"Smartphones sind schlecht zu reparieren, schlecht aufzurüsten, schlecht zu recyceln. Für die Konsumentinnen ist das ärgerlich – und kann für die Hersteller richtig teuer werden. ...
Dass Mobiltelefone eine längere Lebensdauer haben, ist aber ein wichtiger Beitrag zum Umweltschutz: Für ihre Herstellung werden Edelmetalle und so genannte Seltene Erden gebraucht, die unter grossem Energieaufwand und mittels gesundheitsschädigender Chemikalien gefördert werden. Jedes reparierte Telefon schont Ressourcen. Im Auftrag von Greenpeace berechnete das deutsche Oeko-Institut, dass sich die Smartphone-Lebensdauer im Schnitt um 1,5 Jahre verlängern liesse. Nimmt man all das zusammen – Energieaufwand, kurze Lebensspanne und geringe Recyclingquote – wird klar, dass es so nicht endlos weitergehen kann."
(Greenpeace Schweiz, 1 March 2017)
Elinor Ostrom's "research concerned the governance of common resources (also known as commons). The commons are natural resources, like land for grazing, fishing areas, forests for timber, water for the irrigation of farmland, and also more intangible resources, like knowledge, for which it is very expensive to control and fence in 'user' consumption. The problem with these types of resources, as shown in 1968 by Garrett Hardin (but Aristotle had already observed a similar phenomenon) is that they are over-exploited, or at least their care and sustainability is overlooked by users. The reason is that people behave opportunistically (like free-riders) and consider the resource they are accessing, without the possibility of being excluded, as a free resource, and they therefore maximize their private benefits but neglect, or collectivize, the costs.
Hardin coined the phrase 'tragedy of the commons' to describe this phenomenon and gave social sciences one of the most evocative metaphors after Adam Smith’s 'invisible hand'. These two metaphors are effective because they capture two essential social situations in marked contrast to one another. When social interactions are guided by an invisible hand, they reconcile individual choice and socially desirable results, whereas in the tragedy of the commons, individuals pursuing their private objectives cause disastrous consequences for themselves and others. The solution to the tragedy of the commons, before the contribution of Ostrom and her studies, was to privatize resources or, in a diametrically opposite view, to form a Leviathan state in order to manage them.
Instead, Ostrom demonstrated that, within communities, rules and institutions of non-market and not resulting from public planning can emerge from the bottom up to ensure a sustainable, shared management of resources, as well as one that is efficient from an economical point of view. Besides the village of Törbel, Ostrom shows examples of common lands in the Japanese villages of Hirano and Nagaike, the huerta irrigation mechanism between Valencia, Murcia and Alicante in Spain, and the zanjera irrigation community in the Philippines. Also, the property in the form of 'vicinale', neighborhoods, typical of regions of Italy like Emilia, the Belluno and the Ticino, are also collective institutions, although not investigated by Ostrom. The argument then has a more modern example if one notices that even the 'Wikipedia community' is a form of successful collective institution of a communal resource (knowledge)."
(Flavio Felice, Massimiliano Vatiero, 27 June 2012)
"Resilience, a system's ability to adjust its activity to retain its basic functionality when errors, failures and environmental changes occur, is a defining property of many complex systems. Despite widespread consequences for human health, the economy and the environment, events leading to loss of resilience—from cascading failures in technological systems to mass extinctions in ecological networks—are rarely predictable and are often irreversible. These limitations are rooted in a theoretical gap: the current analytical framework of resilience is designed to treat low-dimensional models with a few interacting components, and is unsuitable for multi-dimensional systems consisting of a large number of components that interact through a complex network. Here we bridge this theoretical gap by developing a set of analytical tools with which to identify the natural control and state parameters of a multi-dimensional complex system, helping us derive effective one-dimensional dynamics that accurately predict the system's resilience. The proposed analytical framework allows us systematically to separate the roles of the system's dynamics and topology, collapsing the behaviour of different networks onto a single universal resilience function. The analytical results unveil the network characteristics that can enhance or diminish resilience, offering ways to prevent the collapse of ecological, biological or economic systems, and guiding the design of technological systems resilient to both internal failures and environmental changes."
(Jianxi Gao, Baruch Barzel & Albert-László Barabási, 17 February 2016, Nature)
"In November 2011, the UN invited representatives from 194 states to discuss climate change at the COP17 Conference (17th Conference of Parties) in Durban, South Africa. CNN launched the ECOSPHERE Project and brought the world to the COP17 Climate Change Conference – with a hashtag.
The CNN ECOSPHERE is a digital ecosystem growing from thousands of tweets about climate change. A real–time visualisation of the global discussion on the internet.
Every #COP17 tweet stimulated growth in one of the numerous plants representing topics like Sustainability or Carbon. The size, colour and growth rate of these plants gave users a fascinating view of how the international conversation was evolving.
CNN invited people to plant a thought with hashtag #COP17 and brought the project to the COP17 Conference. Here a live digital installation connected delegates with contributions from all over the world–getting more people involved in a climate change conference than ever before."
"Design Indaba invited five designers to look beyond the possibilities and predictions currently in the public domain. Futurefarmers, 5.5 designers, Dunne&Raby, Revital Cohen and Frank Tjepkema each created a unique vision of the year 2050 with increased urbanisation and population, limited natural resources, climate challenges and digital–biological integration. Defining farming as the sustainable cultivation of a renewable resource, Design Indaba presented Protofarm 2050 at the ICSID World Design Congress in Singapore from 23 to 25 November ."