Posts Tagged ‘environment’

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The Stockholm Resilience Centre

July 17, 2012

Stockholm Resilience Centre advances research on the governance of social-ecological systems with a special emphasis on resilience – the ability to deal with change and continue to develop.

The aim is to create a world-leading transdisciplinary research center that advances the understanding of complex social-ecological systems and generates new and elaborated insights and means for the development of management and governance practices. The new center will advise policymakers from all over the world, and develop innovative collaboration with relevant actors on local social-ecological systems to the global policy arena.

“In order to solve the great environmental problems of the world, we need to change course. Our hope is that the Stockholm Resilience Centre will contribute essential knowledge that is needed to steer development onto a sustainable path,” says Johan Rockström, Executive Director of Stockholm Resilience Centre.

“We want to build a unique transdisciplinary research environment where innovative ideas can flourish. By combining new forms of cooperation with a holistic perspective, we hope to generate the insights that are needed to strengthen societies’ and the ecosystems’ capacities to meet a world which spins faster and faster,” says Carl Folke, Science Director of Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Text and Images via Stockholm Resilience Centre

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Effects of Mindfulness Meditation Training on Multitasking in a High-Stress Information Environment

June 17, 2012

“We describe an experiment to determine the effects of meditation training on the multitasking behavior of knowledge workers. Three groups each of 12-15 human resources personnel were tested: (1) those who underwent an 8-week training course on mindfulness-based meditation, (2) those who endured a wait period, were tested, and then underwent the same 8-week training, and (3) those who had 8-weeks of training in body relaxation. We found that only those trained in meditation stayed on tasks longer and made fewer task switches, as well as reporting less negative emotion after task performance, as compared with the other two groups. In addition, both the meditation and the relaxation groups showed improved memory for the tasks they performed.” (PDF)

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The Century of intervention: On the Asilomar International Conference on Climate Modification

May 21, 2012

Climate science has a long view. The measuring of rainfall, temperature and pressure with instruments made from glass, mercury and copper wire. Scientists have been collecting data for centuries, first in hand-written notebooks, later in vast computer databases. Edmund Halley mapped the trade winds in 1686 and Benjamin Franklin traced the Gulf Stream in the eighteenth century, the first hints of truly global systems. Helmut Landsberg added statistical analysis in the twentieth century, which revealed fluctuation in what until then had felt eternally recurring to the individual. Eventually, models of Earthʼs climate emerged from the data, an attempt to grasp the forces that drive the reality of our immediate environment, our world.

But science itself is careful. Its method progresses cautiously through hypotheses and experiments, always inviting their falsification. Yet, there are moments when it gets propelled to the forefront of human affairs, such as it happened to theoretical physics when it enabled the construction of nuclear devices. Over the last fifty years, climate science has been making visible that human activity has had a significant and increasing influence on the Earthʼs atmosphere. Now it has been given the place in the spotlight, and it feels quite uncomfortable there.

Excerpt of a text written by Sascha Pohflepp. Read it HERE

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Eyeless shrimp and fish with lesions are becoming common, with BP oil pollution believed to be the likely cause

April 19, 2012

It’s almost two years since BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, scientists say they have found deformities among seafood and a great decline in the numbers of marine life. Dahr Jamail reports from New Orleans.

Read full Aljazeera article HERE

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Cities as Constellations: A Conversation with Matthew Gandy

April 5, 2012

Matthew Gandy is an urbanist and academic who writes and teaches about cities, landscapes and nature. He directed the Urban Laboratory at University College London (UCL) from 2005 to 2011 and has been a visiting scholar at Columbia University, Humboldt University, Newcastle University and UCLA. His extensive writing and knowledge of urban landscapes bring together culture, politics, environment and cinematic representations to produce prescient and alluring research.

What do you think are the highlights and limitations of recent media productions about cities and urban change, particularly in the Global South?

Some of the best writers on cities are journalists. Examples are Jonathan Raban’s “Soft City” about London in the early 1970s and Siegfried Kracauer’s vignettes about everyday life in Weimar-era Berlin. In terms of recent art about cities, there are classic examples such as Hans Haacke’s “Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, a Real-Time Social System” (1971), as well as works by Gordon Matta Clark from the same period that remain very influential.

Recent examples of really important representations of cities include cinema: a film that really stands out is Andrea Arnold’s “Fish Tank” (2009). Arnold uses an architectonic eye to explore landscapes of alienation on the edge of London. Another great urban film is Robert Guédiguian’s “La Vie Est Tranquille” (2000) set in Marseille. It reminds me of other “cross-section” narratives such as Robert Altman’s depiction of Los Angeles in “Short Cuts” (1993), where we learn about the city through intersecting story lines and chance encounters. Examples of this genre from the Global South include Alejandro González Iñárritu’s striking use of Mexico City in “Amores Perros” (2000) and Dev Benegal’s Mumbai in “Split Wide Open” (1999).

What aspects are not being explored in the media?

Cost constraints, distribution problems and so on constantly militate against the possibility for more diverse forms of cultural production. We need space to allow new things to be created and experienced across all creative media.

How do these compare to past cultural representations of cities?

There was undoubtedly a very intense period of creativity in the 1970s, but I think creative production comes in waves, particular conjunctions of time and place: New York in the 1970s, Berlin in the 1990s and early 2000s, arguably London in the 1990s.

Excerpt from a conversation with Andrew Wade from Polis. Continue HERE
Image above: Los Angeles River (2003). Source: Matthew Gandy

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Instant favelas: the low-tech street lab for urban intervention

April 4, 2012

They say: “The Instant Favelas Project means the constant research and dialog between disciplines and Art. We base the project in our own exploration and concerns. Those confluences create, and this provoked the first pilot project (Piloto Kamikaze) where we explored interdisciplinary/ multidisciplinary elements such as urbanity, culture, esthetic, music, environment, etc.

Instant Favelas creates a nomad city in open spaces of Zürich. These cities develop during one, two, or three weeks, and are normally built with free-hand collaborators-Favelanders. Our mobility or nomadism plays as much with external and natural factors as with the urban rules of the city where we play.

Inside of our Restless Doubts we attempt to achieve that the viewer’s role will be active, not merely looking at the process of construction, but also asking oneself, What is going on? Why here? Why this? Is it safe? What does it cost? What does it say? And of course, Is this Art? Hopefully we will arrive at the point where the viewer translates himself into a Favelander — free-hand – mind collaborator, who will perhaps create further interventions…

Instant Favelas as an open Art-Lab Experiment collaborated with interventions inside of our constructive structure. While building and networking our city-within-a-city, we try to understand cities. Our simulation becomes a laboratory where we invite other people to make an intervention—in the sense of a collaborative response to our project—so that we can reflect together about different aspects, such as space, economy, society, demography, spirituality and so on, that shape and define a city.”

instantfavelas.org

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OTERP: A Prototype for a Musical Geolocative Game

January 24, 2012

Oterp is a mobile phone game project using a GPS sensor to manipulate music in real time, depending on the player’s position on Earth. It generates new melodies when traveling. The objective of Oterp is to mix the reality of our everyday environment with a video game. This is a new way to imagine our movements in a society increasingly on the move and dependent on mobile interfaces.