So you’ve been researching on a topic for your Masters thesis for while and have developed an interesting angle. Or, maybe you’re attending a conference and would like a unique way to connect with thoughtleaders or key figures in your field by hunting down interesting stories. Either way, pitching and publishing as a contributor in a newspaper or magazine is a great way to publicize and establish a voice and expertise in your respective field. Here are some tips from those in the field for aspiring freelance writers – also known as, disciplined, hustling idea generators.
For a long time, the environmentalists’ mantra was Thoreau’s declaration, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” Increasingly, however, environmentalists have become preoccupied by the concrete jungle: the city, dressed in glass, concrete, and steel. The city’s importance can’t be over-stated, because half the world’s population now lives in urban areas, and because the city consumes for more than 75 percent of resources, worldwide. In some parts of the world cities are growing rapidly; in others they are losing population and falling into disrepair. Yet, cities everywhere are being forced to reimagine themselves due to variability in population and climate. The way they do so will have massive consequences for our communities and collective ecological resilience.
Come become part of a fast moving global organizational environment! Student Reporter seeks for two project managers to lead an international team of students covering the World Resources Forum 2013 (WRF 2013) held in Davos-Switzerland, 6-9th October 2013.
“How do we create the positive energy to fuel real change?” Ian Johnson, Secretary General of the Club of Rome, asks to a young audience of artists, activists entrepreneurs, and representatives of international (youth) movements in his opening remarks at the Change Course Conference on December 8th, 2012.
The scene in Winterthur, Switzerland was an atypical one for the Club of Rome. While traditionally, the organization’s member base consists of influential, elderly white males, the average age on that day was 25 years. Sixty young men and women from over fifty countries came together to deliberate for four days on how to “change course” towards a sustainable world. Founded in 1968 as an association of leading independent thinkers from politics, business and science, the Club of Rome is today primarily known as the think tank that published the influential “Limits to Growth” report in 1972. In its founding days, the Club focused on the nature of the global problems, often referred to as the “problematique.” After its initial success and the rapid expansion of local chapters that followed in the years thereafter, the organization’s influence began to diminish.
Jack Sim is a funny man with a serious, yet unexpected mission: to revolutionize toilets for the base of the pyramid and to ensure worldwide sustainable sanitation. Often referred to as “Mr. Toilet” – a title he takes great pride in – he has worked tirelessly for fifteen years to make the availability of clean toilets a political priority and an economically feasible reality for the world’s ‘poor’. The need is big: 2.6 billion people currently lack access to a clean private toilet. When I met Jack Sim at a pre-WEF event at the HUB Zürich I couldn’t help but wonder about this curious man on stage. He was humming with energy, excited to share his story about the many issues concerning poop, making the audience laugh and yet providing relevant information about his cause.
When I met up with Mechai Viravaidya at his restaurant Cabbages and Condoms in Bangkok, he walked the grounds with an ease of familiarity, showing me elaborate sculptures, figurines and lamps all made out of colored condoms.
While flicking through the brochure of the selected social entrepreneurs attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, I found it hard to believe it was a promotional brochure of market-based solutions for social problems. Proof of financial sustainability is scarce – ‘percentage earned revenue’ is the sole indicator and the term is left undefined. My assumed definition: the percentage of revenue that comes from selling the enterprise’s core business or service. Furthermore, the responses given for this indicator were not even that positive. Of the 29 social enterprises represented, roughly one third earned less than 50 percent of their own revenue, with the figure in some cases as low as 15 percent. Admittedly, another third earned either 90 percent or above of their own revenue, and the low figure might be understandable if the ventures are in early stages, but no explanation was given for the low figures.
Student Reporter Andreas Slotte had the privilege of interviewing Secretary Mary Ann Lucille Sering, Vice Chairperson of the Climate Change Commission of the Philippines, during the UNEP Switch-Asia Sustainable Consumption and Production Conference (SCP) in Asia, held in Bangkok, Thailand. A government official in a unique position, Ms Sering is in charge of finding practical, implementable SCP policies that could be enacted in the Philippines. Unlike the comparatively steady states of developed economies, the Philippines present an exciting challenge of a country seeing high-single digit growth rates (the Philippine’s Gross Domestic Product grew by 6.6% in 2012, and has had an annual growth rate of 5% for the past 10 years), yet in pressing need of infrastructure and other macro-scale projects.
At the UNEP Switch-Asia SCP conference in Bangkok, Thailand, Student Reporter Mas Dino Radin sat down with Dr Magnus Bengtsson, Director of Sustainable Consumption and Production Research at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), to tackle the issues surrounding implementing SCP policies in the developing, as juxtaposed with the developed world.
Have you ever dreamed about going to bed and waking up in the morning with an international group of the most dedicated researchers in the field of social entrepreneurship? If so, here is your opportunity: The oikos Young Scholars Entrepreneurship Academy and Student Reporter seek for an experienced Masters-level student to report on this year’s Academy held 25-30 August, 2013 in Switzerland. The theme of the Academy is “Creating Hybrid Ventures: Legitimacy and Sustainability Challenges in Social Entrepreneurship”. You will follow a team of renowned international faculty and young PhD scholars the full length of the 5-day academy, and engage in, as a journalist, their agenda of research sessions, leisure time activities, and field visits. To get a grasp of the program, skim through those of previous Academies. You are an independent writer and an experienced interviewer and observer with a strong track record or proven interest in entrepreneurship research, organization studies, or sociology.
Like many buzzwords, sustainable development can mean a variety of things depending on who is using it and how. A quick Google search (as well as asking experts) would reveal the same: the definitions might not differ that much, but the implications vary vastly, ultimately implying that there really is no one way towards sustainable development. Among the varying opinions that exist out there, some suggest that the developed bloc (such as the U.S. or the European Union) should take charge in the matter. However, there seems to be a growing trend nowadays that looks at Asia to take a more leading role in paving the way for a sustainable future. This subject was at the forefront during one of the panel discussions at the UNEP SWITCH-Asia Conference on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) in November 2012. The question then is what makes Asia so special when it comes to hoping for a more sustainable future?