Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Climate change, a business opportunity?

I got an email from a dear friend, asking my opinion about this article: Is a Stringent Climate Change Agreement a Pot of Gold?

I did find it interesting, although I think it misses a very important point.

First I would like to state that I’m in favour of entrepreneurs, either persons or companies that search for innovation, and that manage change in order to succeed. I do believe that that is a fundamental part of development, and also that we should all be able to manage change successfully, since all our life, environment, society, working conditions, and so and so forth, are in constant change.  This become of utterly importance to developing countries, where taking the risk and opportunities to find successful business areas is very needed.   There’s nothing wrong in supporting and encouraging entrepreneurs’ projects and ideas.

However the author of the article loose his compass when he sees the climate change agreement only as an opportunity to make money.  It is precisely that ideas, what have driven us to the need of that restrictions and emergency measures that we need to put into action now to ensure that we, as species, have a future.  The idea that everything is just a business opportunity to make more money is just wrong.  Granted, we need economies to grow, we want and need our personal welfare to grow in order to satisfy our needs and be comfortable, but the idea of seen everything in terms of profit is a distorted one.

A lot of that entrepreneurs’ projects have being useful, but there’s also a lot of rubbish around. Ideas and projects that only induce consumerism and fabricate needs, illusionary concepts that make us believe that we need them when it is not.   We can’t go around consuming and consuming more and more, without any idea of why or what are the consequences.  We need an economy of sustainability, not a more consumerist one. Full stop.

One of the core policies of the company I work for is: “nothing is more important than safety—not sales, not production, not profits”.  On a similar way I would propose that this climate change agreement is indeed an opportunity, an opportunity to change our mindset, to change the way we do business, and that the global core policies of every company and nation will be “nothing is more important than sustainability—not sales, not production, not profits.” 

We just can’t continue growing and growing, and consuming the world’s resources, and getting the third world country deeper into poverty to satisfy the needs of the highly consumerist first world, and not even the increasingly consuming developing countries.  The big problem is that the developing and emerging economies, as India, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, etc. are looking to the USA as a model to reach, which is totally flawed! Do we all want to consume and behave as the States??  Blimey no! That would only collapse our world.  The rampant capitalism leaded by the people, companies and economists of the USA have proved that their model, even when it seems to be successful in short term, is a big failure to long term.   Why not looking for other models as many European countries, as Finland, etc. that without being so loud about their success have sustainable good living standards.   Of course they are not perfect and still that countries have a lot of work to do.

This times are indeed a big opportunity, moreover, they are a big business opportunity; but not to make money just for the sake of it, but to start a new economic model that do not extract resources and creates proverty in the third world to support the first and the developing economies, that is aware of its long term responsibility with the whole planet we are living in, and basically put sustainability as the top priority; for our own sake.  Is it enough space there for entrepreneurs and business success?  Yes I think it is, but only if we modify our priorities and kept behind that flawed ideas, otherwise there will be no future, not to mention no business opportunities, for our grandchildren.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Nature, the Gentlest Mother

Emily Dickinson

Nature, the gentlest mother,
Impatient of no child,
The feeblest or the waywardest,
Her admonition mild

In forest and the hill
By traveller is heard,
Restraining rampant squirrel
Or too impetuous bird.

How fair her conversation,
A summer afternoon,--
Her household, her assembly;
And when the sun goes down

Her voice among the aisles
Incites the timid prayer
Of the minutest cricket,
The most unworthy flower.

When all the children sleep
She turns as long away
As will suffice to light her lamps;
Then, bending from the sky

With infinite affection
And infiniter care,
Her golden finger on her lip,
Wills silence everywhere.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Avatar, a good pagan film

Avatar is one of the greatest films I have seen in the last few years.  It may not have a deep argument or award winning acting, but still it's wicked!.

It's as far as I know the most expensive film ever, and in the ironies of life is one that preaches anti-violence with a war a main plot, and anti rampant capitalism, with a budget that could feed an entire country, but hollywood is not know for its congruency.

I has put computer animation to a whole different level, and the experience of seen it in an IMAX 3D cinema is just brilliant! The time passes flying and you don't feel it like a 3 hour film.

It's technically a great achivement, it almost felt like it was really filmed in Pandora and not just computer animated, it's truly a good hybrid between full live action, computer-generated characters and live enviroments, you can experience every breath of the fantastic creatures of the planet, and the movement of the plants, and the lights all around, and the sights of the planet are breath-taking.

As for the sci-fi, whilst is not hard core sci-fi, I think it made a very good work, there's no great violations of  the laws of physic in it, well maybe the flying mountains, even when they could be feasible, but not very likely to happen.  The space ships at the beginning are just great, they use Charles Pellegrino's concept of the Valkyrie which is sound science based. 

Just a minor thing I didn't like, Pandora supposed to be a atmosphere satelite (moon) of a gas giant, who resembles Jupiter, like Titan on Saturn; and the background planet is always seen on the sky, which I think is not possible since in rotation, there has to be a point where you will not face the planet if observing from Pandora.

The plot even when can be seen as a futuristic dance with wolves or pocahontas one, is nice, since it makes direct critics to war-based states, and greedy wars (as the Iraq one) you can see it with quotes like:

"when someone is on top of something you want, you make them your enemy, then you take it from them"
"Our only security is in a preventive strike"
"We will fight terror with terror!"
"I was a warrior who dreamed he could bring peace, Sooner or later, I had to wake up."

Being against that kind of state behaviour myself, I like it very much.

The plot is centred on natural balance and the spiritual side of it, with a pantheistic or even neo-pagan flavour that give me a good taste of the movie itself.  Even when Sigourney Weaver character says that "We're not talking about pagan voodoo but something that is real biologically: a global network of neurons." it really shows the concept of a web of life and a earth goddess in a fantastic way. The Na'vi had a connection beyond sentimental to the world around them, it's a real one.  And many other pagan concepts as the Tree of Souls (Tree of life), the ancestor veneration, the life force that flows in everything and everyone; that we're all connected by some unseen and wonderful spirit, nature is sacred, and it's our duty as the created to care for the rest of creation.  It was for me the ultimate pagan film.

Although it uses the typical concept of industrialized civilization vs primitive one, which I don't like, since I think that a balance can be achieved, it's plot really move me in some parts emotionally.

I really recommend it, I think is so far the best work of Cameron.

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