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Posts Tagged ‘global’

The UK and Europe is so far ahead of the US when it comes to CSR. If I only had a penny for everyone who said this. I hear this almost every single day. And not just from those in England who have a slightly superior attitude when it comes to CSR. I hear it from people here in the US just as often, if not more often. The truth is that we are comparing apples and oranges. Is cricket better than baseball? Only if you are from England. Although you wouldn’t know that from recent results – excluding the Ashes. And you would only like cricket more if you enjoy sitting in the sun and rain for five days and still not get a result. But I digress. They are both ball sports but they are vastly different. They might even share a common history, but that is where it stops.

I’ve noticed small differences as well. In the US companies focus often on what they do in the community – their communities. How you interact and how you support them. Europe tend to focus more on how you run your business in a responsible way – it’s about operations and how you work. The impact is important to both, but in the US you look at your community and their needs first and the way you work in your community might have something to do with the way you operate, but does not have to. In Europe you focus on your role in society through your operations and the impact you have, and then you improve on these. Through these operational changes you will have a more positive impact on society. Both benefits society, but they have slightly different points of departure.

The reason why the community focus is so central in the US is because there is less of a safety net in the US than in most of Europe. People do not expect government to solve their problems or protect them from every single little thing in life. No, people do that themselves and they tend to look after themselves and sometimes after each other. They expect to solve issues themselves. Americans like the idea of less interference by government and more control by themselves in taking responsibility of their own lives. It might have something to do with the open spaces, but Americans do not like people telling them what to do. They want to be masters of their own destiny. Less government and more power to the people.

In the UK and much of Europe there are much more of a reliance on government to interfere in daily life. People expect government to take more control of their daily lives and maintain the rules of how society engage and organize themselves. The rules of engagement. And they want government to identify the common areas of good that will help improve society. Government will tell you what is bad and help you to become better. All that is left for companies to do is ensure they do their best through operations and compliance to government regulations.

That brings me to a second and more important point of difference – regulations and compliance. Corporate behavior is managed through regulations and compliance in the UK and Europe. Everything you do is regulated and not left to the company to try to innovate on their side. Any leadership position you develop is very quickly turned into a government requirement. (Your window of opportunity to show true leadership will stay open for a very short period in this environment). Yes, European companies do some amazingly innovative stuff but just notice carefully how much of that innovation actually takes place outside of their own borders – where they source from or manufacture.

It helps that there is a strong central government in Europe. It makes it easy to push through new regulations. And it is even easier in Europe where the European Commission is hardly held responsible by ‘the people’ and have an almost free ride in bringing in new regulations. No wonder that Europe brought out regulations to define what a banana is – up to the curve needed to be defined as a banana. And I am not joking…

And it is also easy to bring in new regulations in the UK. It is a small island with a central government that runs the rule over everyone. Yes, Scotland and Wales have some autonomy, but the UK is still pretty much ruled from London. It is easy to understand the drive towards more regulations with so much power in the hands of a central government. It is in the nature of government to try to rule their own way. And each new government want to leave behind some kind of legacy. And what is easier than to bring in new regulations that can be sold as ‘for the good of everyone’.

One dynamic that makes this possible in the UK is the level of stakeholder engagement by the government. I was amazed to see how little joint constructive meetings between business, government and NGOs take place in the US. When I lived and worked in the UK it was so different. Regular meetings with all these key stakeholders together – and working together to fight and find solutions. Not over here in the US. It’s about lobbying and individual actions – and at best a few partnerships that will include the usual suspects of progressive companies and engaging NGOs. But not in the same was as over in the UK.

But the regulatory approach is different in the US. States control their own destiny much more than any regional authority in the UK. The federal government does not have the power to control everything. Even taxes are different from state to state. And some states like Massachusetts might regulate more towards the protection of people than those in say Texas, but it is up to each state to decide what is most relevant for their state. Federal government can provide guidelines and try to push through federal laws, but this is generally fought tooth and nail by states. The art of the federal government is to try and keep a balance between inching forward on the regulatory front and encouraging states to take control at a local level. But change happens at state level and not federal level.

This approach allows for companies to take more risk in trying out new practices and to develop a leadership position. They know they can bring in these practices without the danger of it being regulated to death. Yes, it is a fine balance. They still have to tell the truth in advertising and not make claims that can’t be backed, but they can be more risky in taking chances. Over in Europe it is slightly different. The aim of regulations is not to bring best practice into law, but to rather identify the lowest common denominator that could be passed as acceptable behavior by companies. I know, both have a place – best practice and lowest common denominator. In the US they lean more towards the former and in Europe more to the latter. It fits their societal and political needs.

Of course the US does have one thing that ensures that the lowest common denominator is ‘self regulated’. The I-will-sue-you culture. You make one mistake and the consumer will take you to the cleaners. Yes, it is out of control, but it creates an incentive for business to not do something that can harm the public. There are enough lawyers here to ensure that you will get sued. Businesses in Europe can hide behind compliance of law and it is much more difficult to sue someone if they haven’t broken the law instead of suing because they didn’t look after the public interest.

And some of the regulations make the way companies act very different. For instance, both the UK and US have regulations regarding how foundations are run. And these are very, very different. US corporate foundations are not allowed to do any work that can directly benefit the company. This was put in place to ensure that companies do not see this as a way to hide money, and to ensure they spend their foundation money on what is good for society as a whole. Very different in the UK. Much more freedom to be strategic in the way they spend their foundation money. They can spend the money on helping suppliers of the company and still write it off under foundation rules. The unbelievable work the Shell Foundation (UK) has done in development in poorer countries would not be allowed under US rules.

This difference in regulations and the community/operations dynamics also impacts key aspects of CSR – such as stakeholder engagement and CSR reporting. GRI is flourishing in Europe but struggling to find a solid foothold in the US. But it makes perfect sense. Europe is more driven by regulations and compliance and standards such as GRI makes sense. Everyone reports in a structured way following a specific methodology. It makes less sense in the US where there is less regulatory pressure and a greater need to engage their communities and consumers. They target their communications according to the needs of the receiving audience and not the regulatory and NGO audience. And CSR reporting GRI style is not the easiest thing to use when communicating to consumers and communities.

The US also likes rock stars and celebrities more than anything else. Man, their news are pathetic over here – give me the BBC and Guardian please. Every second story is about some celeb and their latest escapade. And that plays out in the way company CEO’s act as well – not empty celebs but the need for visible champions. The CEO and Chairman tend to play a major role in the public view of the company. Bill Gates is Microsoft. Jeff Swartz is Timberland. Howard Schultz is Starbucks. Steve Jobs is Apple. And each one have to make their mark in this world. Not because they want to, but because people expect them to lead from the front – lead the way in how and what they give and the way they run their company. They are the people others look up to and aspire to become. These leaders drive change across all businesses and are needed in a less regulated business environment. They are by default the people who drive real change through their own commitment to making business and society better. Thank God for them.

Less so in Europe. Companies are seen as more important that the individual. A few has made it to the front – Richard Branson as one. But they stand out because they are so different from the rest. The focus tends to be on the company and not the individual who runs it. Yes, they play a role, but the company is seen as less dependent on the CEO and/or Chairman than in the US. Another reason why the UK at least loves splitting this role while the US wants the same person in charge. Two big personalities would be difficult to control in the US.

One area where the US is way ahead of Europe is in communicating their CSR. They tend to focus on the communications part more while Europe tend to focus more on the operational changes. Maybe it is because the European (UK at least) society is more reserved than the US, but it means that Ben and Jerry’s is more respected in the US than Unilever. But in the UK it is the other way around. Of course this can be exploited and can confuse the consumer. A classic example is the current discussions in Washington about ‘green’ advertising and marketing. But the best tend to rise to the top and consumers do know to take things with a pinch of salt.

In short, the US is different because it fits in with the way their society organizes itself compared to Europe. Both approaches have real value. Both approaches will improve the world little by little. Both approaches will have failures and successes. But the one is not better than the other. Just different. Dealing with their own little peculiarities in their society and political systems. Both work. And both fails. But the US is not in any way behind Europe when it comes to the role of business in society. No. They are just different. An US approach won’t last a second in Europe. And a European approach won’t survive a second in the US. The real challenge for them both is to adapt when they are outside their own borders, culture and comfort zone. For example, neither will last long in China or South Africa if they just try to continue working the way they do in their country of origin. New rules and new ways of operating is needed. They have to bring the best of their world and merge it with the societal and political expectation in these new countries. And that won’t be better either. Just better for that specific country.

But the discipline of business in society benefits from this dynamics – bringing different approaches to the table. And it is when these merge and mingle that we move further ahead in this CSR world of ours. Of course there is one approach that works no matter where you are. The South African approach. But I won’t be giving away our secrets just yet. No, I am way to responsible to do something like that.

And don’t get me started on Europe. I use the term loosely. Although they tend to have regulations that cut across the business sector, each country will have its own little peculiarities. Not in my wildest dream will I ever tell an Englishman that he (or she) is similar to the French. Or German. Or Italians. Or any combination of the above. Each to their own. No one is better. Just different and it is up to us to learn a bit from everyone to help us all be a bit better. That’s how we make CSR work – by making it targeted to the needs of each society and their particular needs and the way they organize themselves.

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For those who don’t believe in evolution – stop reading. No wait! It actually doesn’t matter. My question will stay the same. Whether you do it in the name of God. Or Allah. Or Yourselfishness. Or the Big Emptiness. Or communism. Or the Dalai Lama. Or Ganesha. Or the dog down the road. It doesn’t matter. The question stays the same. 

Do you know what a privilege it is to be here on earth? Think about it. You are so damn lucky.  Think about how you somehow managed to pick the one little ball of rock that can sustain life. Billions of years ago. A Big Bang. It took a few billion years for enough dust particles to stick together. And eventually form earth. A few lost comets and debris crashing into this little ball provided the stuff needed to start good old earth. Water. H and little bit of O. And… And the other stuff like hum… metals and chemicals needed to eventually hang around to build this blue looking rock hanging out in space. And it started swinging. Swinging away around the sun. A touch of atmosphere. And it gets to grips with itself – gravity. And it stays just far enough and close enough from the sun to maybe sustain life. 

And it did. Life came to earth. Think back to what it took to get you here. After a few more years. A billion plus. Something stirred. From deep inside… hum… somewhere. And life was born. Not much of a life. Not as we know it. But it stirred. And eventually formed some algae. That at bloody last turned into something with eyes and fins. Got sick and tired of staying in the water the whole time and eventually crawled out. From there it was a hop, skip and a jump to monkey and then man. What a ride. 

Think about it. Your ancestors. From the algae that didn’t get burned. To that thing in the water that didn’t get eaten by our early cousin the shark. Crawled unto land and somehow managed to make it. Not get squashed by big old Apatosaurus. Hid from the saber-toothed tiger while hanging out in the trees. Dodged  bullets during wars. Each and every single day. For billions of years. Your ancestors got the lucky breaks. Always at the right place at the right time. Never got caught flatfooted. Never choked on a banana or a flea picked from our less lucky uncle Earl. Remember him? He “invented” the spear by accident. But it got stuck in his head. In on the one side and out the other side. He didn’t make it. No. Our ancestors always got away. For billions of years. And here you are. Drum roll please. Ta da!  

 We are damn, damn lucky. It took so much effort just to get us here. All the breaks you could ask for – we got it. Talk about being privileged. Talk about knowing the right people. Having the right genes. And here we are. So what are we doing? What are we doing? 

 What are we doing with our lucky break?  

We sit in front of the idiot box and watch stupid stories of murder or love or “reality”. We drive our big fat cars to fit our big fat ego’s. We eat hormone induced meat because we can’t bother to hunt or even know where our food comes from. We sit in our air-conditioned offices and watch the world go by. All the time trying to sell something. To make more money. Selling ourselves. Selling our souls. Selling lies. And we go home and have no time for those we leave behind. We don’t look at them and show them how to make sure we stay lucky. How we can make this little rock last a little bit longer. To make those who will come after us have a chance the way we got our chance. And that’s the good part. 

We fight wars. We kill in the name of whatever. Or Whatever. But in truth we murder and kill in our own name. It’s us. Not Him. Or Her. Or It. We seek war before we put out our hand in friendship. We will rather fight than try to live. We breed hate before we nurture love. Kill before caring. We would step on that algae that made us before we nurture it to life. Thank god Mother Earth does not have our temperament. She doesn’t care. She just does. We care. We care about us. And not others.  

We gather things. Things we don’t need. We live for greed. We stuff our faces and then send the rest down the drain. Garbage disposal. We don’t share with those who might need it more. We don’t think that the scraps on our table that gets thrown away can feed a family that comes from our less lucky uncle Earl. And we live for the need for more. More money. More houses. More cars. A better phone. An iPhone. A better laptop. Better cable. Virtual life on the net. Tweeting on Twitter. It’s us, us, us. More, more, more. We just do what is good for us. And not others.And then we blame. We blame the others when we can’t look in the mirror. When we are so addicted to our lives, but not to life. Addicted to wanting more. And war. And the lies we tell ourselves and to others to make it okay. Okay for ourselves. Because we can’t look in the mirror. What are we doing? 

Why can’t we evolve? Move forward. Laugh at uncle Earl? Not be like cousin shark. Be a little more in it together? 

Why don’t we do our best to make this little world better? To care a little bit more? Why don’t we look after each other? Why don’t we stop the killing? And the dying? And the hunger? Why don’t we know that we are all the same? In the same boat. That it doesn’t matter where you live. Or what you believe. Because, in the end, all we have while we are here and before we die is us. Just us. And our little rock. Why don’t we know that war and hate and blame and greed and… don’t solve problems? That love and friendship and life and caring and sharing and… and… That these are the things that we can leave behind. The lessons to help those who come after us. Because what we leave behind is what will define tomorrow. When we are the ancestors. When our descendants will look back and laugh at how funny we looked. Like Grandpa Algae. 

We are lucky. Always have been. And even luckier that we can’t see the future. And that our ancestors can’t see us today. What would they think? What would they ask? Papa Algae won’t be impressed. 

What are we doing?

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I am getting a bit sick and tired of hearing about bottled water. You know, the “big issue” of how bad bottled water is. Worse than cigarettes. And alcohol. And drugs. And anything else you can think of. The new evil. It makes you want to go and hug Exxon. Really. Come on. It’s bloody bottled water people.

Almost every mayor of across the US is telling their constituents how bad it is. That it litters the city. That it is just sooo bad. That you should drink from the tap. Hum. Well now. Why don’t you first stop the killing in the cities before you start bitching about the litter. Why don’t you start recylding plastic instead recyling old crappy politics? Get your house in order before you start bitching about a bloody plastic bottle. Really. If a plastic bottle is the worse of your worries…

And these “activists” go on and on about the water scarcity. Hum. Duh. You grow industry and populations and the water levels drop. Not difficult math you know. You know how much bottled water takes out of the ground? Around 0.002%. Doesn’t seem logical to me to start there if you are concerned about water scarcity. Maybe you should start with where the big water “eaters” are. And where do you think this is? Farming. Yes, farming. Up to 80% of water goes into farming. Yes, they need to use the water to produce the crops. But they are also some of the most inefficient users. Just spraying it all over the place. And don’t think of the farmer in the movies. No! Most farming is done by large commercial farms owned by large multinationals. They don’t give a damn about the water. Or the land. or the people. Just about the profits.

Oh yes. They tell me all about the leaching of the plastic bottle. And that I should drink tap. You know what is in that tap? Iron levels too high. Lead in the pipes. Pharmaceutical waste. Chlorine to kill the bugs. Etc. Etc. etc. Damned if I don’t and damned if I do. By the way – stupid. I drink the bottle when I am on the road. Not while at home. You gonna bring me a personal tap with when I travel? And want a refill? Don’t give me the fountain crap. You know where that mouth has been that just drank from it? Huhu. Don’t think so baby.

It’s just stupid. This bottled water attack. Does it make sense? Most likely if you want to save money. But don’t think it will make you save the earth because plastic bottles just don’t have enough of an impact. Less than 0.05% of the waste in landfills.

But it’s easy. An easy target. Easy to go after the bottle of water. Because you hold it in your hand and make an easy connection. So you drop the bottle of water and reach for a… Coke. And up goes obesity levels. Stupid campaign. Stupid idea. Campaigning in the MTV era… Just grab any campaign and let’s see who will fall for it. I think the bottled water campaign is like the Backstreet Boys – empty, little substance, no real impact, but easy to sell because it looks good. “As long as you love me”. Bah!

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I just landed in La Guardia and got into a taxi heading off to Manhattan. I settled in and gave the driver the details of my hotel. I was surprised – he was one of the few taxi drivers in New York with a New York accent. Imagine that. An ex-firefighter he told me. He leaned back in that taxi driver way and half looking over his shoulder asked me where I am from (out the corner of his mouth the way taxi driver do). “South Africa”, I replied, not really thinking about it. He went quiet for a little bit – no small feat for a New York taxi driver. I could see him frowning at himself – thinking what to say in reply. He leaned back and said, “So where is that?” Huh? “Hum, it is a country in the Southern part of Africa”, I replied – not sure what to actually say. Silence again. I could see his eyes in the review mirror and it was clear he had no idea where to go with this conversation. He looked at me in the review mirror and said, “So, who’s the President of Africa?” WTF? How do I answer that one? “Well. Hum”, was all I could initially think of saying. Silence from my side trying to figure out an answer. Do I ask if he has ever heard of Nelson Mandela? Do I explain Africa is a continent and not a country? Do I say South Africa is the name of a country? No wait – I got it. I looked at him and said, “Robert Mugabe”.

I mean really. What was I going to say?

I am from Africa. Here’s the problem with that. If I said I am from America what would you think? US of A right? There is only one America in the eyes of the world. When people talk about America they don’t mean the continent, they mean the country. But in Africa we have the opposite problem. People think Africa is just some uniform place somewhere off the coast of Australia or England. Yeah, many people think we are just a single entity with people who are all the same no matter where you go.

You can find Italian Americans in the USA and French Canadians in Canada, but there is no such thing as an Italian African or French African. Except if they got lost in the Dakar Rally somehow. No. To the world we are just Africans in Africa. All the same. A uniform country where we all speak Swahili or some or other version of clicking noises. (The God’s must be Crazy is seen as a hard hitting documentary!)

I wish we were this uniform. It would make things a bit easier. I mean really. In South Africa we have 11 official languages. And it doesn’t mean that if you knew one that you would know the other. Nope. It’s like Spanish and English – completely foreign to each other. Oh, we have some words we share – lekker and bakkie being a few we share in South Africa. Some more can be found at A-Broader View. Can you imagine 11 official languages? But we do have something in common. We are South African. And fiercely proud of it. Like all other countries we believe that our country is the greatest on this earth. A blessing from God. And we use our own criteria – like all other countries. The US measures it in wealth and the “American dream”. The German on their efficiency. The Brits on fish and chips, and warm beers. We measure ours on our past that we have overcome. That ours are the most just of societies. Where people from all backgrounds, ethnic groups, sexual orientation and religions can hang out together and have fun. Yes our great spirit is never better seen than when we are having a party. Which is most of the time. Oh, and don’t forget that we are the world champions in rugby, ranked number one in cricket for One Day Internationals and a string of players in the Top 20 in golf – and guess who will host the 2010 Soccer World Cup? Yeah! South Africa – the greatest nation in the world! (According to South Africans and a few of the most informed and wisest citizens of other countries.)

You know why Africans always smile and wave at each other? Because we are to sh*t scared of opening our mouths and having to speak to the other person. Which language do we pick? We have over 2,000 languages in Africa. So it makes it a bit difficult to pick one. Okay, we have the colonialist to thank for giving us English and French – most of us can speak one of the two. Badly, yes. But we can somehow communicate with each other. And a beer always helps to make the understanding a bit easier.

Here’s my other problem with people thinking of Africa as a country. I was on NewsBusters to “engage” them. If that’s what you want to call it… Well. Not everyone appreciated my superior wit and intelligence. (Hah – stop laughing!) What I found odd was that they always started talking about Africa and how bad it was – full or wars, Marxists, failed states, poverty etc. Well, they only did this when I pointed out flaws in some of their arguments – such as Obama not being Muslim or President Bush was maybe not a war hero. And then they got even more pissed when I started talking about Africa.

You see, Africa has many failed states. But we also have many good ones. Zambia, for instance, is more Swiss than the Swiss themselves. Yes, Zambia is as poor as you can get. Nothing there but some copper and poverty. They don’t even have a sea – they are landlocked. But Zambia has the friendliest people in the world Never been in a war – inside or outside their borders. And Botswana has been a fast growing economy for as long as I can remember. And Mozambique is growing at an enormous rate since the end of the war and offer so much in tourism. And Senegal has one of the greatest Presidents of Africa and the world – Wade. And…

Yes. There is a Zambia for every Zimbabwe. A Senegal for every Sudan. For every Equatorial Guinea an Egypt. A Botswana for Burundi. We are as diverse as the 52 independent states (60 if you include the territories) in Africa. As different as our languages. As straight or as crooked as our borders. We are black, brown, grey, white, pink, yellow – and any other shade you can think of. We are a crazy bunch who don’t get borders but will defend it to the death. We are mad, sometimes bad, too often sad, but always glad. We might not be a country. But we are Africans. And proud of it. Robert Mugabe or not.

So what does this mean for companies? 

In many places in Africa, people are starting to complain that Chinese companies are exploiting them and not respecting their culture and history. But don’t think that this just occurs in the developing world or in emerging markets. Remember the US stopping a certain Middle East company investing in the ports in the US a few months ago? This is one of the key challenges facing companies in a globalized world. How do you become local and global while expanding your market?

Are you a multinational or a US/UK/Chinese (fill in whatever country might be disliked in the marketplace) company that operates globally? Too often companies claim to be multinational, but they are driven by the culture of their origin. Very, very few companies are actually MULTInational in the way they operate and are managed. To become multinational they need to ensure that both the ‘numbers’ and the people make sense. It is fine to say that 90% of the people in their African/Asian/etc. offices are from the host country, but this still leaves two questions: (1) the 10% left – are they mostly senior management, and how senior are they? (2) Is the head office comprised of mainly western (mostly white males) or do they reflect where they operate?

How do you bring these cultural influences together to make your company truly MULTInational? It may require melding the Western model, which is largely focused on the individual with say an African or Confucianism culture of East Asia. What is the best way to manage the company, and interact with employees, communities and customers? At the moment, companies are not asking these questions as they think ‘diversity’ is a numbers game about ethnicity and not the way you do business. Until we start seeing ourselves as global AND local in the way we run our business, the idea of being a Chinese company, an American company, or an Arab company will continue to divide businesses and customers.

At least in Africa you will have the chance to speak any language you want and no one will understand you in any case…

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Look, we are either going to fry or not. This Global Warming thing is just not going away. I don’t know all the science behind it. I get it that there is some controversy. Some saying that it will heat up and others saying either it won’t or nothing we can do about it or hey, wouldn’t it be nice if we all lived in Florida?

I am a social scientist. We don’t believe in strict rules. We like the scientist bit, but know that when we throw the social bit in then it kinda stuff up the science claims. Us social scientists like to think we do real research. But we know we really don’t. But we have opinions. And you’ve come to the right place if you want one… Why is this relevant? Not much – just that I am so not going to try and prove Global Warming. Just not part of my science – sorry. But as a social scientist I did learn that I should take whatever Bush says and go with the other side. He thinks Global Warming is just summer coming early? Cool – I’ll go with the bigger group saying we’re gonna fry.

My biggest reason for going with the guys getting hot about it getting hot? I am just going to play it safe with this one. I don’t want to be Condi Rice who saw the memo but decided that there wasn’t really a threat. No thank you. See where that got us? I am going to play it safe and go with the people who are freaky enough to try and stop Global Warming. So what if it doesn’t really exist – saving the planet from something that won’t happen isn’t that bad. Better than going to war for something that wasn’t there either hey? Consequences a bit better with this one I think.

This feels a bit like the engine light is going wild trying to tell me that I should check out the oil and water. You know you can still drive a little bit further. But at some stage you are going to do permanent damage to that engine. You can ignore it. But at some stage this baby is gonna blow. I don’t like cars that much, but can always buy another one if I really have to. But that’s the bloody problem with this earth of ours. We only have one. I am not brave enough to play chicken with this little sphere of ours. Sorry. Those guys with the big SUV’s have bigger balls than me. They play chicken with trains – I don’t. I know what happens when I hit that train. I lose. I also don’t eat food past the expiry date.

Some guys are working on a few solutions though. The “what if” scenario. One that caught my attention is the polar cities one by Danny Bloom. His solution is that we should build a few cities around the shores of the new ice-free Arctic Ocean. Oh, he hopes we don’t have to – that we might somehow stop this train from hitting our car. We better get off the track then I guess. Danny (some relation to Danny, Champion of the World?) doesn’t claim to be much of a science expert either. Hey, he is a journalist and we know how they spin stories… But he has been using his gift of words and friendship with an artists to create a really good visual of what the cities might look like. It’s his contribution to get the world thinking about tomorrow. He’s not saying it would work. But he is saying that we should start thinking about the consequences. The consequences goes beyond Denver having beachfront properties…

I have my doubts whether these cities would work. It’s a fine idea. It has some really good build-in benefits. For one, you won’t need the air-conditioner for the first few years. The ice might be gone, but it will still be pretty cold up there. But people don’t want to leave their countries of birth. And who owns the Arctic in any case? Canada is already playing chicken with the Russians. And sorry, I just can’t see the Canadians winning – not even in an ice-free ice hockey game. I mean really, the French and English standing together for a minute? Not gonna happen in my lifetime.

I have another problem as well. You can’t let the dog out at all. Not with those polar bears waiting to be fed. And little Fifi is just the kind of pre-meal snack they need to fill the gap. And how am I going to live in a city where the Jones’s have the same cubicle as me? Just can’t do it. And where do I park my Hummer? Do you get good reception there? Sorry Danny, it’s the little things that counts. I want cable, dishwasher and a mall. Gotta get it sorted.

But Danny… Count me in. I’ll join you. I guess I can live without cable if it means surviving for another few years and giving the kids a safer place to live in. And, in any case, I see the walls of your design is made of glass – see through. Cool. Who needs cable when I have a reality show right on the big screen of my wall. And no, I am not talking about the neighbors (TMI)… I can see the sun boiling water outside… Time for a cuppa tea I guess…

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