Signals of change: Can we redress the balance in global resources?

Sensemaking / Signals of change: Can we redress the balance in global resources?

These signals of change show how our dependence on fragile and over-stretched ecosystems has become a matter of public debate – and a spur to action. How might our relationship to resources be different in future?

By Anna Simpson / 10 May 2016

Early last year, California declared a state of emergency in response to prolonged dry weather, exacerbated by El Niño. In Somalia, drought was compounded by conflict, which inhibited relief efforts and left millions in hunger. Floods later in the year (also attributed to El Niño effects) displaced thousands more. Air pollution also rose up the agenda as a major health concern. Some Indian cities reached levels of air particulates 15 times what the WHO deems ‘healthy’; persistent smog from Beijing (caused by industry) to Singapore (caused by slash-and-burn agri-culture in the region) raised public outrage. Alongside justified outrage, citizens and consumers are taking a stand in both debate and action.

What ideas do these signals of change inspire in you for a more stable and mutually beneficial relationship between human systems and our habitat?

[#signalofchange 1] Citizen-led campaign calls on consumers to fight Singapore's haze

The People’s Movement against Haze (PM.Haze) in Singapore has launched ‘We Breathe What We Buy’, a campaign to raise awareness of the consumer’s role in creating the poor air quality or ‘haze’ affecting the region. Supported by both WWF Singapore and the Singapore Environment Council, this campaign is the first citizen-led initiative looking to engage the public in thinking about the direct relationship between their daily purchasing decisions and the haze. More here.

Image Credit: We Breathe What We Buy 

[#signalofchange 2] Finland targets 40% increase in sustainable local protein by 2030

ScenoProt, a project involving futurologists, marketing professionals, product developers and scientists, aims to increase Finland’s protein self-sufficiency by at least 40% over the next 15 years. It is dedicated to changing the current unsustainable protein landscape. The ScenoProt project is set to span 6 years with 8 million euros in funding, coordinated by Finland’s Natural Resources Institute (aka Luke). It aims to have local protein from alternative sources such as insects, mushrooms, and processed raw vegetables on Finnish shelves and into popular consumer diets by 2030. More here.

Image: Shira Gal / Flickr

[#signalofchange 3] Major ocean ecology review concludes that marine species web will collapse

A review by the University of Adelaide of 632 studies on biological changes in the oceans, all of which are down to rising anthropogenic CO2 emissions,  forecasts a massive reduction in marine life. It concludes that very few marine species will avoid the deleterious effects of an increase in CO2, and that there will be a dramatic reduction in species diversity and abundance throughout the world’s oceans. More here.

Image credit: Sam DeLong / Flickr

[#signalofchange 4] APP retires commercial plantations to restore peatlands

Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) has announced it will be retiring 7,000 hectares of its active plantations to restore carbon-rich peatlands in Indonesia. This will be the first time a commercially profitable peat plantation has been retired and restored by its owners for conservation purposes. More here.

Image credit: Rainforest Action Network / Flickr

What messages do you find in the margins of these Signals of Change? Share your findings in the comments box or join the discussion on social media with #signalsofchange.

Header image credit: Hayden / Flickr

What might the implications of this be? What related articles have you seen?

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