RESD Students Study Tour to Sardinia

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As you might know this Website is promoted by the two years M. Sc. Resource Economics and Sustainable Development, University of Bologna, and from time to time we report about activities of our course (like Pushkar did with Euroenviro last week).

From 17th to 19th of May twenty RESD Students went to an amazing study tour to Sardine, the second largest mediterranean island to learn more about some very interesting research that they do there.

On Sunday 17th at 1 pm we arrived at the Airport Alghero in the very north of Sardine. From there we got in an one and a half hour bus ride to our destination for the next 3 days: The Penisola of Sinis at the wild westcoast. In the afternoon we visited the ancient city of Tharros with its impressive ruins and finished the first traveling day with a refreshing bath in the cold mediterranean sea.

We started day two visiting the small town Cabras, close to our accomodation side which was a traditional sardinian Agriturismo. After visiting the local city museum and the Giants of Monte Prama, we had a nice lunch-break at the beach, but what followed was definitely one of the most amazing experiences during the whole trip: The Institute for coastal marine environment with its rescue centre for marine sea turtles. The local researchers explained in a fascinating way what the problems with the turtles and also the urchin fishing regulation there were. Seeing this huge marine reptiles so close is unbelievable, some of them are longer than 1 meter and weight up to 45 kg!

Still impressed about the animals we left the Research Center and moved to one of the most unique and beautiful beaches on the Sardinias west coast, the quartz sand beaches of Artuas. The fact that the beach is composed completely out of tiny round quartz crystal makes this place so special.

To finish such an amazing day we had a traditional sardinian dinner at the agriturismo with local special food including also the famous Porcedù, a delicious roasted pig meal.

The last day of our studying tour took us to the Island of Mal di Ventre, a tiny Island offshore the coastline. We got there with a rubber raft and explored the wild Island on our own. The wildlife there was very impressive with rare seabirds and land tortoises.

Unfortunately we had our flight home already in the afternoon of that day.

There will be online a photo-gallery soon, so stay tuned!

ThoughtBubble: Bottled fresh Air sold in China due to heavy air pollution

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bubbleHave you heard about the chinese millionaire that sells canned fresh air? Believe it or not but according to more or less reliable sources the guy sold in one week more than 8 million (!) cans of fresh air as pollution levels reached record highs. Chen Guangbia, thats the guys name got rich in the recycling business, and is now some kind of philanthropist: The real reason why he sells canned fresh air for 5 yuan (70 cents) a can is that he wants to make people more aware of the increasing air pollution problem in China. The money he gains from the business with the air gets used to help poor regions of China. Crazy!

source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chinese-man-is-selling-canned-fresh-air-2013-1?IR=T

Energy Seeping Ignorance

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Few weeks ago my friends and I were talking about electricity saving and I mentioned that my ex-flatmate used to leave this TV light on all the time. I mean he would switch off the TV but not completely off from the plug or his mobile charger was always plugged even though the phone wasn’t charging. It kind of bothered me but I ever said anything since I felt it might be privacy intrusion. However, that evening when I was discussing about this with my friends, a guy in the group ( he is studying Mechanical Engineering) spoke how in terms of money it doesn’t cost that much. I agreed with him since he presented his reasons well but it made me more curious about how much electricity we waste or how much in total we actually waste in terms of money.

So after I made few research on internet about it. I came up with this Stanford Magazine article about exactly what I was looking for.

https://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=29053

It’s called vampire energy where because of our small ignorance we waste few bucks. In the paper, you will see that for each appliance left with electricity on, how much energy we will eventually waste.
For example, usually we spend 11 cents per kilowatt an hour ( so technically my friend was indeed right). However, leaving it on stand by mode will eventually cost us a lot.

In the paper you would see an image where you can find more details about various appliances usage while it’s on and while it’s on ‘stand by’ mode.

A fully charged cell phone plugged into the wall is consuming about 2.24 watts, or 60 percent of the power it consumed while charging. Even worse is a charged laptop that’s still plugged in, which consumes 29.48 watts, 66 percent of the 44.28 watts consumed while charging. If you left it plugged in all year, it would consume as much electricity as running your coffeemaker for 12 days straight.

The numbers might seem small but they still matter a lot overall. Why don’t we start from today? Lets switch off completely an appliance when we are not using it. Not only it will be a good news to our financial conditions but we will be happier consciously.

Actors of Change – EuroEnviro (Part3)

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Day 6th Arenas of Change

Here now is the important thing. We were divided in 12 teams in three different Arenas. The Arenas were University, Business and Politics. These three arenas have a great potential to change the world we live in. It was about how University, Business and Politics can do something so that people are more aware about the sustainability. I was a part of University team. This time around from Solar panel we decided to change our idea and went on to become a Consultancy team called Opti-energy. Our idea was to do analysis in the various universities so that they could become energy efficient. Apparently a university in Austin,Taxes have done something similar and they managed to save 30% of cost of electricity. Our team won among the University ideas. As I have written before all the ideas were brilliant and worth looking into.

Later on we did the Pecha Kucha night. People voluntarily gave presentation on various topics. The concept was simple. 20 Pictures, 20 seconds each. I loved the concept and later on I kind of regretted for not giving a presentation of meat industry.

Day 7th – Challenge day

So finally the challenge day arrived where we needed to ‘Pitch’ out idea. Each team gave brilliant idea within 2 minutes and it was great. It’s kind of fascinating on how people can come up with brilliant ideas on such short notice. Some more ideas included like having a mandatory Sustainable course in the university for all the students or taking away the food which supermarket throw away and make it into a food which can be sold in various Cafe or working together as community in your neighbourhood to be more sustainable. Loved the ideas. I think we all were winners for coming up with these ideas.

Day 8th – Final day

Final day was kind of emotionally heavy since some people were already starting to leave or we all were leaving the next day. The last ceremony included presenting the certificated and people shared their views about the event. We then needed to select one country to host next year’s EuroEnviro and it’s going to be Copenhagen, Denmark. I really can’t wait for it and if you are a part of sustainability or if you wish to be, you really need to attend this event. A MUST ATTEND EVENT.

So in short the event was all about coming up with sustainable ideas and working on it to make it a reality.

Actors of Change – EuroEnviro2015 (Part2)

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Day 4 – Changing the mindsets

Day 4 was one of my favourite days of the program. It Included a workshop of Self Leadership, one workshop of ‘How to pitch’ and one documentary called ‘Invisible Revolutions’.

Self Leadership workshop meant to create a self motivated leadership. The instructor spoke about reflection and initiative among other things. We were asked what are our positive characteristics or what we lack to be a leadership. We were asked to talk about some points to any one participant and I felt some people were shaken emotionally when they found some common things between the people. In the end we wrote five points which we need to work on for 2015 year. It felt kind of new year resolutions that you take. I’m always up for it because I feel one should always seek to evolve oneself for further improvement. We also spoke about the awareness. We saw one short video called ‘Whodunnit’. Here is link of the video. It talks about how unaware are we when we just focus on one thing. You should totally check out this video.

Pitch workshop was really interesting. The instructors spoke on how to pitch an idea to people. The pitch should last within 2 minutes. It was really challenging because you really need to be well prepared and sharp to say the most important things at the right time. It’s a business development method called ‘Loopa’. My team which comprised of 5 people from Spain,Holland,Uganda,Mexico and India. We had to pitch in one idea but not as a Pitch yet but as a presentation. We spoke about having a solar panel at home with an app which gives you all the energy usage and where it is exactly being utilised. It felt it was a very cool idea even though not new. There were other ideas too like having ‘Re-bake’ cafe where they take the rejected Muesli and then it turned into Muffins or Cup Cakes or UniGarden where one university will have its own organic garden at the University. It will be run by University students and the vegetables will be sold to the uni Mensa or to the other people. I would say out loud that every idea was brilliant.

Invisible Revolutions is a documentary and as the name suggests there are some revolutions happening around the world where we aren’t aware of it yet. For example in a Briston a city in England has started its own currency. You can check out this documentary. It is very interesting.

Day 5 – Tools of Change

Day 5th was rather easy and relaxed. We had a choice to do either ‘Climbing’ or Acroyoga or Visit the Universeum. I decided to go for ‘Climbing’ and I’m really happy with the decision. It was in a gym and it was around 14 meters high. I really had fun and I am going to do a lot more of climbing soon. Some people went for AcroYoga and they seemed very happy about it too. I believe it was a great decision to organise something like this. Later during the afternoon we went to Universeum to attend a workshop. We again had a choice to attend either ‘Nudging’ or ‘Focus on how’ or ‘Marketing in the new era’ or ‘Teaching about sustainability’.

It was a tough decision to take since I kind of liked everything but eventually I decided to attend ‘Nudging’ workshop. As some of you know, Nudging means

It could be one way to change people’s behaviour. For example one electricity company decided to write on their electricity bill ‘Switch off the light when not in use’. They eventually saved 30% of the electricity. Such a great sustainable strategy.

Later during the evening we went to Sauna near the lake. Let’s not get into the details here.

Actors of Change – EuroEnviro2015 (Part 1)

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Day1

So as promised here goes my day to day article about what happened in EuroEnviro, how it was organised and especially we all got together in this symposium. Let me tell you from the beginning that the event was absolute awesome. It was so awesome that it gave a new meaning to awesomeness.

EuroEnviro started 20 years ago in Born, Germany by a group of students. The aim was to exchange opinions with other students on environmental sciences and ecopolitical issues. It has not lasting organisation behind it. Each year it is organised by the students from one particular country. Funny thing is it has never happened in Italy. I really wonder why.

The 1st day was to introduce ourselves to the other participants. It was a long journey and we were all tired but still we were enthusiastic to meet other people. The first night we had an ‘International Dinner’. People from around the world cooked something from their country. I didn’t cook anything because carrying Indian spices meant later my clothes would have smelled like curry.

Well, in India we have curry perfume ( best selling product) but I wouldn’t know how other people would take it(that was my little take on humour and it fell apart). People put in really great effort to make food and it was great. There was some German, Persian, Italian, Swedish food. BEST FOOD EVER. It was a good and relaxed evening at the beginning of the event. We were all really curious about the event.

DAY2

Day 2 began early. One of my favourite thing to do there was to get up early and have breakfast with other people. The breakfast was well served. The funny thing for me was to see some people who would be so quite and look pissed at early morning. I’m pretty sure some people hated me for my continuous jibber jabber at the breakfast table. Day 2 was a Sunday and organisers planned to have an ‘Ice breaker’ games. First it started with treasure hunt like game ( well not exactly) where we were divided in teams and we need to click some pics of the city monuments and make it as a story. It was followed by some games in the park. We had a one hour of improvisational theatre exercises. It was very planned to go around the city so that we are aware of the city and in turn get to know more people around us.

Finally at the dinner, we were told about the event. We met one professor who spoke about the change of people’s mindset and how we are the ‘actors’ who should make the society aware about the sustainability.

Sustainability was the main topic we discussed at length. 60 students got together to come up with ideas about sustainability AND WE NAILED IT.

It was phenomenal that how some ideas were so brilliant and we actually came up with these ideas in less that 6 days. Amazing ideas happen when brilliant minds come together. I am going to discuss more that later on.

Day 3 Actors of Change

I loved the title ‘Actors of change’. It kind of gives you a certain sense of responsibility. The event began with a short video where we saw how we are at the crossroads of hope and despair,on the verge of societal collapse, or heading for a new industrial revolution. Is a ‘Change’ a problem or a solution. Who is going to take a control over it?

It was a good discussion and quite fruitful. From the beginning I could notice that people were very serious about the event and sustainability. It was then followed by an open lecture on ‘Why don’t they care?’ This lecture was meant to show us as how the sustainability is not a challenge but it is a solution. How we can address this to the other people. Honestly, I liked the concept but the way it was presented was too technical and boring. What I liked about this event was how we always were put together to discuss about the problems ( related to climate change), its possible solution and coming up with different ideas.

Later, there was an open panel discussion with people from different sphere of life. The panel include one who represents student union in Sweden, one Swedish politician, one who works in green peace, one advisor who worked closely with few governments related to sustainability and one representing a Swedish bank. They quite openly discussed various problems while facing to bring a change related to climate problems. It was very informative because we got to know how one politician faces a dilemma over to bring in a policy which will reduce carbon emission but on the other hand might reduce the employment. The bank representative spoke on how many companies are starting something related to sustainability and they need funds for that. How we need to work together in order to bring long lasting sustainability.

Klimaenergy Award 2015

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klimaThe Klimaenergy Award is an award for best practices of italian municipalities in the field of energy efficiency, renewable energy and waste reduction in public space.

There were three categories that have been decorated: cites with 20.000 inhabitants, centres from 20.000 to 150.000 persons, and larger areas with more than 150.000 inhabitants.

A committee of experts evaluated the best projects. The winner in the category for cities with more than 150.000 inhabitants is the municipality of Bologna, where various interventions on public illumination and requalification interventions on public buildings were realized.

In the second category another municipality from Emilia-Romagna won: Forlí showed a high level of innovation in the field of solar energy gathering. In fact the public decisions makers decided to construct 20.000m² of solar collectors that work with diathermic oil but produce also electric energy.

The winner in the smallest category is from Friuli-Venezia-Giulia. The city Tavagnacco promoted a campaign for the sensibilization of  its inhabitants, including also geothermic energy.

The price giving ceremony was held in Bozen, Südtirol during the Klimaenergy fair.

For more detailed infos check their site: http://www.klimaenergyaward.it/