The amazing buzzword ‘sustainability’ has become engrained in our economy since the focus shifted from ‘shareholder value’ to ‘stakeholder value’. Regardless of the company’s nature – whether it’s a coffee bean producer or Shell – every firm has found some way in which it can position itself as a promotor of welfare. But how do we distinguish between sustainability as a marketing tool and sustainability as a radical business transformer? There is a role for every consumer.
In the recent months of crypto-currency development, one key aspect has been on the rise: the energy consumption during the mining and transaction process, so much so that there was an energy consumption index made for Bitcoin. The number of miners and their energy usage was on the rise as crypto-currencies moved from obscure payment method to Goldman Sachs creating services around them. This in addition to many others concerns brings up a lot of questions regarding contemporary attitudes to the environment. Infrastructure of block-chain can be used in innovative ways for new approaches to modern problems but can the problem itself offer a solution to rising energy consumption?
The European parliament has voted to prohibit ‘electric pulse fishing’, a fishing practice which uses electric pulses to scare flatfish such as the flounder into leaving their sub-seabed hideouts in favour of a waiting fishing net. The European parliament previously allowed up to 5 percent of a country’s fishing fleet to switch to electric pulse fishing, to test the waters. The European parliament now considers the experiment finished and wants to illegalize electric pulse fishing once more. Meanwhile, the Dutch have switched. The French have not. Why and how has this come to be?
Do you still remember the hit songs Smack That, Lonely and Don’t Matter? Around the summer of 2010 the African rapper Akon became world famous with these songs. Akon produced two multi-platinum albums which made him a wealthy man. Today, 7 years since he released his last album, Akon is closing in on Jay-Z to become the richest rapper in the world. This status is not just reached by the royalties earned on his music; but Akon has spent the last years working hard on his solar energy company, and it has been very successful so far.
Last year an unknown price competition was going on between oil leaders. By increasing production, and thereby lowering the market price for oil, they tried to compete each other out. On November 2016, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and ten other countries, among them Russia, decreased part of their production. This month the same leaders decided to extend this policy for nine months. The goal is to increase the price of oil, but MarketWatch came up with an interesting thread by looking at history.
In March I went to Ghana together with another student and our professor Daan van Soest to conduct a field experiment for our thesis. In cooperation with the World Bank and the government of Ghana, we conducted an experiment with farmers in the North of Ghana. This experiment is part of a large project, the Sustainable Land and Water Management Project, which is aimed at reducing land degradation and to enhance maintenance of biodiversity by planting trees. To increase the number of trees which survive, farmers are financially incentivized to take care of the trees. In our experiment we tested different treatments to select farmers to participate in the program.
100% energy-neutral by 2050 is the long-term goal for the Dutch government when it comes to environmental policy. During the past elections in March the environment was not the most prominent subject of debate, but during the formation the environment may turn out to be a major obstacle, as the opinions of the major parties differ a lot. 2050 is still 33 years ahead of us, but the time is now to force big changes in our treatment of the environment. Luckily, some parts of the Netherlands are way ahead of the national government, with Goeree-Overflakkee being the best example.
It is a topic barely discussed during campaigns and debates for the Dutch elections: climate change. And more precisely, how to limit global warming and its consequences. A topic that was hotly debated, however, was the refugee crisis. In this article, I will discuss why climate change and the refugee crisis may be linked and urge for a greener society.