Week 10 Sustainability and Sensing Cities

The post-agenda 2015 goals for sustainable development include amongst there social and economic objetives Goal number 13 that aims to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. This topic has had its fair share of controversy. Climate change deniers do not accept the rising temperatures, rising sea levels and increase of natural disasters are man-made.

Elliot and Urry (2010) swiftly address the deniers with hard facts and a description of how the 20th Century’s capitalism and the advent of mobile lives have resulted in an era of carbon hubris (Elliot and Urry, 2010) which, according to the authors’ four different type of future scenarios, will be forced to come to an end in a few decades to come. Mobile lives, as mentioned, are creating problems – both environmental and social – that will have to be addressed in the 21st Century. People are constantly on the go, connecting with others either physically by travel, or virtually through mobile phones, SMS, skype. “The richer the society, the greater the range of mobility systems that will be present, and the more complex the intersections between such systems” (Elliot and Urry, 2010, page 19). Network capital will define a person’s access to mobility and as with all forms of capital, this freedom of movement becomes unequally distributed.

The case study SavingFood from the Collective Awareness Platforms projects indirectly addresses Goal 13 on Climate Change but most importantly, Goal 2 to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

As mentioned in their website, “SavingFood offers an innovative and socially responsible solution to the food waste challenge by developing an online networked community of various stakeholders that through collective awareness, knowledge sharing, motivations and incentives, will facilitate the redistribution of surplus food and leftover crops for the benefit of the vulnerable groups of our society.”

Elliot and Urry describe four future scenarios, two being preferable (Local sustainability and Digital Networks) and the other two un-preferable (Perpetual Motion and Regional Warlordism). Clearly, SavingFood addresses the first category, taking something from both scenarios. To achieve food security, SavingFood encourages local sustainability by the sourcing of food from the communities, as well as exploiting the power of Digital Networks to share knowledge on the subject.

SavingFood takes advantage of the technological advances of the 20th and 21st centuries -by embracing the internet and digitalization- to address the problems that this progress has helped to create. It is an interesting approach to raise awareness and promote conscientious consumption.


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