The waste of a conference

borsseIn my personal experience, a conference was never a waste, I was really lucky because I had the chance to travel a bit, to meet really smart and nice people, eat good food (not always), exchange ideas and occasionally even be interested by the topic (just kidding), I am never… (I am kidding now).

Anyway I believe to be this kind of person that in conference could be defined a “collector”…. I was really used to get crazy for collecting all the possible useless gadgets, pens, books, and of course “The Bag of the conference”!! But I am now a “Regretful collector”… I realized how many useless plastic / PVC / acrylic bags I collected…. and they are all broken… They broke just after the first or second week…. Useless plastic things made in china…  And I found particularly incoherent the use of those bags in conferences dedicated to “sustainability” and “green chemistry”, considering that for 200 or 300 participants, you realease in the environment such a potential waste.


I instead particularly appreciated the initiative of 2 Universities, the University of Salerno (Italy) and the University of Freiburg (Germany), that while hosting a conference, provided to their guests, bags completely made of cotton (or some mixed fiber). These bags (miracle of modern technology) not only didn’t break, but they are still of use for shopping. If one day they should break, it will be possible to repair, and if one day I’ll decide to throw them away, I’ll not feel so guilty, after all it’s not such a waste.

The Big Lie of Economic Growth



The Crisis! Help! We need to be more competitive! We need to be more flexible! We need reforms! We need to produce and consume more! We need ECONOMIC GROWTH!  This is, more or less, what we hear since eight years. This is the biggest LIE of our generation. We don’t need economic growth to overcome the crisis, we need SUSTAINABILITY and JUSTICE.

In  an adiabatic and isolated system, like planet Earth, the constant economic growth can be reached only to an high and bloody price. In a closed system, if someone grow up, someone else has to perish. And when this gear get stuck, often a war starts. A war which all destroy and that everything make start again.

Each time we use electricity, each time we take a car, each time we buy any cheap object, do we realize the chain of sufference and pain that is  behind our wealth?  Don’t take these words for ideology! These are not “neo-communist” or “extreme-christian” positions, these are scientific considerations. Behind our wealth, there is the misery of someone else! A misery which generate ignorance, intollerance, terrorism, war.

Sustainability and justice can be the answer to many social and environmental problems. However we can’t expect that politics will chose sustainability and justice for us, because they don’t have any interest to do it.  And again… these are not the words of “conspiracy“. There is no conspiracy, there are only too many banks and too many companies inside our parliaments.

Only consumers can have the will and the power to stop growing and to be sustainable. Consumers can start a new market! “Where the object was done and by Who? Was he/she paied honestly? How much CO2 was produced by the making and shipping of this item? How much of it is recyclable? etc etc

We live in a small world, the decisions of few effect the destiny of many.

Les oignons de Nouvelle-Zélande

Généralemenonionst quand je vais faire les courses j’utilise la technique du “regarde et prend”. Cela consiste non pas à avoir une liste de choses à acheter, mais plutôt à courrir dans tous les couloirs du super-marché, mettre dans le chariot tout ce qu’on pense en avoir besoin, évaluer en quelques secondes quel produit est le moins cher.

Ce n’est pas une méthode intelligente je sais, et ce n’est pas ainsi que l’on devient un consommateur responsable… mais les mauvaises habitudes sont difficiles à corriger. Quoiqu#il en soit, même un mauvais consommatur comme moi reste abasourdi quant il voit, au rayon fruits et légumes, le monument de l’économie mondialisée! Le stupéfiant rayon du symbole de la puissance de l’homme!!  L’oignon de Nouvelle-Zélande!!

Maintenant, pour ceux qui ne s’en souviennent pas, quelques rappels géographiques. La Nouvelle-Zélande se situe à l’autre bout de la planète… À environ 19000 km en ligne directe. 19000 km???? Cet oignon a voyagé plus que moi!! Il doit être le roi de tous les oignons!! Il doiz avoir des propriétés spéciales, protéger du cancer. S’il-vous-plaît, dîtes-moi qu’il a un pouvoir aphrodisiaque au moins! Pour venir de Nouvelle-Zélande il doit être l’ingrédient secret dans une spécialité Maori. Peut-être pour devenir un meilleur joueur de rugby!!

Et… non… il est juste normal, commun, trivial, “Allium cepa”, un oignon… qui se trouve juste à côté de son collègue francais sur l’étalage d’un super-marché. L’oignon de Nouvelle-Zélande à 1,36 € le kg et son homologue francais à 1,28 € le kg. Que se cache t-il derrière cette différence de 8 centimes? Je veux dire, quelque chose ne va pas, ou bien l’oignon francais et surévalué ou alors en Nouvelle-Zélande ils asservissent des pingouins pour cultiver des oignons! Est-ce que nous ne réalisons pas à quel point notre économie est ridicule?

Comment est-il possible qu’après plus de 19000 km, et tout le CO2 produit pour expédier les oignons d’une ferme perdue en Nouvelle-Zélande vers un super-marché perdu en Auvergne, nous n’ayons à payer qu’une différence de prix de 8 centimes?