thenextwave

Global car production continues to rise

Posted in affluence, cars, climate change, environment, global, sustainability, transport by thenextwavefutures on 30 July, 2007

You don’t read the Worldwatch Institute site for good news on global warming, of course. But it’s worth noting their report that world car production was up 4% last year – reaching a new record output of 67 million vehicles. The most dramatic change in the global industry was a 30% increase in the number of cars made in China – displacing Germany to become the number three produce (more…)

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Countering greenwash

Posted in business, climate change, emerging issues, environment, sustainability by thenextwavefutures on 29 July, 2007

Not even August yet and there’s already an outstanding contender for ‘greenwash as chutzpah’ of the year award, in the shape of Vauxhall’s current ‘eco-ad’, which boasts of its 30% reduction in emissions at its Ellesmere Port plant. I’ll expand on the reasons for this in a moment – but it does point up the need for relaiable and trusted metrics – the subject of a good post by John Thackara on the always excellect doors of perception list.

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Bookends of American power?

Posted in books, emerging issues, history, international, politics, security, warfare by thenextwavefutures on 28 July, 2007

In his latest collection of essays, Hold Everything Dear, John Berger makes a striking comparison in a piece first published in 2002 between Hiroshima 1945 and World Trade Centre 2001 as representing significant turns in our perceptions of American power.

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Cycling, doping, and the pace of change

Posted in cycling, emerging issues, media, social, sport by thenextwavefutures on 25 July, 2007

I’m a huge fan of professional cycling. I love the toughness of the sport, but also its tactical complexity. I don’t like the drug-taking (even if some of the best stories about the sport are about drug-takers being found out: “I have good news and bad news: you’ve passed the drugs test but you are pregnant”, to a rider who had infiltrated some of his girlfriend’s urine into a test). But is the expulsion of Vinokurov for blood doping, and the subsequent departure of the race leader Michael Rasmussen, the “crisis” it is portrayed as? I think the story is more complex than that.

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The 21st century flood

Posted in climate change, emerging issues, environment, sustainability, water by thenextwavefutures on 24 July, 2007

Don floods, Dan KitwoodThe rains this week reminded me of a recent workshop I facilitated. One of the participants – who was certainly in a position to know – commented that the recent floods in Doncaster seemed to be ‘the first 21st century flood’ . What I understood him to mean by this was that the flooding had not been caused by sea levels rising, or accumulated run-off reaching the rivers, but simply because the water table and local river systems had been unable to absorb the sheer weight of water that had fallen out of the sky.

The picture is by Dan Kitwood on Flickr.com.

The gender gap

Posted in equality, future, gender, reports, social, trends by thenextwavefutures on 24 July, 2007

The UK`s Equal Opportunities Commission, which is to be subsumed on 1st October into a new Commission for Equality and Human Rights, has got its retaliation in early by releasing a report, The Gender Agenda, which shows how far from complete its task is.

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Globalisation and the power of the executive

Posted in economics, global, international, politics, trends by thenextwavefutures on 24 July, 2007

There’s a fascinating article by the geographer Saskia Sassen on Open Democracy which challenges some of the prevailing ‘wisdom’ about globalisation – most notably that it inevitably weakens the power of national government. The article is written in response to Gordon Brown’s announcement in early July that he would hand back certain powers taken by the British executive branch of government from Parliament. As she observes, globalisation strengthens some parts of the executive at the expense of other parts of government.

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A telecoms story about competition and infrastructure

Posted in business, economics, organisational, trends by thenextwavefutures on 24 July, 2007

I haven’t been able to blog for more than a week because the line which has my broadband connection on it went down so I’ve barely had any internet access. But the experience of getting my phone supplier to get BT (the wholesaler) to sort out my fault, which was at the BT exchange, did make it clear to me that the present telecoms model is in no-one’s interests other than BT’s.

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The need for more resilience

Posted in aviation, business, climate change, emerging issues, environment, sustainability, water by thenextwavefutures on 21 July, 2007

The intense rains of last Friday found me in Dublin, waiting for the aviation schedule to sort itself out. My plane eventually left around three hours late, but what was interesting was the pilot’s explanation.

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Ulrich Beck: globalisation meets its limits

Posted in climate change, emerging issues, global, international, politics by thenextwavefutures on 13 July, 2007

Ulrich Beck, who invented the concept of the ‘risk society’ more than a decade ago is consistently interesting on the way societies are responding to rapid social change. In an article in today’s Guardian he offers a neologism to describe the shape of the world to come: “cosmopolitics”. Globalisation, he suggests, is reaching its limits. (more…)