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www.cipec.org  is a collection of articles looking at economic, social and environmental issues. The contention of this website is that we live in an increasing interconnected world. It is by understanding these  connections that we are able to build better and better models of reality.

It is not always fruitful to look at things in isolation, even in purely scientific terms. Ever since schrodinger’s cat, it is has become apparent that context is vital. Even the fact that something is observed is enough to change the results of an experiment. When dealing with more complex things than possibly dead cats in a box it becomes more apparent that the way an experiment is set up, the way it is described, the bias of the observer are all condemning the results to subjectivity.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. The notion of immutable truth is a hang up from Platonic theory. Rather we have to look for correlations, versions of the truth, working truths, useful insights.

By looking at a range of issues from several stand points it is hoped that the reader will go away from www.cipec.org with food for thought and possibly new perspectives. Perhaps these new perspectives will nudge the reader to taking positive action about environmental issues, social problems, economic injustices.

If not then perhaps the reader would care to comment and by doing so make a valid contribution to the debates taking place on this site.

As said Anacharsis:

“Wise men argue cases, fools decide them.”

How to Promote Self Esteem in the Workplace

You’ll experience a high ROI if you invest in developing stronger self-esteem among your workers. This lofty goal won’t be achieved overnight, although there’s nothing unusual about worthwhile investments. You have the option to use the services of experts and even read articles on the subject. But you have lived long enough and can use your good judgment to think of some things on your own. Or if you prefer, your company’s human resource department can provide you assistance. It doesn’t really matter what approach you choose; what’s important is that you’ve taken a step that is certain to help your workers and your business.

One effective way to help improve your workers’ self esteem is just to let them know you appreciate them. Don’t think you need to go over the top with this approach. All you really need to do is let them know you are thinking about their welfare from time to time. You can take advantage of group meetings or during reviews to do this. While in these meetings, you have the opportunity to give positive feedback, praise, or even just ask if anyone requires help with anything. Just taking the time to ask about how they’re doing is enough to let them know you’re thinking of them.

It is very common for people to want to feel accepted by others, especially at their place of employment. You might want to consider the working environment like society, but a small version. You need to realize that the same group formation and interactions are going to happen. So it becomes just as important to have a sense of belonging and being accepted at work. Whatever department you work in, or if this is your business, facilitating these positive feelings can actually be up to you. What is encouraging or should be for you is this goal will have an ROI for your business. You will increase productivity at work, especially when people are happier and feel less stress.

There are benefits all round, some which are less obvious. Where the employees are motivated and feel wanted, there’s less requirements for rigid rules and regulations. You can allow more leeway to staff and still watch productivity rise. A typical example is being more relaxed by internet usage allowing staff reasonable and unrestricted access. In a happy work environment this is rarely abused, people use the internet responsibly and sensibly. Otherwise you’ll find draconian restrictions on access essential with employees often using proxies to change IP address using sites like these, to bypass company policy.

If you believe that people are suffering from low self-esteem, there are some effective actions you can take with those suffering with this problem. Even though you are able to do this, it’s a good idea to avoid the appearance of singling them out for these positive reinforcement actions. When people need a little extra help, they should be treated just like everyone else, but a little more help should be given. You could say something nice about them, complimenting them for a job well done. High achievers at your place of employment may not receive your special attention. These people exist at every worksite. What you should do is offer your support to those in need.

One of the greatest challenges you may ever face is making positive changes at your workplace. But as you just read, there are simple measures that can be designed to help boost the level of self esteem. You will have a better business environment overall and it will be well worth your time and effort.

Heather Collins
Smart DNS

Yes, You Can Drive Greener

You might feel conflicted about protecting the environment while being forced to use a car to travel around. Nevertheless, we actually do need an automobile in many cases for us to live happily. For those who have kids, you may have no alternative but to drive them to school and they too have different activities such as sport in their spare time. Fortunately, we are living in an age where greenhouse emissions are a big concern so now we have options for how we can balance protecting the environment while still being able to drive.

During the last couple of years, there are more cars available that are environmentally friendly. You today have electric cars that function as well as gas-powered cars though they do need frequent charging. If you find that electric cars are not practical for your situation, you could get a hybrid car which uses electricity but also uses gas for extra power and distance. When driving a hybrid, you don’t use as much gasoline and you’ll have lower emissions.
Electric Green Car

It could be that you’re not ready to move to this degree and as such you should do your research on what conventional types of car have the best results in terms of fuel consumption and emissions. The last decision you make may depend on the type of journeys you generally do but you can certainly find models that are both efficient and economical. Taking good care of your car by performing regular maintenance and keeping tires well inflated can also help with reducing fuel consumption.

Your driving practices can also effect the environment like over-acceleration would end in using up more fuel than steady driving. When you go on an extended trip, be sure to plan the drive so that you won’t waste gas by being lost or taking the long way. Additionally it is easy to overload your vehicle especially when going away, so try to be sensible in what you really need to take and get into the habit of traveling light whenever possible.

There are many green driving tips available online and it’s worth checking out reviews on popular motor car shows, there are some reputable ones on British TV (not really Top Gear!) which you can access through this method.

You’ll probably find occasions when you use your car or truck when it really isn’t necessary. If you walk to nearby stores or restaurants, you will be able to get some exercise while safeguarding the environment. In addition, you can likely find school runs or group activities where car sharing is a possibility. Most of us probably would prefer to drive in our individual cars but if you want to cut emissions then there are sacrifices to be made.

If you modify some of your driving behaviors and check out ways to reduce emissions, you will still be able to drive while helping the environment.

Associated Source

Reducing Our Meat Consumption – An Environmental Necessity

There are predictions in a new report that the greenhouse gases produced by meat and dairy consumption will rise by around 80% if we continue along our current path.   The report states that the global consumption of meat must be reduced if we are to avoid serious environmental repercussions.  These include food scarcity as well as the overall environmental atmospheric impact that our current consumption popints too.

The report was produced from a collaboration of research between Aberdeen and Cambridge Universities which suggests globally the American diet seems to be the blueprint for the world.  This for many countries will mean a huge increase in the consumption of meat and dairy produce.

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The problem is that there are many was to produce the food we need to live.  However the efficiency of rearing livestock for meat is easily the most inefficient.  The report suggests that the standard measure of energy of producing food is less than 3% in the case of producing meat, which is extremely low and inefficient.  As our demand for meat increases so does the pressure to convert scarce resources like land away from traditional arable consumption simply to produce feeds for the animals.

The problem is not with the methods employed by farmers, but simply our choice of food stuffs.  There is no method by which meat production can ever be as efficient as producing vegetable or other traditional crops.The danger is that the environmental damage caused by increased meat production makes all food production more costly and difficult too.

Of course there are many scare stories about human behavior affecting the environments.  At the moment in Europe there is a huge rush to buy high powered vacuum cleaners as the overall power will be restricted later this year, the implication is that this is a ‘green initiative’ designed to reduce energy consumption although it’s easy to be sceptical about this initiative.  There is a lot more evidence around food production though and although most developed countries for the most part are able to finance and support this ‘meat and dairy’ demand, it wouldn’t take much in the way of climate changes to make it completely unsustainable in  many parts of the world.

There are a series of environmental discussions taking place at the moment on the UK TV network primarily the BBC and Channel 4, if you wish to watch these then this link might be useful which enables full access to most UK and US stations which broadcast online irrespective of your physical location.

Joe Hameers

Author and Blogger at http://dnsproxy.co.uk/

India Perhaps Ready To Change

It’s come as a bit of a surprise to some but it looks like the Indian Government may be on the verge of a major change in it’s climate change policy.   In it’s new 5 year plan there is an agreement to a global emissions cap prior to the more developed countries making their biding pledges for reducing emissions rapidly.

The Indian Government had previously stated in climate change meetings that rich and developed countries must take the lead. But it looks like the country now will be prepared to carry out a reduction of climate change domestically under it’s own steam.  There previous stance was that both financial and technological support from richer countries must come first.

It’s potentially a huge breakthrough if true.  One of the big problems is that countries like India are preventing any form of true global agreement.  However the reality of climate change is that countries must proceed to do much more with or without this global agreement.

The positive economic aspects are perhaps partly responsible for this big shift.  The benefits of aggressive energy efficieny drives given a real incentive due to the recent huge power cuts across the entire country.  Accelerated roll outs of renewables and addressing the high pollution industries that exist across India.

However as usual in this area – there is rarely a concensus and the USAs lead negotiator has suggested that the 2C warming target perhaps should be scrapped.  This was a very depressing statement and roundly condemned by the Eu and many others. However if you want to get a feeling of how the US feels about global warming then check out their main News channels.  You can find information on how to get a US IP address on this site - http://www.proxyusa.com/ this will allow you to access these programmes, there’s also quite a bit on the Canadian media which you can access through this method.   You will quickly see that the economy is way higher up the agenda in the US than global warming is (although arguably they are not alone in this!)

Some Important Issues for Your Environmental Debate

Protecting the environment has become among the most talked about and hotly debated issues across the world. Many businesses are investing vast sums of dollars to produce goods or make their goods environmentally friendly. A good example is the electric car that’s being considered a feasible alternative to that of-the current petrol powered automobile.

The travel industry too hasn’t been left out-of the problem. Also like every-other industry the travel industry wants to be worried about ways to do business that are environmentally friendly. Outlined here are a few of the environmental problems affecting the travel business which stakeholders have to deal with and in long term solutions are sought out by some cases.

1. Mass tourism. It is threatening the fauna and flora and putting stress on ecosystems within these areas. Again this provides a risk to the tourism of the place and to the ecosystems within the areas.

2. Deforestation. In spite of-the call to safeguard the ecosystem there are still areas where enormous logging is taking place. That is also contributing to destruction of fauna and flora and can be a hazard to the tourism in those areas.

3. Using the decision to go green impacting all businesses around the world the tourism business is not omitted. There is stress on people who are in the sector to find systems of working that are eco-friendly and sustainable. For example can the resort business construct hotels which are more environmentally friendly? What approaches can they use to save electricity and reduce on compounds that are found in the dry cleaning of heaps of laundry found in the business?

4. Human encroachment. This is a hazard to the tourism of most countries. Human encroachment is, in addition, compelling animals to move from their habitat to other locations where they can’t survive leading to the extinction of particular species.

5. A major issue for businesses is the consequence for climate change as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Aviation generates at least two% of emissions. However not all airlines particularly in the poorer nations can afford to buy new aircraft.

Technology obviously has a huge part to play in so many ways.  One of the least obvious ones is the important role of raising awareness of the important of our environmental predicament.  Although many of us are well aware of the importance of reducing carbon emissions and global warming, this is largely due to the huge media exposure to the issues in our countries.  Fortunately nowadays important sources of climate change reporting are accessible through the internet.  For example it’s even possible to access the wonderful BBC’s resources on the subject, in fact with the best VPN software or proxy you can watch British TV abroad using the internet on anything from a phone to a PC.

Joe Simpson is a writer on this media site  which raises awareness of environmental issues through social media.

Fracking in France

There have been some incidents which have briefly pleased those of us who care about the environment.  One of those which gave me hope personally is the commitment from the president himself that hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) as it’s known is banned completely in France.  Unfortunately the pressure is growing from the powerful energy explorers, oil and gas companies and other profit driven companies who are happy to destroy our environment to enhance their balance sheets.

The process involves blasting millions of gallons of water, chemicals and sand into the rock formations below our feet to release oil and gas reserves.  It sounds crazy when you explain it – actually fracturing the rock.  The idea is that it allows access to the gas which would have previously been inaccessible.

 

The fact that when this happens methane gas and various chemicals are poured into the ground and can easily contaminate the water table or sources of water seems to have been overlooked.  Some studies have reported that methane in drinking wells near a fracing site can be 17 times higher than normal.  Of course much of the damage will probably long term as we slowly poison people and the planet with yet another mad polluting idea to extract gas and oil.  A high proportion of the toxines used in Fracking are left in the ground, and not before you ask none of it’s biodegradable.

The problem is that although this is a terrible practices with probably more dangers than we can think of, France probably sits on one of the most valuable resources of shale gas in the huge Paris Basin.  This is the tactic companies like Total and GDF are taking, evaluate the reserves that France is sitting on before decisions are made.  Of course this will put huge pressure on any ban being upheld as billlions of dollars will probably be adequate compensation for destroying and poisoning the land and people.

The debate is happening now in France and you can keep up with developments in the French Online media from anywhere in the world.  Le Monde has a great web site with lots of news and debate, their are a few decent online media channels too – my favourite is M6 Replay which has news and entertainment channels all accessible on the internet.  Unfortunately these can only be accessed in France so if you’re outside you are going to need a French proxy – here’s an example.  This is a computer based in France that allows you to route your web browsing through, this gives you the appearance of a French IP address and then you can watch anything without issues.

 

The River Risk in the USA

I was watching a programme the other day on the BBC, it was a science show being syndicated across radio and the TV station.  I’d listened to the initial broadcast which was on the World Service about the river pollution and problems in the UK and how they had started solving them.  Unfortunately I thought I’d missed the BBC show as initially I was blocked from the BBC Iplayer site because of my location.  Fortunately I was able to spend a few bucks after someone showed me this web page which explained how to access British TV online and I was able to stream it across the internet without problems.  They certainly had their problems but some strong legislation has ensured that the quality of UK rivers has improved greatly over the last decade or so.

However there are similar concerns being raised in the US now, where the environmental group American Rivers has recently released it’s report on the most endangered rivers in the United States.  I was surprised to hear that one the biggest worries is that of the Colorado river.  Now I’ve just been on the Colorado during a visit to Las Vegas, and it looked mightily healthy to me.  However apparently the report has suggested that outdated river management techniques is sucking the mighty river dry – apparently the mighty Colorado River doesn’t even make it to the ocean before running dry.

Here are the top ten most endangered rivers according to the report.

  1. Colorado River (Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming)
  2. Flint River (Georgia)
  3. San Saba River (Texas)
  4. Little Plover River (Wisconsin)
  5. Catawba River (North Carolina and South Carolina)
  6. Boundary Waters (Minnesota)
  7. Black Warrior River (Alabama)
  8. Rough & Ready and Baldface Creeks (Oregon)
  9. Kootenai River (British Columbia, Montana and Idaho)
  10. Niobrara River (Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming)

There’s some incredible rivers there, but apparently these are really at serious risk.  One of the big problems is that the current water management techniques are ill suited to modern times.

You can take a lot more water out of a river when the rainful is plentiful than you can in the current climates.  Global warming is going to claim a lot of victims and unless we all globally try and reduce our consumption of water – some of our most loved rivers will be amongst them.

Reference – American Rivers Report 

Additional - http://www.iplayerabroad.com/

The Eco Choice for Jewelry

For anyone who is keen to minimize their environmental impact on the planet – jewelry can be a tricky area.  After all there’s no essential need for that necklace or silver ring, but lets face it we all need cheering up sometimes.  So perhaps you’ve decided you might want a new gold or silver piece of jewelry – how can you reduce the impact of your purchase?

Well of course the obvious first question is regarding the raw materials – the metals used. Mining for silver and gold can cause huge environmental impact if it’s not done properly.  There are many jewelers who try and use only recycled silver for example.  These come from secondary refiners who deal with recycled and scrap silver from other sources other than directly from a mine.

It is difficult to check the origin of precious metals though and it’s unlikely you can guarantee the origin of any item completely.  Silver to use our example is often mined as a by product of industrial mining of other products.  Most commonly the production of copper and zinc will produce a certain amount of silver ore as a by product.

The reality is though that if everyone only used recycled silver then the price would soon explode to an unsustainable level.   However there is another option that probably has the minimal impact on the environment.  That is simply to look at the many sources of antique jewelry in existence.  There are stockists who deal in antique silver items for example, like this place – http://anythingsilver.org/ whose environmental impact is long since passed.

Using existing items means there’s no requirement for raw materials, no production impact from mining or producing the item.  It of course is dependent on finding the right piece but this can normally done from the comfort of  your home and an internet enabled laptop.  It’s an attitude that’s growing in popularity, if you look across the world’s media sites then you’ll see this for yourself.  There’s many more shows about reducing your effect on the environment, there’s even quite a few on Canadian TV - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REwJq5iQn0Q, and also surprisingly in the US.

Economic Opportunites for Developing Nations

The internet has brought many great changes to our lives. As a communication medium, a place for entertainment  and research it’s unparalleled – most of us now even pay our bills and arrange our insurance policies.  However the pontential for economic development in some of the poorer nations in the world is perhaps one of the most exciting.

In North America and Europe, the internet already has spawned many thousands of online businesses.  Marketers, service industries and retail outlets can all be run either solely or partly online.  A market is no longer restricted to a local geographical area, in some senses the internet has genuinely created a global market.

I know a young entrpreneur who sells coffee online.  He doesn’t have a shop and merely buys in coffee from various sources and sells it from his website.  He adds value by supplying lots of choice and information about the various coffee beans available. His customers are literally in all four corners of the world stretching from Japan to the Outer Hebrides.  There are very few restrictions on where he can sell to – in fact local infrstructure of his customers are probably the main restrictions i.e. an unreliable postal service.

There are few reasons why this business could not be run from a developing nation.  A web site can be set up very easily, distribution networks are available in most countries  and a young internet entrepreneur in a poorer nation can set themselves up with minimal capital.

Unfortunately in some countries artificial obstacles are being created- check this.  Despotic or backward looking governments often block and filter the internet due to a variety of reasons.  Unfortunately this also stunts the economic potential for it’s citizens.  Facebook is an easy place to start selling goods and services but many countries block access to this social networking site for political or religious reasons. Of course these blocks can be circumvented – there are many sites like this http://www.theninjaproxy.org/ which show how to bypass these restrictions using proxy servers and VPNs.

Hopefully this aggressive filtering of the internet will not continue, Governments need to put aside their petty blocks and embrace the incredible opportunities that the internet offers.