This week we are experimenting with the unexpected.
The website suddenly disappeared the other day. Coincidentally, the wi-fi broadband connection was cut at the same time – those crazy cats. Life as we know it came to an end with disastrous consequences. Panic ensued.
It was a strange experience. No lives were in danger. There was no risk of food shortage. My shelter stood strong. My security was not threatened. My family and friends were still well. My bank accounts remained untouched. The sun continued to shine, the birds were singing, the curtains danced in the cool breeze and the sky showed absolutely no signs of storm clouds.
Still, a wave of panic crashed in, fueling stress and anxiety levels that signaled imminent danger. While the world around me continued unchanged, the inner landscape appeared forever changed. After a couple of quick phone calls, all was back to normal within a few hours. It took some time to recover and re-adjust back to normal. Then, an overwhelming exhaustion replaced the panic.
Nothing had happened. There was no physical exertion. Flight or fight was unnecessary.
Still, I experienced a minor glitch as a major catastrophe. The experience begged further analysis. I discovered that I have become so reliant upon our technology that I feel completely dependent upon the tools. It is incredibly easy to forget how to function properly without them.
As new technology and global development bring us more convenience, we ease into a lifestyle where we depend on getting what we want when we want it. Our supermarkets operate beyond the seasons to provide us with an endless supply of local produce because it’s always summer somewhere in the world and local gardens have become all but obsolete. Information and entertainment streams in from the global village, steadily replacing the local community hall and picture house where neighbors and families and friends would gather to connect and share and celebrate.
Our modern lifestyle is filled with errands and endless to do lists that keep us busy and occupied and distracted from the world around us. It is easy to tell ourselves that we need what we need when we need it in order to keep ahead. We feed ourselves quickly. We rush to get everywhere. We grab bytes of information on the go. We schedule quality time with loved ones into a tightly packed schedule. We never stop to think about where the materials are coming from to keep us fed and clothed and sheltered because they all come from somewhere else. All this talk about peak oil and climate change and global warming and greenhouse gases and food shortages and toxic chemicals has become little more than background noise in the soundtrack of our day. We are comfortable being comfortable as long as we can get what we want when we want it. The world of denial is a very comfortable place.
Until something happens to disrupt everything.
In the month ahead, we are invited to question our 21st century comfort zone by listening to people who share experience of conservation and sustainability with ideas that make sense whether or not we believe in climate change. Project Kaisei illustrates a closed loop by converting local waste plastic into fuel to watch the pink dolphins swimming in waste plastic. Women of China, Taiwan and Hong Kong tell their stories with free screenings at The Peace and Sustainable Living Documentary Film Festival, thanks to the organizers and sponsors. China also is on the agenda at Amcham and The Royal Geographical Society as they host speakers on NGO’s and environment in our neighbor to the north.
We are offered dress rehearsals for disruption every time we lose a mobile phone. Many of us remember our first mobile phone as a luxury. Then it became a necessity. Then we needed to text as well as talk. Then we needed to use it to take pictures. Then we needed it to check and respond to email 24/7. Then we needed it to access the internet. Then we needed it to do our banking instantly. Then we needed it to find out how to get where we’re going. Then we needed it to tell our friends where we are without actually telling our friends where we are. Then we needed it to pay for our coffee. Then we needed to have it with us all the time because our children need to have one so they can reach us at any given moment. Most of us remember a time when we managed just fine without a mobile phone but we forget all that in the moment we realize it is missing.
The Peace and Sustainable Living Documentary Film Festival
The Peace and Sustainable Living Documentary Film Festival is about stories of life. Among the films featured, five recount the experiences of women from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan in ecological conservation and building livelihoods, community and culture. The festival showcases The Economics of Happiness, a reflection on the trends and values of global development completed at the end of 2010. Also featured is the latest documentary by the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC), as well as documentaries of the development issues of the 4 mega developing cities: Shanghai (China), Cairo (Egypt), Bogota (Columbia) and Mumbai (India).
ENQUIRIES : TEL : +852 2616 7696 | EMAIL : crd at ln dot edu dot hk
Consume Wisely — Go Beyond Earth Hour in 2011
Show your support and demonstrate your commitment to a sustainable lifestyle
Earth Hour, the annual Lights Out event, will take place on Saturday 26 March 2011. Every year, the WWF global initiative encourages everyone to turn off their lights for one hour at 8:30pm. Earth Hour symbolizes the power of working together. Commit to consuming wisely and living sustainably. Save electricity and switch off appliances in standby mode. Source sustainable timber and use paper carefully. Stop consuming shark fin products. Choose sustainable seafood. Support locally-produced products and seasonal food. Think twice before consuming and reduce waste. Doing several small, environmentally-friendly actions every day protects our environment along with species and their habitats and peoples’ livelihoods around the world. Small steps add up quickly with 1 billion voices from around the world who share our commitment to a low-carbon lifestyle and show the world our concern about sustainable development. Enter the Earth Hour 2011 Photo Competition before 11 March 2011 and win a prize.
Hong Kong Plastic Challenge
Collect plastic and see it turned to fuel to power a boat to watch Hong Kong’s pink dolphins.
In the first ever event of its kind, Project Kaisei is using Facebook, Twitter and other social media inviting people to collect plastic for this innovative closed-loop project demonstrating how we can alter the cycle of plastic. Collected plastic will be ground and taken to a facility nearby where one of the world’s first plastic-to-fuel processes will turn that plastic into diesel fuel that is cleaner than that currently used by boats in Hong Kong. The plastic fuel will be used in the Hong Kong Dolphin Watch boat and 10 lucky participants wiill be chosen based on their photo or video submission to join this maiden voyage powered by clean fuel. Plastic can be deposited at various schools across Hong Kong. Participants can send photos or video of collected plastic.
FACEBOOK : Project Kaisei
Country Parks Community Campaign
Speak out to halt illegal development in our country parks
An application has been posted to convert green belt land in the South Lantau country park to other uses, namely columbaria. In 2009, diggers were brought in by sea and the land was partly cleared in violation of the law. Following complaints by concerned residents, conservation groups and government officials, government agencies have intervened. AFCD has posted signs, Lands Dept has posted the illegally cleared government land to halt further damage. Police were investigating, but the diggers have recently undergone repairs. Local residents seek assistance from anyone willing to help raise awareness about this particular incident with the aim of putting an end to the routine tactic of clearing and/or degrading green-belt and government land as a prelude to application for development. The community aims to persuade the Town Planning Board (TPB) not to condone these illegal actions used to fully develop and profit from country park enclaves, much as we see happening in Sai Kung. Concerned parties can write to the Town Planning Board before March 4 opposing the application (Number Y/SLC/2) and assistance from conservation/environmental groups with specialized knowledge is most welcome and probably essential to success. Many thanks for your help to prevent inappropriate uses of this very rare, remote and relatively unspoiled part of Hong Kong
March 1 9:30am-4:30pm > Holistic Aromatherapy Diploma Course
March 2 6-7:30pm > Sustainable buildings – latest trends and best practices in Hong Kong
March 2-16 7-9:30pm > Personal Power Workshop Series for Women with Linda Fancy
March 4 7pm > Fashion Night Out for Charity
March 5-6 2:30-5:30pm > Traditional Chinese Medicine with Gianna Buonocore
March 5 3-6pm > Clean Air Action Day
March 5 7:30-9pm > The Economics of Happiness
March 6 2:30-4pm > Cities on Speed, Global Visions for an Urban Future I – Shanghai Space
March 6 4-5:30pm > Cities on Speed, Global Visions for an Urban Future II – Mumbai Disconnected
March 6 5:30-7pm > Cities on Speed, Global Visions for an Urban Future III – Cairo Garbage
7 10-11am > Insight to Face Reading with Eric Standop
7 2:30-4pm > Meditation on the 21 Stages of the Path
8 6-7:30pm > Carbon Footprinting Workshop
8 7:30pm > The Folly of Nonsense
11 7pm > The Yuen Method with Jessica Taylor
12-13 10am-5pm > Women & The Feminine Principle with Anna Hughes
14 7:30-9:30pm > Stages of Meditation with Geshe Michael Roach
27 9am > Hysan Healthy Hike & Run
Bits & Bytes
Making diesel with sun, water, CO2 (Fox News – 27 February 2011)
New UK guidelines: Eat less red meat (The Telegraph – 25 February 2011)
Britain advises people to help prevent cancer by cutting down on red meat.
Students’ reaction to healthier lunches highlights challenges for schools (20 February – Chicago Tribune 2011)
To convert kids to healthier meals, first you have to get the food to taste good
Fraud plagues global health fund (The Economist – 17 February 2011)
Up to two-thirds of grants go astray in astonishing corruption
Conservation steps aim to reduce carbon footprint at Ocean Park (Deccan Herald – 22 February 2011)
Waste separation, compost bins, eco-oils and gases, biodegradable and recyclable materials among measures taken
Post unwanted but reusable items on the Second-hand Exchange platform for donation or sale (Environmental Protection Department)
1 in 4 residents considers leaving Hong Kong because of air pollution (posted by Civic Exchange – 1 December 2010)
Join forces with the citizen of Hong Kong and the SCMP to report environmental issues (SCMP – 29 November 2010)
The Mandarin Spa – Healing therapies drawing on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic philosophies
Project Kaisei – <href=”http: www.projectkaisei.org”=””> Addressing the problem of floating plastic waste in our oceans</href=”http:>
Living Islands Movement – Independent and academic institute
Royal Geographic Society – explore the world of geography, travel, research and conservation
Hong Kong Philosophy Cafe – Free, public, informal, philosophical discussions