Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Missing Equation for Growth in the 21st century

One of the major topics of today's politics is our environment and how we have to save it. A big topic is global warming which has increased the earth’s regular temperature by 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1880. Two thirds of the global warming, however; occurred between 1975 and now. Not only does it increase desertification but it also harms the wildlife and the environment. 

A contributor to the harming of nature is greenhouse gasses. These harmful gasses are produced through manufacturing of products. After these items lose their value they are thrown into landfill or even our oceans without taking out the toxins, thus allowing it to contaminate our resources and environment. People talk a lot about how the environment is being destroyed yet the solutions are never brought into the spotlight.  "The best way to protect our environment is by manufacturing products with a forethought to how to reuse it as many times as possible while keeping the toxins separate from the biodegradable parts".

Reusing technology and other products can help save our environment as well as help create less waste and more jobs. Reusing technology creates a circular economy which is more efficient than the linear economy we use today. Most technology today is built on a simple principle that takes resources, makes products and dumps toxins back into earth. This is the linear economy. Recycling in linear economy is very costly and hard since the products technical and biological nutrients are mixed up. The solution to this is circular economy. It all starts with designing a product that can easily be torn apart and recycled by separating the products technical and biological parts. This creates less waste and increases the time one component is used. Linear Economy only add more waste to our world. For example the garbage is dumped into oceans creating piles of toxic debris killing any marine life. If it is not put into the ocean, it is put into landfills. This pollutes and contaminates our valuable resources. It's a cycle that has no winners. As well as saving the environment, circular principle has economic benefits too. Some brands, such as Nike, already use recyclable products to create their products. Nike takes plastic bottles and uses it to create polyester products. If we implement circular economy for consumer goods sector alone it would save $700 million. Not only does it save $700 million, it will save $1 trillion in annual savings for global economy by 2025. The circular economy both saves a lot of money and creates 100,000 new jobs in just 5 years. Implementing circular economy principles is the most basic and efficient way to protect our environment.

Besides the obvious effects of linear economy why should we switch over to circular when linear economy has been working for us? When we create products we take resources from nature; however, nature can't keep up with our needs, this is causing resources to become scarce and costly yet we keep destroying it by adding more waste to the environment.  The world’s natural resources are shrinking as we keep exploiting it without doing anything to preserve it. The world currently works on the principle of taking and giving nothing back. We cut down trees without replanting. We take natural resources and combine them with toxins so it's nearly impossible to separate and reuse it. Expenses on water and other valuable resources rise because it is getting rarer. If we stopped polluting our sources, we would have more clean water. By creating technology that can easily be reused/renewed we could use one phone to create five different products instead of creating six different products which will together create more waste than that one phone re-cycled. 

Reusing technology can help cut down deforestation in the rainforests which is a key contributor to the pollution and destruction of nature. This is just one example of what we can do with a phone after it has been used to its limit. Since deforestation accounts for 17% of greenhouse gases which is 4% more than the greenhouse gases emitted by all the transportation in the world (cars, planes, buses etc.) Making sure that the trees aren't cut down should be one of our main focuses as a society. The millennials have been taught about how many trees are being cut down every day and comparing it to football fields but we are never told a solution. If we are told of a solution then it's near imposible to achieve because changing people's habits is hard. Yet the solution to logging is much simpler than it may seem. Due to the quick growth in technology there is surprisingly good mobile coverage in the rainforest. By using simple phones that have been recycled, Topher White, a conservation technologist, created a device that can pick up on the frequencies of a chainsaw that a human cannot hear. The phone is in a box so it does not get destroyed and is powered by solar panels. The detection of chainsaws will send a location to the dedicated park rangers and they can stop loggers before another tree is cut down. Why use old phones when you can use new and more advanced technology? Well the old phones are anyways going to be thrown into nature because of our current linear economy creating more waste and pollution which harms the environment. Recycling increases the lifespan of the phone allowing it to help us save the environment. 

The main concern with switching too circular economy is the switch itself. The fear of switching is that the different parts of the product may be reused in different industries. This means the effort to make this happen is cross industries so everyone will have to participate equally and accept this change. If one industry were to control all the parts that can be resumed of a product they could increase the prices by a lot. This is a big risk that could possibly go wrong if one industry is not satisfied; however it is a risk worth taking to save our environment. If we don't try our best to save the environment it will not just harm nature but us humans as well. For example the rising sea level will destroy millions of houses near the sea, then the government has to take care of these people. Take Bangladesh, this is already happening there and though it may be far away from America we rely on the factories in these countries for our clothes and products. Prices across the globe will increase due to the shrinking resources and that affects everyone no matter who and where you are.

People are willing to help save the environment, all we have to do is tell them what they can do and take this big risk because no big change happens without a big risk. The biggest problems sometimes have the simplest solutions. Reusing technology helps create a more environment friendly economy allowing us to both use natural resources while still allowing nature to grow. Using technology already in place we can create ways to stop logging. This ultimately helps cutting down on emissions of greenhouse gases and save the rainforests. There are many people who are willing to help keep nature alive. Making technology that can be torn apart and reused will increase the lifespan of the components of the product creating more products from less resources.  The circular economy, which promotes recycling, limits the waste we put into nature saving wildlife as well. We must start now because resources are shrinking and we keep adding more waste/toxins to nature, not allowing the natural resources to replenish which creates a cycle that ultimately will harm us. 

The truth is that we only got this one world and if your mindset is that you won't live to be affected by nature than you are wrong. The natural world is a cyclical place, and we, humans, cannot change that no matter what. We can only learn from it and adapt to its needs. We have destroyed a lot of nature which cannot be replenished; however, we can do our best to save what is left before it's too late. Sometimes the biggest problems have the simplest solutions we just have to be willing to take the risk to solve it. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The City Where Dreams Never Sleep

New York City. 
Home to 8.406 million (2013).
Only 304.6 mi².
Google defines it as "Home to the Empire State Building, Times Square, Statue of Liberty and other iconic sites, New York City is a fast-paced, globally influential center of art, culture, fashion and finance."

Every person I have ever known wants to visit NYC in some point in there life. 
I had the privilege of visiting this iconic city twice as a child.
The first time I went to the east coast I was eight years old, my mom went to Princeton for business and I had the honor to see one of the most beautiful campuses ever. Back then I did not know what exactly university and all that was so I declared to my family that I will go to Princeton. I thought to myself who wouldn't want to go there! Einstein had a house there!
I saw New York city from the view point of one of the millions of tourists who go there every year; however, I did not find it enchanting or as great as I had thought. To me it was just another big city with a little extra honking.
That was back then.

This year I had the most amazing opportunity to go to New York City with my school.
I didn't think twice before choosing the art trip. The early morning flight was great, but something within me was still anxious.
That all went away on the very same night. Our hotel was just a five minute walk from Time square where my group ended up eating.

This trip was very different from any other trip I had been on. 
We were free to do what we wanted and go where we wanted as long as we were back by a certain time. Obviously most adults would think that the children will go crazy with so much freedom, yet I did not. It somehow felt natural to me. Walking down busy streets, paying my own bills, asking for help, taking the subway. It all came bubbling up as if the city unlocked something deep within me that was just ready to burst out. We took subways to Brooklyn, Chelsea and around the city as well. 
The feeling was phenomenal since I loved walking and public transportation from growing up in Europe. 


The art varied from each gallery we saw, until we went to a rather unusual bookstore. Here they sold books from anyone as long as they had a hundred copies and I thought I could do that. They had books ranging from something no one understands to the most emotional and philosophical books. But they all had something I wanted to capture but I could not quite put my finger on it yet. 
I finally came up with the idea. 
What really got to me on the trip was the people. Every face you pass by, every window, every car has its own specific story. Every single person is going through something quite different from the person they are sitting next to on the subway. I felt as though I was walking through a living library, but each book had a lock that could only be opened by kindness. 
I wanted to write about how wonderful New York City is but I could never truly capture its essence until I have lived there myself which I hope to do in the future. 
So I thought what better way to tell the story of New Yorkers than have them tell it themselves. 
Imagine taking a candid picture of a 100 people on the street just going about their life (Of course letting them know about the pictures). Then putting the pictures into a book and having a few blank lines under each. Now have other New Yorkers write who they think this person is. Whenever people write about something or someone unknown we consciously or unconsciously relate it back to our own experience in life. 
It is the unheard story about the people of New York by the people of New York. 


My favorite part of the trip was street art.
From murals to graffiti everything just seemed to be that one subtle ingredient in the food that just makes the dish what it is and without it, it is not the same. I love it because everyone sees something different just like the pictures of people. Everyone sees a different story and as an artist it is amazing when you look through the glass of others. When people see my art and ask what it symbolizes, I tell them that they should tell me what it is. That's how art grows. without people looking and trying to understand art it will just be a canvas with paint on or a clay figure. Art is created by the people themselves. Art is the hidden story in their minds that come forth when they first lay eyes on a piece.
I hope to go to a university in New York City. 
The city is no more just Empire State and Statue of Liberty to me. Yes the Statue of Liberty just gives an example of how high you can dream and achieve and the Statue of Liberty shows the independence that I love of the city and people.
The day's seemed so long and tiring yet they went by so quickly. The city brought out something in everyone that soon disappeared when we returned home. For me the city was like chocolate, once I got a taste of it I cannot get enough. 
I realized the beauty of the city is not all these touristic sites, but the culture, the people, and the life-style. That is what I fell in love with. From childhood on I always knew exactly what I wanted to do in life; however, that slowly started to fade away when I started freshmen year. After that trip all I could think of was living in New York in a apartment and never getting bored because there is always something going on around the corner. The city revived me and is my inspiration. 

New York City. 
Home to more people than the country I grew up in.
Covers continents of culture.
I define it as "home to many different cultures, people, and a complete different life-style and a place that makes my dreams look like apples hanging from the tree. All I have to do is be daring enough to climb up and get it."

A Special Moment in Time

Everyone has that one memory of a place where your mind wanders to when you feel down.
From the most breathtaking scenes to the simplest dreams we all think of that place when we close our eyes.

Here is my memory:

As I biked up the last path, I stood up to see the tips of the swaying willow trees.
I heard my breath as all the sounds dimmed out just like the sea after the high tides so the sounds swiftly drew back. I pulled into the drive smiling at the three dancing willows who wore flowing green gowns that gently swept the earth as the wind kept singing its song. The trees soared towards the sky, and the bark was a white masterpiece painted by Mother Nature herself. My foot steps slowed down as I approached the garage door. I stood up on the tip of my toes reaching up to the lock. The lock unhitched and the door opened with the sweet sound of creaking wood. I parked my mountain bike next to the table that once stood proud in the sun.

 A slant lead down into the moss filled grass. I took my shoes off, gently stepping on the recently exposed green fur. The soft grass tickled my feet as I stretched them across it. I took a deep breath in, filling my lungs with the fresh smell of trees, earth and grass. I walked down the garden hills brushing my feet along the ground. The cherry tree blushed behind its white shawl. This was my favorite tree of all. The branches were so wide and firm, it could hold an entire person. My eyes scanned the bottom of the tree. It was as though a rainbow fell from the sky covering the entire ground in bright colors. The soft purple flowers, next to the cloudy white daisies broken by the tall smooth tulips. The bright red ones as well as the dark ones stood proud next to each other. The dark tulips, so mysteries and beautiful as though they had stollen their shade from the night sky itself. 

A bit farther up the hill was one out of the three enchanting apple trees. This one with its long spiky branches reaching for the sky. Only in fall will it let its heavy arms down because of the emerald green apples. Next to it is a path up to the brick house. The beautiful bushes untrimmed  overflow onto the stone pathway that slithers its way up to the house. In the middle are two trees in line protecting the small bush in between them. The plum tree with one branch low enough to brush the top of my head were filled with beautiful little purple fruits. A sister to the tree stood at the bottom with amber like plums hanging from its arms.

 I closed my eyes and put my head down on the green blanket letting it all sink in. The sweet sound of every farm bird filled my ears. The colorful chirping was as though they all sang my favorite song. A song where the wind gently brushes through the grass and trees. The soft breeze blowing back my hair revealing a wonderful world. A world so big yet only a small backyard, in a small town, in a small country that's just part of one little planet in the universe. I opened my eyes again afraid a had missed my favorite note in this never ending song. 

My eyes darted past the greenery to the one tree dressed in its green leaves. Soon after the heat passes the tree will put on its best accessory, apples. Apples so red that it may seem it was dipped in blood that soaks all the way into the core leaving nothing white. The sound of sinking your front teeth deep into a fresh apple and the juice covering your tung made me wish it was autumn again. But then I realized that spring had only just begun. 

I climbed the cherry tree. Holding onto one branch as I put my foot up to the next. The bark under my feet crunched gently embracing every step I took. At the top I looked out. The small cycle route curved its way in front of the farm covered in long beautiful grass. The grass was an ocean creating tides that pulled your eyes into to them as though it was hypnotizing you. The sky above me was a bright but soft blue from the Hollywood movies. It was covered in white cotton balls that floated along like fish in a pond. In the far distance a moo was let out by the cow on the farm. I grabbed onto the branch feeling the crumbly and earthy texture.

I sat out there for hours. The silence was so loud and magnificent that it entranced me. Until I heard a distant voice calling from inside the yellow bricked little house. The house with an overgrown garden. The house where I have my own little universe. The house I call home.