Idea's space

This blog is dedicaded to share ideas coming randomly from my experiences

Archive for January 2019

For a Sustainable Planet

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70.000 people mobilized in Brussels to ask for political measures in favor of the planet protection.

Today we were around 70.000 people gathered in Brussels to manifest in favor of a political change for the climate. But it is not the first manifestation of its kind. In recent weeks, students coming from different parts of the country, inspired by the action of Greta Thunberg, a young Swedish student climate activist, skipped school and came in Brussels to manifest too.  On 17th of January, they were around 12.500. On 24/01, there were 35.000!  Such mobilization can only rejoice us, insofar as it is a part of a sustainable ambition and strong commitment.

Climate change is a real challenge for the coming years. We already notice negative effects of the human activity on the climate. But the challenge is much bigger than the climate change, it is the preservation of our earth.  To reach such goal, it is important to see concrete actions on different levels. First of all, there is the individual action. Each of us, we can contribute to preserve the nature by changing our habit, by thinking to have a way of live having less impact on our environment. But changes in our live are never easy. Most of the time, we see changes as constraints instead of opportunities. By minimizing the usage of our car and using public transports or a bike for our travels, by consuming more responsibly, by recycling our waste or buying products with less or no packaging, we can contribute positively to our environment. But such change is an incremental process. It implies to change our habit, to be more organized, and to be convinced that it is not only on an individual level we have to act but on a collective level. Each of us we have to be an inspiring example to motivate the others. That Is why I mentioned that to manifest for the climate is a good point but it has to be followed by concrete actions, and it is not just the business of the others.

But if the individual action is a good start point, it remains insufficient. A real political action is also needed. We can only contribute to build a better environment if the political authorities implement a real environmental politic. We can reduce the usage of car if we have efficient public transports networks, if we have a secure infrastructure for cycling paths, and also some tax incentives. The reduction of car usage in big cities doesn’t solve only the problem of pollution, but also the problems of mobility, having a negative economic impact. We can reduce our wastes or recycling them, if there is an organized and efficient system for collecting and sorting wastes. But it is always better to reduce as much as possible the quantity of waste. Political authorities have to be aware that not all people are equal facing ecology,  that it is also a social issue. It is more difficult for vulnerable people to adopt green measures and habits that requires investments, such as the isolation of the home. Vulnerable people cannot be excluded from that issue and considered responsible for not acting.

A third important point is the contribution of the industry. Industry is responsible for a big part of the pollution. Most of the time, financial aspects are more important than ecological aspects. Ecology is seen as a constraint instead of an opportunity. It is obvious that our natural resources are limited, and that we are consuming more than the earth can regenerate its resources. And to hide this reality is the result of a short term vision, and most of the time, short term visions lead to failure.  Same as for us, ecology is seen as a constraint instead of an opportunity.  If you are looking backwards, only companies facing changes and anticipating succeed. Investments in clean technologies are opportunities to develop new markets, to create jobs, to create a more sustainable environment. The concept of blue economy is interesting on that point. I will come to it later.

Nevertheless, technology is not necessarily the only answer to the protection of our environment. For instance, we are presenting electrical cars as an alternative to fuel cars, contributing to reduce the CO2 rejections. That is an attractive conclusion when you read the car characteristics in the brochure given by the car dealer. Now, looking more ready, the reality does not seem to be so …green.  The production of batteries is the main reason why electrical vehicles can generate more carbon emissions over their lifecycle. The batteries recycling process is also generating CO2 rejections.  Other question: how is the electricity generated? By gas plants, or by coal?  If we don’t consider the thing in its entirety, we can only miss the goal. Of course, it takes time to develop a new technology and to make it more efficient.  It is only by investing money in research and development that we can progress in technologies efficiency.  But before considering new alternatives, it would be interesting to focus on those that already exist. Instead to reduce the CO2 footprint by decreasing the number of fuel cars by replacing them by electrical cars, why don’t we develop more efficient public transport like tramways, trains etc. As already mentioned, you solve two problems: pollution and mobility. Of course, here is the responsibility of political authorities to implement coherent ecological politics based on serious studies and not on “green-washing” marketing.

Now let us come back to the concept of blue economy. Blue economy concept is based on the usage of renewable resources contributing to preserve the nature, and in some case to regenerate resources. Blue economy includes also jobs dimension and social capital. To summarize, blue economy is an economy having a neutral impact on environment and providing benefits for human being. This business model based on buy-use-repair or recycle, is totally disruptive with the actual business model based on buy-use-throw. How can we use our waste to produce new goods with minimum or zero impact on our environment.  It implies development of clean technologies development but also a locally based specific organization. For instance, export wastes to another country to recycle them is generating also carbon footprint, which is totally senseless.

The equation of climate change is not easy to solve and will be probably the most ambitious challenge the humanity has to face. That is what I tried to underline in this article. The task seems to be unrealistic to accomplish. But each process of change needs time and different steps to be reach. Resignation is probably the worst thing we can do. We have to act as responsible persons who have the power to change things. We have to look at ourselves in the mirror and consider that manifest for the climate and claim ecological values, is totally senseless if concrete actions does not follow on a daily basis. What is important is to act as responsible people and not as victims, in a way to develop a power of conviction to move to a more sustainable way of life. We need to make militant choices that change probably drastically our life, but as a lot of things, when we are used to act I a way, what is a constraint becomes an habit that we finally accept, especially if it is in line with the values we defend. We do not have the right to blame others for doing nothing if we do not do anything ourselves. We have to be actors of the change and inspire people around us, and not only to be preachers. To act for the protection of our environment according to our possibilities, is probably the most important personal and collective commitment we have to take, to try to build a sustainable future for our planet.

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Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

January 28, 2019 at 07:56

Knowledge, A Transmission of a Heritage

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Thot, egyptian god of knowledge

Knowledge is the most valuable thing we can acquire. It starts first with our parents who explain us lots of things during early childhood and later. Then the time has come to go to school where we learn to read, to calculate, to understand and appreciate.  It is also the most crucial moment to develop our sense of curiosity and discovery.  That’s why it is not only necessary to learn the basic fundamentals, but also to learn all what can bring us directly or indirectly inspiration, new ideas. History, geography, literature, art, are just as important in education.

Knowledge is part of education, and education is an important step to expand our knowledge, our curiosity and creativity.  Curiosity is a key motivation to open doors to new knowledge.  Curiosity is a key element to expand our knowledge and to increase our autonomy, to become free human beings. There are many channels to explore new horizons, to understand our environment and the history, by reading books, watching Tv podcasts or going to the cinema, visiting cities and historical sites, practicing a sport. All these new discoveries we can do, could be the opportunity to discover new centers of interest, new motivations, new ideas to develop future projects.  Knowledge is acquired through experience and original journey.

Knowledge is also one of the only things without limit. Each day, science makes new discoveries, industries are innovating. Each discovery is a source of knowledge opening doors to new reflections, new discoveries and opportunities. But the most interesting fact is that knowledge is the only thing we have more when it is shared. What would be the interest to keep your knowledge for yourself, especially in the age of the internet, where you can find an unlimited quantity of information. It is also senseless to keep information or knowledge for yourself when projects can only be done and succeed as the result of a collective intelligence process. Those who don’t share knowledge consider it in a spirit of competition. But today, things begin to be more and more complex, and in such a context, the required knowledge is so extensive that we can only control a part of it. We must not see each other as competitors, but more as complementary people who can learn from each other. Instead of seeing knowledge in a competition spirit, let us considering it in a collaboration spirit.

Knowledge has to be considered as an intangible common heritage. Each of us, we acquire knowledge on different ways, according to our interests and aspirations.  We acquire knowledge with experience and as I mentioned in a previous article about seniority, it is an asset. But in a fast and ongoing changing environment, young generations have other sensibilities and other visions of the society. Combining experience of the seniors and new visions of the juniors is an interesting way to launch innovative processes. It is only by sharing knowledge and visions that each of us, we can evolve together.

Knowledge is part of our personality, what will make us someone blossomed. Knowledge is what gives us possibilities to accomplish us, and to allow others to accomplish themselves. Sharing knowledge each other will make us grow. We can share what we acquire, without losing it. Knowledge is finally a heritage to be transmitted.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

January 24, 2019 at 07:04

Utopia is a strength

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limitesWhat would be the world without utopia? It would be probably a world without dreams and hope.  A definition of utopia is the representation of an ideal society, the contrary of the reality. It can also refer to a reality that appears difficult to accept.  Utopia is considered as something irrational, so, unreachable and by consequence, each effort to reach it seems to be useless.

By such a definition, utopia has a negative connotation.  But considering utopia as a part of dreams, is a positive way to consider it and maybe to consider it as a strength. Let us remember this nice quote about utopia from Théodore Monod, saying that “Utopia does not mean the unrealizable, but the unrealized”. So, is utopia really something unreachable, unrealizable? Let us thing about few things to answer to that question.

Our utopias are a kind of dream guided by our own aspirations, by some values to which we adhere.  Most of the time, we have doubts to the realization of our utopias, maybe because we are referring to that perception of unreachable goal. But have we to see utopia as a final goal or as the path to move to another environment, to something new in accordance with our values and aspirations?  Utopia looks like unrealizable, but to try to get closer from our utopia can be an interesting walk for our personal life.

To reach our utopias induces an idea of movement. The most difficult part of the process is to start that movement, to start that inner walk by putting concrete actions in place. Sometimes, a phenomenon of procrastination appears to some of us, and is the sign of doubts, lack of motivation and self-confidence, seeing utopia as something irrational. Let us talk about an example. A lot of people wants to save the planet, and initiates concrete actions to contribute to that goal. For instance, you compost your household waste, in order to minimize the garbage bags you use and to decrease the ecological footprint of the elimination of household waste. Some people doubt and don’t start such action because they see such action as derisory on their individual level, compared to the overall effort that required to save the planet. But considering such action as derisory could be a way to hide your lack of ambition to face more ambitious challenges and your lack of commitment.

Commitment is probably the key element to shape your own utopias. Commitment to your values, commitment to the community, commitment to implement concrete daily actions in order to reach your goal, to live your own values. Without commitment to act, what is the meaning of values?
Commitment and actions are the conditions to start that walk to your utopias. The inner path along which you will put concrete actions making you discover new horizons and contributing to build communities sharing the same values, a path of learning along which you will shape your self-confidence and that will bring you closer to your values and ambitions, …closer to your utopias.

There are two different ways to see utopia. Or you see utopia as a barrier, a mental barrier, or you see it as a life motivation. We could say that utopia is not precisely a goal to reach but much more a state of mind. Not a goal we could name perfections, but a path leading to excellence, a path along which we discover a bit more ourselves, where we can reinvent ourselves. Don’t see utopia as a constraint, but as a motivation. Life is an utopia, utopia is a strength.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

January 14, 2019 at 08:42

Culture is good for morale

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img_2572Few weeks ago, I was listening to a podcast on the web talking about culture. According to the chronicler, referring to the book “Sauver la culture” (Save the culture) from Patrick Béziers, culture is an efficient antidepressant. How to reach this conclusion?

Culture is in the books, in the museums, theater, photography, in the painting, in languages and many other things. All these forms of culture express emotions, ideas, are sources of inspiration and an excellent way to stimulate serendipity. Just to remind you, serendipity is the fact to discover or invent something unexpectedly as a result of a fortuitous combination of circumstances, and often as part of a search of another subject.  In other words, it’s finding something other than what you’re looking for.

Culture can make us discover new horizons, and discover new center of interest or hide talents. For instance, you take your children to see a photo exhibition, and after, they would like to try to take photos too. It will be probably an opportunity to discover a new passion, to visit places to make a small photo trip and to learn things about these places. A kind of virtuous circle feeding your culture and knowledge.

Another example, as member of a non-profit association, you are asked to be the community manager and to take care about the blog or the website of the association. You discover the pleasure to write, to relate events or news from the association, or to develop a topic related to the object of the association. With the time, you develop the talents of chronicler or writer, you learn about social media world. On other words, you develop transversal skills.

img_2573Based on these two examples, we can say that culture allows you to find your potential of creativity. In the example of the chronicler for the non-profit association, you start first by writing editorials or articles, then you improve your writing style, you try to develop original ideas you will communicate about. Based on that acquired experience, you can think about opportunities to develop your passion to write. If you build a good reputation thanks to the quality of your writing style, why not to develop a commercial activity as writer or content provider?  What is important and we will see why, is to define a goal that will motivate you to improve your skills, to push your limit ever higher, in order to catch new possibilities.

Why is it important to push your limit higher? Because it is a good way to reinvent yourself, to be more creative and to imagine to start a new activity, a new life. You are not afraid of the future, and you are enough self-confident to move to unknown territories, to new experiences. Looking back, you will find that your life did not go as you thought, and that the fear of the future is a bit irrational. Only self-confidence will help you to face the future, and your capabilities will be a good way to empower your self-confidence.  The famous quote, “The best way to predict the future is to create it”, credited to both Abraham Lincoln and Peter Drucker, make sense.  The self-confidence has a positive impact on your moral. That is why culture that is part of knowledge, is the basic element to build future projects, to develop happiness. That is why culture is good for moral.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

January 9, 2019 at 19:42