Tag: Global

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Until the StEP (Solving the E-waste Problem, Reference No. 1) initiative of the United Nations University (UNU) & the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) got busy in real earnestness, with the e-waste problem and developed a successful prototype recycling factory, piles of e-waste (electronic waste) that were steadily growing the world over, posed a grim, sinister portent to all concerned – environmentalists, governments, the healthcare industry, electronics manufacturers, academics and so on (for a detailed Discussion on e-waste, read relevant parts of Reference No. 2 or other sources on the web). The cause for their fears was solid. e-waste, that is comprised primarily by trashed computers, mobile phones and their accessories, are rich in toxic substances / chemicals – mercury, cadmium, arsenic & hexavalent chromium to name just a few. Not being amenable to the waste disposal processes known before SteP's solution (pl see Reference No. 2 titled "Recycling – From E-Waste To Resources" , for details), they defied every possible method of being disposed off safely. And, consequently, e-waste kept piling up, unstoppably, all over the world.

The potency of e-waste to cause incapacitating / severe health hazards in humans as well as irreversible damage to the world environment had been known for sometime. Consequently those in the world that were aware, cheered up when SteP's prototype factory saw the light of day! The prototype had been proven by running small, pilot factories successfully and may be easily adapted to suit any world location. So, watchers may have imagined that the end of the e-waste crisis was near, since all that apparently remained the implementation of SteP's solution on a large scale, all over the world and as quickly as possible!

So far, so good! However, to the huge disappointment of an expectant world, implementation projects, bogged down by a set of non-technical issues, are struggling either to take off or to make any significant progress. The major issues thwarting progress are: advocacy, institutionalization, legislation & sustainability. And while officials are trying to clear these roadblocks, precious time is being wasted. The result? Not only has e-waste growth not been contained by the numbers of recycling factories setup, but according to figures available with StEP, (using 2013 as base year), e-waste will grow and reach 133% its 2013 volume by 2017.

I will attempt to briefly explain the bottlenecks mentioned above before closing.

ADVOCACY:

In many nations, government & the general public are still not sufficiently aware of either the severity or scale of the e-waste problem. (Had sufficient people were aware, there would have been a public outcry for remedial action, everywhere, by now!). Hundreds and thousands more people in every nation need to be made aware of the problem quickly, and those that already know need to be reminded.

Governments, preoccupied with their home tasks, often seem to forget the e-waste problem. Environmental agencies, NGOs, local groups and citizens need to remind them frequently about what is at stake. Governments also need to be reminded periodically that their responses to the e-waste problem in the past have NOT been adequate. They need to drop complacency and get ready to tackle e-waste in a big away, immediately, before available time runs out and the e-waste problem turns into a crisis.

LION'S SHARE (OVER 85%) OF RECYCLING CARRIED OUT BY THE INFORMAL SECTOR:

According to available data, global e-waste recycling is mostly carried out by the unorganized, informal sector in Asia. This has resulted in poor recycling performance. Lack of established, standard processes has led to a disadvantageous diversity in processing methods, ad-hoc processes, machines, tools used etc. Adequate numbers of skilled / trained staff are not easy to find. There is no guarantee that proper safety measures are practiced or that outputs of recycling (*) checked to ensure that levels of residual toxic substances are below approved limits. The result is a frittering away of the power that would have been available if one resorted to organized recycling – inability to upscale / down-scale rapidly, enforce workplace safety, ensure 'green' & efficient processes, economies of scale, monitoring & control activities , quality of processes & outputs etc. Therefore, the ownership of the recycling sector needs to change …

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Introduction

New York City-based spa industry leaders have over seven years built up and refined two international organizations that today are effectively promoting and guiding the resort spa industry. In carrying out this role, these leaders have shown owners and managers of spas and ancillary enterprises how a mastery and adoption of positive wellness values and programming can be both a civic duty and an attractive business opportunity.

The two organizations are the Global Spa and Wellness Institute (GSWI) and the Global Wellness Institute (GWI).

The GSWI sponsors an annual Summit, help each of the past seven years in a different part of the world. It is an invitation-only gathering.

Global Wellness Institute

A parent organization – the GWI, operates year-round. It serves as a holding/umbrella-like organization. In addition to organizing the Summit, it initiates and funds research and conducts wellness tourism. It is an international think-tank. It brings together leaders and visionaries. Its basic goal is to positively impact the future of the spa and wellness industry.

In carrying out its mission, GWI seeks to facilitate industry conversations and collaborations, to create and make widely available research information and industry insights, and to trigger innovation in products and services, all while being mindful of sustainable growth and best business practices.

The GWI has adopted a proactive (versus preventative or medicalized) view of wellness, a global perspective and commitments to integrity (e.g., unbiased research), shared problem solving and the highest standards of reason, science and integrity for evidence-based positions, whenever humanely possible.

All REAL wellness enthusiasts should welcome this powerful ally that seeks to drive the wellness movement forward around the world on a positive and multidisciplinary basis, particularly one with resources and connections at the highest decision-making levels in both public and private sectors.

The Global Spa and Wellness Summit

Dr. John Travis gave a few presentations at the 8th Annual Global Spa and Wellness Summit (GSWS) in Marrakech, Morocco in September, 2014. He and I learned a lot about the spa industry, much of which we did not fully recognize or appreciate. We met delightful people as committed to positive well-being and all that goes with it (e.g., ecological consciousness, social policies, economic viability) as those we encountered over the decades of attendance at the fabled University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point National Wellness Conference. And we developed a new appreciation for the potentials of the spa industry. Not lastly (new benefits will surely be glimpsed in time), we gained more than a few delightful relationships and commenced collaborations likely to prove enjoyable and productive in the years ahead.

There were three full days of presentations and all manner of substantive meetings and fun activities. Forty-five nations were represented among the 400 or so delegates. The scope of presentations was impressive, including attention to architectural design adaptations on the nature of the spa experience, the increasing focus on sustainability, likely consequences of seismic generational and gender shifts, the anticipated impact of technology on human interaction and so much more. The industry economic weight? No less than 3.4 trillion in U.S. dollars.

It is an understatement to suggest that the Summit was a remarkable event. I came away with the sense that it could prove to be a watershed event for the industry, and perhaps for the wellness movement, as well. It seems to me that spa leaders recognize they can shape the wellness movement in the direction of positive well-being, as wellness was first advanced by Dr. Halbert L. Dunn and others half a century ago. By engaging with REAL wellness, the industry will render an immeasurable service to their communities while growing the successes of spas the world over.

The Spa Advantage

With regard to sponsoring REAL wellness education, destination resort spas have at least three advantages over corporate and other institutional (e.g., hospitals and universities) sponsors:

  1. Spa resorts have less reason to fear controversy. This allows wellness managers to offer lectures and workshops on topics wherein program participants may feel offended by perspectives and facts at odds with their comfort zones. Corporate wellness managers, on the other hand, refrain from sponsoring vital programming, such as reason, science appreciation and critical thinking skills, explorations of meaning and purpose,
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