Next week’s OCSL (Omega Center for Sustainable Living) conference is turning out to be one of the most power-packed sustainability meetings of 2013. Headlining the event are speakers like former President Bill Clinton, economist and author Jeremy Rifkin, Professor David Orr (who I’ve waved at from my seat at the Feve a few times over the years) and an old friend of Cleantechnica, Paul Hawken.
For those of you unfamiliar with the OCSL, the project’s centerpiece is an actual building that’s designed to be entirely self-sustaining. The building itself uses a number of clever design features to generate solar power, cool the structure, and more. The organizers behind the OCSL conference hope to use the building as a talking point to educate builders, designers, and architects on ways to design good-looking structures that are more “in tune” with their environments. That’s evident in the group’s stated mission …
Omega Center Mission
“Through innovative educational experiences that awaken the best in the human spirit, Omega provides hope and healing for individuals and society.”
If ever a country had the gift of being placed in the best geographical position on the world map, it is Egypt.
There they are, with the Mediterranean to the north, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to the north and east, and all of Africa to the south and west of them. It is literally, the crossroads between Asia, Europe and Africa.
Not to mention Egypt’s priceless Nile River and the still largely untapped resources such as its hydro-electric power opportunities, the fertile agricultural land of its Nile Valley, and the country’s unimaginable solar and wind power potential.
Egypt has somewhat more than 84 million people to help bring all those opportunities to fruition, who live on only 3 percent of the total land area of the country, which is the fertile Nile Valley.
Some 96 percent of the country is desert with nothing in sight except the blasting Sun and sand dunes. One tiny corner of Egypt covered with solar photovoltaic panels (or thermal solar power) could power all of Europe!
Some of that unused land could be used for wind farms, as there is plenty of untapped potential there too.
Egypt should be the richest nation (per capita) on the planet.
But it’s not. Which can only mean one thing. Bad management.
Of course in previous centuries, excessive looting by some colonial powers and Egypt’s ill-advised military adventures in recent decades didn’t help. Nor did the Cold War, an evil, but seemingly necessary step in our civilizations progress.
All those things are now far removed from the scene, so why isn’t Egypt rich?
There is no reason good enough, that Egypt’s people shouldn’t be enjoying their lives to the same per capita income levels, or better, than the fortunate citizens of Norway or Sweden who have an excellent standard of living, even without Egypt’s advantageous geological placement!
If Egypt’s people are demonstrating against anything at all, they are demonstrating against poverty and inequality — in what should obviously be one of the richest per capita nations on the planet.
There is no reason for them to live in poverty, nor should they feel like second-class citizens in the world.
It’s their country!
A country, belongs to it’s citizens – not to a military junta, not to elected politicians and not to foreign interests! Egypt, belongs to the Egyptian people and they have the right to make the most of their resources — and they sense something is wrong, because, so far, only the least has been made with that nations great resources and geopolitical placement. The political cycle that we have seen over the past months attests to the depth of those sentiments.
Expect the present cycle that we have seen to repeat endlessly until the Egyptian people are satisfied that the wealth of their country is being utilized properly, (for now) and to its maximum potential, (eventually). Not just that, but shared equally with a minimum of inequality between citizens.
The present demonstrations are not to be confused with political advantage, or politics at all. These demonstrations are fundamentally about ‘bread and butter’ issues.
Some foreign powers are trying to paint the Egyptian protests which led to the downfall of President Mubarak, the rise of Mohamed Morsi, and the removal of Morsi by coup d’état, as part of ‘the great transition to democracy’ and that is what it is all about. Which is an utter crock.
It’s about what politicians can do to make the lives of everyday Egyptians better. What Egyptians want is jobs, stable food prices and personal safety and security and a whole lot of chatter about democracy is great – IF that gets them closer to their goals.
The people want bread!
People will say and agree to almost anything on the path to full stomachs and disposable income. They want to have a share in the country’s great (and so far, largely wasted) wealth, and its unimaginable future wealth. Egyptians want to feel proud of their nation and their accomplishments instead of being referred to as ‘that backward, poverty-stricken nation between Israel and Libya’.
When a government arrives in power that can attract the necessary FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) to build the country’s infrastructure — especially, the agriculture and (renewable) energy sectors and a massive electrical transmission network to the north to service Europe, south and west to distribute electrical power to the rest of Africa, then and only then, will we see an end to the present downward spiral of politics, democracy, and faith in government institutions in Egypt.