As a visitor from Europe and a friend of the Dao, I feel very honoured to have been offered the opportunity to formulate some observations on the subject of sustainability and its relationship with Daoism. I am a great admirer and long-time student of Daoism, but I realise that I cannot claim any of the deep expertise and practice accumulated by the masters, scholars and other experts present at the International Daoism Forum. Nevertheless, I will take this opportunity to give you some of my views.
The global water situation, which has received increasing public attention during the last decade, is one of the most serious issues confronting the world today. However, despite numerous efforts to improve the situation, billions of people still lack access to clean drinking water and to sufficient water for basic sanitation. Moreover, around 10,000 people, about half of them young children, die every day from illnesses related to unclean water.
Ecological Management Foundation chairman Allerd Stikker argues that the institutions and NGOs concerned with the world's water challenges should take desalination more seriously.
Het Wereld Water Forum IV in Mexico ligt weer achter ons. Een forum met véél dezelfde boodschappen, véél onderlinge uitwisselingen en een ongeïnspireerde slotververklaring die geheel in het teken staat van de gouvernementele verantwoordelijkheden. Natuurlijk kan zo’n ‘top down’ macrobenadering zinvol zijn, in het kader van Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) en vooral voor grote bevolkingsconcentraties in bijvoorbeeld megacities. Wat ik echter mis, is aandacht voor micro oplossingen, de ‘bottom-up’ benadering.
As industry experts warn that the world is failing to achieve the MDG targets for water and sanitation provision, Allerd Stikker of the Ecological Management Foundation calls for a fresh approach.
1. Fresh Water Scarcity
Why did you decide to write this book?
Desalination will become an important option for relieving water scarcity in coastal areas, because of growing populations along the many coastal regions of the world. Another reason are the breakthroughs in the reduced energy requirement and investment costs for desalination processes.
Desalination technology is finding new outlets in supplying water to meet growing municipal domestic consumption needs in water scarce countries with a per capita availability below 1,000 m3/y. An expansion of the current municipal water desalination market was related to the population growth and the groundwater scarcity in the coming 25 years in various regions of the world: Europe, The Caribbean, South East and Western Asia, GCC States and North Africa. First, the current impact of desalination on the renewable groundwater resources in these selected areas was determined.
The process of taking the salt out of seawater, or desalination, "is as old as human civilization. Socrates taught students how to distill seawater to obtain fresh water. Sailors have been applying similar methods for over 2000 years. Solar ponds that were developed to harvest salt have let nature do the distilling for thousands of years already. The Sun’s heat was used to desalt seawater, which served as the drinking water for troops during the siege of Alexandria in the days of Julius Caesar. Last but not least, all of the annual fresh water supply for the planet comes from evaporation from the seas.
Published in Sustainable Business Investor, Worldwide 2002
In this presentation the theme Gaya and Culture is looked at from an evolutionary perspective and placed in the context of a duality that is inherently interconnected. It is argued that present day emphasis on technology and economy in Western culture may have caused a trend towards radical distinctions between economy and ecology, between culture and nature and between other dualities that actually exist by the grace of each other. Reconnecting these dualities is a challenging task to be fulfilled in the 21st century.
Reaching a desirable water world. That is the term used for the worldwide process that was started in 1998 to prepare for the World Water Forum and the Ministerial Conference on Water in March 2000 in The Hague. This ongoing process will result in a Vision and a Framework for Action that should lead to sufficient and clean water availability for all the worlds’ citizens by the year 2025. In this introduction I will try to describe the complex water issue in general terms without compromising on essentials.
This paper provides a general overview of the fresh water scarcity that parts of the world are facing today and will increasingly face in the coming decades. It demonstrates why and how many countries, especially developing and newly industrialized regions in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America will be vulnerable to lack of water. It shows how this will affect health, mortality and the prospects for peace if nothing is done to correct the imbalance between supply and demand. It is argued that scarcity is largely the result of poor water management and that with the implementation of proven methods of raising the efficiency of water withdrawal, use and consumption on the one hand, and of more efficient and integrated water supply on the other, the problem could be solved.
During the last decade the scientific community has acquired new insights into the organization of the subatomic microworld and of the cosmic macroworld; into organizing principles of order in evolutionary processes; into the relationship between physics and metaphysics, between order and chaos and finally into the intricate coherence between these organizations, processes, principles and relationships. This has led to numerous publications on what these new findings mean with respect to our worldview, to our search for some ultimate foundation for existence.
Sustainability aims to ensure the survival of humanity and the planet's ecosystem. The simple fact is that overpopulation, overconsumption, overpollution and overdepletion of natural resources, if they have not already, will reach unsustainable proportions within a very short time, say 10 to 20 years. This is surely reason enough to prompt a reformulation of business strategies with respect to the natural resources on which economic transactions ultimately depend.
Between now and 1996 the world population will have grown by 450 million people, mostly in developing countries. About one and a half time the size of the population of Western Europe will have been added to the planet. This shocking fact is not new, we are growing at about 85 million per year for some time, but by 1996 the impact has manifested itself through some major calamities in developing areas such as India and Asia, in cities and crowded areas. Newly industrialized countries (NIC's) such as Taiwan, Hongkong, Thailand and South Korea have vastly surpassed the limits of environmental tolerance and face a sharp decline in living standards. The number of court cases, condemning all participants involved in natural resource damage through irresponsible environmental conduct, has risen sharply, both in the U.S. and Europe. Banks are directly and indirectly involved in liabilities for costs to restore environmental damage.
It is clear that people everywhere are becoming aware of the environmental issue. In the last year particularly we have seen manifestations of this awareness indicating that world leaders too are beginning to address the issue in a way quite different from before.
I feel very grateful and honoured to have been invited to write this epilogue on the history of TAIWAN 2000.
In the West, especially in the United States and Europe, hazardous waste has become increasingly a major pollutant of air, water, and soil. Three major obstacles exist when addressing this problem.