Our World 2.0 selected to blog “The Great Transformation”

United Nations University’s Our World 2.0 web-magazine has been selected as the official blog site for a major international conference on a global green new deal.

“The Great Transformation – Greening the Economy”, brings together German and world leaders from government, industry and civil society and will be held in Berlin, Germany, on May 28 & 29. The conference is a joint initiative of German political foundations the Heinrich Böll Stiftung and Stiftung Mercator, as well as the Center for American Progress.

The aim of the conference, in the wake of the failure of last year’s COP15, is to discuss how the world can transition away from unsustainable fossil fuels and towards a ‘low carbon society’. Two vital topics will be focused on by the participants: firstly, ’smart policies’ that guide and regulate changes in economic and energy policy; and secondly, ’smart technologies’ that can kick-start an ecological turnaround for a declining planet.

Of particular interest to the Our World 2.0 community will be the session on Social Media and Climate Change. While development of technology to mitigate and adapt to climate change is important, the real challenge is to communicate the benefits of environmental change to greennewdeal_logo290the public, especially through the internet.

More information on “The Great Transformation” including the conference programme can be found here. Keep an eye on Our World 2.0 for reports and interviews from the event.

by Mark Notaras on May 14, 2010 - Comments (01)  

Ending November on a high!

artivistWell, we have had a great month and it is always nice to end on a high. This morning I had two important feeds in my news reader. First, one of our articles, “Does climate change cause armed conflict? was picked up in the Guardian. Always good to get wider exposure for our writing. The article was writing by Mark Notaras and includes an interview with Vesselin Popovski, one of the leading academics in the UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace.

Next, Treehugger has an article on Traditional Fire Management Helps Fight Climate Change which includes a video that was produced by the UNU Media Studio in collaboration with the Australian National University. The article includes a qoute from Sam Johnston, head of the UNU-IAS Traditional Knowledge Initiative.

Finally, one of our documentaries, Dayaks, produced by Citt Williams and Luis Patron, is screening at the Artivist Film Festival and Awards in Los Angeles from 1-5 December 2009. It will also be screened in New York and London in 2010. The theme of this year’s Artivist Festival is “Raising Awareness for Humanity, Animals and the Environment,” so the Dayak story fits perfectly. It tells about how the Dayak people in Borneo are sustainably managing their local forest.

by Brendan Barrett on November 30, 2009 - Comments (00)  

Great new media ideas this year -> IDFA DocLab 2009

This year’s IDFA (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam) is off and racing. For those interested in keeping abreast with documentary’s new media “genre”, check out their rich IDFA Doclab 2009.

Their blog says “IDFA’s Doc Lab investigates the relationship between documentary film-making and new media. The program is open to all media that can be used to tell a documentary story. During the festival, Doc Lab presents films, web documentaries, and installations that innovate the documentary genre.”

From the projects I’ve explored so far, I am impressed with multi-format, interactive “choose you own adventure” story of  The Big Issue (although the content is very graphic and confronting). The global film wiki idea behind Man With A Movie Camera: The Global Remake could definitely be applied to other globally themed topics. The beautiful serenade Waterlife, shows us an example of how tone can be achieved in new media. And, for documentary boffins, dig deep into a lively discussion about Capturing reality: the art of documentary.

by Citt Williams on November 20, 2009 - Comments (00)  

Our World 2.0 in China: Just another country, just another conference

The First International Undergraduate Conference on Climate, Water, Weather and Society was held last week in Shanghai, China.  The conference was attended by about 50 talented students from countries including China, Korea, Indonesia, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, Australia and the United States.

The students learned about climate systems and society’s responses, including positive ones, to environmental challenges, and also presented on their own initiatives such as Three Degrees.  They pledged to partner across borders to strengthen the student movement’s role in addressing climate change.

China, with 20% of the world’s population, is not just another country.  If China’s coal fired power plants continue to grow in number at the present rate, the world’s temperature will rise 3 degrees Celsius by 2100, regardless of what anyone else does.  So, in solving climate change, the Chinese dragon must be understood.  In short, history, culture and language do matter in international negotiations.

I attended this conference to seek out exciting stories from young leaders from all over the world.  Establishing a more even playing field in reporting of global affairs, especially the climate crisis, is critical.  The vast majority of scientists, writers, academics and policy makers are either from, or located in developed countries (yours truly included).  However, 80% of the world’s population is not.
Despite our best intentions, we cannot honestly address global problems without a truly global conversation that empowers the majority world, including those marginalized within South countries.

Likewise, despite immense good will and camaraderie, simulated international negotiations between the students demonstrated the depth of the challenge to democratize environmental advocacy, through the web and in international institutions and forums.

That is why, building upon this philosophy, I am eager to see creative communicators from the global south penetrate though the cyberspace mire and reach audiences consumed by happenings in their own backyards.

I am particularly inspired by the young and articulate Chinese undergraduates I met.  We should hope that these future leaders continue to champion real progress in the world, and are not lured by the comparatively better re-numeration in the corporate sector.

While these human distinctions are important, the planet does not care whether we are from Sweden or Swaziland as it goes on breathing under the stresses we place upon it.  It is tempting to feel helpless when people speak endlessly about the extent of the glacial melt or the predicted rises in global temperatures.

ilanHowever, I was encouraged by the face that despite their lack of experience, some members of the “eco-generation”, so-labeled by their professors, are ready for the fight for what they believe in.  They are armed with open minds and open eyes, and if the Chinese Government allows, open tools for communication.

Today’s 20 year olds, “digital natives”, can better visualise a world beyond the growth economy.  They are not responsible (yet) for the broken system we have.  I believe that they, and not the current generation of leaders who will meet at Copenhagen this December, will have the credibility and courage to stand up against the vested corporate interests of the fossil fuels, forestry, farming and fishing sectors.  Experienced scientists who presented at the conference (including Ilan Kelman – photo above) confessed that they had learned much from the students’ collective imagination and attitude – I certainly did.

Let’s not be complacent.  The potential leaders of tomorrow are already struggling against our biggest enemy: the apathy of the masses.  My Chinese colleagues tell me that this is as much a problem in their society as it is in Western democracies.  More climate education is needed at the school and university level to inculcate a progressive mindset about planet Earth into society.  This has been a longtime passion of Professor Michael Glantz from the University of Colorado’s Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), the brains behind the conference.  INSTAAR and the organizers from the East China Normal University deserve credit for enabling such a collaborative, intimate and activist vibe for the conference.

While the fruits of this conference will not be seen immediately, I don’t feel this was just another conference.  Keep an eye on Our World 2.0 in the upcoming weeks for more upbeat stories from conference attendees.  We also look forward to more of your positive tales about how our world responds to climate change, peak oil, food security and biodiversity challenges.

by Mark Notaras on August 5, 2009 - Comments (00)  

TEDxTokyo Volunteers

Screenshot from TEDx Introduction
Screenshot from TEDx Introduction

We in the Media Studio are long-time fans of TED. Consequently, we jumped on an opportunity to participate with a local group of dedicated volunteers who are putting together what will be Tokyo’s first TEDx event.

TEDx is a new experiment by TED to allow local communities to organize and host their own “unofficial TED-style events” of TEDTalks videos and live speakers.

TEDxTokyo is one such licensee and is gearing up for its first event on May 22nd. To make it happen, volunteers with a variety of backgrounds and interests have banded together, rolled up their sleeves, and taken on a range of roles and responsibilities. For us, this is a great chance to join another community, meet many interesting people, and contribute to promoting “Ideas Worth Spreading.”

by Jason Hall on April 8, 2009 - Comments (00)  

Screenings at the Guadalajara International Film Festival

guadalajaraWe have just learnt that Saving the Ayuquila River and Voices of the Chichinatzin, produced by the United Nations University in collaboration with the University of Guadalajara and the Autonomous University of Morelos, have been accepted to be shown as part of the Guadalajara International Film Festival that will take place from 19 to 27 March 2009.

The presentation of the films will be on the 22-23 March at the Centro Cultural Cabañas, a World Heritage Site in the historic centre of Guadalajara.

The Guadalajara International Film Festival is considered one of the most important film festivals in Latin America. Last year it screened a total of 220 titles and nearly 70,000 people participated in the festival.

by Brendan Barrett on February 1, 2009 - Comments (00)  

Developing a strategy for e-learning

unu_bonn 4Just got back from a two day workshop on e-learning organized by the UNU in Bonn. It was a wonderful opportunity to brainstorm on the future direction for e-learning within and beyond the UNU system.

The workshop was facilitated by Nancy White from Full Circle Associates. She did a brilliant job of breaking the ice and getting people to work closely together over the two days.

We worked on a definition of e-learning and came to the conclusion that we were really talking about “e-stuff” – online ways of communicating, collaborating and learning. One recommendation was that we create an e-stuff manifesto for the UNU.

This was followed by the World Cafe, where we split into groups and each presenter was given five minutes to introduce their e-learning project.

At the end of day one, we highlighted the strengths and gaps facing the UNU in this area. We came to the conclusion that the UNU currently lacks both focus and the resources needed to effectively pursue e-learning.

Day two began with a recap, followed by a chat show style discussion about how to use e-learning in Africa.

Finally, we reviewed the new UNU strategic plan and voted (using dotmocracy) on the ways in which e-learning could support the UNU’s strategic goals. A full report will be accessible online soon!

by Brendan Barrett on December 3, 2008 - Comments (02)  

Leading visions on Climate Change

Over the last couple of months we have been doing quite a lot of work on Climate Change. A recent UNU symposium “Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Time of Climate Change” brought together some of the world’s leading scientists and writers on environmental issues, including ground breaking thinkers whose work and research are at the intersection of science, policy making and communications. The symposium invited them to examine how our thinking needs to change if we are to collectively take on the myriad challenges presented by global warming.

The Media Studio was lucky enough to interview several of the speakers throughout the day and the resulting videos offer an insightful, and at times confronting, perspective on current Climate Change dialogues.
The below interviews embedded in the neat new vimeo gallery player include:

Dr. James E. Hansen from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, USA
Prof. Gwyn Prins, Director of the Mackinder Centre at the London Schools of Economic and Political Science, UK
Prof David Sanborn Scott, from the University of Victoria, Canada
Dr. Alex Evans, Centre on International Cooperation, New York University, USA
Ted Nordhaus, Chairman, Breakthrough Institute, USA
Prof. Shuzo Nishioka, Senior Advisor, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan
David Steven, Managing Director, River Path Associates, UK

by Citt Williams on October 10, 2008 - Comments (01)  

Change our world through film

08-09-26_191635Over two hundred people turned up for the Peace and Creativity Salon at the United Nations University on Friday, 26 September. We set up a screen and video projector in the UNU courtyard, and Global Lives built their installation at the front of the campus (photo credit – Jason Hall).

The event began at 5pm with the first public screening of the Wisdom Years, a new documentary from the UNU and the World Health Organization. The documentary looks at ageing in Japan.

This was followed by the world premiere of the new documentary from Director Tim Wise, entitled Soldier of Peace. We had a video conference link up with Tim and he explained that his intention when making the filmq was to “put peace back on the agenda in the 21st Century.”

We then went into salon mode with plenty of time for people to interact over food and drink. At this point in the evening, we held a screening in the UNU Media Studioof the award winnng documentary from the UNU entitled Voices of the Chichinuatzin. We rounded the evening off with a dance performance from PeaceBoat.

The event was organized by the UNU, in collaboration with Temple University, Global Lives, and many more.

by Brendan Barrett on September 29, 2008 - Comments (02)  

Peace and Creativity Salon

20080926_salonExpand your social network, enjoy a night of global engagement through film, and feel the power of film as a vehicle for positive change.

To celebrate the 2008 International Day of Peace, UNU invites you to the Asian premiere of the movie Soldiers of Peace. Also screening will be the latest documentaries from UNU — The Wisdom Years and Voices of the Chichinautzin.

The event begins at 5:00 p.m. on Friday September 26 at UNU in Tokyo. Admission is free.

Details and registration

by Brendan Barrett on September 18, 2008 - Comments (00)  

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