Against The Current

Crisis left us times of big challenges.  As we already know, crisis means opportunity, time of change, new challenges. Global economy is recovering slowly, environmental awareness start coming up while years of deterioration, population is growing and governments struggle citizen needs.Nowadays, we run with the opportunity that we are more connected than ever, and that give us the advantage to share ideas and solutions to different challenges. And between all this messes, is where the social entrepreneur comes up. People that bring solution instead of problems, people who see a challenge when threats are seeking, people who create value instead following the crowd.

 

They want to built economy, create jobs and take risk. They help the community and make things together engaging the people. Social entrepreneur is interested in social needs and peace. An entrepreneur goes through start ups, manage and organize. Motivate people by practical commitment and responsibility. Commitment is part of the external calling which is very much irresistible for entrepreneurs than for the people. Social entrepreneur are the ones who brings social and environmental good. Demanding motivation and leadership, and leaderships should to be in every social entrepreneur. Some are beside making profit, and another are without making it.

 

Social entrepreneur are breed of leader. They adopt missions and create value from them. They engage with the process. Discover new opportunities to serve. They, adapt and learn from every mission. Develop the mission even no resources are available.

 

Still not convinced? Social entrepreneur provides a framework to business with the aim of helping others in the pursuit of their success. Social entrepreneurs are motivation for people, communities and over all, for young people, us, generation Y, because our skepticism with the traditional business work.

 

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ASAP. NOT “AS SOON AS POSSIBLE”, BUT “ADAPTATION FOR SMALLHOLDER AGRICUTURE PROGRAME”.

 

ASAP show us a program that was launched by IFAD in 2012, for driving smallholders agriculture through successful benefit approaches, improving rural development with relevant adaptation know-how and technologies.

 

These short of programs are becoming a central issue, and companies are raising awareness.  Global populations continue growing in developing countries and at the same time new incomes increase as a consequence of middle class growing. This is creating a new situation of high global demand food. Brazil, India and China are turning into new emerging markets. By 2018 food consumption expected to increase an 18% over 2005 figures. So smallholders are shifting into main actors in the agriculture market.

 

Companies rely more and more in this new source: SMALLHOLDER FARMS, because they see them as an important segment of the global food market. Then, smallholder farmers are facing the aim of feeding huge amount of people, but the lack of resources makes this impossible. Poor market linkages, low access to credit, lack of resources, many other barriers to improve the productivity as fertilizer, no diversification in their crops or non irrigation systems are some of them making smallholder  vulnerable to risk. In addition, the lack of access to financial support, which can goes accompanied by technical assistance of organizations that can increase the smallholder productivity makes these smallholder famers very vulnerable.

 

Most of the smallholders are in Africa, Asia and Latin America and they are an opportunity for buyers, lenders and other actors in the agricultural value chain, because the main issue of smallholders is the need of being part for formal value chain finance. In agriculture, social lenders focuses on producer organizations and small and growing business that engage farmers, improving livelihoods and environmental stewardship through better access to finance in the value chain. For instance, belonging to a producer organization is one way of finding access to finance, certifications as technical assistance. The inputs cost will increase, but as well, their yields, and at the end of the day, profits will be higher.

 

And again, their bigger weakness is that they have a lack of access to finance, so smallholders farming methods often turned to survival tactics that affects wrongly to the in ecosystems in which farmers depend on.  Lenders has established a successful model for provide them short-term export trade financing to producer organizations and agricultural business that reach smallholders farms. They are two different ways of doing, meeting with smallholders finance needs on the trade financing model; expand on the work of social lenders who are covering other financial needs such as equipment or analysis financing;  or at last but not least, financing through  buyer lender partnerships.

 

So at a first solution, access to appropriate credit could empower smallholders to help meet the growing global demand of food. Moreover, get better prices, reaching higher yields and achieving superior quality, while improving smallholders livelihoods and spreading benefits through the value chain. In the other hand, this will reduce upstream risk for buyers.

 

Furthermore, to meet the increased of demand, buyers are cultivating smallholder’s production because it provides them an alternative in increasing sustainable quality and production and by this, engagement with smallholders experimenting with new models of financing them. Sustainable sources have been implemented because of the Fair Trade and organic food demanded by developed countries. So this meeting in sustainability commitments is requiring a certified supply in order to apply the increase of potential in quality and yields.

 

Sources:

http://dalberg.com/documents/Catalyzing_Smallholder_Ag_Finance.pdf

http://www.ifad.org/climate/asap/asap.pdf

http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/policy_briefing-_smallholder-led_sustainable_agriculture.pdf

 

 

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Natural water infrastructure

Biodiversity drives soil functions supporting hydrological processes, global agriculture and forestry production; and, therefore, food security”.

Within this, we can realise about the importance of maintaining the balance between all the different fields of the ecosystem in relation with human activities, because they are constantly affecting one to another. This gives us a big picture, and i am going to focus in this post in water matters, because we have to be aware that threats are coming in this subject.

is something important to keep in mind that, from the 85% of available water, the 12% of the population live without safe drink water, and the 40% (2.5 billion people) do not have adequate sanitation.  If we do not manage this situation, by 2025,“1.8 billion people would be living with absolute water scarcity and two of third of the world population could be under water stress conditions”.

One of the main issues which is affecting water resources is the climate change, but also human activities, for instance, agriculture among others. The amount of water demanded from agriculture, and the impacts that it is producing in water quality (irrigation, salinization, etc.) are main problems for water resources, and they act as a key management in water security.  We can point it out, that agriculture remains a 67% on water and it works as one of the biggest pollutants of watercourses. In Asia, for example, we have the case that 7.5 billion tons of sediments are generated for not proper managed agriculture land.

 

So we can go through the conclusion that, ADAPTATION is mainly about better water management, because of supply and quality are becoming insecure for all uses.

So through idea of adaptation, we can refer to something reachable for everyone: the ecosystem.  Ecosystem functioning as a natural water infrastructure and its devastation is, in most of the times, the root of all disasters occurred.  “Forests pro­tect water supplies, wetlands regu­late floods, healthy soils increase wa­ter and nutrient availability for crops, help reduce off-farm impacts, and natural and man-made wetlands and buffer strips can be effective in managing nutrient run-off and pollu­tion”.

Governments and organizations willingness is increasing, as the same time that the use of natural infrastructure is growing. They are taking more and more approaches. For instance, the UNEP started arising the awareness in local and global areas of well-managing ecosystems.

This could bring economic advantages, as reduction in cost of damage for carbon emissions, or the maintenance of hard infrastructures. So as we can see managing natural infrastructure is a “requisite for sustained economic growth”.   We have plenty of interventions for improving the well-manage of the water delivered by ecosystems to the cities. But the real thing is that we are all water managers, and this issue needs the cooperation of everyone, from local to international levels. Water resources and biodiversity has always been managed in separate sectors, but the aim is reach a cross-sectoral working, where good governance structures and stakeholders work together in decision-making for water management strategies.

 

Sources:

http://www.zaragoza.es/contenidos/medioambiente/onu/1006-eng.pdf

http://www.cbd.int/doc/newsletters/development/news-dev-2015-2013-05-en.pdf

http://www.iisd.org/freshwater/

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AND WHAT ABOUT EARTHWOMS?

Egyptians were the first community who realized about the importance of the earthworm for the fertility of the soil. Cleopatra gave them the title of sacred animal. And these worms were also case of study of Aristoteles, the Romans and Charles Darwin.

 

The earthworm flour is the product of composting, using various worms (red Californian earthworm in this case), to create an heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste. Worm humus is the end-product of the “breakdown of organic matter by an earthworm”. This process has been expanded because it reduces levels of contaminants and a higher saturation of nutrients. Humus is generated by most of the worms, but just a few of them produce the flour that I want to highlight in this post. Our main actor here is the “Eiseniafoetida” or Red Californian Earthworm, with five hearts and six pairs of kidneys, eating dairy its own weight.

 

This process is an absolute miracle for the soil, because millions of beneficial microorganism make the earthworm flour an extraordinary tool for giving life back to soil.

 
We have to point it out that thenutrients proportions of this humus is not really high, but its neutral pH, and the quantity of amino acids, with few more components are good enough for having the capacity of retain a big amount of water and nutrients of the soil, and this is how earthworm flour turns into an extraordinary natural fertilizer. Here is when earthworm culturing became a recognized biotechnical source of ecological and nutritional interest, facing two main targets: being an alternative to the recycling of organic waste production from different sources; and as a source of low cost protein. Protein rich earthworm flour can be produce at a low cost, because they are fed from organic waste, and grow and multiply at a rapid rate. But the big issue is the important “cultural prejudice and a general unawareness of the benefits that this earthworm may provide, that have prevented their official use in human diet”.  But this has not been a problem for Asian countries, because they consume these worms and are incorporated in their diets. For these Red Californian earthworms we can obtain a protein rich source of meat and a significant source for essential amino acid which represents, according to WHO/FAO, the daily requirement for children between two to five years.

 

The low cost of production of protein rich earthworm flour represents an enormous advantage, in comparison with the provision of proteins from bovine meat. More than the double tones of legumes, cereals and vegetables are destined to feed the cattle, which in turn produce the half of animal proteins for human consumption. This must be a concern for the countries and organizations like FAO, because they have to figure out how to feed a growing population in this century.

 

Just to finish, our main suggestion is:

  • The choices on an industrial scale of enhance cereals with this unusual protein of earthworm’s flour, introducing them in the human consumption.
  • In case of non human acceptance, use this protein to feed the cattle, and by this reduce cereal provision to the bovine population.
  • And at least, the use of earthworms for the disposal of organic waste. This will turn into humus and use it as a fertilizer for farming societies.

 

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VALUES FOR SUSTAINABILITY: EACH OF US MAKES A DIFFERENCE

 

I believe that our society is losing many of its human values and principles. Media, governments and sources of power, try to submerge us in the current flow of technologies, quick times, running information and consumption, and most people appear to just go along with this. This is a real problem, not just for us but also for everything around us:  our society, families, environment, education, etc. So, it is time to become concerned about real problems.

The task for many organizations and institutions is to enhance and introduce into society the principles and values inherent in sustainable development. And as I read once: “the ways in which countries decide how to approach sustainable development are closely linked to the values held by the people, because these values define how personal decisions are made as well as how national legislation is written”. To understand our own values, societal values, and the values of people around us, it is essential to understand the “individual´s own worldview”. This helps us make sense of the world, understand our place and purpose in it.  Every country or cultural group must develop their values to promote and build skills for sustainable development.

The United Nations has created the “Earth Charter” which develops some fundamental principles for sustainability. They are summed up in three different branches: environmental, economic and social issues.

Approaching the environmental sphere, first, we will say that the goal is to not harm the environment or deplete natural resources. We also need to ask what an environmental worldview point means. As well as how the environment works, and what our place is here based on human superiority over nature, this is also about having in mind that all species have an equal worth. Earth´s biological diversity is our most important environmental benefit, because is the only thing we have to survive. It provides us with food and all our humans needs, so we have both an ethical and a smart obligation to committing ourselves to the idea of taking care of the natural environment as an ecosystem service.  We should also consider the “carrying capacity of a given environment”. This is the capacity of the earth to absorb waste and renew itself. This means that is necessary to create plans for sustainable living with education and family-planning available to everyone.

The main issue in the social sphere is to reach “equitable decisions that reflect the needs of society and ensure the costs and benefits are shared equally by all groups.”  This involves the what I call voluntary simplicity. And what does it mean? It means that to reach quality of life and happiness we do not need to accumulate a lot of material goods. What defines us is not what we own. So, maybe we have to think about this again. Although we have to bear in mind that we need some goods and services for our living, our behavior should be in balance with the consumption of natural resources.

Last but not least we need to ensure  that all costs are economically viable, including long-term environmental and societal costs. We have to have sustainable consumption even though our populations and economies grow. Society needs to use goods and services in ways that do not affect or harm the quantity and quality of natural resources. The use of natural resources are minimized but coverall the basic needs of the population.

These three main points interact to promote sustainable development. And our responsibility, as individuals, is to work with the aim of developing a better world. Each of us makes a difference. And it is in through collective activities, and working as a community, where we share the knowledge and the strength to fight together for a fair economic growth without compromising needs of future generations. Moreover, is in the governments and in constitutional and policy documents, where they have to start committing with sustainable principles to make possible “a generation of approipaite laws and suitable economic policies”

 

 

 

 

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COULD WE TURN SAN SEBASTIAN DE LOS REYES INTO A SUSTAINABLE MUNICIPALITY?

In San Sebastián de los Reyes, we are working together in the aim of growing and getting a better future, to reach a sustainable municipality through a project who is called “Agenda 21”. We all follow the steps to get this goal, and we are aware about the needs that citizens and society are claiming for. Therefore, we can say that we are engaged with the task of creating a new city, which carries out issues as participation and commitment.

The project of “Agenda 21”, works in an Action Plan to develop business area, citizenship, trading area, urban planning etc, to reach, in a long term, a sustainable development municipality.

Economic, social and environmental issues are the main points of this process, and people who is working in this, try to get into this idea in the more efficient process way. And also, we should emphasize that “Agenda 21” is based in principles as democracy, transparency and social participation. This last point is an important one, because citizens in San Sebastián de los Reyes feel that their voices are heard, and most of them are getting involved in the social activities that the city hall and organizations offered.

Otherwise, let me come into the idea of the sustainable development action. In few words, it enhances economic and social progress respecting the environment. The first step to develop this idea of the sustainable municipality is the Action Plan, which I have explained before. And we have to go through this with the diagnostic, that provides us technical and social information.

Technical information comes as variables and indicators (for instance, statistics). Public and private agencies provide technical information about environment, socio-economic analysis, urban planning, facilities and infrastructures. Otherwise, social information turn into the source of the Action Plan with staff like, surveys, votes in the website and working groups (four groups, for being clear).

We are analyzing these two factors with the “DAFO” (debilities, threats, strengths and opportunities) which evaluate every single area in these four different branches. But I would like to focus just in one of this areas: URBAN PLANNING.

In this municipality, on the one hand, we have to review again the zonings land use planning, and in the second one, reduce conflicts between the different uses of this ground, reaching a more efficient distribution of these uses. And this is important because we want to tie, economic and social development with environmental protection, and with this, reach the goal of sustainable development.

The two principal aims of the rezoning plan are, increasing the surface of green areas, and expanding the surface for the industrial sector, because most of it is occupied by the residential sector. Let me explain in a clear way. The big issue in San Sebastian de los Reyes is, at first, the scarcity of green, public and open areas. Narrow roadways and pavement, parking cars, and also traffic, occupied the entire space. Thus, this enhances the poor access and we can not find saving walking paths, especially for kids, and old people. And second, we find unused facilities and old buildings taking up space, and in fact,  they could have better use.

Imagen de previsualización de YouTube

So, a functional restructure of the uses and a good policy of land allocation could bring new potential land uses and could increase urban planning operations. By the way of this renovation, free space and new green areas will grow up, becoming also an attraction for the citizens and for reaching the shape that San Sebastián de los Reyes wants to be.  So as we said before, we can bring a proper administration which relocates uses, and make an intensive restoration of the unused and old infrastructures.

Because of the new demographic and socio- economic situation that the city could suffer, the land should be appropriate zoning, for that reason, we will see changes to different zoning urban uses, and current citizens needs would be supply. The issue here is that we could find a high amount of non-use or non-proper zoning areas inside the blocks. Therefore, a rational organization of the uses and well-distributed areas would be the solution to solve the chaos structure. Reallocating zoning of these areas can cover the demand of public and pedestrian spaces. In addition, reaching a better environmental urbanization in every block and roadways by the proper disposition of roads, traffic and parking places, will increase free spaces for pedestrian uses.

We also find in San Sebastián de los Reyes the lack of trees and vegetation around the locality, and a fault of green areas. But this issue, with the reconstruction of the municipality, it is going to be solved, because open spaces and boulevards will started to emerge.

Imagen de previsualización de YouTube

In addition, San Sebastián de los Reyes has a large surface of natural areas, with the aim of provide them for parks and green areas. Recycle water is the source to keep in perfect way these parks.

 

 

 

 

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REACHING THE GOAL

The 19th Conference of the Parties meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change shows us the participation of 192 countries, involved in the task of the reduction of greenhouse gases and CO2 emissions. They want to give a solution to the problem of the climate change. A new report has demonstrated us that global warming is 95% for human´s activities fault, but developed countries want desperately to avoid taking the blame for the impacts of the climate change. Before too many hours of hard negotiations, parties reached some kind of conclusion, but everything in general points and waiting for the next meeting in Paris 2015.

In the final press release, they avoid the word “compromise” in the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions, using moreover, the word “contributions”; in sentences like this one “governments provided more clarity on mobilizing finance to support developing country actions to curb emissions and adapt to climate change”. And these do not like to all the countries, but those who are developing, as India and China, are very pleaceful.

 

Another important point of the COP19 was the “Further progress in help for developing nations”. In which developed countries (including Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland) will pay 100 million dollars per year for the Adaptation Found. They will start founding national projects to better assess the impacts of climate changes and to get “what they need in the way of support to become more resilient”. The idea to deal with loss and damage for the climate change is helping poorer countries and transfer them some sort of technology. As I read in an article this is the “third leg” of the United Nations. The first and second ones are mitigation (when countries cut emissions) and adaptation (advance preparation of climate change). The theory sounds really good, but is time for the action.

 

This was not the main idea of the COP19, but this minimum agreement is the first step to reach the real target in the fight against the climate change. In my opinion, countries try to get involved as they can in the economic growth and environmental protection, but everyone look for their own interest and everything goes around money. And that is the problem of no finding any solution.

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¡Hola mundo!

Te damos la bienvenida a Blogs EOI. Este es tu primer artículo. Edítalo o bórralo… ¡y comienza a publicar!

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