Why most people fail to see a bright green future

While helping my teenager niece to do her English homework, we found a question about how she sees the bright green future, which was described in a leaflet printed in the book.

Just to be clear, a bright green future is a world with less pollution, less waste, with more renewable energy, more recycling, and a healthy place to live in.

Her answer was that she sees it positive. With my huge surprise, she added with a full conviction: “Positive, but unrealistic”.

“Why?”.

“Because we cannot do it now. We have too many problems. Future generations will create a green future”.

My conclusion is that a general and common pessimism, that is generated spreading bad news, disable the ability of people to see a different world and to trust their own skills. Most people surrender. And, if also the new generations surrender, this is extremely serious.

Recently, I found many articles published by colleagues on official magazines about sustainability and project management. Just a few years ago, it was unbelievable to find so many publications on this subject. We really need them to go in the right direction and to thrive.

One article is about modern stakeholder management and sustainable development principles included in project management standards. Refer also to my article about modern stakeholder management. Yes, my article is in Italian. As a general consideration, this shows a big limit for all these publications: they refer only to articles written in English language. They exclude all articles, journals, books, conference papers and research about sustainability and project management developed in different languages. This huge gap demonstrates that, if we don’t know a language, it doesn’t mean that there are no significant research results in other languages on the same subject. I don’t think that this practice is “sustainable” and that the English literature must be dominant. Anyway, let us proceed with the review.

Another article is about the finding that sustainability is one of the two major themes in today project management research and practice (the other is governance). Experienced project management practitioners work and write about this subject.

Another article identifies key variables of sustainability in project management and describes new parameters to measure the project success including economic, environmental and social benefits.

Another article is about the pursuit of sustainability in the construction industry based on the results of interviewing expert project managers. They found, briefly and for instance, that sustainable constructions aims to cost savings, employee satisfaction, green procurement, innovations, and survival of a company in the long term. Among barriers and challenges to the integration of sustainability, they found, for example, lack of awareness, lack of responsibility, lack of training, lack of organizational support, and ambiguity in government policies.

A further article describes how and how much sustainability is taken into account in project management decision making. In a traditional assessment, quality, time and costs are considered. Risks can be added. But, what happens to the environmental, social and economic variables of sustainability?

Thanks to these colleagues. Our daily actions and thoughts create our world and our future.

If people can see it, then they can really create a bright green future.

Paola Morgese, PMP
Civil Hydraulic Engineer
M.S. Sanitary and Environmental Engineering
http://it.linkedin.com/in/ingpaolamorgese/en

https://sustainableprojectsblog.wordpress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/manualeprogettisostenibili

References will be provided on request.

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The study of science protects from being manipulated

Science is a set of ordered and coherent knowledge. Subjects like chemistry, physics, biology and natural sciences are all disciplines dealing with the phenomena of the sensible world for descriptive and interpretive purposes.

Scientists are expert scholars in a particular discipline.
In the study of nature, the scientist uses the sense organs or some increasingly sophisticated tools. The results, to be totally objective, should be independent from the activity of the scientist, from his or her personal, social and cultural story. That is, scientists should be independent from any kind of pressure and conditioning to impartially perform their work.

In reality, this does not always happen because of large economic and power interests linked to the applied sciences, that is the application for practical purposes of scientific laws and results. The scientific and technological progress could be driven from the outside towards a specific, single and interested direction.

The continuity of the scientific and technological progress should instead be always and equally assured in all sectors, in order to obtain more and better knowledge for the common good and well-being. Sustainability should be the single and wide direction to follow. Science and technology should ensure the continuity of life on this planet with a biocentric and non anthropocentric perspective, which respects the rights of all living beings. The right to health and to environmental, social and economic well-being should be guaranteed to all future generations. Equal opportunity and availability automatically generate trust in ourselves and in other people, cooperation, and emotional security.

Personal learning, deriving or not from school education, of scientific disciplines and of some simple basic notions, protects against possible distortions of scientific results. Science is based on facts, on numbers, on measurements, and not on words. Someone at school might not have studied chemistry and physics, because the matters were cancelled or because the teacher was not friendly. Or even because the teacher was not able to explain and made the subject incomprehensible and unapproachable for the majority of his or her students. To get started, just look for a good, clear and passionate teacher or book.

We should have no doubt, for example, about pH, acid rain, electromagnetic waves, chemicals and chemical reactions, antibodies, viruses and bacteria. They are not abstract topics. They are the environment where we live and the food that we eat. They are the remedies that we use for our health and the water that we drink. They are the substances contained in household cleaners and body creams. They are the clothes that we wear and our personal belongings.

Words can be manipulated, their use can be changed, their meaning can be altered, their sense can be turned upside-down. Classic examples of distortion of words are given in this blog post: “1984, the book symbol of manipulation”.

If we have some simple basic scientific knowledge, we can instead make independent cross-checks. We can have fun while making experiments directly and in a conscious and informed way. We can repeat the experience, if we are not satisfied. We can go deeper. We can go further and trust our reasoning, our intuitions, and our personal results.

Namastè  🙂

Paola Morgese, PMP
Civil Hydraulic Engineer
M.S. Sanitary and Environmental Engineering
http://it.linkedin.com/in/ingpaolamorgese/en

https://sustainableprojectsblog.wordpress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/soluzioniolisticheallemanipolazioniaffettive

http://www.facebook.com/manualeprogettisostenibili

Translation of the Italian blog post: Paola Morgese, Studiare le materie scientifiche per non farsi manipolare

 

 

Recipes of the past century

While browsing a cookbook used by my grandmother, I came across a chapter, where I found some simple recipes, mostly healthy and vegan, with a strange title: “Recipes of the famine”.

The book contains some of the many thousands of recipes that listeners sent to the presenter of a widely followed broadcast of a private radio of the Seventies. Those of the chapter on the famine are about fifty.

To give you an idea, here are some titles: pre-alarm artichokes, poppies and beans, 1943 chestnut cake, chestnut cake for the shelter, chicory (lupine, chickpea, bean, and the like) coffee, chickling soup, dumplings of the poor people, seaweed pancakes, trolley-car bread, omelet of the poor people.

This is the introductory note to the chickling soup recipe: “Chicklings, which are a species of legumes with scarce edible value, but very good feed for animals, made their appearance during the war when the precious legumes disappeared from our tables. Their appearance was a cross between a broad bean and a lupine… “.

Maybe it was the dark atmosphere of the war years that created misunderstandings about these ingredients. The chickling soup has been part of my vegan diet for some time. I was impressed to read that they were regarded only as an “animal feed”. They are delicious, rich in protein and nourishing like the other “precious legumes”. Indeed, now they are perhaps more exclusive and more expensive than other most popular legumes.

However, I used the best of my ability and have tried a few of them, such as the vegan omelet and the dumplings of the poor people. They are delicious, healthy and nourishing. But these are common recipes, which are already part of our eating habits.

It was rather a surprise to literally bring back to life again an unknown “trolley-car bread”. While kneading it, putting it into the oven and beginning to smell its aroma while it baked, it has been like making a journey back in time. It is the recipe for a snack for children of about a century ago. And, when I tasted it, it almost seemed to me to see those children. To give shape, color, taste, odor and to materialize something from the past has been a sweet and exciting experience.

These old tasty recipes are made with ingredients that are natural, cheap, easily available, locally produced, and often personally produced, and with high quality raw materials unfairly downgraded. They are small masterpieces of sustainability.

Paola Morgese, PMP
Civil Hydraulic Engineer
M.S. Sanitary and Environmental Engineering

http://it.linkedin.com/in/ingpaolamorgese/en

https://sustainableprojectsblog.wordpress.com/

References
Various authors, Le mille e una… ricetta – Frijenno magnanno, by Gianni de Bury, Radio Antenna Capri, Edizioni Tursport, Naples (Italy), 1977.

Translation of the Italian blog post: Paola Morgese, Ricette di un secolo passato published at Sostenibile.com