BUZZZ Summer 2010
CONTENT EDITO GEF NEWS
Europa Diary partners gather in Brussels Page 4
GEF Youth Summit 2010: Co-creating our sustainable future Page 5 Top students ponder university teaching Page 6 Rework the World Page 6 “A culture change to go please…” Page 7 PORTRAIT Simon Ulvund - Director, The Hub Brussels Page 8 GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
Celebrate diversity, protect the natural world Page 10 The new face of censorship? Page 11 Travel. Perform. Impact. Page 11 EU IN FOCUS Grounded by volcanic ash Page 12 Whither the euro? Page 13 Accessible cities Page 13 Geld, welches Geld!? Page 14 KEY FIGURE & QUOTE COMPETITIONS’ CORNER
© Generation Europe Foundation 2010. All rights reserved. Publisher: THE BUZZZ is published by Generation Europe Foundation. We welcome your questions and suggestions on firstname.lastname@example.org Become a fan on facebook.com/generationeurope Follow us on twitter.com/GenerationEurop Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of Generation Europe Foundation.
EDITO The Alternatives issue What’s in a name? Your identity, your image, your brand, all encapsulated in one or two short words. When choosing a name, there are plenty of pitfalls along the way. How to grab attention and seem relevant without falling prey to fashion is probably the most dangerous. After a long deliberation, we are proud to present...
The Buzzz It sounds like the name of a gossip column, right? Well, there are certainly plenty of juicy rumours bandied about in the corridors of Brussels. If you have an insider story to share or a tip about some brewing scandal, drop us a line and we’ll consider publishing it on these pages. No, but seriously, why the Buzzz? The buzz, it’s what people are talking about, what’s on everybody’s lips at the moment. The buzz, it’s a sense of excitement bordering on intoxication. The Buzzz, it’s our new quarterly magazine. At Generation Europe Foundation, we’ve also been known to dabble in the fine art of apiculture. The garden behind our office is positively buzzing: we have three beehives, and we even produce our own honey! Bees, of course, perform a vital service by pollinating plants, enabling them to reproduce and bear fruit (literally or figuratively). Instead of dryly reciting the facts - the who did what, when and where - we hope the Buzzz will become a space to crosspollinate ideas from different fields and disciplines, a space where even seeds of ideas will find an outlet. This inaugural issue of the Buzzz focuses on alternatives. On the one hand, we’ve put our own twist on some of the tired news stories that we’ve picked up on over the past weeks and months. And on the other hand, we are highlighting alternatives: events, projects and programmes which represent new solutions to old problems, challenges to our current (unsustainable) paradigms and better ways of doing things. We have become very passionate about alternatives at Generation Europe Foundation as we prepare our Youth Summit on Green Entrepreneurship. We hope you enjoy the read! And your feedback is welcome!
Daniel, GEF Team (Editor-in-Buzz)
GEF NEWS Europa Diary partners gather in Brussels Our mission at Generation Europe Foundation is to engage tomorrow’s decision-makers, today. It is with this aim in mind and thanks to European Commission funding - that we annually publish the Europa Diary, a school diary with information about the EU and other topics relevant to young people. This project has grown by leaps and bounds since it began in 1995; over 3.2 million copies of the 2010-2011 edition are currently being distributed to schools across Europe! Each article in the Europa Diary is at the centre of an everexpanding web: the texts are written and approved in English, before being translated into 22 languages, adapted to fit the national context of 27 countries and then checked one last time. Multiply this by about 70 (for each of the texts in the Diary) and you can imagine how unwieldy the process becomes at times! Whereas we usually do our job via e-mail and telephone, once a year we bring together all the people involved in the preparation of this publication, everybody from our translators to officials from the European institutions. The discussion and exchange of experiences at the meeting were a step toward refining our working methods and improving the overall quality of the Diary. A representative of the European Commission’s recently created ‘Clear Writing Unit’ even sang a song to us: ‘Good news - clarity’s a coming’ to remind us all of the importance of... writing clearly!
This year, the Partners’ Meeting took place in Brussels on 26-27 May.
Before the daylight faded away, guests gathered for a magical dinner party in the garden behind Generation Europe Foundation’s office. With excellent food and drinks at hand, there was time for more chats and laughter, for new ideas and one farewell. The rest of us will be in touch again throughout the academic year 2010-11 to accomplish our mission once more: engaging tomorrow’s decision-makers, today.
Annika, GEF Team www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8vhrXsYlTk www.europadiary.eu
Over 3.2 million copies of the 2010-2011 Europa Diary are currently being distributed to schools across Europe! /4
GEF Youth Summit 2010: Co-creating our sustainable future
We want to empower young people to find the sustainable entrepreneurs within themselves - to become change makers in their communities and in the world. The Green Entrepreneurship Youth Summit, to be held in Brussels from 8 until 10 December 2010, will bring together 100 young people with entrepreneurs, academics and representatives of the public and private sectors from around the world. Participants will dialogue and share inspiration. In creative, interactive sessions, participants will discuss business ideas and benefit from master classes in green entrepreneurship. They will also learn about and share innovative work methods and effective tools to help create a sustainable future. In the lead up to the Youth Summit 2010, Generation Europe Foundation has launched activities designed to reach out to young people and other stakeholders.
Online Co-Creation Community
Working in partnership We have ambitious objectives, but in the spirit of co-creation and to not re-invent the wheel, the Youth Summit 2010 team is partnering with leading organisations and networks involved in youth, sustainability and entrepreneurship. Join our Co-creation Community today!
The Green Entrepreneurship Youth Summit Brussels, 8-10 December 2010 www.generation-europe.eu/summit2010
Generation Europe Foundation has convened an online CoCreation Community where members can share knowledge, explore green business ideas and participate in ongoing activities such as webinars, discussions and brainstorming sessions - all of which will provide content and knowledge to feed into the Green Entrepreneurship Youth Summit. Together, the Co-Creation Community will develop a common vision and a roadmap for stakeholders that will be presented at the Youth Summit 2010. Community members can also participate in a Business Ideas Incubator, where they can explore and share sustainable, green business ideas.
Top students ponder university teaching From 15 to 19 April, I took part in the Bright Conference 2010 as a delegate from the University of Geneva. The Bright Conference is a student convention organised in the framework of the League of European Research Universities (LERU). The purpose of the Bright Conference is to build a strong network between Europe’s top students and to provide a platform to discuss politically, socially and intellectually challenging topics which shape our present and future. The Bright Conference 2010 was organised by the LudwigMaximilans-Universität in Munich, Germany. This year’s theme was ‘University Teaching in Europe: Challenges and Perspectives’. The brightest students from LERU member universities had the opportunity to share their personal experiences and propose concrete solutions on how to improve teaching at their own and other European universities. The programme of the conference was filled with lectures, panel discussions and working groups on different issues, ranging from financial challenges to international collaboration and the interaction between university teaching and wider society. Of course, there was time to work and also to have fun. The opportunity to spend four days with students from all over Europe is a unique experience. The organising committee did a great job, offering us plenty of occasions to interact with our peers and to learn more about each other. For example, we took
part in a traditional Bavarian dinner at the famous Hofbräuhaus, we enjoyed great sightseeing in Munich, and we were the special guests at a gala dinner hosted by the university. Everything was just right, despite the difficulties to return home as most of the flights were cancelled due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland!
‘University Teaching in Europe: Challenges and Perspectives’ The results of the Bright Conference 2010 were, globally, very good. We underlined the need to reaffirm the value of university research by developing best practices through mutual collaboration and networking at the European level. LERU has committed to realising the agreements reached at the Bright Conference 2010.
Daniela Di Mauro, GEF Ambassador in Switzerland www.bright2010.uni-muenchen.de www.leru.org
Rework the World In early June, the 5th Global YES Summit - Rework the World was held in Leksand, Sweden. As we prepare our Youth Summit on Green Entrepreneurship for this December, Generation Europe Foundation partnered with Rework the World and was invited to attend their big event. So, we packed our notebooks, camera and microphone, and we flew off to Stockholm to take part in this great adventure!
Nestled on the shores of Lake Siljan in the Swedish countryside, the little town of Leksand hosted more than 1700 participants from around the world. During four days, more than 130 ventures were featured in action-oriented Reworkshops. These sessions provided participants with concrete opportunities to rework specific projects in the areas of energy, water, land, cities and people, and to rethink models and concepts.
Throughout the event, we met many inspiring people from teachers and students to both young and serial entrepreneurs. We seized the opportunity to interview some of them and asked them to share their experiences and give their advice to young people who want to become social entrepreneurs. The messages from Rework the World will feed into our online Co-Creation Community and will help shape our own Summit in December, as well as contribute to maintaining the momentum between Rework 2010 and Rework 2012 which will take place in Alexandria, Egypt.
We welcome you to visit our Summit site where we will post the video!
Yann, GEF Team http://reworktheworld.com www.generation-europe.eu/summit2010/
“A culture change to go please…” Should entrepreneurship studies be mandatory? That was the question faced by participants at a roundtable discussion, organised by Generation Europe Foundation and the European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs as part of SME Week 2010. Just how can the education system encourage the spirit of enterprise in young people, especially when entrepreneurs, by taking risks, are necessarily irresponsible?
A much needed mindshift can only occur if and when authorities remove the red tape involved in setting up a business... if and when schools and universities stop asking students to colour within the lines or parrot the books... and if and when entrepreneurs will be allowed to engage in self-organised, informal learning activities to coach young Europeans on how to be irresponsible.
The tone was set from the get-go by Simone Baldassari from the European Commission. Rather than introducing entrepreneurship as a distinct subject in school curricula, he argued for ‘a new way of thinking about all subjects’.
Arnaud, GEF team
His message did not fall on deaf ears, as a consensus against heavy government involvement and ‘formal’ entrepreneurship education quickly emerged around the table. While the current system of education prepares students well for exams, a new approach to teaching should be developed to encourage creativity in the classroom and instil a sense of initiative and risk-taking in young people.
PORTRAIT Simon Ulvund Director, The Hub Brussels THE BUZZZ: You started your career as a financial analyst, before trying your hand at selling wine. How did these steps lead to your current position as Director of the Hub Brussels? I wanted to convey a message about what was right and wrong with the world. But then I noticed all of the press releases that I wrote for various projects were printed directly into the paper, as articles, without any changes. I came to realise that a lot of press articles were, in fact, prepared statements from companies or other interested parties. I was shocked! I turned to business, thinking, perhaps if I become one of those companies I can help shape the agenda of today and impact the world. When the opportunity to work for an American firm came along, I grabbed it and spent five years analysing stocks and markets. It taught me a lot about how business in its conventional, yet extreme, form is played out. But it also got boring. The wine company I started by accident, with a good friend. It taught me that I don’t know nearly enough about wine, nor am I interested enough in wine, to run a business focused solely on wine. I learned you have to do what you care about. And the problem was, I didn’t. When I joined the Hub, it felt like coming home. I finally had a stage, where intangible value was the game, and I could be part of shaping that - which is something I really care about. It was also an organisation entirely dedicated to doing business in the service of something greater, the world.
THE BUZZZ: Please define social entrepreneurship. Why has it emerged as an alternative business model? I don’t want to get too much into definitions; I prefer a broader interpretation. For me, if you are building a company that is making this world a better place, then you are a social entrepreneur. It’s my hope that in the future, we won’t even need to use the word ‘social’ in this context. It will lie implicitly in the expression ‘entrepreneurship’.
I believe social entrepreneurship is emerging because the disconnect, which has appeared over the last few centuries between individuals and the world around us, has become so obvious that it’s the only natural way to go. The old Scandinavian word for entrepreneurship is Næringsliv - which, directly translated, means ‘nourishment for life’. I like to see entrepreneurship in this fashion.
THE BUZZZ: What is the Hub and how does it support social entrepreneurs? The Hub is a space for people with imaginative and entrepreneurial ideas for a radically better world. We believe there is no shortage of good ideas. You can have them on the bus just as well as in the corporate meeting room. We believe everyone has good ideas all the time. And we want to bring all these people together in the Hub. The Hub is also a physical location, in our case in Brussels, situated in an old chocolate factory, where we have put together a creative office/event/meeting/relaxing space, which is inspiring and full of exciting people. We value diversity; no two Hub members are the same. We believe that in diversity, in viewing challenges from different perspectives, we find innovation. To top it off, we do a lot of programming about topics that our members care about - for example, our upcoming Unconference on Social Entrepreneurship in July. We also have a lot of social events, so our entrepreneurs can meet each other in a good context.
THE BUZZZ: We understand the Hub is developing a complementary currency. Why are alternative financing mechanisms so important for start-up companies? I think we are seeing alternative financing in so many different ways today: crowd funding, social loans and investors who actually care about your business and its impact. The next step is to say, ‘How can I possibly tie down value in my business and in my local community?’ An alternative currency is one way of doing this - if you have a critical mass of participants and if the currency is based around the right kind of community.
THE BUZZZ: Returning to one of the themes discussed at our SME Week roundtable, which you kindly moderated, how enterprising are Europeans in your opinion? That was a great session! We had entrepreneurs, teachers, Commission officials, NGOs, the press and young people agreeing that entrepreneurship is imperative to the future of education and vice versa. Generally, throughout history, Europeans have been very entrepreneurial. Mostly, when faced with a lot of adversity. The question perhaps now is: how comfortable are we? Do we feel the need to innovate? In Belgium, rights for self-employed and entrepreneurial people are way below those of the unemployed, and it holds people back. So, why even bother? I guess the answer to that is because you care about it.
THE BUZZZ: What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs? Engage in what you care about. Go out and meet people who also care about something. You don’t have to be interested in what they care about, but the fact that they care about something is what makes them so interesting. When was the last time you heard someone talk from his or her heart and it wasn’t the most interesting thing you have ever heard?
The Hub is a global community with places in 12 cities. http://the-hub.net/
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE Celebrate diversity, protect the natural world We’ve all seen arresting images of the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest: heavy industrial equipment clearing the land, smoke billowing from the piles of fallen timber. Perhaps more than any other example, it is this bald confrontation between man and nature which has the power to arouse the greatest indignation. But to what end? Despite efforts to the contrary, the loss of biodiversity - the variety of life on earth - continues apace, not only at the macro level, as in the case of the rainforest and other ecosystems, but also at the micro level, that is, the genetic differences between organisms of the same species. In a surprisingly candid admission, the EU has acknowledged that it will not meet its own target, set in
2001, of halting the loss of biodiversity by the end of this year. It is all the more fitting then that 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, a good context to reinvigorate our efforts to safeguard the natural environment. Rattling off just a few of the main threats to biodiversity - habitat loss, over-exploitation, climate change, invasive alien species and pollution - a pattern starts to emerge. Humans have a hand in all of these. ‘So what?’” you may ask. Does it really matter if we have one, two or three varieties of spiders in our back gardens? That’s a fair question. Many of us have become far removed from nature, living in concrete jungles and eating processed
food from the supermarket. The raw materials, the natural resources which make up this stuff are not always evident. But nature provides us with practically everything: fuel, food, shelter, medicine… the list goes on. Humans may be at the root of the problem, but we are also the solution. The indignation, the passion we feel about the destruction of the rainforests can be channelled into our individual actions. We can all make a contribution to a sustainable world, from decisions about the products we buy to the government policies we support. What will you do?
Debate: Water scarcity Apart from occasionally having to restrain from watering our lawns or washing our cars, water shortages are far removed from most of our daily realities simply thanks to the fact that we are lucky enough to live in areas with an abundance of freshwater. In truth, 71% of our planet is covered by water, but only a small fraction of it - as little as 0.3 percent - is accessible for use by humans. Add to this the fact that water is unevenly distributed across the globe and you end up with a potentially explosive situation. Are Water Wars soon to become a reality? How can the numerous causes of water scarcity best be addressed? Do you believe that the privatisation of water will improve the situation or only make it worse? Can our planet’s water supply maintain the current www.generation-europe.eu/community levels of population growth? Join our Topic of the Month debate!
The new face of censorship? Whether it be the iPad or the freshly redesigned iPhone, Apple fans around the world are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the latest gadgets, all fed by the iTunes platform. Music, movies, books, games, applications... you name it, you can find it on iTunes. That is, if Apple agrees with your tastes. For many years now, it has been argued that the rise of new media is eroding government censorship and improving press freedom around the world. Witness the role Twitter played in the protests following the presidential elections in Iran last spring. At the same time, however, government censorship is adapting to the digital age, as evidenced by the so-called ‘Great Firewall’ of China which filters all internet traffic into that country.
While government suppression of the media garners outrage, might there be another face of censorship which has largely escaped our attention? To wit, the trend toward self-censorship in the media. More and more examples are surfacing of restrictions placed on content in order to avoid upsetting certain interest groups as well as the values of the media owners and advertisers. Just about anybody can publish their thoughts on the internet with the simple click of a button, but consumers are increasingly turning to a limited number of online content platforms, which concentrates editorial control in the hands of a few companies. Apple, for example, describes the App Store, part of iTunes, as a ‘curated platform’. This choice of words conjures
up an image of art curators carefully selecting and arranging the pieces on display in a museum. But is this policy so benign? From banning pornographic material to removing an English dictionary app because it provides definitions of curse words, Apple has ventured onto the slippery slope of censorship, imposing its own decency standards. The company has already been forced to backtrack on a few of its decisions. Alternatives, such as Google’s Android platform, exist, but Apple has reached a critical mass, leaving content providers little choice but to distribute their stuff through iTunes. Whereas the internet promises freedom of choice, Apple has become a middleman, an arbiter between the media and consumers. Is this the new face of censorship?
Travel. Perform. Impact. With over two million alumni, the popularity of the Erasmus student exchange programme is hard to deny. But what if there was an alternative for socially conscious young people who wish to spend a semester (or two!) travelling abroad? Enter Up with People (UWP). UWP offers a unique combination of cultural immersion, performing arts and community service - and participants can even earn academic credit! In 2011, Up with People returns to Europe. UWP brings together young people between the ages of 17 and 29 from around the world to form the “cast” of a musical stage show – no previous experience required! After the initial rehearsals are finished, the group hits the road, stopping in up to 20 different
cities in the course of one semester. Participants stay with host families and, of course, have the opportunity to visit the tourist highlights of each city. In each city along the tour, UWP also partners with local organisations and for two days the cast members lend a helping hand to a community service project, which can range from building homes to restoring natural areas.
Sound like something that might interest you? Places are still available for the programme that starts in January 2011! www.upwithpeople.org twitter.com/UWPEurope
The week ends with the group’s performance of the UWP show, “A Song for the World!” Music transcends boundaries, and this show has proven to be an effective means to communicate with and inspire people. In the past, UWP casts have performed in Carnegie Hall and Red Square and for such dignitaries as the Pope and the King of Spain.
EU IN FOCUS
Grounded by volcanic ash At least looking skyward, the volcanic ash cloud which drifted over Europe in April was only noticeable by the absence of vapour trails and aircraft noise - a respite of sorts. In contrast, the situation on the ground told an all together different story: more than 100,000 flights were cancelled, stranding millions of passengers. What should have been routine trips turned into epic journeys on crowded trains and overnight buses. And so Eyjafjallajökull, the Icelandic volcano at the root of these disruptions, became a test for the European Union, not least its vaunted air passenger rights. The response during the first days appeared disjointed. Without common safety guidelines, the closure of airspace was poorly coordinated between national authorities. Might this then become the latest example of crisisdriven integration? Transport ministers have already called for the accelerated
implementation of the ‘Single European Sky’, which would effectively eliminate national boundaries in terms of air traffic management.
nature. We were reminded as well of the limitations in life - the unpredictable, uncontrollable events that can upset even our best laid plans.
The airline industry, already suffering from the economic slump, was obviously hurt by the flight groundings. But the incident also laid bare all of the other industries which depend on airplanes. In total, Eyjafjallajökull cost the global economy some €4 billion of lost GDP.
By the end of May, volcanic activity slowed to the point that some experts say Eyjafjallajökull is returning to dormancy, while others warn, based on historical examples, that the volcano could still stir back to life.
Beyond the political and economic consequences, the eruption should give pause for another reason: for many, the air travel ban threw the brakes on our fast-paced lives as we were reminded once again of the awesome power of
Whither the euro? Is the euro, the most tangible sign of European integration, in danger? For a few months this spring, as instability returned to the financial markets raising the spectre of a double-dip recession, it certainly seemed that way. The alarm was first sounded in Greece, where the government is facing a substantial budget shortfall, and flags were soon raised in Spain and Portugal as well. After hemming and hawing for several weeks, EU leaders finally agreed to a bailout for Greece in May, along
with a ‘European financial stabilisation mechanism’ worth up to €500 billion. We are not out of the woods yet, but this response has seemed to stem the panic for now. Of course, there are lessons to be drawn from this experience. First, as long as fiscal policy - taxation and spending remains in national hands, the European Monetary Union rests on shaky foundations. Second, sustainability concerns not only our use of natural resources, but also our public finances, something that most politicians are loath to hear. Not everybody sees doom and gloom, however. One enterprising artist in Austria has minted his own currency, the oEURO. Featuring a crescent moon
on the front side, where archways and windows normally appear on euro banknotes, and a bombed out bridge on the back, the oEURO has a face value of… zero. The mock currency was conceived in 2004, but has gained notoriety during the economic crisis. In the artist’s own words, the oEURO is an example of ‘creating value where none existed before’, similar to credit default swaps and other opaque financial instruments.
Accessible cities European Youth Capital (Turin), European Green Capital (Stockholm), European Capitals of Culture (Essen, Pécs and Istanbul)...…and now add to that list the European Capital of Accessibility. The annual city awards keep on multiplying, at the risk of diluting the value of these accolades and becoming an exercise in self-congratulation. Still, this latest honour is intended less to showcase a one-off programme of special events, like the youth and culture capitals, than to recognise municipal achievements which have benefited the lives of local citizens.
An initiative of the Spanish Presidency, the inaugural European Capital of Accessibility will be announced in December 2010 at the European Day of People with Disabilities conference. Each Member State will be allowed to put forward three candidate cities, which will be judged according to a common set of criteria. Stay tuned to find out who the first winner will be! The European Disability Forum estimates 50 million people - almost 10% of the population - in the EU are disabled, many of whom face discrimination on a daily basis. Accessibility, in general,
refers to efforts to remove barriers which prevent these individuals from participating fully in all aspects of life: education, employment and the use of infrastructure (transport, etc.), products, services and even websites.
Geld, welches Geld!? Seit ich vor fünf Monaten nach Brüssel zog, sind viele meiner Freunde zu Hause verwirrt und fragen mich, was ich denn nun dort so mache. ‘Ich beschäftige mich mit komplementären Währungen’ ist eine Antwort, bei der die meisten zwar noch einmal kurz nachfragen, in der Hoffnung ich mache wieder nur einen Witz. Aber da ich es ernst meine, erschöpft sich bald die Neugierde. Gerne stelle ich mir vor, wie vor über hundert Jahren das Automobil, dann das Internet, erneuerbare Energien und das Recyceln von Abfällen ebenso viel Verwunderung und Kopfschütteln hervorgerufen hat. Oder Bakterien: Schon vor der Erfindung des Mikroskops gab es viele gute Ärzte, aber um wie viel treffsicherer wurden ihre Therapien als man verstanden hatte, dass viele Krankheiten mit dem Befall winziger Lebewesen zu tun hatten und nicht mit dem mysteriösen Einfluss missgünstiger Geister. Genauso heil- und wirksam wird es sein, die verborgenen Mittel und Mechanismen unseres größten menschlichen Potentiales aufzudecken: unserer Kooperation! In jeder Gemeinschaft - sei es ein Team, eine Lebensgemeinschaft, eine Stadt, ein Land, ein Kontinent oder die gesamte Welt - gilt: Wie wir unsere Zusammenarbeit gestalten und welche Hilfsmittel wir dazu verwenden, wird maßgeblich über die Zukunft unserer Zivilisationen entscheiden. Währungen haben Stärken, die zweifelsohne zum Erfolg einiger Staaten beitrugen. Aber nicht alles kann in Geldwert verwandelt werden: Der Gebrauch von Gemeingütern wie Luft und Wasser, immaterielle und nicht versiegende Werte wie Information, Wertschätzung, Schönheit und Vertrauen können nicht in nationalen Währungen gemessen werden. Wenn wir jedoch in stets größeren Systemen zusammenarbeiten wollen und müssen, um immer arbeitsteiligere Ziele zu erreichen und um die Diversität der Welt zu nutzen, werden wir nicht umhinkommen, geeignete Interaktionsysteme zu schaffen. Eine Währung in diesem Sinne ist alles, was den Austausch zwischen Akteuren fördert. Das klingt schrecklich kompliziert, aber in vielen Bereichen tun wir dies bereits erfolgreich: Auf ebay ist nicht nur derjenige Händler erfolgreich, der das billigste Angebot hat, sondern derjenige, der am erfolgreichsten auch
die Vertrauenswährung ‘feedback-Sterne’ nutzt. Zwar kann man seine Sterne nicht verkaufen, aber sie zu haben, fördert den Austausch mit neuen Kunden. Flugmeilen und paybackPunkte können Kunden besser an einen Anbieter binden als ein entsprechender Rabatt in Form von billigeren Produkten. Für die Abrechnung zwischen Herstellern, Kunden und Lieferanten verwenden 60.000 Schweizer Unternehmen seit über 70 Jahren erfolgreich den WIR, eine komplementäre Währung zum Schweizer Franken. Und wo die nationale und internationale Krisen die lokale Wirtschaft bedrohen, setzen immer mehr Gemeinden auf lokale Währungen wie den Chiemgauer. Und in je mehr Belangen wir uns von den großen Währungen unabhängig machen, umso weniger müssen wir fürchten, dass Großanleger oder ferne Krisen auch unsere Lebensgrundlage vernichten. Noch fällt es schwer, sich von dem Gedanken zu trennen, dass Währung immer in Form von Münzen und Scheinen auftritt und wir bald wieder mit vielen verschiedenen Geldbeuteln rumlaufen müssen; doch vor Kurzem konnte man sich auch nicht vorstellen, dass der Inhalt ganzer Büchereien in unsere Handfläche passt und wir uns ebenso sehr auf die Erfahrungen fremder ebay-Kunden verlassen können, wie auf die Ratschläge unserer Großmütter. Mit dieser Vision vor Augen macht es sogar Spaß, immer weiter das Unmögliche zu versuchen und komplementäre Währungen auf einer Seite zu erklären ;-)
KEY FIGURE “I have always said that Africa has a different rhythm, a different sound…”
35,000 Months after an explosion toppled an offshore drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and injuring scores more, oil continues to spew from the underwater well at an estimated rate of 35,000 barrels per day, according to official sources. So far, repeated attempts to plug the leak have failed - although some oil is now being siphoned from the well - and experts fear it could be months before a solution is found. With a fishing ban in effect over large swathes of the Gulf and oil washing ashore in protected nature reserves, the full economic and environmental impact of this disaster is yet to be felt. Coupled with the major coal mining accidents this year which have killed dozens in China, Russia and the United States, the question becomes: energy at what price?
Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA Behind the play-by-play commentary, football supporters tuning in to the 2010 FIFA World Cup can hear the constant drone of vuvuzelas, plastic horns now at the centre of a cultural debate. On the one hand, foreign footballers and fans are fussing about the noisemakers, citing everything from difficult communication between players on the field to potential hearing damage. In response to viewer complaints, some broadcasters are even filtering the noise from their transmissions, at least partially. On the other hand, vuvuzelas are a South African football tradition, although detractors are quick to point out that the horns have only been mass produced since 2001. Still, it seems the vuvuzela has deeper roots - a modern version of the kudu horn, an instrument traditionally made from antelope horns. FIFA, the governing body of football, has ruled out a ban on vuvuzelas. Sepp Blatter, the President of FIFA, said on his Twitter account (in shorthand), ‘To answer all your messages re the Vuvuzelas. I have always said that Africa has a different rhythm, a different sound.’ He continued in a second message, ‘...I don’t see banning the music traditions of fans in their own country. Would you want to see a ban on the fan traditions in your country?’” twitter.com/seppblatter
COMPETITIONS' CORNER Music against poverty What? A songwriting contest In between the lofty declarations which bring the issue to the forefront every few years, young people can help spread the message about extreme poverty through music - and keep pressure on the politicians to act! For whom? EU citizens between the ages of 15 and 30. Until when? Songs can be entered online from July until September, while voting will stay open for one month past the submission deadline.
Prizes: A professional studio recording of the winning song, as well as the opportunity to perform at a concert and attend the European Development Days in Brussels on 9-10 December.
More info: www.ifightpoverty.eu facebook.com/IFightPoverty twitter.com/IFightPoverty
Organised by: European Commission, EuropeAid Cooperation Office
Employing the NEXT Generation What? A survey The right skills? The right place? The right time? Four years after the first â€˜Employing the NEXT Generationâ€™ survey, we are again asking young people about their expectations as new or future employees. The results of the survey will be presented at the 2010 Employment Week Forum. For whom? Anybody between the ages of 19 and 29, but especially those living
in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Poland. Until when? Mid-July 2010 Prizes: Those respondents who complete the optional short essay (maximum of 400 words!) at the end of the survey will have the chance to win a free trip to Brussels in November. Organised by: Generation Europe Foundation and the FutureWork Forum
More info: Complete the survey at http://vovici.com/wsb.dll/ s/4f07g45173