Tag Archives: opinion

It has to start with each and every one of us!

During the summer, everyone saw/heard about the ice/water bucket challenge. The purpose of this challenge was to raise awareness for different health issues (depending on the country). Although it is good that we are raising awareness for these issues, doing it with water really bothered me.

As I said before in my previous posts, water is a scarce resource that should be saved, not wasted.

I came across with the picture on top (Arab News), and, as usual, it got me thinking. As shown in the image, several people have to walk a lot only to get water. According to Charity Water, in Africa they spend around 40 billion hours walking, just to get water. Usually is either women or children that go get the water, which can be contaminated or unhealthy to drink. For women, these long walks are not safe, they can be sexually harassed and they lose time when they could be working. For children, this means loosing time that could be used to go to school or to study. Not to mention all the diseases that come from unclean water and the dangers of the trip itself.

Now, let’s take a moment to imagine your life with no water or limited access to it. Imagine that you want to go to the toilet, and you don’t have water to flush. Imagine that you want to take a bath and there is no water to do it. Imagine that you are really thirsty, and you have to walk 3 km to get the water that you and your family will drink (which can be contaminated). It is very hard to imagine, isn’t it? Now imagine what the 780 million people that lack access to drinkable water and the 2.5 billion people that don’t have adequate sanitation have to trough every day. Unfortunately for them, it is also hard to imagine how it is to have access to clean, drinkable water and good sanitation. This is a major problem that gets limited attention.

So what I am going to propose here is instead of using water to raise awareness for different causes, let’s raise awareness for water. It has to start with each and every one of us.

Please let your thoughts below!

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Filed under Environmental

The day that everything changed

4af416d7e9966New-World13 years ago something changed in the world.

I remember arriving home (in Portugal) to have lunch and seeing the images of the attacks in the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, and I didn’t quite understand what was going on at the time (I was 11 years old). I remember having this feeling of sadness, the shivers down my spine. I understood that a lot of people died and a lot more were suffering.

As some of you know, both my Bachelor’s and my Master’s degree were in International Relations. It was almost impossible to be a student of IR and not talking about this particular event. I remember discussing how it affected the world, what changed. We analysed it, talked about it.

Unfortunately, I think it was the first time that the USA felt that it could be hit in its own territory. The feeling of being safe ended, and the war on terror started. Since then it has spread to other countries as well, however this expression hasn’t been used in a while and has been substituted for others more “friendly”. All of a sudden, terrorism was being used for almost everything, and I feel that it still is like this, at least a bit. Many wars were fought and many lives lost because of this. Are we any safer now?

This is a controversial topic, I know. And it will be for many years to come. My opinion is that many mistakes were made in past few years. But I don’t disregard the effectiveness of several decisions… What I often think is how many terrorists has this war on terror created? And how many has it destroyed? It is hard to know.

And I must say that it is one of those subjects that I honestly don’t know what to think about… What do you think? Do you feel safer now?

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Filed under America

Your ecological footprint – what?!

green-footprint-shutterstock11I could start with the typical “save the earth, it is the only we have”, which is completely true, but I will start to tell you that we, as humans need to stop acting like the planet is infinite and it is never going to run out of resources, if not for the earth we share, for ourselves. It will. It is already… And still, it passes us by like it is nothing. Why? Because we don’t see it truly in front of us. If we see war, we see dead people, we see injured people, we know it is happening, we know we need to do something. We don’t see the impact of our actions in our planet, at least clearly. But it is happening.

Yesterday, according to the Global Footprint Network, was the Earth Overshoot Day. For those of you who are not familiar with this, the Earth Overshoot Day is the date our Ecological Footprint exceeds our planet’s “annual budget”. That means that we already spent what Earth can regenerate during this year. In practical terms, we need a planet and a half to produce the resources that we are spending in one year. If you want to know your ecological footprint, click here. In the link you will also find tips on how to reduce your ecological footprint.

In 1961 we used 3 quarters of the Earth’s capacity. Now, we didn’t even got to the end of the year, and we already need a new planet. As you can imagine, in the long term, this will lead to several problems: climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, lack of food, lack of water and lack of other resources essential and non-essential to human life. It will also bring, in my opinion, conflict over these resources, if the situation continues to escalate like this.

So, how can we make Earth sustainable again? Well, first of all, we need to stop acting like it is something for others to deal with. Reducing the ecological footprint is a responsibility of everyone. We also have to realise that it is not easy and that it won’t happen fast. But, if we try, we can make a better planet.

What do you do to reduce your ecological footprint? Tell me below!

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Filed under Environmental, Uncategorized

Global warming – Tell me about it

Global_Warming_by_audunellernoWhat is global warming? What is it doing to our planet? Are we really responsible for global warming?

I’ve had this conversation many times with friends, colleagues, family and yet, answers don’t cease to surprise me. According to wikipedia, Global warming is the unequivocal and continuing rise in the average temperature of Earth’s climate system. This causes several types of consequences such as temperature changes, extreme weather, melting of ice, decrease of water resources and even climate refugees (which I will talk about in another post someday…). The majority of people agrees with this definition.

So, what are the causes? Are we to be blamed? Well, it is here that opinions get divided.

Some of the people I’ve spoken to say that this is not due to human action. They say that the earth has had many phases in its cycle, such as ice age and others, and this is just another phase. Even if we weren’t here, there would have been an increase in temperatures on earth.

Others say that it is completely because of humans. We should stop using gases and materials that led to this problem.

Finally, there is a in-between opinion. Humans are not the sole responsible for global warming, but they caused, indeed, most of it. This opinion seems to be the one accepted by the majority of scientists (with some sceptics), although sometimes it seems that the majority of people doesn’t believe in this . The greenhouse gases, burning of fossils and other activities led to global warming.

Opinions aside, what can we do? Well, indeed we should reduce the use of certain types of gases, use alternative fuels, reduce the use of cars (ex: use more buses, trains, bicycles) or use electric/hybrid ones, recycle, make your house energy-efficient, etc.

I honestly think are we should be blamed for the majority of it. For years we’ve using these dangerous gases and harvesting earth’s resources without caring for the consequences.

And you? What is your opinion about global warming? What can we do to minimize its effects?

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Filed under Environmental

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