The fact that our planet will soon house 9 billion people and that we have the capabilities each day to produce enough food to support all of them, if equally distributed, are amazing facts and unfathomable, but true, realities.
These realities must be addressed, not just at a personal level but at a governmental level and on to force a global realization. 70 percent of the 9 billion will reside in urban settings. City living and awareness need to change to benefit all future generation.
The “Thinking Cities” documentary from Ericsson that was released early this month and can be viewed on YouTube discusses key concepts to a more sustainable future based on the role in which cities hold and will maintain in the future.
The highlighted points that are discussed in this short film are:
- The importance of cities
- Cities future role in sustainability with the “Smart City”
- Attention to the use and participation in social media networks
- Information/communication intelligence
- Where problems and solutions are generated
Almost all problems, that our society knows, grew from an urban environment, yet those same settings are equally producing the solutions to those problems.
An example that is being mainstreamed currently is mankind’s ability to interact with the city in a fluid, continuous motion. According to the documentary this fluidity is the key to tackling inefficiencies in everyday life.
Two very powerful technologies are being implemented.
The first is a chip attached to products while they are being manufactured, thus allowing the trail from production to disposal to be recorded. This is beneficial because it allows a more accurate perception of how/when items are disposed of. As a species we are delighted by the way things are produced and almost completely oblivious to where they end up. This chip will, hopefully, be an eye-opener to many people, increasing recycling and reuse of products.
The second technology is an app for the smart phones, which allows people to record issues, such as a pothole, a malfunctioning traffic light, etc. immediately and to receive notice when the problem has been addressed and fixed. The documentary discusses this as not a necessary immediate response item but as a rebuilding of social trust within its own structure item. When people know that their voice is being heard, that they are actually making a difference, more will speak up and more human interaction builds stronger societies.
These technologies are a small part of Ericsson’s Information Communication Technologies (ICT) program that is dedicated to expanding the value of city living and the key to what cities can ultimately achieve.
Another concept addressed in “Thinking Cities”, is the idea of Smart Cities. I recently wrote about Stockholm, being Europe’s greenest city and Ericsson is using this city as a threshold for every other city in the world. They discuss how cities can make sustainable lifestyles easier for everyone and that the importance of cities begins with the very basic idea that people like to feel like they are part of something, therefore more easily influenced by their everyday surroundings. If everyone you know is recycling, the chance that you will recycle without even considering the alternative greatly increases.
A short film, such as this, can start a wave for every program, for every idea and for every person to become more sustainable and, most importantly, more aware of the consequences their actions actually have on the environment and their surroundings.
We do only have one world but thankfully we are, although slowly, continuing to prove that we can make it a better place to live. Ericsson’s ICT program is as good as any place to start.
Resources: YouTube, Ericsson, Smart Planet and GBE Introduction