Showing posts from March, 2005

Lectures about food safety

I do lectures about food safety and environmental problems associated with food production. Recently, my focus has been the over-use of antibiotics for animals, like pigs and cattle. Did you know that these important drugs are used as "growth-promoters" and as a result, many dangerous bacteria are getting resistant? As salmonella, campylobacter, E coli and other bacteria get resistant, common diseases will increasingly become very difficult to treat. At Japan Offspring Fund, we produced a video about antibiotics. Please click here for more info about the Japan Offspring Fund video Other issues that interests me are genetically manipulated foods, hormones and pesticide use in agriculture. I also like to talk about solutions. For example, there is a growing market for organic foods in Japan. I recently went to the Food-Ex, a huge show with foods from almost all countries in the world. It was so interesting to see that organic foods are now becoming more and more popular. I

Promoting Korean traditional foods

I just cannot resist sharing this movie with you. It promotes Korean traditional foods! The cabbage dish is called kimchi, and has a rich spicy flavour that I really like. Please click here to go to the movie!

Seoul Initiative on Green Growth

Today, the conference could agree on an impressive document, called the Seoul Initiative on Green Growth. This initiative is the main result from the MCED 2005 conference. It includes a new approach of green growth, shifting away from the old paradigm of "grow first and clean up later". Rather, the new paradigm is to present the environment as an opportunity for economic growth, investment, marketing, industry, employment and so on. How can this be done? The Seoul Initiative suggests to internalize environmental costs into the price of products and services, or by using tax incentives (lower tax if you are more environmentally friendly) and by promoting sustainable production and consumption patterns (one suggestion is to link them to traditional lifestyles and cultural values). I was glad that the Seoul Initiative also wants to promote the Polluter Pays Principle to manage and protect the quality of air, water and the natural ecosystem. Unfortunately, it does not mention


Dance  As the MCED 2005 begun, we were treated with a traditional Korean dance performance.

My speech in Seoul

OK, everyone, here I am, delivering my speech at the Civil Society Forum in Seoul! Speech in Seoul  I gave a few examples of how important it can be that governments help us get results. I really like that Tokyo has decided to ban diesel trucks, it has made the air much cleaner. Also, there are many campaigns now for "idling-stop" Car engines are improved, so that the engine stops when the car isn't moving. It saves fuel (10-20 percent) so that is good for both the economy and the environment. Allergies, atopy and other serious health problems affect our beloved ones directly. We cannot accept economic development that makes people suffer. There are huge environmental problems, especially in Asia, let's not forget that. One area I am interested in is food safety. Many other speakers also pointed out that healthy food should be included in the discussions. In poor countries, the issue of food sovereignty is important. For example, if trade rules make it attrac

What is MCED 2005?

The United Nations holds conferences all over the World, to bring people together and discuss policies. MCED is the "Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development" and this is the fifth such meeting for Asia and the Pacific. This region is really huge and there are a lot of people here. Obviously, the impact on the environment is also huge. One theme of the MCED 2005 is "Green growth" It means we should find solutions to the environmental problems, as more and more people enjoy the benefits of modern living. The old theme seems to have been "Grow first, clean up later" but that doesn't work when you have a billion people. My friends tell me that the air is bad in Seoul. But people are really kind and funny, with many good ideas. For example: a campaign for no smoking would be a good idea here. It is a small action, and it can have big results. It would also be good for Korean people's health! Another idea is a walking campaign. Try gettin

Lots of good ideas to protect the environment

Many speakers here in Seoul had so many good ideas for how to protect the environement. Chan Hee Lee, Korean Ministry of Environment, highlighted the need for eco-friendly products. He outlined the tasks of governments: policy making; implementing green consumption policies; and promoting eco-friendly products. Seung-Ho Han, Hanwha Eco Institute, and Myung-Hee Park, Green Consumer Network, Republic of Korea, advocated information sharing and green communication. They called upon corporations to disclose information related to their products. What can consumers do if the labels on products are impossible to read? Eun Sook Moon, Citizen’s Alliance for Consumer Protection of Korea, highlighted safety, accessibility and sustainability in consumption. Manny C. Calonzo, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, the Philippines, presented the country’s case of zero waste. He pointed out that urban areas of Asia spend $25 billion a year on solid waste management, noting that open dumps

Seoul, South Korea

I will be in Seoul, South Korea March 22-30, 2005 for a United Nations conference. The topic is sustainable development in Asia. We will be discussing environmental protection and "Green growth". I hope I can use this blog to share my impressions with you. - Martin