Monthly Archives: December 2012

Water is the driving force of all nature – Leonardo Da Vinci

So…Water issues. Quite a big deal. I’m writing my master’s degree thesis and it regards water issues and the Israeli-Arab conflict. My argument is that when together with other factors, water issues, although not directly, lead to conflict. I’m using the Theory of Relative Deprivation as a theoretical base, by Homer Dixon.

Anyway, water issues. According to the Millennium Development Goals report 2012, 11% of the world’s population remains without access to a reliable water source. Imagine being yourself incapable of drinking a glass of water when thirsty or don’t having water for a bath. Well, these 11% go through that everyday.

In a world of shared resources, we need to have access to (at least) 1700m3 of water per capita per year in order to have enough water for our needs. When we don’t, things start to get complicated and people choose one of two paths: conflict or cooperation. If we’re sharing water (re)sources with an ally or neutral country it’s easier to cooperate and try to fix the problem. But when we’re sharing with a country that isn’t exactly in our circle of friends things can get nasty, not only at a state level but also among the population.

The truth is water is getting scarce. Not only because of environmental changes but also because we haven’t yet learned to consume water in a responsible way, even though it is one of the most essential resources.

Water is important. You can’t live without it. In the next few years we’ll have a decline of the quantity of available water. Does that mean we’ll have conflicts only based on water? Share your thoughts below!

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Filed under Environmental

Have yourself a merry little Christmas…

“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.” T.E. Lawrence

I wish to all my followers and viewers an amazing Christmas and an extraordinary  new year full of dreams!

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December 23, 2012 · 10:08 pm

The “why”, not the “what”.

I was thinking about writing something related with Christmas, since it is only one week away. Several ideas crossed my mind, but they seemed so over-explored that I didn’t want to be another person that writes about it. I also though about addressing the “Mayan apocalypse” and, again, it was so over-posted that I refused the idea. Then, I though about why I wanted to write about these two subjects and I realized: because of the quantity of information there was written about them. So I figured, why not join both? I want to address the “why” not the “what”.

Since many of my friends are leaving for their hometowns this week, I tried to meet them before they go. As a joke, I kept saying to my friends “Merry Christmas or happy end of the world, depending on the case”. Of course, they all knew what I was talking about: the 21st of December. Then, it crossed my mind: they all knew because of the media.

I ended up thinking about the influence of media on our life. The media plays a major part on the formation of our opinion, and it’s up to us to choose what is true/right or false/wrong. In the past few weeks, we either heard about the “end of the world” or Christmas. The sites about the two subjects are numerous, the TV programs are filled with stories about them and other sources of media are also referring them.

So, is it good or bad to have access to these huge amounts of information? Well, both. It depends of what you do with it. Being a non-believer of the end of the world on 21st December, pretty much everything that defends the “prophesy” passes me by without doing any harm. Sure, I talk about it, but it will be a day like any other. But, for some people, the amount of information can be overwhelming and can bring consequences. For example, it is believed that more or less 3 million of people (“preppers”) are preparing for the end of the world. And, of course, there is a TV show about it.

Well, and about Christmas… Every year is the same thing. The commercials start in November and the Christmas shopping follows. I’m a major fan of Christmas, but I consider that consumerism is over the top. In the past few years, the Christmas commercials stopped being only for kids and slowly started to introduce several products for adults. Again, even if not on purpose, people tend to more quickly buy a product if they already saw it on the advertisements.

So, Media. Yes, they do influence us. It is up to us to choose not to go down that path.

To finish, I would like to invite you to visit two very interesting blogs: http://ricardolopes.net/blog/ and https://ujhelpshimself.wordpress.com/

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Filed under Others

“We’re going to…

“We’re going to have to come together to meaningful action on this, regardless of the politics.” Barack Obama regarding the Connecticut shootings.

It hurts my heart to read/watch the news and find something like what happened today. I kept thinking about the innocent lives that were lost because of a crazy act. I chose this sentence because I frequently think about how “easy” is to have a gun in USA. I’m not criticizing it; I’m just wondering: Would this happen if there was a more restrictive law on weapons?

89 Comments

December 14, 2012 · 11:41 pm

You can’t touch this

North Korea successfully launched a rocket  this Wednesday (12/12). Several countries condemned the test.

Earlier this year (April), the country tried to launch another rocket but due to a technical failure, the test was a disaster. At the time, the UN addressed the issue and spoke against it, asking North Korea to not try to launch another rocket. Now, it seems that North Korea finally achieved what it had been up to.

North Korea has been asking for the nuclear force status, which has been denied (actually, this launch violates two resolutions regarding nuclear matters). Although the country claims that these tests are not intended to be for nuclear or ballistic purposes, the fact is that this launch brought major concerns for various countries, mostly Asiatic ones: Japan said it was intolerable, South Korea said it was a provocation and Russia condemned the act.

So, is this launch such a big thing as several countries think? It can be. The country is known for not having the best of relations with other states (and now proved that can reach them with a missile). But this doesn’t mean that North Korea is going to attack them. I think that they are trying to say something like “hey, I have nuclear stuff, now you can’t touch me”.

In conclusion, it is a provocation. Who has the better horse wins the race.

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Filed under Asia

Nobel Peace Prize – European Union

Today, the European Union received the Nobel Peace Prize.The President of the European Council (Herman Van Rompuy), the President of the European Commission (Durão Barroso) and the President of the European Parliament (Martin Schulz) traveled to Oslo to attend the ceremony.

This prize comes at a time that the European Union has a severe economic crisis in its hands. The prize is intended to be, despite all the criticism, an encouragement to overcome the crisis.
I don’t think that receiving a nobel prize will do much for the crisis-affected countries. I don’t think it will bring more solidarity towards them. Actually, I believe that the European Union will be able to overcome the crisis in some years; nevertheless, this prize will not bring the countries together. I’m not being pessimist, I try to be realist: the European countries will not help each other if that means putting their national interests at stake.
On a lighter note, the European Union has shown that it can be a major ally regarding Peace (and yes, we can argue about the methods, but that subject would be long enough to create another blog!).
We just have to wait to see the outcome of this prize.

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Filed under Europe

Welcome, Palestinian State

Last Thursday, Palestine gained the non-member observer state status by 138 votes in favor, 41 abstentions and 9 against. So what does this status mean?

First, Palestine can now be called a state. Although it seems insignificant, the word state is really relevant for the Palestinians, because they have been fighting for it for a long time. Second, Palestine can now ask for membership in different international organizations such as the International Criminal Court and others. Third, Palestine is a step closer to obtain the full membership in the United Nations. I could go on, but I think that you already got the point.

The thing is: does this mean that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is going to end? Well, no. First, the President of the Palestinian Authority – Mahmoud Abbas – has to unite Hamas and  Fatah in order to be able to negotiate a peace agreement. Second, Israel has to be open to negotiations. Considering that the state wants to build more settlements in the occupied territories and is going to withhold the Palestinian Authority’s tax revenues, I think that Israel will not be open for negotiations anytime soon.

So, lets wait and see.

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Filed under Middle-East