14 November 2009

Quotes for Changemakers V

“It is a myth, not a mandate, a fable not a logic, and a symbol rather than a reason by which men are moved.”

Irwin Edman

Peak Rock!

graph compares rock music quality with US oil production 1949-2007

LOL! of course there is some bias, and this has generated a lot of debate - but very amusing!

From boing boing.net, 11 November 2009

'From GOOD: "The remarkable similarity between the arcs of U.S. oil production and songs in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" by year is staggering." (Graph created by Overthinkingit.com)'

Invisible Biodiversity

Excerpt from The Ecologist, 13 November 2009

'The steady loss of forests, soils, wetlands, fisheries, species and coral reefs around the world is closely tied to the lack of value we put on nature, says three-year study

The value of our ecosystems and biodiversity or so-called 'natural capital' is being ignored by governments and businesses, says a major new study.

Drawing comparisons with Sir Nicholas Stern’s 2006 report on the cost of climate change, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity report (TEEB), a mammoth three-year project funded by a host of EU countries, estimated that the continued loss of forests and biodiversity would cost us between £1.2-2.8 trillion a year.

The study's authors said the value of biodiversity was 'invisible' in the current economic system and that protecting the natural world was cheaper than the expensive technological solutions being proposed.

'The economic invisibility of ecosystems and biodiversity is increased by our dominant economic model, which is consumption-led, production-driven, and GDP-measured. This model is in need of significant reform,' said study leader Pavan Sukhdev of Deutsche Bank.

'We are running down our natural capital stock without understanding the value of what we are losing,' he added...


The study highlighted a number of examples where putting a value on biodiversity had reaped financial benefits.

• In Venezuela, investment in the national protected area system is preventing sedimentation that otherwise could reduce farm earnings by around $3.5 million a year.

• Planting and protecting nearly 12,000 hectares of mangroves in Vietnam costs just over $1 million but saved annual expenditures on dyke maintenance of well over $7 million.

• One in 40 jobs in Europe are now linked with the environment and ecosystem services ranging from clean tech ‘eco-industries’ to organic agriculture, sustainable forestry and eco-tourism.

• Investment in the protection of Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve is generating an annual income of close to $50 million a year, has generated 7,000 jobs and boosted local family incomes.

Value nature

WWF welcomed the report, urging governments to heed the call to reform their economic policies to halt the destruction of natural resources.

'Governments need to pay attention to this report and start looking at nature in a more holistic way,' said WWF Director of Global and Regional Policy Gordon Shepherd. 'With smarter approaches to economics this can change but right now we are paying for their ignorance.'

Why Carbon Trading Cannot Work

great post by Molly Scott Cato...

Reposted in full from
The Ecologist, 13 November 2009

'Carbon trading cannot work. How do we know this? Because economic theory tells us so

The great benefit in having a theory that is so strictly defined – regardless of its inability to represent the real world – is that you can be certain when its assumptions and rules are not met, and in such cases you ought to be able to conclude fairly definitively that a market outcome will not be efficient.

Hence it is no surprise that, as Professor Peter Rayner concludes in his Foreword to FoE’s recent critique of carbon trading, A Dangerous Obsession, 'Far from proving to be an economically efficient instrument, carbon trading and offsetting have been beset by inefficiency and, in places, corruption'.

Economics argues for its superiority on the basis of its impeccable theory: in this case the relevant model is the perfectly competitive market. So to what extent can the market for carbon approximate to this perfect market?

Before we can have a market we need to have a product – only then can the iron law of price-setting via supply-and-demand swing into operation.

What is carbon?

In the case of carbon trading it is pretty difficult to pin down what that product is. Is it a small piece of the global atmosphere? If so, how is that defined? And how much CO2 can be considered to fill it up? With a slippery product like this, it is hard to see how a market could possibly work efficiently.

More fundamentally, the product has no existence independent of politicians who create permits which are later sold. So, unlike a pair of shoes or a new car, it is a product with no real physical existence and is thus inevitably subject to the sort of political manipulation that results in corruption.

Carbon markets

The justification that a market system is better than a system of regulation – or just outright banning of further CO2 production – is that markets distribute products efficiently.

In this case, so the argument runs, the companies that can reduce emissions most cheaply will sell permits to those who would need to spend more to reduce their emissions. Permits are thus allocated in a neutral way to ensure the best outcomes for all by the miraculous invisible hand.

But according to the very same theory, markets only work efficiently when a number of fairly stringent conditions can be met. The first condition is that there should be a large number of players in the market, none of whom is powerful enough to exert any significant influence over the prevailing price.

To what extent is this a fair description of the market for carbon permits?

No market at all

What we are dealing with is no sort of market at all, but rather a political system where the product is created by governments, a limited number of powerful corporations compete over it – and this is to say nothing of the financial intermediaries who are operating to distort the free operation of the market, as identified by the recent FoE report.

The whole theory of perfectly competitive markets specifically excludes certain categories of goods, which are defined as being inconsistent with a competitive system of supply and distribution, namely public goods and goods which enjoy a natural monopoly.

In the case of the carbon market, it could be argued that whatever the amorphous good might be, it would seem to fulfil both these criteria automatically, the global atmosphere being a clear example of a public good, and the right to pollute it being controlled monopolistically by the governments who have established the carbon market.


The financial crisis has demonstrated that the commitment to free markets by powerful business interests has always been purely rhetorical.

Creating a carbon market is a policy being pushed by these same businesses not because it will work efficiently to reduce GHG emissions, but because they expect to gain from it. They have no more interest in free competition than they do in sharing democracy with the nations of Africa or protecting the planet for future generations.

It is a shame that the economists who recite the neoclassical catechism have been less than assiduous in pointing out the fundamental impossibility of the concept of a carbon market.'

13 November 2009

Earthly Treasures: The Prix Pictet Photography Award

Excerpt from the New Scientist, 31 October 2009

'The prestigious Prix Pictet was inaugurated two years ago to honour outstanding photography that conveys important messages about global environmental issues. Last year's theme was water; this year it is earth...

Three examples are shown here. Edward Burtynsky's work is informed by the transformation of nature by colossal industrial processes, and exposes the detachment most of us have from them. His Quarries series of precisely framed photographs of mines, including this one in Portugal (far right), reveals the massive scale of these operations...'

Monkey Business

...just because its sweet!

Photo: Paulo Whitaker

From Planet Ark, 13 November 2009

'A white-handed gibbon monkey eats frozen fruits at the Zoo in Sao Paulo Zoo Foundation November 12, 2009. Temperatures in Sao Paulo on Thursday rose up to 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).'

Beware the Technical Fix!

Seeking solutions in technology is a double-edged sword. Technology depends on how we use it - a hammer can be a useful tool for making things, but it can also be used as a weapon.

What lives inside our minds and hearts manifests in the physical world we create. The conception, development and use of technology is informed by our culture. So what we seek to change without, needs to change within.

In Ben Elton's 1989 book 'Stark':

'The Stark conspiracy is a cabal of the world's richest and most influential men, who have long been aware that the planet's entire ecosystem is approaching total collapse. For decades they have been launching unmanned spacecraft loaded with supplies into orbit around the Earth and the Moon. Seeking to save their own lives and leave everyone else to suffer from 'total toxic overload', they secretly create a fleet of spacecraft with the intention of founding a colony on the Moon.'

The conspirators make their escape amid ecological collapse, however their colony on the moon fails, because as Elton eloquently pointed out, 'there was one kind of pollution they could not escape - the pollution in their own souls.'

image (c) ecological architect, ecocity theorist & practitioner and author Paul F Downton [architect of Christie Walk, a piece of ecocity in the CBD of Adelaide, South Australia]

Boreal Forests Store Carbon, Need Help: Canada Study

Excerpt from Planet Ark, 13 November 2009

'The world needs to do more to protect boreal forests and peatlands, which store more carbon than any other ecosystem and help mitigate the effects of climate change, a Canadian report issued Thursday said.

Boreal forests, found in northern areas like Canada, Russia, Scandinavia and parts of the United States, cover 11 percent of the earth and store 22 percent of all carbon on the land surface in soil, permafrost, peatlands and wetlands.

"Action is needed to conserve a region that contains 'The carbon the world forgot'," said the 36-page report from the Canadian Boreal Initiative, an environmental group (here).

The report said the 208.1 billion tonnes of carbon estimated to be stored by Canada's boreal forest and peatland was equivalent to 26 years worth of the world's 2006 carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning.

It's not clear if the Canadian government, which walked away from the Kyoto Protocol climate pact, might use the report as a possible way to win concessions in international talks on curbing greenhouse gas emission...

The Canadian report said boreal forests and peatland had a net cooling effect on the climate because they can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it underground.
But these gases are released when the forests are logged or soils are disturbed, accelerating global warming, it said.

The report complained that the Kyoto climate pact focused almost exclusively on tropical forests, offered no incentives for forest conservation and excluded peatlands.

"Because the boreal forest is the largest terrestrial carbon storehouse on earth, keeping the boreal carbon reservoir in place is essential to avoid accelerating climate change."...

"Any effective and affordable response to climate change should include preserving the world's remaining, carbon-rich old-growth forests," said Steve Kallick, of the Pew Environment Group's International Boreal Conservation Campaign.

This would require drastic cuts in industrial emissions and a vast increase in the area designated off limits to the kinds of industrial disturbances likely to release more carbon into the atmosphere, the report said.'

A New Kind of Penis Car For Billionaire Oligarchs with No Taste

nauseating!! [and not just the leather]

Reposted in full from Treehugger, 12 November 2009

Some companies specialize in excess. Nobody really needs a Rolls Royce, but some people feel a need for exclusivity. Other companies go ever further and attempt excessive excess, like Dartz with its Prombron Monaco Red Diamond Edition armoured car (price tag: £1 million, or $1.65 million). It comes with tons of bling, such as ridiculously hyper-expensive vodka in a flask made out of pure gold, gold-plated windows, pure tungsten exhausts, and diamond-encrusted white gold speed gauges. Totally ridiculous, but I guess if you're some billionaire oligarch with no taste, it can work. Dartz seems to have gone a bit too far with the seats, though: They wanted to make them from whale penis leather (apparently it's very soft), and this drew protest from many environmental groups.

I suppose it's more about the principle than anything else. How many of these monstrosities will Dartz really make? Still, one is too many if a whale has to die just so rich people can sit on marginally softer seats.

After getting lots of angry emails from Greenpeace, the WWF, and PETA's Pamela Anderson, the company decided to drop the whale penis leather seats option. Their press release is quite something (and seems very unprofessional for a company that wants you to pay an insane amount of cash for its products).

Be sure not to miss the shout out to whales at the end:

"We have no any ideas to kill the whale or something like that. All we want - to make just luxury car. Real luxury car which will be world number one car. [...] All we want to unite luxury and armoring traditions of RussoBalt factory in one car, which brand celebrated 100 years now. At 1922 RussoBalt was renamed to PROMBRON' (ex.RussoBalt).

We just looking for most expensive products for this car - and that's why we choosed whale penis leathure when we checked it is most of most. After wave of protest we realised our mistake and make a decision not to use natural leathure at all. We will focus on world most advanced nanotechnologies to achieve interior highest quality using artificial materials which also was never used for cars. We want to tell our hello to all whales: "Our Sea Brothers! We all know that earth are stand on three whales - we will keep You live! We don't Earth fall down to Ocean!"'

12 November 2009

Recycling - The Omid Djalili Show

...perpetuating recycling MYTHS, but still funny!

Panic Warning as Oil Supplies Run Low

Excerpt from the Sydney Morning Herald, 11 November 2009

'The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, says a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency who charges it has been underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying.

The senior official says the US has played an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the prospects of new reserves.

The allegations raise serious questions about the accuracy of the organisation's latest World Energy Outlook on oil demand and supply - to be published yesterday - which is used by many governments to help guide their wider energy and climate change policies.

This year's report is believed to repeat the prediction in last year's that oil production can be raised from its present 83 million barrels a day to 105 million barrels. External critics have argued that this cannot be substantiated by firm evidence and say the world has already passed its peak in oil production.

Now the ''peak oil'' theory is gaining support at the heart of the global energy establishment.

''The IEA in 2005 was predicting oil supplies could rise as high as 120 million barrels a day by 2030 although it was forced to reduce this gradually to 116 million and then 105 million last year,'' said the agency source, who was unwilling to be identified for fear of industry reprisals.

''The 120 million figure always was nonsense but even today's number is much higher than can be justified and the IEA knows this.

''Many inside the organisation believe that maintaining oil supplies at even 90 million to 95 million barrels a day would be impossible but there are fears that panic could spread on the financial markets if the figures were brought down further. And the Americans fear the end of oil supremacy because it would threaten their power over access to oil resources.''

A second senior agency source, who has now left but was also unwilling to give his name, said a key rule at the organisation was that it was ''imperative not to anger the Americans'' but the fact was that there was not as much oil in the world as had been admitted. ''We have [already] entered the 'peak oil' zone. I think that the situation is really bad,'' he added.

The International Energy Agency acknowledges the importance of its own figures, boasting on its website: ''The IEA governments and industry from all across the globe have come to rely on the World Energy Outlook to provide a consistent basis on which they can formulate policies and design business plans.''

The agency said on Monday that peak oil critics had often wrongly questioned its figures.

The agency was established in 1974 after the oil crisis in an attempt to try to safeguard energy supplies to the West...'

Delicate Psychology of Climate Change

Excerpt from The Age, 11 November 2009

'Tackling global warming means not only changing attitudes but behaviour as well. For businesses and government, the psychology of climate change is the broken thread, the missing piece in the puzzle.

A recent American Psychological Association report found that most people don't believe the messages of chief scientists and politicians. Instead, it said we constantly compare ourselves to others and this influences our environmental behaviour.

One experiment found that people only cut their electricity usage when told their neighbours used less than they did.

In another experiment, researchers told households what electricity others in their neighbourhood used on average. To fit in, high users cut their consumption and low users increased theirs.

There was another experiment where people were given a number of messages about reducing electricity consumption. Different messages stressed energy conservation, future generations and financial savings. But the most effective were those that implored residents to join with their neighbours in saving energy.

Then there was what some call the "collective action problem". Because climate change was a global issue, many respondents said they could do nothing about it and, in any case, their actions would be too small to make a difference.

This might partly explain why attitudes have shifted. A Newspoll last year found that 61 per cent of Australians were in favour of an emissions trading scheme, but in July this year, 53 per cent either opposed it or wanted it delayed...

Part of the problem is long-term thinking. The psychology of climate change involves conceiving how the world will look in 20 years time. But many cannot see a future more than 10 years away and researchers say this capacity has faded over the last 40 years, a problem for governments and policymakers working with 20 to 30-year time horizons...

Emery said talking about 2030 or 2050 is going to mean nothing to people who see the "far distant future" as occurring in the life of their children. People cannot be expected to be motivated to take action against something which is literally "out of their minds" and on a scale of devastation that they cannot conceive...

Emissions trading and carbon solutions will be held up to scrutiny by an increasingly cynical public. Policymakers and companies need to recognise how psychological forces shape people's environmental behaviour. Unless they do, nothing will change. Billions of dollars will be spent for little result.'

We Cannot Change the World by Changing Our Buying Habits

Excerpt from George Monbiot's Guardian blog, November 2009

'How many times have you heard the argument that small green actions lead to bigger ones?

I've heard it hundreds of times: habits that might scarcely register in their own right are still useful because they encourage people to think of themselves as green, and therefore to move on to tougher actions

A green energy expert once tried to convince me that even though rooftop micro wind turbines are useless or worse than useless in most situations, they're still worth promoting because they encourage people to think about their emissions. It's a bit like the argument used by anti-drugs campaigners: the soft stuff leads to the hard stuff.

I've never been convinced by this argument. In my experience, people use the soft stuff to justify their failure to engage with the hard stuff. Challenge someone about taking holiday flights six times a year and there's a pretty good chance that they'll say something along these lines: I recycle everything and I re-use my plastic bags, so I'm really quite green.

A couple of years ago a friend showed me a cutting from a local newspaper: it reported that a couple had earned so many vouchers from recycling at Tesco that
they were able to fly to the Caribbean for a holiday.

The greenhouse gases caused by these flights outweigh any likely savings from recycling hundreds or thousands of times over, but the small actions allow people to overlook the big ones and still believe that they are environmentally responsible.

Being a cynical old git, I have always been deeply suspicious of the grand claims made for consumer democracy: that we can change the world by changing our buying habits. There are several problems with this approach:

  • in a consumer democracy, some people have more votes than others, and those with the most votes are the least inclined to change a system that has served them so well
  • a change in consumption habits is seldom effective unless it is backed up by government action. You can give up your car for a bicycle - and fair play to you - but unless the government is simultaneously reducing the available road space, the place you've vacated will just be taken by someone who drives a less efficient car than you would have driven (traffic expands to fill the available road-space). Our power comes from acting as citizens - demanding political change - not acting as consumers
  • we are very good at deceiving ourselves about our impacts. We remember the good things we do and forget the bad ones

I'm not saying that you shouldn't always try to purchase the product with the smallest impact: you should. Nor am I suggesting that all ethical consumption is useless. Fairtrade products make a real difference to the lives of the producers who sell them; properly verified goods - like wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or fish approved by the Marine Stewardship Council - are likely to cause much less damage than the alternatives.

But these small decisions allow us to believe that our overall performance is better than it really is...researchers call this the "licensing effect". Buying green can establish the moral credentials that license subsequent bad behaviour: the rosier your view of yourself, the more likely you are to hoard your money and do down other people...

Campaigners are constantly told that guilt-tripping people is counterproductive: we have to make people feel better about themselves instead. These results suggest that this isn't very likely to be true. They also offer some fascinating insights into the human condition. Maybe the cruel old Christian notion of original sin wasn't such a bad idea after all.'

Does The Invisible Hand Have Arthritis?

Excerpt from The Butterfly Generation, 30 October 2009

'Listen to enough economists and you’ll eventually brush up against an odd-sounding concept that’s known in the industry as “The Invisible Hand.” As legend goes, the first guy to use the term was Adam Smith - the economist who was really a political philosopher - who mentions it in his 1776 book, The Wealth of Nations:

“[An individual is] led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was not part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.”

The Invisible Hand refers to market forces and the positive social outcomes that result — forces we all experience as we move through life. Our likelihood of consuming something is directed, in large part, by price: if the price is low we more readily consume, if it’s high, we’ll probably hold off. The same goes for the production of things: if we feel there’s enough personal gain to be made by baking and selling a loaf of bread, we’ll do it. If not, we probably won’t. These forces are a bit like the weather: if it’s hot out, we’re more likely to go to the beach. But if it’s cold, we’ll probably choose to stay indoors. The social outcomes piece lies in looking at the sum of all of these daily microdecisions and interactions: we might not have the time or knowledge to bake our own bread, so the baker provides bread in response to our willingness to pay for it. Socially, we’re all better off: we have bread, the baker makes a living.

That’s the The Invisible Hand in action — guiding each of us, via the “weather” of the market, to do things that wind up benefiting everyone. It’s the magic of markets: figuring out, by virtue of billions of individual decisions, the optimal allocation of scare resources.

But how much trust should we put in this Hand We Can’t See to guide us toward “positive social outcomes” when the following is happening:
  • a fast-breaking global economic recession
  • towering unemployment
  • a bubble & bust housing market
  • climate change
  • epic biodiversity loss
  • 15 of 24 major ecosystem services in decline, globally

Did I forget my x-ray glasses? What happened to the Invisible Hand? Is all this “optimal resource allocation” giving the Hand a bad case of arthritis?

No, of course I wouldn’t leave the house without my x-ray glasses. The bad situations listed above are all results, in one way or another, of “externalities”, or blind spots that derail the Hand’s ability to allocate properly. More interestingly, they represent a comprehensive case for our culture to start questioning the ability of the Invisible Hand to make good on its claim of positive social outcome. That’s starting to happen, I think, in the aftermath of the banking sector’s gross miscalculations leading up to today’s economic crisis. And it’s a good thing: it sheds light on the existence of externalities, and suggests that we’ll have to figure out a way to deal with them proactively...'

Economics Built on Beauty and Community

Excerpt from Triple Pundit, 4 November 2009

'...The Body Shop has been a leading business that incorporates social and environmental values into its operations. It was founded by the late Anita Roddick, one of the emergent leaders in the expanding and evolving “green” business movement.

Roddick was a very influential and inspiring thought leader, she stood as a pillar of the socially and environmentally responsible business movement. As I thumbed through my reading materials I found an article in Resurgence Magazine by Roddick entitled “The Currency of Imagination.” This eloquent article laid out some of her guiding principles and reflections on being one of the only CEOs (if not the only CEO) in the crowd of human beings who raised their voices against the globalization paradigm represented by the 1999 WTO meeting in Seattle.

In the article she laid out a new vision for society, a vision which I share, where we place community and beauty as driving values for our individual and institutional decision making. I have learned that for any successful endeavor in new economic thinking to work, it must be built on a culture of trust and collaboration amongst the participants...

Somewhere along the line we picked up a virus in our culture’s source code. This virus misguided us by placing money and power as the central measuring sticks for success, all fed by a rapacious economic operating system driven by the gospel of consumerism...

In the wake of the recent financial crisis, and the significant ills facing our world, it has become clear to many people that the prevailing economic paradigm is no longer working to improve the well being of humanity. With climate crisis, declining ecosystems, billions, food riots, childhood diabetes, etc. individuals and institutions are experiencing the severe ramifications of an avaricious and predatory economic model. However, there is another way.

I spend a fair amount of energy inquiring into the nature of the latent economic opportunity of which Roddick spoke - that which incorporates beauty and community into the economic equation. I am also keen on discerning the most effective and coherent actions necessary to transmute our current economy of waste into an economy of thriving abundance, conservation and renewal for 100 percent of humanity. Our economic paradigm utilizes debt manipulation and consumerism as a short-sighted means to an unforeseen dead end and endless gluttony for few at the top of the heap.

Roddick said:

"Consumerism doesn’t care if we buy in beautiful or ugly surroundings. Few aspects of the global economy provide beauty or community and, worse, in many ways it drives them out by deliberate manipulation of debt, which is as as powerful motivator as invented in human history. On the other hand, providing for these vital needs requires another kind of economy altogether, which emphasizes beauty, community and creativity."

Sadly, and with far reaching consequences, our current economy has failed to value such manifestations of “beauty, community and creativity. She pointed out that the economist John Maynard Keynes “talked about the hideous waste of economic system that could not recognize art or beauty…. In a speech to the Irish government in 1933, he urged politicians and economists to raise their ambition, and spend the money on beauty.”

Yet, the economy of beauty that we need transcends and includes the artful beauty of which he speaks. It is a culture of thriving community of people inspired by, evolving and learning from others and from and beauty that surrounds them.

How do we recognize and create such a vibrant community as the foundation of a successful economic paradigm?

Such a community has “deep connectivity” between participants. In a private paper, leading thinker Jon Ramer wrote that some of the citizens in a society of deep connectivity are “committed to produce something in their lives and the lives of others.” And, that such a society “is for building relationships, producing meaningful results, learning and growing together via a principled-approach to personal and community development.”

An economic system that encourages such “deep connectivity” is based on what I would call the currency of relationships. A perfect example of is the deeply successful Mondragon Cooperative movement, a community based economic system successfully operating the Basque region of Spain. It started during the Great Depression in the 1930s and thrived amid the oppressive Franco dictatorship. Mondragon succeeded in such a fascist context “by avoiding confrontation, not by being passively servile but by doing what was for the good of all.”

Author Thomas Greco made an important point that the success of Mondragon experience is replicable, but only in conjunction with the simultaneous weaving of a strong social fabric. That effort need not necessarily be centered around ethnic identity and culture, but could based on other common factors between the participants – such as religious affiliation, geographical proximity, shared values, or other factors that create common interests (but with concern for the greater common good always foremost.)

It is precisely this inherent characteristic of wishing to be part of something greater than ourselves that has given humans a sense of meaning since time immemorial. This heroic sense of contribution and sharing for the common good is a key principal of success.

Consider: has there ever been a time in history when this kind of collective heroism is more important than now, when the stakes are as high as they can get?

Mondragon scholar, Terry Mollner makes a distinction between the declining ‘material age’ and the emerging ‘relationship age,’...

Along the same lines, Roddick concludes “We will succeed to the extent to which we encourage human connection and conversation. We will succeed also to the extent to which we spend the small change of imagination – the human stories about people and places and what they aspire to do.

Although it has been said before – we are at a critical juncture where our global circumstances require each of us to embrace that responsibility in every relationship we have. We share the responsibility to manifest the “Relationship Age” right where we are. A Relationship Age where artful living in deep connectivity is the evolutionary catalyst to shift our current economic operating system into a creation of shared wellbeing for our lives here on spaceship Earth.'

Smart Commuting Could Save 4.6 Million Work-Hours per Day

...or we could just set about redesigning cities that allow people to live and work and play in closer proximity...take fossil fuels out of the urban equation [ref: peak oil] and none of our current urban forms and norms would be possible!

Excerpt from Greener Computing, 10 November 2009

'Out of the 26 million hours a day British workers spend commuting to and from work, 4.6 million of those hours are wasted, according to a survey released this week during National Commute Smart Week. The survey found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, 62 percent of commuters want to spend less time traveling to and from work; and although workers want to embrace flexible schedules and remote work options, but their bosses are the biggest obstacle to doing so.

The study was conducted by Citrix GoToMyPC, which as a maker of remote-work and teleconferencing programs clearly has a horse in the game, and was timed to highlight the goals of the week-long campaign to reduce the strain of work commutes on people, national infrastructure and the environment.

Asking nearly 2,000 adults about their commute challenges, Citrix found that supervisors are the biggest obstacle to remote working, with 46 percent of respondents saying their bosses want them working regular schedules, regardless of the wasted hours in their commute days.

Among the solutions respondents proposed to alleviate their painful commutes include working from home some or all of the time, working off-hour schedules to miss peak traffic, and technology assisted remote working.

Adopting some of these tactics could make the workplace happier and healthier, too: Respondents expressed a willingness to exercise more and cook healthier meals with the time saved in their commute, though that too should be taken with a grain of salt.

But letting workers off the leash could boost productivity as well as satisfaction with work by allowing people to work when they're most motivated as well as giving them more control over their workdays...

Virtual meetings and remote work are increasingly ways organizations are working to address their impacts, as well as provide more satisfying work situations for employees. Telepresence technologies fall under the category of "Green IT 2.0," the term for technologies that go beyond the IT infrastructure of an organization to reduce the impact of other elements of its operations...

A white paper laying out the Citrix survey results is available online at Workshifting.com/downloads, and more details about National Commute Smart Week, which runs through Saturday November 14th, is online at WorkWiseU.K..org.'

Taxing Banks for their Debt to Society

Excerpt from The Guardian, 10 November 2009

'Gordon Brown's statement of support for a tax on global financial transactions is a welcome call on the banks to repay their debt to society. It is also a victory for the international Tobin tax movement, which has laboured hard for this moment over many years. Our task now is to fight the political backlash which is already mounting, and to defend the idea of financial transaction taxes as a means to the progressive redistribution of economic gains...

There is now considerable political momentum in Europe and the wider world behind a tax that would cover the full range of financial transactions, not just currency speculation. Several such taxes already exist, of course, including the 0.5% stamp duty already payable on all UK share dealings. Even at a lower rate of just 0.05%, Austrian government figures indicate that a standard tax across stocks and shares, currencies, derivatives and other financial transactions could generate a massive $700bn (£420bn) a year.

The trillion dollar bailouts provided to the banks have plunged our national economies into long-term debt, threatening deep cuts to public services and the loss of thousands of public sector jobs. The billions that could be raised by a financial transactions tax offer a means for us to recoup those losses and to direct funding towards frontline public services, anti-poverty programmes or adaptation to climate change. The forces of reaction may be massing in opposition, but this is a battle we cannot afford to lose.'

The Climate Debt Crisis - UK Owes Developing World £17 Billion Annual ‘Climate Compensation'

Excerpt from Saving The World's Resources, 9 November 2009 from full report by World Development Movement and Jubilee Debt Campaign: The Climate Debt Crisis - Why Paying Our Dues is Essential for Tackling Climate Change

'The world’s richest economies are responsible for the majority of carbon emissions causing climate change. This report calculates that ‘climate compensation’ owed to poor countries far outweighs the illegitimate debts with which they are currently burdened.

The UK government comes under fire today in a new report which reveals that the current climate finance proposals, likely to dominate the weekend’s G20 talks, are likely to increase third world debt, and will be 'grossly inadequate' to tackle the scale of the problem.

The report by anti-poverty groups the World Development Movement and Jubilee Debt Campaign calculates that the UK alone owes a 'climate debt' to developing countries of over £17 billion each year for its contribution to climate change – an amount that is significantly more than that pledged so far.

They issued a stark warning that the issue of climate debt will be a 'Copenhagen deal-breaker' for developing countries, and the hope of getting a fair deal hangs in the balance.

The report, 'The Climate Debt Crisis', heavily criticises the UK's current policy of channelling its 'climate aid' through the World Bank, and of promoting the World Bank as the main hub of climate finance. It condemns the World Bank for distributing climate finance as loans, not aid, and for allowing finance to be used for new coal power stations, not low carbon energy investment. The campaigners are calling for the finance to be in the form of grants not loans, and to be disbursed through the UN.

They argue the rich world has caused climate change and must compensate poor countries which will be hit hardest. And that the finance is needed to help developing countries cope with the effects of climate change and to invest in low carbon development.

The campaigners also point to the World Bank's history of forcing developing countries to adopt economic policies that have increased poverty and carbon emissions, such as fossil fuel extraction, deforestation and intensive food production for export and which they say does not look set to change...

The campaigners are also warning strongly against the proposal to use the carbon market to raise climate finance for developing countries and instead are calling for the rich world's climate debt to be paid through innovative measures, including taxes on international transport and large financial transactions, as well as stronger measures to prevent tax evasion.

The World Development Movement's Tim Jones continued: 'Carbon trading is heavily touted by rich countries as a silver bullet that cuts emissions and delivers climate finance to the developing world. But it's not a solution; it's a stitch-up. The carbon market allows the rich to continue to pollute, and place the burden on poor countries to clean up our mess. This is a massive threat to poorer nations, which we and campaigners from developing countries will strongly resist at Copenhagen.'

How Clutter Costs You Money

Reposting in full from The Everyday Minimalist, 9 November 2009

'Clutter isn’t just about making you stressed out and irritated, it can actually have an impact on your wallet and your bank account!

1. When you can’t find something, you buy it again

This has happened to me many a time. Before I started keeping things organized, and keeping a loose inventory of what I owned, I would buy another Phillips head screwdriver when I couldn’t find my first one. Now my tools are organized, in one spot, always put back in its place and never lost. You also can’t really trust your memory to recall what you have purchased or not. This is also a big problem when you are out shopping and thinking you need another plain, classic black sweater.

2. You are paying for that space where you live

Where you live costs money. Whether it’s your apartment, your own home, your parents’ home, a dorm room, or a hotel. If you pay $1000 a month for a 1000 square foot apartment, that’s $1 per square foot. If you clutter up half of the apartment and cannot use the space, you are wasting $500 a month, paying for what is essentially storage.

3. When you can’t find something, you lose time

And time costs money (although I should mention that time is more valuable than money, as you can never earn back those lost years of being a workaholic). If you are running late to meet a new client, and you need to find your laptop bag, if you can’t locate it, you are losing out on establishing goodwill with that client.

4. You could be considering buying a larger home or paying for external storage

Many people think they need to move to a bigger house because there is just NO MORE SPACE. In reality, they probably just need to get rid of their stuff, and they will see that they have more than enough space. This can cost you in the hundreds of thousands. You have to sell your old home by paying a real estate agent, buy a new, bigger home by talking to a banker about a second mortgage and spend money moving your family, settling in, and purchasing more furniture for your now too big house. Unless you are giving up your life and job temporarily, and taking a backpacking tour around the globe, you should never, ever have to pay for those rent-by-the-month storage facilities. I cannot imagine why it seems logical to pay for storage to house your things. It’s stuff. Repeat after me: S-T-U-F-F. Do not squeeze any hard earned dollar out of yourself pay to house things.

5. You pay for it in stress

How about those messy garages we all know and hate? Picture this: Your garage is totally filled with junk. You can’t get your car inside. It’s winter, and really, really cold outside. You are paying for it by having to wake up early, scrape last night’s ice off the windshield, and shovel away all the snow, while trying to make it to work on time after cramming a sad little bagel into your mouth while you’re speeding on an icy freeway because you’re late….. again. All because you have too much junk in the garage. Don’t let it happen to you.'

The Copenhagen Conference on Food Security

Reposting in full from the Earth Policy Institute, 10 November 2009

'For the 193 national delegations gathering in Copenhagen for the U.N. Climate Change Conference in December, the reasons for concern about climate change vary widely. For delegations from low-lying island countries, the principal concern is rising sea level. For countries in southern Europe, climate change means less rainfall and more drought. For countries of East Asia and the Caribbean, more powerful storms and storm surges are a growing worry. This climate change conference is about all these things, and many more, but in a very fundamental sense, it is a conference about food security.

We need not go beyond ice melting to see that the world is in trouble on the food front. The melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets is raising sea level. If the Greenland ice sheet were to melt entirely, sea level would rise by 23 feet. Recent projections show that it could rise by up to 6 feet during this century.

The world rice harvest is particularly vulnerable to rising sea level. A World Bank map of Bangladesh shows that even a 3-foot rise in sea level would cover half of the riceland in this country of 160 million people. It would also inundate one third or more of the Mekong delta, which produces half of the rice in Viet Nam, the world’s number two rice exporter. And it would submerge parts of the 20 or so other rice-growing river deltas in Asia.

The worldwide melting of mountain glaciers is of even greater concern. The World Glacier Monitoring Service in Switzerland has recently reported the eighteenth consecutive year of shrinking mountain glaciers. Glaciers are melting in the Andes, the Rocky Mountains, the Alps, and throughout the mountain ranges of Asia.

It is the disappearing glaciers in the Himalayas and on the Tibetan Plateau that are of most concern, because their ice melt sustains the flow of the major rivers of India and China - the Indus, Ganges, Yangtze, and Yellow rivers - during the dry season. This ice melt thus also sustains the irrigation systems that depend on these rivers.

Yao Tandong, one of China’s leading glaciologists, who predicts that two thirds of China’s glaciers could be gone by 2050, says “the full-scale glacier shrinkage in the plateau region will eventually lead to an ecological catastrophe.”

It will also lead to a humanitarian catastrophe. China is the world’s leading producer of wheat. India is number two. (The United States is third.) In contrast to the United States, most wheat grown in China and India is irrigated. With rice, these two countries totally dominate the world harvest. The projected melting of these mountain glaciers in Asia represents the most massive threat to food security the world has ever seen.

The prospects for the harvests of wheat and rice, in these two countries, each with over a billion people, are of concern everywhere. We live in an integrated world food economy, one where harvest shortfalls anywhere can drive up food prices everywhere.

Rising temperature also directly affects crop yields. In a study published by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, an international team of scientists confirmed the rule of thumb emerging among crop ecologists that for each 1 degree Celsius rise in temperature above the norm during the growing season, we can expect a 10-percent decline in wheat and rice yields. In a world with limited grain stocks - a world that is only one poor harvest away from chaos in grain markets - a crop-shrinking heat wave in a major grain-producing region could lead to politically destabilizing food shortages.

The delegates are gathering in Copenhagen against a backdrop of spreading hunger. For much of the late 20th century, the number of hungry people was declining, but it bottomed out in the late 1990s at 825 million. It then turned upward, reaching 870 million in 2005 and passing one billion in 2009. The combination of rising seas, melting glaciers, and crop-withering heat waves could push these numbers up even faster, forcing millions more families to try and survive on one meal a day.

We are in a race between political tipping points and natural tipping points. Can we cut carbon emissions fast enough to keep the melting of the Greenland ice sheet from becoming irreversible? Can we close coal-fired power plants fast enough to save at least the larger glaciers in the Himalayas and on the Tibetan plateau? Can we head off crop-withering heat waves of ever greater intensity? These are food security issues. This is what Copenhagen is about.'

11 November 2009

Three Japanese Hotels Awarded First 'Green Key' Label in Asia

Excerpt from Japan for Sustainability, 7 November 2009

'...Started in 1994 in Denmark, the Green Key program is implemented by the international non-governmental organization, Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), and has spread out to the world since 2003. The program in Japan was started in March 2009.

A wide range of factors, including how food is procured and facility workers' efforts in environmental activities, are evaluated for awarding use of the Green Key label. To qualify, facilities need to meet 80 mandatory criteria on the environment out of 103 special criteria...

FEE Japan intends to increase the number of certified facilities, with the aim of disseminating the Green Key as one of the criteria for choosing tourism facilities.'

Japan's First 'Food Miles' Cafe Gaining Popularity

Excerpt from Japan for Sustainability, 6 November 2009

'The Association to Preserve the Earth (Daichi wo Mamoru Kai, in Japanese), a corporation that provides an organic food home-delivery service, launched Japan's first "food miles" cafe, at Jiyugaoka in Tokyo, April 1, 2009, and it is turning out to be a success.

The Tsucione Cafe serves up dishes using organic and additive-free vegetables and food ingredients, and it also indicates on the menu its food-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, in terms of "food miles," or the distance travelled by food to get to the restaurant.

Except for foods with "fair trade" certification, the association uses as much grown-in-Japan ingredients as possible. The company launched its food miles campaign in 2005 to promote the use of local products by indicating food miles on its menus in "pocos," with one poco representing 100 grams of CO2 emissions for food transport.

The chefs use seasonal vegetables, free-run chicken eggs raised on feed produced in Japan, and beef from short-horned cattle (Tankaku) from the village of Yamagata, in Kuji, Iwate Prefecture. Also, the seasonings and any processed foods used are made from healthy ingredients. The cafe's menu includes a wide variety of items ranging from breakfast, lunch, and dinner items to cake for dessert...'

Thriving Trade in Out-of-Date Best-Before Foods

Excerpt from BBC News, 10 November 2009

'Thousands of tonnes of food are binned annually in the UK because of confusion over use-by dates. But those willing to overlook the labels are finding big online discounts on food past its prime.

The UK appears to be a nation of food wasters, throwing away 8.3 million tonnes every year. That is a mountain of leftovers, enough to fill 4,700 Olympic-sized swimming pools, says the government's anti-waste arm, Wrap.

Food Labels Explained

Use-by: the key date in terms of safety. Never eat food after this date. Found on cooked meats, soft cheeses and dairy-based desserts

Best-before: is about quality not safety. Food should be safe to eat after this date, but it might not be at its best. One exception is eggs

Sell-by/Display-until: this information is for the retailer, not the customer. It is mainly used for stock control purposes

Of that, 5.3 million tonnes could have been eaten, it claims.

The cause of much of this waste is down to confusion over date labels. A recent survey suggests half of people do not understand the differences between them.

More than one-third believe any product past its best-before date should not be eaten and 53% never eat fruit or vegetables after they have reached that date.

"We lead extremely busy lives and taking an interest in what's written on the date label and then understanding what that actually means is a step too far for a lot of us," says Julia Falcon from the Love Food Hate Waste Campaign.

"If people were more confident about what date labels mean they'd get round to eating more of their food rather than throwing it away."

Some are already comfortable with eating food past its prime. Two years ago Dan Cluderay quit his job as a market stall holder and set up an online supermarket specialising in products past their best-before date.

His stock includes tinned and packaged groceries, biscuits, crisps and fizzy drinks.

"In the last year sales have gone up 500%. The reason we've done well is that we're offering value for money," says Mr Cluderay. His Approved Foods site is one of a small number of online retailers selling short-dated or out-of-date best-before produce.

"At one time, health inspectors would say you can't have that if it's past the best-before date and now there's a complete shift in the way people think. Perhaps it is more acceptable to drink a can of pop that's a week out of date."

And, comparing the offers of such sites with High Street retail prices, it is easy to see where its success lies.

Chocolate brownies two weeks past their best-before date are 20p instead of 89p. A dozen tins of olives with a best-before date of last August are going for £1 - as are 10 bags of crisps a week out of date.

Brand names are often erased, but otherwise the website looks like any other online supermarket: customers add products to a basket, pay up and a courier delivers the shopping...

It is perfectly legal, and other online retailers are following suit. "Shops are allowed to sell food after its best-before date has passed," says Sam Montell, nutritionist for the Food Standards Agency.

"Best-before dates are concerned with quality rather than safety, so it doesn't mean that the food is dangerous if the date has passed."

Although date labels are now a ubiquitous part of grocery shopping, they were introduced relatively recently. Sell-by dates came in when supermarkets began to take over from milkmen, selling milk and cream.

Marks and Spencer started using them in the 1950s, to give people confidence in the products in their chilled cabinets.

For some, attitudes towards food labels are now changing. Perhaps it is down to a rising awareness of how much food and drink is wasted, and the cost.

Recent Wrap data suggests £12bn worth is binned every year in the UK, or around £680 for the average family.

Secretary of State for the Environment Hilary Benn has suggested sell-by dates should be scrapped and best-befores ignored.

It is a notion many market traders subscribe to. At the Bullring Open Market in Birmingham, renowned for hundreds of stalls selling fresh produce, much of the food is sold without packaging or date labels...'

09 November 2009

Threat Response vs Reward Response

...more useful understandings about behaviour change from neuroscience...bold is my emphasis

Excerpt from The Homa Files, Georgetown University, 20 October 2009

'Many studies now show that the brain equates social needs with survival.

For example, being hungry and being ostracized activate similar neural responses.

Recently, researchers have documented that the threat response is often triggered in social situations, and it tends to be more intense and longer-lasting than the reward response.

Because the threat response uses up oxygen and glucose from the blood, they are diverted from other parts of the brain, including the working memory function, which processes new information and ideas. This impairs analytic thinking, creative insight, and problem solving; in other words, just when people most need their sophisticated mental capabilities, the brain’s internal resources are taken away from them...

'Five particular qualities minimize the threat response status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness (SCARF)...'

The True Cost of Stuff

...there are lots of positive and valid reasons to have stuff, but equally there are good reasons not to have too much stuff!

Excerpt from mnmlist: the essentials, 1 October 2009

'The cost of purchasing an item just scratches the surface. When we buy something, we are taking it into our homes, our lives, and we are taking on the life of another object in this world...

An object isn't born in the store. It is born in the woods (if it is wood), in the mines (if it's metal), in the depths of the world (in the case of petroleum-based products such as plastics, synthetic textiles and such), or perhaps all three places and more if it's a combination of materials. It's born when those natural resources are mined or harvested (at great cost and great cost to the environment), and then hauled to a factory somewhere, a factory that pollutes, inevitably. It's shaped and shifted into its final form (often in various factories), then shipped to various distribution systems and finally to the retailer...

Now we must transport it home, further polluting and consuming and paying - paying for the cost of fuel and maintenance of our transportation, unless it's human-powered, as well as the cost of time, precious seconds of our lives that we'll never get back)...

All of that spent, it now occupies valuable real estate in our homes (or offices), real estate that could go to living space, or real estate that we could give up if we had less stuff and a smaller home. This is real estate that's really expensive, btw: we pay exorbitant prices to own or rent a home, and every square foot of that home costs us more precious time that we spend working to earn the money to pay for that real estate. And that's just for rent or mortgage. Add in the cost of power or gas to heat or cool that home, the cost of maintaining the home, and the time we spend maintaining and cleaning and decluttering and organizing that home and the stuff in it...[also]:
  • it clutters our space, causing distractions and stress
  • we must constantly move it to get to other stuff, to clean, to organize, to paint walls or decorate or remodel
  • we must take it with us if we move, and often if we travel. That's a ton of trouble and costs
  • often we pay for extra storage, outside in our yards or in storage facilities
  • if it breaks, we will often take it to be repaired
  • if we have kids or pets, we have to worry about it getting broken, or scold them for not being careful with it
  • if we get used to it, and it breaks, we'll replace it because we think we need it
  • if it gets old and crotchety, we have the headache of putting up with a less-than-functioning tool
  • if we have too much stuff, it weighs us down, emotionally
  • we get attached to our stuff, creating an emotional battle when we consider giving it up (whether we actually give it up or not)
  • if we have too much stuff, we live in a cramped space, and don't have room for our other stuff
  • too much stuff causes more messes and is harder to clean
  • we might trip over stuff and hurt ourselves
  • if we don't trip over it, we must worry about that each time we pass by the item
  • if we went into debt buying the stuff, we must deal with all the pain and worry of that debt, added to other debt
  • even if we don't go into debt, there's the added burden of dealing with the financial transaction in our checking registers or financial software, or reconciling it with the bank statement. If we even bother, because sometimes it's just too much
  • it gives us a false sense of security
  • it reduces the time we have to spend doing things, instead of worrying about, cleaning, maintaining, using, and working to pay for stuff
  • it reduces the quality of the time we do have
  • at some point, we must worry about (and spend time and money on) getting rid of the item. This means time and money spent on Ebay, Craiglist, a yardsale, giving it to a charity or friend or relative (and the driving required to do that), taking out a classified ad, dealing with buyers, and so on. A real headache
  • if you die and leave your stuff, your relatives will have to deal with all of it. A real headache indeed
  • if, goodness forbid, a natural disaster happens, or your home gets burgled, you'll have to deal with the emotional loss of stuff'

Waste Free Cooking Game & Tips

Engagement tool on food waste by Marks & Spencer

'Practice your waste-free cookery with this great game.

Did you know we throw away a third of all the food we buy? Imagine buying six bags of shopping in the supermarket then chucking two of them in the bin!

Over a year this adds up to 6.7 million tonnes of food waste - enough to fill Wembley Stadium 8 times over.

Why not play our new game to see how you and your family can reduce the amount of food you waste?'

Tarzan Runs Out Of Trees

Now this is the kind of 'green' communication that will engage people!

Amusing ad from WWF, via Make Wealth History, 2009

What People Have To Do To Get Water

...next time you leave a tap running, think of this woman...

From Planet Ark, 9 November 2009

'A salt worker carries metal pitchers to collect drinking water in Kharaghodha village, about 120 km (75 miles) west from the western Indian city of Ahmedabad November 7, 2009.'

Sweden Gets Serious About the Carbon-Food Connection

Excerpt from Sustainable Business News, 2 November 2009

'...A raft of studies conclude that agricultural methods and shipping food around the world contributes the largest measure of GHG emissions.

Sweden has launched a comprehensive effort to bring the various parts of the food web together to begin untangling the complex web of emissions. The country is launching the world's first carbon label on foods along with nutritional advice, which could cut emissions 20-50%.

Restaurant menus and grocery items are beginning to list the carbon emssions for each food item. Last year, the Swedish National Food Administration was asked to create food guidelines that give equal weight to climate and health.

"We're the first to do it, and it's a new way of thinking for us," Ulf Bohman, head of the Nutrition Department told the NY Times. "We're used to thinking about safety and nutrition as one thing and environmental as another."

In addition to being careful about the amount of fish people eat because of problems with over-fishing, and a preference for vegetarian protein sources instead of meat, the guidlelines recommend some vegetables over others, because they require less energy to produce. Tomatoes and cucumbers, for example, are grown in energy intensive greenhouses. A large hamburger is responsible for 1.7 kilograms of carbon emissions, while a chicken sandwich produces 0.4 kilograms. This is the first attempt to quantify the impact of farming on the environment, and it's complicated. The emissions associated with growing foods depends on where it's grown, the soil it's grown in, and the inputs used in farming.

Max, the largest hamburger restaurant chain in Sweden, lists the carbon emissions next to every item on its menu. The company voluntarily hired a consultant to measure the chain's carbon footprint - 75% was from its meat.

Lantmannen, Sweden's largest farming group, has begun placing carbon labels on grocery store foods, including chicken, oatmeal, barley and pasta...

Growing rice creates double to triple the emissions as does growing barley, for example. Rice is the grain of choice in Sweden, barley is rarely eaten.

Starting next year, farmers that use organic practices won't be organically certified unless they also use low emission growing techniques. That means most greenhouse grown tomatoes will no longer be labeled organic unless they use biofuels for heating. Plowing peat soil releases large amounts of carbon, so farmers may have to switch to crops that don't require plowing.

Dairy farmers will no longer be able to import cheap soy to feed cows. They'll be required to source a minimum 70% of the food locally. Cheap soy is at the root of much of Brazil's rainforest deforestation, in addition to emissions generated from unnecessary transport...'

E-Waste Sneakers

...not quite built for comfort, but a cool idea!

Excerpt from Ecouterre, 4 November 2009

'Think you have the bombest sneakers around? Next to these sneakers by junk-metal artist Gabriel Dishaw, your crazy, neon high-tops don’t even compare. Dishaw creates detailed shoe replicas out of metal and electronic scraps, using only glue and bending techniques to hold them together. So far, he’s created five shoe sculptures inspired by some of his favorite kicks, and although you probably wouldn’t want to wear them, they’re the ultimate statement shoe.

Dishaw's collection is made entirely out of recycled metal, bits of wire, staples, Intel computer chips, and even old typewriters...'