Are we wasting precious resources?

Luxury – It’s the one word that some love, cherish and desire whilst others totally despise it. Most people who are wealthy have an ‘abundance’ of luxurious goods. Most other people are pursuing that very same dream of possessing beautiful products to enrichen their lives. This in itself is not necessarily bad because most people take pleasure out of having wealthy possessions. However, the question emerges:

Do we need all this “luxurious stuff?”
The answer is; it depends. Every individual is different and therefore have different wants and needs. Whilst one person is happy with a simple apartment, another person aims for a grandiose villa in Florida. The same goes for clothing. One person wants a well-known brand such as Lacoste whilst another person is content with a t-shirt from Primark.

The point I’m getting at is that although everyone has their own preferences, needs or desires, the major difference is that people who endlessly aim for more (luxurious) stuff end up leaving a larger carbon footprint than others. Is that a reason for concern? The resounding answer is yes, it is a major problem.Luxury_Villa_Del_Lago_California_on_world_of_architecture_10

Carbon footprint“the total sets of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization, event, product or individual.”

 People who leave a larger carbon footprint behind are in some ways indirectly responsible for the extracted, processed and transported resources that end up in the products they buy. Now, obviously we all need resources in order to sustain ourselves and our way of living. However, those who endlessly aim for more goods/products/stuff have a larger stake in all of this. This doesn’t mean that they are bad people, but the point is:

Are they aware of the damage they are causing to the environment?
Personally I don’t think so. A certain number of people who are wealthy don’t really think about the damage they cause to the environment. Although we are becoming increasingly aware of the damage we are causing to the environment through our activities, I still think that there is a form of denial or intentional blindness to it. This is because we as humans have the tendency to overlook or turn a blind eye to bad things that are happening around us. Yet, this doesn’t mean that we are ignoring every problem, but we do tend to make them smaller than they actually are.

It’s time to face reality, stand still for a moment and deeply think about the way we live. This means thinking about the way we buy, consume and dispose our goods/products/stuff.

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The refugee problem

Tens of thousands of refugees are fleeing their countries in search for safety. They are massively entering Europe where they face no more danger and where peace, stability, work; a better life is the ultimate purpose.

We’ve all seen or read stories on the news about refugees on overcrowded boats trying to cross the Mediterranean in the hope they safely arrive in Europe. Sometimes it goes horribly wrong such as when a boat capsizes and people drown. This is indeed very tragic. Some people (Europeans) say that it’s the risk they take coming over here. That is indeed true, but we should help them as much as we can.APTOPIX-Italy-Europe-Migrants-6

Now obviously there are quite a few dilemmas such as:

  • “How do we take in all these refugees?”
  • “How much money, resources, military personnel etc. must we allocate to tackle this problem?”

Well, the European governments have been discussing these problems and have come up with various (contrary) ‘’solutions’’’. On the one hand (West)-European countries are willing to help these refugees by giving them special aid in terms of accommodating them in refugee centres. On the other hand, they are intensifying their border controls and clamping down on refugees.

The real dilemma in my opinion is that the main problem is the following:
We already have many migrants from both (East) European and non-European countries and now thousands more are heading our way. The question then follows;

Do we have the capacity and resources to accommodate them all?
The painful answer is no; we don’t have the capacity nor resources to take in tens of thousands of refugees. Therefore, it is crucial to take in these refugees in small numbers at a time. However, then the next problem emerges;

How do we take in refugees in small numbers?
This is the core problem. Whilst thousands upon thousands of refugees are fleeing to Europe, how do we ensure that they come in at a moderate pace?

Well, what we really should be doing in my opinion is not to keep endlessly debating about the “refugee crisis’’ but to take action by (as already agreed upon) spreading the refugees across European countries. Also, (and I really admire this) Europeans who are willing to house refugees should really start doing this.

Although, I can position myself in the refugees shoes and can image how hard life is to flee your home country in the search for safety, there are certain things that they need to take into account;

Once they’ve arrived safely in Europe and have settled in, then they should integrate as soon as possible.

This means the following:

  • Find a job and learn the language (or at least English)
  • Adapt to the culture by learning the customs of that particular country

In all, I believe that we should not circumvent the refugee problem, but face it as a fact and deal it in a swift and orderly manner. Now, I know that this is easier said than done, but endlessly debating about the whole ‘’crisis’’ is not going to help. Therefore, we should do everything we can to try to help the refugees as much as possible. Because there isn’t much of an alternative as many of the refugees come from politically instable countries or crisis zones.

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Is there (intelligent) life in the Universe?

Well, that is a question which is quite easy to answer. Why?
Because the universe is unimaginable large; so large in fact that it’s infinite.
We live in the Milky Way; (which is one of billions of galaxies).

There are billions of stars and planets in the Milky Way alone.youareheregalaxy
Considering the countless number of stars and planets in other galaxies; it is not hard to imagine that a (tiny) fraction of those planets nearby stars also have the potential to support some form of life. Now, if we go a little bit further and say that even if 1% of those planets can support intelligent life; then it does not take much to realise that there is intelligent life out there in the cosmos.

Conclusion: we are not the only form of intelligent life in the Universe.

Criticism round the question; why have they not contacted us yet is actually quite simple to reject for several reasons;

First of all; Governments and agencies/organisations around the world are involved in cover-ups. Why? Well, there are three main reasons;

  1. There were many UFO sightings after World War 2; during which the Cold war started. Therefore, both East and West were suspicious of each other and wanted to gain military advantage by (using)/deciphering Alien technology.
  2. If governments or agencies/organisations would reveal there knowledge of extra-terrestrial intelligence, then religious people would be affected by that which can trigger riots; uprises and even wars.
  3. A potentially large portion of the general public would not feel easy with the notion of intelligent life in the Universe. This can also lead to civil unrest.
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The World of Distraction

We are currently living in a very dynamic and rapidly changing world. Advances in digital and communications technology have made our lives simpler, easier and more convenient. Almost everything can be done from practically everywhere when one is connected to the internet. From buying groceries online to e-banking. The options are almost limitless.

Although the internet provides many benefits including the reduction of time, effort and money for various things, it also has many direct and indirect drawbacks.

More and more people are (becoming) addicted to their smartphones. In many cases it distracts them from what they are doing or need to do. Think of students in college or university for example. They grab their smart phones if the lecture is boring or they wait until the moment the teacher isn’t looking. But not only students check their smart phones at times when they actually should not to. Employees in general can also be frequent users of their smart phones during work time. In addition to students and employees, (some) car drivers are also ‘felons’ of the same undertaking; checking Facebook, emailing or texting whilst they are driving.

Weapons of Mass distraction 2

Beyond the fact that people check their smart phones when they actually should not to, it also indirectly tends to push aside the reality of the real world. Although it is completely understandable that checking updates on social media is important to many individuals, in some cases however, it causes them to ignore important global issues. As our main attention tends to be mainly directed to social media, other important issues such as climate change, pollution, growing inequality and poverty are often overlooked or are simply ignored. That is very unfortunate because everyone is aware of those problems.  In addition to the distraction of smart phones, television can also create an incomplete and fictitious picture of the world. Take for example the large number of talk shows, soaps and reality TV shows. Although the main aim of those programmes is to entertain the viewer, it also unintentionally and indirectly creates a false picture of the world. A world where there are little or few problems. In reality however, there are many problems that are in desperate need of solving. Although it might be difficult to overcome the distraction of using our smart phones, laptops, tablets and other devices, it will benefit us in the long run as we can direct more attention to really important worldwide problems. Therefore, it is an imperative to find ways of dealing with distraction caused by the (heavy) use of the aforementioned digital devices and turn our attention to tackling global issues.

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Living in the rapidly changing world

Major advances in technology including the internet, digital communications and automatisation have made significant impacts on our lives. We are able to share, exchange and communicate our thoughts, feelings and information with each other across the world.

Although the internet provides many benefits to those who use it, it also has an influence on the way we think about ourselves and the world around us. Just think about the fact that social media (e.g. Facebook) can have a considerable impact on how someone perceives him/herself. Individuals may have a low self-esteem if they compare their looks with that of friends or how many likes they get on their Facebook ‘post’ compared to others.

Through the internet, stereotyping can occur more easily, especially on Social Media where people’s opinions or views about things are expressed. In addition to stereotyping, people may see themselves as insignificant due to the tremendous advances they perceive in the world around them. It’s not only about advances in technology, but woman-low-self-esteemalso the rapid population growth on our planet.

With seven billion people walking the earth today and that number projected to increase to 9 billion by 2050, people may ask themselves:

“What significance do I have in this world”?

People are told that they are unique, special, and different from others. That is absolutely true. However, with so many people living, sharing and consuming resources we might tend to think:

“What do I contribute to this world”?

I’m not trying to be pessimistic here, but most people want live a successful, happy and healthy life meaning that they want good career, nice house, flashy car and a happy/healthy family. Of course, that is by no means impossible, but with a huge global population together with advances in technology including automatisation of labour work and a planet that has finite resources, it is becoming more difficult to achieve that. (I’m not relating to a happy/healthy family, but to the materialistic means, must haves or desires of many people).

We have to become aware of the fact that with a growing population living on a world with limited resources, we cannot continue to consume the way we are doing today. We must not aim for continuous unsustainable growth but take care of our planet by seeking to lower our resource use, share more whilst sustaining ourselves in a more ecological and responsible way.

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Where is the spirit in our modern society?

Sometimes I ask myself: “Do people really care about each other?” I often wonder what motivates people to help other people. Is it because they really want to help the other person; or do they help because they expect something in return from them in the future?

Although people help each other to show that they care and are good natured, the real underlying reason why they do that is because they except to benefit from it in the future. That is indeed quite logical to understand as it is in our human nature to help ourselves by helping others. However, doing things for other people does not always result in people doing something in return. It seems that it occurs more often that people have done something for other people whilst getting nearly nothing in return. That is a real growing problem in our society these days and the following reasons may explain that.

      • From secondary school we are taught to be strong and independent

(Children that reach the age of 16 are taught  by both their parents and school that they have to become strong and independent for themselves as it is a part of being an adult). The problem of that is that there can be a misunderstanding amongst teenagers of what independence actually means. They may start to think that it means that they have to sort out everything for themselves and if they ask for help, then that is a sign of being dependent, thus not an adult.

      • People are more busy with themselves then thinking about other people

(Apart from family and friends, most people do not concern themselves too much about helping other people)

      • The real hard-working era is gone and things are becoming easier all the time

(Since the birth of the internet in the 1990’s, things have become allot easier and therefore people don’t have to work as hard as they used to. That way, they become more relaxed and laid back and are not really bothered to put in the effort to do things or solve problems. Although the above mentioned reasons give a negative impression of the lack of motivation for people to help each other, there are plenty of reasons why people do and should help each other;

      • Nothing is possible without cooperation

(Everything we have or own these days is because we have worked together to make, build or create it)

      • Helping each other gives a sense of team spirit, belonging, harmony and social cohesion

(When people help each other, they are brought closer together which gives them a feeling of being appreciated and looked after)

      • Humanity has progressed only through working together

(Our social welfare system, roads, houses, infrastructure, education and security is all thanks to the cooperative effort of many people wanting to improve they way they live together.

Although the internet has made everything much easier for us, we must not forget to think about each other. People have and always will need help and therefore everyone must be open, caring and helpful towards each other because that is the only way we can live in peace and harmony.

Working together

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Do you know what you eat?

Many different kinds of food that is available these days is prepared in such a way that it can be preserved longer using sugar or salt. Also, the majority of the available food in supermarkets or prepared by (fast-food) restaurants is covered in fat.  People are busier these days and that’s also one of the reasons why food is mostly prepared fast, cheap and is covered in sugar, fat or salt.

Obviously, people can choose for themselves what kind of food to buy; but because fast-food is simple to prepare and cheap to buy, they choose that option. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have a good idea of how bad fast-food is for our health. Therefore, I listed several fast-food iteburger_1498640cms with the amount of fat, salt or sugar they carry.

Pizza 2000+ calories 86.1 g fat 36.4 g sugars
Cheeseburger 300 calories   12 g fat 7 g sugars
French Fries medium portion 380 calories   19 g fat No sugars
Kebab 1000+ calories   62.3 g fat 5.9 g salt

It’s understandable that everyone enjoys eating a pizza, hamburger or a kebab, but what many people don’t really consider is the fact that it’s very easy to gain weight that way, especially if you are unaware how many calories it’s advised a man or a woman should have daily.
The daily advised calorie intake for a man is: 2500 calories
The daily advised calorie intake for a woman is: 2000 calories

To look at it another way; to burn off one whole pizza requires the following:
• 663 minutes of walking or;
• 273 minutes of jogging or;
• 199 minutes of swimming or;
• 365 minutes of cycling

Now obviously people are not going to say to themselves: “I won’t eat fast-food anymore because it’s bad for my health”. That’s an extreme way of thinking. However, it’s handy if people have a good idea of the food they eat consists of.

Eating too fast

Another point that is interesting to look at is the fact that many people eat quite fast these days. The following article published by the Daily Mail explains it:

‘’Eat too fast and you’re much more likely to become obese. That was the finding of a New Zealand study published last week. In fact, wolfing down meals could be enough to nearly double your risk of being overweight, according to a previous Japanese study.

Osaka University monitored the eating habits of 3,000 people and found fast-eating men were 84 per cent more likely to be overweight (women were just over twice as likely).

Eating too fast overrides the mechanisms which tell our brains we’re full, explains Ian McDonald, professor of metabolic physiology at Nottingham University.

‘Nerves send signals to the brain that the stomach is expanding,’ he says.
‘At the same time, a hormone called ghrelin, produced when your stomach empties to trigger a hunger message, starts to decrease. It takes about 20 minutes after you start eating for the message to stop eating to reach your brain.

Put simply, eat too quickly, and you’re likely to overfill your stomach and overeat.

‘Many people develop these fast-eating habits as children, desperate to get away from the dinner table — it’s amazing how these habits can be carried through to adulthood.’

WHAT TO DO: If you chew your food properly you should take at least 20 minutes over your meal, says Dr Forecast.

Dr Forecast also suggests standing up at some point during your meal to test how full you are.
‘If you feel comfortable but not over-full when you stand, then you’ve eaten enough.’
Source: Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2064544/Why-eating-quickly-fast-track-early-grave.html#ixzz3C01xAGER)

                                                              Conclusion
Cheap fast-food is for many people an easy option to go for when it comes to having a quick meal. Everyone does that sometimes, but many people are not fully aware of the amount of calories fast-food contains. Being unaware of that and not knowing how many calories it’s advised a man or a woman should have daily can lead to gaining too much weight. Furthermore, many people eat fast these days which also contributes to weight gain as there are likely to overfill their stomach and overeat.

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Can we live without oil?

Is it true that our modern civilisation cannot ‘survive’ when the oil we so heavily depend on is gone? That is an interesting question which is not easy to answer.

First of all, it is important to look at the annual global oil consumption.
Secondly, research and data is needed to distinguish how much oil is left to recover and how fast that can be recovered.
Thirdly, there needs to be an ‘accurate’ forecast of how much oil we need in the future.
Finally, the fourth and perhaps the most important question is:

 “Is there enough time for our society to switch to alternative sources of energy’’?Interesting

Before we focus on the annual global oil consumption, I will provide a brief history of how crude oil is formed and how much of it is already extracted.

Crude oil is formed from the remains of small animals and plants that died and fell to the bottom of the sea. Their remains were covered by mud. As the sediment was buried by more sediment, it started to change into rock as the temperature and pressure increased. The plant animal remains were ‘’cooked’’ by this process and changed into crude oil. (Source: BBC 2014)

Mankind has been drilling, recovering and extracting oil for more than 150 years when the very first modern oil wells were drilled in the 1850’s. Since then, it is estimated that between 100 and 135 billion tonnes of oil has been consumed. (Source: Inderscience, May 8, 2009)

How many barrels of oil are produced and consumed a day?
As of 2011, approximately 89 million barrels of oil and liquid fuels were consumed per day worldwide. That works out to nearly 32 billion barrels a year.
(Source: http://www.iea.org/aboutus/faqs/oil/ (International Energy Agency)

Of all the oil that is consumed daily, where does it all go?

  • 90% of all our transportation, whether by land, air or sea, is fuelled by oil.
  • 95% of all goods in shops involve the use of oil.
  • 95% of all our FOOD products require oil use.

To give you a good idea about how oil is involved in our daily needs think about the following fact:

Just to farm a single cow and deliver it to market requires six barrels, or 954 litres of oil!

How much oil is left and how much do we need in the future?
It is projected that the global annual demand for oil is going to increase by 21% over 2007 levels by 2030. So from 86 million barrels of 2007 to 104 million barrels a day in 2030. (Wikipedia 2014)

Future projections indicate that higher oil consumption will come mainly from the transportation sector and increasing demand from emerging economies such as: Brazil, Russia, India and China (also known as the BRIC countries).

What is worrying about these projections is that world needs more and more oil and yet, oil is not formed anymore. Therefore existing oil reserves, exploration and oil extraction will only result in the decline of crude oil worldwide and one day, there will be no more oil left..

Experts forecast that the decline of peak global oil production will begin after 2020. If the estimates about the decline in peak oil are correct, then that is a worrying sign. Not are we only consuming significant amounts of oil at this present day, the demand for oil is still rising. Although it is recognized that the urge to shift away from our addiction to oil to alternative sources of energy is greater than before, we are still far too dependent on it. The rate at which the world is recognizing the need to transform our global civilization from being heavily dependent on oil to a more sustainable way of living is unfortunately too slow. This is indeed very worrying as we are dependent on oil for our food production, most of our goods and the transportation sector that is necessary to transport goods from A to B.

In addition to global oil addiction and the consequences rapid oil decline has on our civilization, the use of oil is also destroying our environment and is one of the major causes of global warming.

It is now more important and urgent than ever to transform our society from an oil dependent one to a sustainable one. Governments, organizations and people across the world have to recognize the urge to develop, invest and work together in order to create a sustainable society.

Sources:
href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_peak”>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_peak
href=”http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090507072830.htm”>http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090507072830.htm
href=”http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/standard/chemistry/materialsfromoil/how_crude_oil_was_formed/revision/1/#”>http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/standard/chemistry/materialsfromoil/how_crude_oil_was_formed/revision/1/#

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What’s happening in the World today?

People all over the world are doing their own things in life. Whilst one person is working, the other person is sleeping and someone else is jogging in the park.
When people wake up to go to work in Russia, the Americans are going to bed.
Summer in Europe is winter in Australia and vice versa.

NewYorkatNight1

It is interesting to think about the World Cup in Brazil where footballing nations are competing against each other for the wonderful trophy and thousands of people getting together to support their country.

Whilst that is going on, allot more is happing in the world. Just think about climate change which is caused by our entire civilisation emitting more than 90 million tons of CO2 every day. Air pollution, water pollution, deforestation, biodiversity loss, toxic and chemical waste in rivers.

Although there is not a great deal we can do to tackle climate on our own, it is important not to forget that whilst we are watching football with family and friends (or doing something else) that we remember what is going on in the world.

Our world, the world that we live in; the world where we are doing our daily things in life.
Of course, it is important to enjoy life and have fun with family and friends, but it is also important to adopt the ‘helicopter view’ and look from above to grasp the bigger picture of what is happing in our lovely world.

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Do you need inspiration?

Many people have something or someone that raises their motivation to achieve or succeed in life. There is always an objective or purpose that gives them the boost or drive to give 100% and do their best in order to get what they want.
You can dream, think, plan and work hard, but that can take a toll on you after a while. Here’s where inspiration comes in. Before I go into detail about inspiration, let’s first give a good definition of what inspiration exactly is. According to the Oxford dictionary, inspiration is defined in the following ways:

  • The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative
  • A person or thing that inspires

great

As explained above, inspiration is a process of being mentally stimulated that drives someone to do something. Inspiration is something that ‘actives’ a person which gives them the extra boost in their ambition to achieve their goals. The wonderful thing about inspiration is that it influences and helps many people to eventually get what they want. People are inspired from almost anything. However, let’s try to outline the main things that inspire people:

People inspire people
That’s very true as if you want to succeed in sport for example, you get inspired by people who have been there, seen it and done it. For example, Roger Federer who is a great tennis player and has won many grand slams; or Pelé who has won the World Cup with Brazil 3 times.

The Beauty of Nature
Are you also regularly thinking about lying on the beach with a nice cold cocktail and beautiful surroundings? Of course you have! Nature is wonderful for inspiration. Tropical climate, the hot summer sun, beautiful animals, waterfalls, landscape. The idea that it gives purpose to work hard so that you can enjoy your reward in the nice hot summer sun with family and friends.

The Universe
Do you also look at the stars on a clear night? Do you ever wonder if we are alone in the universe? Is there life out there? Why are we here? What is our purpose or mission in life?Those questions I asked myself sometimes and I’m sure that many other people do the same. To look at the moon and stars triggers something within you that gives meaning to you to carry on in life and achieve what you want to achieve.

Inspiration actives people consciously or unconsciously. In whatever way or form inspiration comes from, it is certainly there. The best thing about inspiration for me personally is that I get it from people mostly. However, what is even better for me is when I can inspire people in one way or another so that they get the extra boost in achieving their goals.

It is important for people to not only get passively inspired, but also actively. By getting actively inspired, I mean to look or seek inspiration. When you get stuck with something, it is inspiration that can help you to get back on track.

 So asked yourself: Do I need inspiration?

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