Rio Inside, No. 4

The closer the beginning of the very official part of the summit today gets, the more busy the traffic, the more intensive the police presence, and the more formalized, and hence most likely effectless, the talks. This morning I woke up with supposedly a hundred helicopters flying over the roof of my hotel, even though the summit location is quite far away. My only theory is that the heads of state are flown via Copacabana to the summit, for the views… Alas, if they would produce something of sense, I would of course condone that. But with all these woulds…

About yesterday I like to report about a promising, a stimulating, and an embarrassing experience, each:

Promising might be a quite impromptu talk with the CEO of renewable energies from Siemens. My question, as you may imagine, has been whether or not he considers muscle energies also as renewable energies. Okay, the question was suggestive. But he liked the idea, and I promised to him to follow up on some like proposals, and he promised to me to read and react. Of course, in mobility it becomes obvious: With bike mobility and other forms of active mobility we are really using renewable energies for getting someplace. But there are lots of more instances where it makes sense, especially from a holistic view of sustainability, to use muscle energies for purposes where energy is needed. In fact, this is where it all started some hundreds of thousands of years ago, and innovation could and should make the use of muscle enjoyable, efficient, healthy, and sexy. Isn´t that a cool vision?

Stimulating where talks with some people about putting monetary value to nature. This is a very delicate topic: The protagonists argue that with such an approach nature as such becomes valuable also in an economic sense, not only as area to be exploited, hence it should serve to ensure its preservation. The critics say that this is just the very problem of (non) sustainable development, that everything is put to monetary and market value, even when this thinking simply does and should not apply. As in many discussions, it is a tightrope walk, to use this argument where it may help, but not to misuse it, and always point out the limits. Anyway, one guy from a government agency, one of the good guys, promised me to make some specific suggestions how this argumentation may help the fostering of bike mobility. I am anxious to read about this, then… And, of course, my argument stays that with modelling and discussing measurements alone nothing changes per se. I will keep on demanding a much better balance of action and discussions.

Embarassing was the ´performance´ of our (German) minister for the environment, Peter Altmeier, on a penal discussion. Where I first was even rather in accord with his argumentations, he very soon lost interest in the discussion, checked mails or twittered, thus failed to react to remarks of his compatriots on the panel, and then left while his puzzled colleagues were still talking. A complete display of disrespect. I tried to hide the fact that I am German… :-)

Finally, I like to share with you some thoughts on how we may continue with the campaign, to put it to discussion and reflection. The ´global ride to rio´ will need another branding, so I suggest ´global ride to a sustainable future´. And the institutional form will need to become something new as well, something I have not seen yet, something I like to label an ´impact network´. An impact network for effect in sustainable development through the fostering of active mobility. How does that sound to you? Very soon I will share with you what I think an impact network is, and how it may work: geared to impact, and little else…

Goin´ rockin´ …

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