Monday, November 12, 2012

Global Challenges in 2012: Taking Responsibility for Our Interconnected Future

Dear All,

This is your chance to start getting others inspired to take responsibility for what you think is important:

please post the abstracts for your conference presentations and any other material you would like to share here as well as anything else you find relevant in connection with your topic. 

Please use this forum to create more awareness about your topic and to inspire others to join you in creating a better world!

Of course, there should also be some time to celebrate! And tomorrow (Nov 13th) is a very special day:

Happy Diwali!



  1. I did my conference presentation on sustainable energies. In particular I choose to focus on the choice of wind energy. I believe that wind energy is a great choice for sustainable energy for the future. Wind energy is starting to take off lead by countries such as Denmark that currently already gets 20 percent of its energy from wind power. That is a remarkable figure to me, and I would love to see us in Canada follow this example. Between all the different sustainable energies people talked about in their presentations, it makes no sense that the world still gets energy in the harmful, un-sustaining ways that it does. There are so may great options out there, people have to start looking for and using them. Personally with wind power, many of the issues are concentrated in the start up costs. With the ability to make the turbines cheaper, there would be little in the way of this energy. The great thing about wind energy is that there is an abundance of wind in the world that can be harnessed. Also it does not disturb the environment that it is placed in much at all. The down fall is that it is not windy everywhere all the time. Wind energy would work ideally with hydroelectric power, so that when there is not wind there is still power. We as the people of the world have to integrate all the sustainable energies we have, and use them i existence. To rely on just one would be unrealistic, they must be put together. Wind power can be used in so many places, and needs to draw the attention that it deserves. With just one average wind turbine in an average wind area, one can generate enough energy for 1000 households a year. This is a remarkable number, and demonstrates how much power we really could be attaining from the wind if we get the proper resources in place.

  2. Although I was quite sceptical about writing a research paper on how we can take responsibility of the future, I soon realized the importance of what this actually meant. My initial doubts were that none of us could actually do anything significant to "change the world", with most of us being too young and without the proper knowledge. I found myself coming up with the biggest problems facing the world today such as world hunger, global warfare, and our destruction of the environment. The problem I ran into was that since these were 'global' problems, more qualified people than I were trying to solve them even. The fact is, many problems that affect our society won't be solved by the actions of one individual, especially if they only attempt to do something because they were told to do it for an English assignment. It's just not realistic for us all to be Mandela or Ghandhi. But that's not the point of the assignment. What I realized is that the point of the assignment is to take 'responsibility' which means that we should be aware of the problem and take part in the solution. This doesn't mean that we don't have to solve world problems but show responsibility by contributing towards making them better. The amount of difference is irrelevant but by making an attempt, that alone shows taking responsibility of the future.
    For my assignment I chose homelessness as my topic, specifically homelessness in Vancouver. This is a good example of a problem that has been around for a while and has proven extremely difficult to solve. On the other hand, there are many ways to make the problem less severe. Personally I don't feel like I could make a major impact on the issue as a whole but I can make the lives of a few homeless a little bit easier. By donating portions of my time, I can raise awareness and collect items that can help them get through the day. The provision of clean clothing and proper health products can make a huge difference in the life of one homeless person and knowing that is good enough for me.

  3. My conference presentation was about the problem with the increasing amounts of electronic waste in the world. The electronics we use everyday are made of toxic chemicals like heavy metals and flame retardants that are very harmful to the environment and our health. Most people don't know about these chemicals and are not careful about how they discard their electronic devices. So, a lot of discarded electronics end up in landfills where chemicals easily leech into the soil and waterways. There is a proper way of discarding unwanted electronic devices. BC's Return-it electronics program is a province wide recycling program where we can drop-off our unwanted electronic devices to be safely discarded. This program is free because when we purchase any electronic device, we pay an environmental handling fee. This fee goes towards the recycling program. My main personal contribution towards solving this problem is to raise awareness about the safe methods of discarding electronic devices.
    More information and the locations of the BC recycling program can be found at these links:
    More information about the different types of chemicals in electronics and their effects can be found here: