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Posted: Dec 04, 2012

Symposium "Limits to Growth" draws up a blueprint for sustainable development

(Nanowerk News) Every eighth human being suffers either from undernourishment or starvation, and 12.5 % of the world’s population has no access to clean drinking water – just two background facts in focus on the second day of the anniversary symposium entitled “40 Years Limits to Growth”, where scholars are debating ways out of the scarce-resource dilemma.
deflated earth
In the session “Global Food and Water Management” led by Winterschool participant Meghan O‘Brien, Matin Qaim (Göttingen) illustrated how a reduction in meat consumption and biogas in OECD countries and subsequent changes in agriculture could reduce the number of starving people. Zbigniew W. Kundzewicz (Posnan, Poland, and Potsdam) spoke about the extreme inequalities in water supply and water consumption, and explained how the problems of water management are further aggravated by climate change.

Romina Drees and Aziz Karimov, members of the Winter School’s work group on food and water, pleaded for more global justice through stronger regulation and agreement on normative parameters on different levels. The young researchers seized their opportunity to argue in front of renowned scholars for improved food distribution and farming methods, and to present their ideas on how to achieve sustainable growth and development for all peoples of the world.

In the session “Finite Resources and Renewable Energies”, Luis Lopes put forward the ideas developed in his Winterschool work group. In their view, one way out of the dilemma facing humankind is to radically promote the existing “clean technologies”, financed by some sort of levy or surcharge paid by firms and stakeholders who have not (yet) adopted sustainable processes.
Mark Jaccard (Vancouver, Canada) focused on the political will to resolve the energy issue, while Wikus van Niekerk (Stellenbosch, South Africa) illustrated interesting examples of power production implemented in his country like wave energy converters and special photovoltaic techniques. Sibylle Günter (Garching) spoke about new developments in the field of fusion technology. The lively sessions were never short of interesting proposals and penetrating questions from the plenum.
Source: Volkswagen Foundation
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