaurants, DC Central also offers local farmers fair prices for their produce, helping to contribute to the local economy.


5. Dickinson College Campus Farm (Pennsylvania, United States) – This student-run farm composts daily deliveries of salad bar scraps from the cafeteria. In 2005, Dickinson expanded the compost program into a campus-wide initiative with student farm workers, partnering with facilities management to ensure that campus food waste is composted.


6. Feeding the 5000 (United Kingdom/International) – Tristram Stuart’s initiative is organizing the world to prevent "wonky" fruits, vegetables, and other food from being wasted. Feeding the 5000 encourages farmers to participate in the “gleaning movement” – where volunteers collect unattractive produce that would otherwise be wasted.


7. Food Recovery Network (Maryland, United States) – A group of enterprising University of Maryland students decided to take action and launched this initiative with the goal of delivering cafeteria leftovers to local food shelters. It has since expanded to 11 chapters on campuses across the U.S. Students involved in the Food Recovery Network visit their campus dining halls nightly to rescue leftover food and deliver it to local shelters and food pantries. Close to 55,000 kilograms (121,000 pounds) of food have been rescued by the Network since 2011.


8. Food Waste Reduction Alliance Project (United States) – The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) have teamed up in this three-year initiative to reduce the amount of food waste sent to landfills and increase the amount of food donated to food banks. They also use waste for energy, compost, and animal feed.


9. FUSIONS (Food Use for Social Innovation by Optimising Waste Prevention Strategies) (European Union) – After recognizing that the European Union discards approximately 89 million tons of food every year, Brussels has pledged, through the FUSIONS program, to reduce that number by half by the year 2025. Currently in development, FUSIONS hopes to tackle the issue throughout the supply chain, working with farmers so that they don’t reject less-than-perfect-looking produce. And they work with grocery stores to offer discounts to consumers on products that are nearing their expiration dates.


10. Hands for Hunger (The Bahamas) – This organization is working to improve food security in the Bahamas while simultaneously reducing food waste. By mobilizing individuals and community organizations, Hands for Hunger gathers unused food from grocery stores, hotels, and other businesses, which is then distributed to low-income residents, including victims of abuse and psychiatric patients.


11. Last Minute Market (LMM) (Italy) – LMM works with farmers, processing centers, grocery stores, and other food sellers to reclaim food. Founded by BCFN adviser Andrea Segrè, LMM now runs food donation programs in more than 40 Italian communities.


12. Love Food, Hate Waste (United Kingdom) – This program teaches consumers about food waste and provides them with helpful portioning and planning tips, as well as an array of recipes to make sure food doesn't go to waste.


13. The Postharvest Education Foundation (Oregon, United States) – This organization offers training materials, e-learning programs, and mentoring opportunities that help farmers around the world prevent food loss. Their postharvest management guide is available in 10 languages, featuring topics such as how to choose the best time for harvest and the advantages of different transportation methods.


14. Sanford and Son (Illinois, United States) – Sanford and Son is a father-and-son company that works in the West Side of Chicago to repurpose food waste for urban farms. Ray Sanford and his son Nigel recycle food waste from restaurants and private homes and convert it into organic compost, which is then distributed to urban farms to use as fertilizer. They claim to save 226 kilograms (500 pounds) of organic waste for each family that uses their composting services.


15. Save Food from the Fridge (The Netherlands) – Jihyun Ryou, Korean designer and expert on food preservation, launched this project that attempts to prevent waste in homes. She outlines several ideas for keeping foods fresher longer without the use of modern kitchen technologies. In addition, she has also created a collaborative blog where anyone can submit their own innovative food storage ideas.


16. Society of Saint Andrew (United States) – This national network connects volunteers with farms to glean produce that has been left unpicked after a harvest. The Society distributes the gleaned produce to food banks and other organizations serving marginalized communities. In 2012, the Society gleaned 10.4 million kilograms (23.7 million pounds) of produce across the United States.


17. Songhai Centre (Sub-Saharan Africa) – The Songhai Centre is a sustainable development organization that, among other projects, teaches environmentally conscious farming practices in rural areas in Benin, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Their agricultural education is based on a policy of production totale zéro déchet (zero waste total production) – in the organization’s own words, “the byproducts of one field are valuable raw materials for another.” 


18. Springboard Kitchens (Pennsylvania, United States) – This Pittsburgh organization, through a partnership with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bankrescues 3,200- 4,500 kilograms (7,000 - 10,000 pounds) of fresh food that would have otherwise been thrown away and prepares approximately 4,000 meals per day.


19. Stop Spild Af Mad (Stop Wasting Food) (Denmark) – Danish food expert Selina Juul’s campaign inspired Danish supermarket Rema 1000 to replace buy-one-get-one-free and other quantity-based discounts with general discounts in all of its stores. Such discounts, frequently implemented by grocery stores to get produce off the shelves, often result in food being wasted at home.


20. Think.Eat.Save (International) – This initiative, launched by the U.N. Environment Programme and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, works to reverse food loss by providing consumers, retailers, leaders and the community with advice and ways to take action to reduce their yearly food waste.  The campaign aggregates and shares different methods of conserving food, including policy recommendations and steps that consumers and households can take on their own to prevent waste.


21. University of Cincinnati SolerCool (Ohio, United States) – Developed by MBA students at the University of Cincinnati, this solar-powered refrigerator runs on eight solar panels to keep food comfortably cool when it is being transported.


Incomplete Manifesto for Growth

The most interesting project on the calendar for 2012 so far is the prospect of bringing a bunch of good, foolish people to Wales to break some new records, following on good traditions. The Malcolm Campbell and Thomas Parry set world speed records down the road in Pendine. Sir Edmund Hilary and the team that would go on to be the first to summit Everest did the training that made it happen at the legendary Pen y Gwryd Hotel in Snowdonia.

The records set for breaking in 2012 are in the arena of sustainability - energy, waste, food, travel, innovation and more, bringing leaders and teams from organisations ranging from Procter & Gamble, B&Q, Virgin and Sky will work alongside government and third sector partners to share insights, best practice and networks and find out how fast and how far it's possible to make change happen when we start with the end in mind, not where we are.

One of the teams that we'll be playing with to make it happen comprises Bruce Mau and Bisi Williams from MCN, the Massive Change Network. Some of Bruce's manifesto thoughts are outlined below.

  • 01 Allow events to change you. You have to  be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.

    02 Forget about good. Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. Growth is not necessarily good. Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you’ll never have real growth.

    03 Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.

    04 Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child). Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.

    05 Go deep. The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.

    06 Capture accidents. The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.

    07 Study. A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of production as an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.

    08 Drift. Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies. Lack judgment. Postpone criticism.

    09 Begin anywhere. John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.

    10 Everyone is a leader. Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead.

    11 Harvest ideas. Edit applications. Ideas need a dynamic, fluid, generous environment to sustain life. Applications, on the other hand, benefit from critical rigor. Produce a high ratio of ideas to applications.

    12 Keep moving. The market and its operations have a tendency to reinforce success. Resist it. Allow failure and migration to be part of your practice.

    13 Slow down. Desynchronize from standard time frames and surprising opportunities may present themselves.

    14 Don’t be cool. Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.

    15 Ask stupid questions. Growth is fuelled by desire and innocence. Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout your life at the rate of an infant.

    16 Collaborate. The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential.

    17 ____________________. Intentionally left blank. Allow space for the ideas you haven’t had yet, and for the ideas of others.

    18 Stay up late. Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you’re separated from the rest of the world.

    19 Work the metaphor. Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.

    20 Be careful to take risks. Time is genetic. Today is the child of yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today will create your future.

    21 Repeat yourself. If you like it, do it again. If you don’t like it, do it again.

    22 Make your own tools. Hybridize your tools in order to build unique things. Even simple tools that are your own can yield entirely new avenues of exploration. Remember, tools amplify our capacities, so even a small tool can make a big difference.

    23 Stand on someone’s shoulders. You can travel farther carried on the accomplishments of those who came before you. And the view is so much better.

    24 Avoid software. The problem with software is that everyone has it.

  • 25 Don’t clean your desk. You might find something in the morning that you can’t see tonight.

    26 Don’t enter awards competitions. Just don’t. It’s not good for you.

    27 Read only left–hand pages. Marshall McLuhan did this. By decreasing the amount of information, we leave room for what he called our ‘noodle’.

    28 Make new words. Expand the lexicon. The new conditions demand a new way of thinking. The thinking demands new forms of expression. The expression generates new conditions.

    29 Think with your mind. Forget technology. Creativity is not device–dependent.

    30 Organization = Liberty. Real innovation in design, or any other field, happens in context. That context is usually some form of cooperatively managed enterprise. Frank Gehry, for instance, is only able to realize Bilbao because his studio can deliver it on budget. The myth of a split between ‘creatives’ and ‘suits’ is what Leonard Cohen calls a “charming artifact of the past.”

    31 Don’t borrow money. Once again, Frank Gehry’s advice. By maintaining financial control, we maintain creative control. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it’s surprising how hard it is to maintain this discipline, and how many have failed.

    32 Listen carefully. Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings with him or her a world more strange and complex than any we could ever hope to imagine. By listening to the details and the subtlety of their needs, desires, or ambitions, we fold their world onto our own. Neither party will ever be the same.

    33 Take field trips. The bandwidth of the world is greater than that of your TV set, or the Internet, or even a totally immersive, interactive, dynamically rendered, object–oriented, real–time, computer graphic–simulated environment.

    34 Make mistakes faster. This isn’t my idea—I borrowed it. I think it belongs to Andy Grove.

    35 Imitate. Don’t be shy about it. Try to get as close as you can. You’ll never get all the way, and the separation might be truly remarkable. We have only to look to Richard Hamilton and his version of Marcel Duchamp’s large glass to see how rich, discredited, and underused imitation is as a technique.

    36 Scat. When you forget the words, do what Ella did: make up something else… but not words.

    37 Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.

    38 Explore the other edge. Great liberty exists when we avoid trying to run with the technological pack. We can’t find the leading edge because it’s trampled underfoot. Try using old–tech equipment made obsolete by an economic cycle but still rich with potential.

    39 Coffee breaks, cab rides, green rooms. Real growth often happens outside of where we intend it to, in the interstitial spaces—what Dr. Seuss calls “the waiting place.” Hans Ulrich Obrist once organized a science and art conference with all of the infrastructure of a conference—the parties, chats, lunches, airport arrivals—but with no actual conference. Apparently it was hugely successful and spawned many ongoing collaborations.

    40 Avoid fields. Jump fences. Disciplinary boundaries and regulatory regimes are attempts to control the wilding of creative life. They are often understandable efforts to order what are manifold, complex, evolutionary processes. Our job is to jump the fences and cross the fields.

    41 Laugh. People visiting the studio often comment on how much we laugh. Since I’ve become aware of this, I use it as a barometer of how comfortably we are expressing ourselves.

    42 Remember. Growth is only possible as a product of history. Without memory, innovation is merely novelty. History gives growth a direction. But a memory is never perfect. Every memory is a degraded or composite image of a previous moment or event. That’s what makes us aware of its quality as a past and not a present. It means that every memory is new, a partial construct different from its source, and, as such, a potential for growth itself.

    43 Power to the people. Play can only happen when people feel they have control over their lives. We can’t be free agents if we’re not free.


SD as a central organising principle

**Wales’ Central Organising Principle Legislating for Sustainable Development**

Friday 27 January 2012  9-4pm

University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Carmarthen

First Minister Carwyn Jones has set out his Government's commitment not only to have sustainable development as its central organising principal but also to enact this through primary legislation. A Sustainable Development Green Paper will appear next May, followed by a White Paper in the autumn of 2012. This will be the first piece of primary legislation dedicated to sustainable development in the United Kingdom and has the potential to be a world leader.

This conference addresses what the proposals should contain, how they should be implemented and what their likely impact will be. It will ask what difference sustainable development legislation can make to Wales' efforts to create a society more attuned to the related demands of climate change, social justice and a strong economy. Can legislation really enforce sustainable development as a central organising principle? How will the Welsh Government be held to account once the Bill is passed?

Book here: