Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Costa Rica to Somalia

Photos of an Odyssey 2050 comic book workshop!! Aiming to reach children both from across the international and income spectrum, this workshop was held in Costa Rica...

The comic book has now been translated into French and Somalian, and we are looking forward to receiving the Arabic translation shortly. In the coming months the Odyssey 2050 comic book will be released throughout Nicaragua and Costa Rica whilst we continue working on the final feature film.....

Finally, world famous astronaut and scientist Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz has signed 25 copies of the comic which will be auctioned off in a funding raising event.  

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Odyssey 2050 climate change comic book is live! Launched on Friday the 23rd of March at the Great Western Studios in central London. Odysssey 2050 has been working with Artists Project Earth (APE), an excellent NGO dedicated to creating a better world through music and art, with special thanks to Lorna Howarth and Kenny Young - the APE website

We have big aims for the Odyssey comic book; initially it will be distributed throughout schools in the Caribbean region of Nicaragua and other regions throughout Latin America. Efforts are currently underway to have the comic book translated into English and Arabic, and we're constantly on the lookout for willing translators to help out. 

We're really pleased to have produced the Odyssey 2050 comic book and - with a professional finish, but it's important not to forget its purpose. When Odyssey 2050 began, one of it's core principles was to reach as many young people as possible from all corners of the globe. The creation of the comic book recognises that many people do not have access to computer, TV, or even electricity, not to mention the internet. The comic book can reach these young people, and ensure their involvement in environmental issues that will surely affect their future.

Friday, 30 March 2012

London Olympics - The Greenest Games??

The Olympics are coming! Coaches are training Olympians worldwide to ensure they achieve the best possible result, whether it’s a podium finish or a personal goal. The Olympics is one of the only sport events that reaches all corners of the globe and a truly worldwide audience. This is a unique opportunity for many, and it’s also a time to address a global audience on important issues, and London is doing this in the realm of the Environment.

London is aiming to incorporate sustainability into every aspect of the Olympics to create positive change and it has set new standards for the future. London’s bid to host the Olympics incorporated environmentally friendly objectives, for example, it will use many pre-existing venues where possible and will only build permanent structures that can be used for many years to come, and where this is not possible, create ‘temporary structures’ that will only be used for a specific amount of time. All venues incorporate sustainability into their production, with the Olympic stadium being the front runner which is constructed using multiple techniques, using recycled materials and lighter material to reduce its carbon footprint.  Further, the London Olympics will bring significant environmental change to areas that were previously known as ‘brownfield sites’ meaning they were derelict or contaminated - and they are creating one of the biggest new parks in London.      

By highlighting 5 main interest areas London is trying to become the greenest games possible. In recognition of Climate Change London Olympics is positively minimising it’s greenhouse gas emissions, it will not send waste to landfills, encourage Biodiversity at Olympic venues, promote inclusion from people across London and the UK and healthy living, to encourage people to be more active and think more sustainably. The Olympics is on track to deliver the first sustainable games

However there’s still room for improvement. In the Olympic bid London explained they would be investing in a wind turbine to create 20% of the energy necessary for the games, however this was scrapped as it was a little too ambitious. 

Further, pollution in London will be a concern to many. Similar to the Beijing Olympics, there has been warnings about the unacceptably high levels of air pollution in London, and this can be especially so during the summer months. The effect of this is that athletes could suffer pulmonary irritation, decreased lung capacity and shortness of breath. London is the biggest city in the EU, and has previously been warned about its high levels of toxic gases. Whereas Beijing took the drastic measure of banning half of the cars in the city and shut down many industries, it will be unlikely that the Olympics organisation or government will take the same measures, and this could be to the detriment of the games. London will certainly be in the global spot light.
Odyssey 2050 intends to attend the London Olympics as it will be a great opportunity to engage young people from around the world in the environmental debate.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Comic book, Climate change

The Odyssey 2050 climate change comic book is nearing the end of its production - to be launched in London in the coming weeks. then worldwide release.

For excellent climate change debate and environmental issues, go to HuffPost Green

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Water water everywhere....?

Water is the only substance on earth that occurs at ordinary temperatures in all three states of matter – gas, liquid and solid. As a gas it is in the air around us, as vapor, steam, fog, mist and clouds. As ice it forms snow, hail, glaciers and freezes lakes and rivers. As liquid it covers the world in lakes, seas and swamps, or is found deep in underground reservoirs. Depending on variables such as age, health and geography, any human constitutes about 60% water. Humans can survive weeks without food, but without a reliable water source our bodies start to shut down after a few days.

Water covers approximately 70% of the Earth’s surface, of which only 2.5% is freshwater, and of this small percentage, only 0.3% freshwater is available in lakes and rivers.

Growing up in England and living in Europe there has never been a time when I've feared for my own water security. If I was thirsty I’d merely turn on a tap or go to the shops. Such access to water is a first world luxury and must not be taken lightly.  Water scarcity is a serious problem for millions of people worldwide.

Carrying water across the dry-bed of Neyyar resevoir, the main source of water for Trivandrum city, India. 

In 1999 the World Bank Institute Water Policy Reform Program outlined how water is essential for all aspects of life. It highlighted that globally water availability is reaching a ‘crisis level’ with more than 40% of the world’s inhabitants facing water shortages, with over 1 billion people without access to safe drinking water and 3 billion without clean sanitation infrastructure.

In the past decade this situation has not improved and availability of freshwater continues to be a global concern. In March 2012, UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova of the World Water Forum in Marseilles explained that fresh water continues to be a core issue for sustainable development and that "if we fail today to make water an instrument of peace, it might become tomorrow a major source of conflict." 

The future of the world’s water supply is uncertain due to rising population, increasing urbanization and the pressures of climate change. Consequently, the World Water Development report explains that no country is guaranteed ‘uninterrupted access to water supplies’ and the report warns that it will affect key developmental sectors including agriculture, energy and health.

While global efforts have been made to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people that do not have access to safe drinking water by 2015 there is still much ground to cover. By 2050 the world’s population is forecast to reach 9 billion. Rising population levels coupled with the pressures of climate change compounds the importance of ensuring greater water sustainability. 

With encroaching climate change, water in some countries will increase in the form of flash floods or rising seas levels, while other countries will have unprecedented low levels of rainfall, droughts and dry rivers. Further, lakes, wetlands and rivers are under increasing pressure from multiple use, pollution and habitat degradation. Climate change and fluctuations in the levels of water will undoubtedly have a great effect on the global production of agriculture and our ability to create food and safe water for earth's rising population.

As it stands, there is great uncertainty surrounding the amount of water necessary to sustain our planet. Owing to climate change there is great uncertainty about what the future will hold. To ensure worldwide water sustainability a global effort must be made by the international community. Emerging global initiatives that have been implemented need to be bolstered and carried out to ensure that there is significant investment in technologies and urban water planning for the future. Water transends both local and national concerns as everyone shares a vested interest in a dependence on water. Water it is central to every aspect of life on Earth and it must lie at the heart of our vision for sustainable development for the coming century.

Two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen; this simple chemistry is holding our world together and we need to protect it.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Young People and Climate Change

If children ruled the world I'm sure it would be an interesting place. A bit of stereotypical speculation; most boys would be playing 'army' in parks, breaking stuff or simply hurling clumps of mud at each other. The girls would be dressing up with over-sized parental fashion accessories, playing 'hop scotch' or with small plastic horses. These marauding tribes of opposite sexes certainly wouldn't want to befriend each other; in fact they would barely interact. I expect that in this situation it would be difficult for any productive laws to be passed or policy to be created.

While this playground utopia will (likely) not come to pass, this doesn't mean that the ideas of young people should be ignored. When considering 'climate change' and 'environmental protection' the ideas of today's youth are particularly important – as the actions and efforts of us older folk today has a direct impact on the global youth. So, as politicians, activists and businesses try to address the issue of climate change, it is essential to keep in mind those who will live with the consequences, the future citizens of this world. 

It is undeniable that climate change will affect us for many years to come. Whether its impact can be reduced by improving carbon emissions or burning less fossil fuels, or whether its encroachment is a force that cannot be stopped but must simply be managed, climate change will be one of the most defining challenges for the next generation and many generations to come. Considering this, adults and policy makers must act now to encourage the participation of children into this debate, to raise their awareness and stoke the embers of their imaginations, as it will take a considerable and united effort by these future generations to handle the various climate change scenarios that they will face.  

Young people need to be included during the discourse about the future of our planet and its environment. We have a shared responsibility to ensure that climate change is effectively communicated to young people. Over the past ten years I have witnessed environmental issues appear with greater frequency and urgency in papers, journals, TV and films, and it’s gaining more prominence in educational curriculum's around the world, creating more positive activism and awareness. However there is still much to be done. 

Here at Odyssey 2050 we're reaching out to students and children across the world, from poor rural areas in Nicaragua to animated film festivals in Korea and schools in Africa, and it’s our view that children must continue to be brought into this debate and to be given a platform to voice their concerns about their future.   

Friday, 24 February 2012

Climate Refugees

Michael Nash and his documentary Climate Refugees: The Human Face of Climate Change examines how humans across the globe are being displaced by the effects of climate change. This documentary delves into the challenges that people face when they are forced from their homeland and forced to seek refuge, and it highlights challenges such as conflicts at border crossings or over natural resources along with intriguing commentary on humanities basic level of kindness and compassion when faced with danger. 

A person who is displaced from their region by encroaching climatic and ecological change, such as droughts, crop failure, desertification, rising sea levels, and other incidences of extreme weather such as freezing temperatures and extreme flooding, is described as a climate refugee. 

These events undoubtedly effect human lives, and with increasing climate disruption in the years to come, it could potentially create a mass climate migration like never seen before, with conflict over resources and at national barriers as people and seek more livable climates.   

Accordingly, 'climate change' is now considered a national security risk by the Pentagon. Research by the UN shows that there are currently more refugees displaced by environmental disasters than by war, at an incredible 25 million. t 25million. Cause for concern, as the UN predicts that this number will double within 5 years. 
The idea of a 'climate war' or 'resource war' is not far from the thoughts of policy makers and NGOs throughout the world. It seems that regardless of how powerful and immune we think our civilisation is - it is certainly not as powerful as the forces of our planet. The impact of climate change will soon be felt by some of the most vulnerable sections of the world, and we must start acting now to seek solutions. 

Monday, 20 February 2012

Odyssey 2050. These shots come from the film Odyssey 2050. 
Using cutting edge graphics, Odyssey 2050 aims to capture the imagination of millions of young minds across the world and to motivate and educate a generation towards greater environmental responsibility.  

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Earth Charter Odyssey 2050 Video Competition

The Earth Charter Initiative based at the University For Peace in Costa Rica is a diverse global network of people and organisations that participates in promoting and implementing the values and principles of the Earth Charter.

The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental ethical principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the 21st century. It seeks to inspire in all people a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well-being of the whole human family, the greater community of life, and future generations. It is a product of a decade-long, worldwide, cross cultural dialogue on common goals and shared values.

Over the past 6 months Odyssey 2050 and the Earth Charter conducted a worldwide video competition in schools inviting them to send short videos with the theme ” How Can We Build a Better Future Together.”  We received excellent videos from all over the world, thanks and congratulations to everyone who took the time to produce and send us their material. Portions of all of the videos will be included in a special Odyssey 2050 documentary we are producing.  The overall winner of the competition was ” It Starts With One” created by grade 5 students in Arlington Virginia USA:

We received two particularly creative submissions from Belarus, the first was “I want My Life Back” by Oleg Shchutsky and the second one was  “We Are For Spring Without Shots” by Svetlana Yakubovskaya.  You can see all of the Earth Charter Odyssey 2050 videos here.

Odyssey 2050 has been busy these days producing the English audio version of the film and we are very pleased to have actor Douglas Williamson, who is also head of communications at the Earth Charter, assisting us with his fine voice work. Other great news on the English version of the film is that talented British actor Gabriel Facchini has signed on to the project as narrator. I was lucky to have met Gabriel last December at an FCO Emergency Training course I took in Mexico and we are very pleased to have him on the Odyssey 2050 team.  Many thanks to Alchemea Sound College in the UK for providing the studio time for Gabriel’s voice work.    . 

On the topic of short videos here is the link to a short video about our experience at COP 17. 2012 will be a busy year for Odyssey 2050 in the lead up to COP 18 in Qatar.

The original blog and further blogs can be read on the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office website Odyssey 2050 and Bruce Callow, Climate Blogger.