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Innovative Virtual Sustainability Conference Announced



Next week Cranfield University and Globescan are hosting the Sustainability Innovation Exchange, a virtual online conference for anyone with an interest in sustainability. The conference will explore how policy can channel the innovative power of individuals towards more sustainable ways of living.

The Sustainability Innoation Exchange is a virtual workshop which will be hosted by Globescan on their website. The event is a vital tool for collaborative engagement on a number of key topics related to how public policy can enable this sustainability innovation.

The conference is part of the largest project of its kind commissioned by the EU and will take place in six sessions each with a different policy theme. They are education, networks, funding, scaling-up, impact and open policy making. Globescan and Cranfield University explain them as:

– Education:In this topic we will discuss what we need to do better or do differently so that we are we are teaching and empowering individuals to innovate.  How can we encourage the natural creativity of children so that it grows and develops and comes with them into their future roles in society? How can we direct that creativity in ways that benefits our planet and society? We will be talking about learning about the environment and social issues, but also about learning how to innovate and collaborate with people who are different from in order to solve the sustainability challenges that face us.

– Networks: “In this room we will be talking the ways in which we can provide innovators, or would-be innovators, the emotional and practical support to turn their ideas into reality. How can we help entrepreneurs to make connections they need to access funding, skills and expertise, and to connect with each other so that successes, and failures, can be shared and learnt from?  And importantly, how can networks take good innovations quickly to scale through both growth and replication so that their positive can be maximised?  Throughout the discussion, we will also be considering the role of businesses and universities in these networks.”

– Funding: “Here we will be talking about funding for sustainability innovations. What can be done for those innovating for sustainability to simplify and ease the process of setting up a venture and securing finance? How can we simplify access to the funding that is already available and the process of setting up a new legal entity? How can we facilitate a positive role for business (through corporate venturing or incubators/accelerators) and the public sector in funding for these innovations? And what can be done at a more systemic level to transition from a short term, financially driven system to a longer term social /environmental impact driven system?”

– Scaling up: “In this topic we will be talking about how we encourage the adoption of innovation to optimise environmental/social impact. How can we encourage corporates to work with entrepreneurs to roll out or replicate their innovations, whilst ensuring fair appropriation of returns to these partnerships? Should we incentivise businesses to collaborate with their end users in order to develop sustainable solutions that are more likely to be acceptable and therefore adopted? Do we need to incentivise universities differently so that they are focus on maximising the positive impact of new knowledge rather than the creation of knowledge alone?”

– Impact: “This session is about the metrics we need to evaluate environmental / social impact, and also the system that we need to move towards which prioritises and rewards innovations which have a positive environmental / social impact. We will be discussing how to quantify the potential environmental/social impact of innovation, and the need to make measures understandable and comparable. We will also be discussing the need to change social attitudes so that non-financial impacts are valued (as highly as financial return) and that we embrace experimentation, and failure, as necessary in a society which is innovating its way towards more sustainable ways of living.”

– Open policy making: “This session is about changing the way that policy itself is created so that it is more open to participation from the stakeholders that will ultimately be affected by it. Would this participation result in innovation in the types of policies which would be put in place, and would it help policies to achieve their desired impact? We will be discussing what models of participation might work. What would motivate people to take part? What mechanism would enable this participation to take place?  We will also be considering policymakers – the people.  How could they be better equipped to operate in an environment of openness, perhaps through diversity of background of experience, or through the sharing of best practice across departmental and national boundaries?”

The innovative event will bring together hundreds of entrepreneurs, business leaders, policy makers, thought leaders and citizens with an interest in sustainability, to shape policy recommendations on how best to support innovation for sustainability. These policy recommendations are to be delivered to Brussels by the end of this year.

The first session of the Sustainability Innovation Exchange will run from 10 – 11.30am BST (11 – 12.30pm CEST), and the second session will run from 2 – 3.30pm BST (3pm – 4.30pm CEST). The full schedule is available here.

You can find out more on the Globescan website.


Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness



Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move



Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.

1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.

4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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