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 “Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” Jim Rohn

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Posted by on August 30, 2016 in Uncategorized


Africa’s Western Black Rhino Is Officially Extinct

Africa’s Western Black Rhino Is Officially Extinct

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) officially declared Africa’s Western Black Rhinoceros extinct today, according to the organization’s updated Red List of endangered species.

The sad news comes less than a month after Vietnam’s Javan rhinoceros was hunted out of existence.

Central Africa’s White Rhino is also on the brink of extinction, according to the IUCN report.

Rhinos have been the target of relentless poaching for their horns, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine to cure fevers.

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by anric

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Posted by on July 26, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Declining Bee Populations Pose A Severe Threat to Global Agriculture

Declining Bee Populations Pose A Severe Threat to Global Agriculture

The danger that the decline of bees and other pollinators represents to the world’s food supply was highlighted this week when the European Commission decided to ban a class of pesticides suspected of playing a role in so-called “colony collapse disorder.

One of every three bites of food eaten worldwide depends on pollinators, especially bees, for a successful harvest.  In the past several months, a scramble in California’s almond groves has given the world a taste of what may lie in store for food production if the widespread — and still puzzling — decimation of bee colonies continues.

For much of the past 10 years, beekeepers, primarily in the United States and Europe, have been reporting annual hive losses of 30 percent or higher, substantially more than is considered normal or sustainable. But this winter, many U.S. beekeepers experienced losses of 40 to 50 percent or more, just as commercial bee operations prepared to transport their hives for the country’s largest pollinator event: the fertilizing of California’s almond trees.

Related: Colony Collapse Disorder Is a Myth. Neurotoxic Pesticide Causes Bee Deaths. The proof that a neurotoxic pesticide causes bee die-offs has existed for two years, but the researcher hasn’t been able to get it published.

The gravity of the situation was underscored on Monday, when the European Commission (EC) said it intended to impose a two-year ban on a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, now the world’s most widely used type of insecticide. Neonicotinoids are one of the leading suspected causes of colony collapse disorder, and the European Commission announced its controversial decision three months after the European Food Safety Agency concluded that the pesticides represented a “high acute risk” to honeybees and other pollinators.

by Anric


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Lessons from Byron Wien on his 80th Birthday

Lessons from Byron Wien on his 80th Birthday

To the Attendees at Dick Strong’s January Symposium in Vail

Here are some of the lessons I have learned in my first 80 years.  I hope to continue to practice them in the next 80.

  1. Concentrate on finding a big idea that will make an impact on the people you want to influence.  The Ten Surprises which I started doing in 1986 has been a defining product.  People all over the world are aware of it and identify me with it.  What they seem to like about it is that I put myself at risk by going on record with these events which I believe are probable and hold myself accountable at year-end.  If you want to be successful and live a long, stimulating life, keep yourself at risk intellectually all the time.
  2. Network intensely.  Luck plays a big role in life and there is no better way to increase your luck than by knowing as many people as possible.  Nurture your network by sending articles, books and emails to people to show you’re thinking about them.  Write op-eds and thought pieces for major publications.  Organize discussion groups to bring your thoughtful friends together.
  3. Get enough sleep.  Seven hours will do until you’re sixty, eight from sixty to seventy, nine thereafter which might include eight hours at night and a one hour afternoon nap.
  4. Evolve.  Try to think of your life in phases so you can avoid a burn-out.  Do the numbers crunching in the early phase of your career.  Try developing concepts later on.  Stay at risk throughout the process.
  5. Travel extensively.  Try to get everywhere before you wear out.  Attempt to meet local interesting people where you travel and keep in contact with them throughout your life.  See them when you return to a place.
  6. When meeting someone new, try to find out what formative experience occurred in their lives before they were seventeen.  It is my belief that some important event in everyone’s youth has an influence on everything that occurs afterwards.
  7. On philanthropy my approach is to try to relieve pain rather than spread joy.  Music, theatre and art museums have many affluent supporters, give the best parties and it can add to your social luster in a community.  They don’t need you.  Social service, hospitals and educational institutions can make the world a better place and help the disadvantaged make their way toward the American dream.
  8. Younger people are naturally insecure and tend to overplay their accomplishments.  Most people don’t become comfortable with who they are until they’re in their 40’s.  By that time they can underplay their achievements and become a nicer more likeable person.  Try to get to that point as soon as you can.
  9. Take the time to pat those who work for you on the back when they do good work.  Most people are so focused on the next challenge that they fail to thank the people who support them.  It is important to do this.  It motivates and inspires people and encourages them to perform at a higher level.
  10. When someone extends a kindness to you write them a hand-written note, not an e-mail.  Handwritten notes make an impact and are not quickly forgotten.
  11. At the beginning of every year think of ways you can do your job better than you have ever done it before.  Write it down and look at what you have set out for yourself when the year is over.
  12. Never retire.  If you work forever, you can live forever.  I know there is an abundance of biological evidence against this, but I’m going with this theory anyway.
 Happy 80th Birthday Mr Wien. 
Related Posts:  Ten Surprises for 2013
Related Posts:  Ten Surprises for 2012
Related Posts:  Ten Surpises for 2010
Related Posts: Ten Surpirses for 2009 (Chief Investment Strategist of Pequot Capital), 2008, 2007, 2006,

by Anric



Giant 100MW Shams solar thermal plant comes online in Abu Dhabi

Giant 100MW Shams solar thermal plant comes online in Abu Dhabi


Abu Dhabi’s Masdar project has officially inaugurated the world’s largest solar thermal power project, after yesterday bringing online the 100MW Shams 1 concentrated solar power (CSP) plant.
The $600m project, which was developed in partnership with oil giant Total and Spanish energy developer and solar specialist Abengoa, is now expected to displace approximately 175,000 tonnes of CO2 a year and act as a forerunner for further CSP projects in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“The inauguration of Shams 1 is a major breakthrough for renewable energy in the Middle East,” said Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chief executive of Masdar in a statement. “Just like the rest of the word, the region is faced with meeting its rising demand for energy, while also working to reduce its carbon footprint. Shams 1 is a significant milestone, as large-scale renewable energy is proving it can deliver electricity that is sustainable, affordable and secure.”

The facility, which covers an area equivalent to 285 football fields in western Abu Dhabi, makes use of parabolic trough technology, featuring more than 258,000 mirrors mounted on 768 tracking solar collectors. The troughs concentrate the heat onto oil oil-filled pipes, which are then used to produce steam that drives a turbine to generate electricity.

Masdar said the project also features a dry-cooling system that significantly reduces water consumption, described as “a critical advantage in the arid desert of western Abu Dhabi”.
“This is a major step in the process of transforming the capabilities of solar power in the region,” said Christophe de Margerie, chairman and CEO of Total, in a statement. “We share Abu Dhabi’s vision that renewables have a promising future alongside fossil energies… As such, we are pleased to accompany the Emirate in the diversification of its energy mix.”

The official opening of the new project represents the latest in a series of milestones for the high profile Masdar project, which has committed to establishing Abu Dhabi as a major global renewable energy hub and investor, featuring the world’s first zero carbon city, new renewables-powered desalination infrastructure, and stakes in large scale renewable energy projects around the world.

by Anric


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China Natural Gas drive may cut oil demand by a tenth

China Natural Gas drive may cut oil demand by a tenth

Nearly 1.5 million natural gas vehicles on the road could replace the equivalent of 840,000 bpd of oil by 2030 – all part of a plan to increase gas use nationwide

China’s drive to fuel moe vehicles with cleaner burning natural gas could reduce oil demand by nearly one tenth (put in perspective – that is equivalent to Turkey’s total oil consumption). Given that Beijing and other major cities are suffering under astronomical levels of toxic air pollution, this could indeed be a welcome shift in policy that reduces pollution and at the same time reduces its dependency on costly oil imports and dependency on coal.

China last year had 1.48 million vehicles driving on natural gas, up 48% on the previous year. The vehicles, mainly taxis, buses and trucks run on both compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG). LNG, gas that is super chilled to liquid form, is more efficient an can nearly treble a vehicle’s driving range as compared to CNG.

An update from Anric Blatt in Doha, Qatar

The dynamic gas rich gulf state of Qatar, well known for its gas reserves, high profile aquisitions and host country of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, already flew one of it’s A340′s to London in 2009 on GTL (Gas to Liquid) fuel blends.

Yesterday walking through the lobby at the Four Seasons in Doha, Qatar we noticed ExxonMobil delivering its ‘Outlook for energy – a view to 2040′ which states that natural gas, which is the fastest growing major fuel, is expected to overtake coal by 2025 as the second most used fuel. Demand for natural gas will increase by about 65% through 2040.

Yet back home in the US, where natural gas prices are some of the lowest in the world due to an abundant over supply thanks to recent shale developments, we are still dillydallying around with policy, incentives and old technology.

Download the entire ‘Outlook for energy – a view to 2040′ report

by Anric


We must change the way we operate


Changing lightbulbs, driving a hybrid, eating organic, shunning plastic: for anyone who cares about the environment, green lifestyles are the new normal – what every responsible citizen should do. Likewise, brands and businesses aspiring to sustainability have taken some basic steps such as reduction in packaging, cutting toxic chemicals, retooling for energy efficiency.

But in your company’s zeal to embrace these basics as part of your new triple bottom line of people, planet and profit, it’s tempting to think that if every enterprise on Earth followed your example, ecotopia would be at hand.

Unfortunately this is not enough. Many companies that take green initiatives are sincere in their commitment to sustainability; some are just greenwashing. While shrinking your company’s environmental footprint – for whatever reason – is a good thing, the scale of the planetary crisis is so big that more fundamental change is required.

On the one hand there is transactional change: laudable efforts to make progress within the current business paradigm. Reducing packaging, conserving energy and recycling are all transactional changes. On the other is transformative change: ambitiously – even radically – challenging the system – changing not just the way you do business but the reason you are in business.

There’s a parallel with consumer behaviour. Green shopping and lifestyle choices make people feel better about their individual environmental impacts. But by generating the illusion that progress is being made, green shopping may make consumers feel less compelled to engage in the broader social and political actions needed to make deep, lasting change.

Citizens’ real source of power to make change on the scale we need is through transforming the policies, business practices and structural context in which production and consumption happen.

We do that through civic engagement, not better shopping. Our real power is not in choosing from items on a limited menu; it is in determining what gets on the menu.

The way to ensure that toxic, climate-disrupting choices are replaced with safe and healthy alternatives – for everyone, not just those who can afford them – is by engaging as citizens: working together for bigger, bolder change than we could ever accomplish as individual consumers. We need a scaling-up of citizen action.

Now apply that thinking to corporate citizenship. What does a transformational green business look like?

Look at Patagonia, the California maker of outdoor clothing. First they took all the transactional steps: using organic cotton, detailing the supply chain online, taking used clothing back for recycling, donating some of their profits to green NGOs. But founder Yvon Chouinard said that wasn’t enough.

Patagonia adopted a radical mission statement: to “use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis”. Now the company asks customers to sign a pledge that they won’t buy something unless they really need it. They set up a used-gear shop on eBay, from which they receive no revenue, and urged customers to drag their old gear out of the closet and put it back to use. Most companies don’t want used brand-name stuff entering the market, since it discourages new purchases.

Sure, you say, that’s fine for Patagonia. They’re a niche company whose target demographic is outdoor enthusiasts. What about a multinational carpet company?

Interface is one of the largest makers and sellers of carpets in the world. Founder, Ray Anderson, looked at the huge amounts of energy, water and toxics his company used and the waste it generated, and committed himself to reducing the impact as much as possible. To do this, he had to go beyond transactional change to transform his company’s business model.

Anderson realised that most of the wear on carpets occurs on a small area. The old solution to a worn-out carpet was to pull up and replace the entire carpet, including the part that’s still perfectly good. Most businesses would see that as a savvy sales strategy.

Interface developed modular carpet tiles, which allow customers to replace only the worn sections while keeping the rest of the carpet in use longer.

Anderson also came to see that his customers weren’t really interesting in buying a carpet per se, but the things that carpets provide: attractiveness, noise reduction, comfort. By making carpets that last a long time, Interface reduces its opportunity to sell a new carpet every few years, but like Patagonia, earns long-term customer satisfaction and loyalty for a premium product.

We’re currently using resources and generating waste each year on a scale that would require 1.5 Earths to sustain. The companies that are true environmental heroes are those that are going beyond the green basics and rethinking their business models. This includes those who are unafraid to experiment with different models that would allow humanity to live within the limits of the only planet we have. Business as usual won’t cut it.

uploaded by Anric Blatt


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