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Natural Intelligence Worldwide
31 minutes | Jun 12, 2020
The Ocean: Our Source of Life and Every Second Breath Peter Thomson; Special Envoy for UN to Oceans In my interview with Peter Thompson, the Special Envoy to the UN on Oceans; he begins our conversation with this sobering message from the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. “We are knowingly destroying the life support systems of the planet.” It is extraordinary to me that we have come so far in our biological discourse on humanity’s relationship to nature to now directly state that our carbon, plastic, waste pollution is destroying the planet…and the seat of life, the ocean. Do we really understand that without a health ocean, we don’t have a healthy planetary system to support all of life on earth, including our own? Do we really feel the agency and urgency to act? Do we know what to do? Well, Peter Thompson gives us a few clues…and in the end, it is clear that our success or failure of stewarding life on earth IS all up to me and you. So… Let’s be diligent and consistent and vocal about our personal ban on single use plastic. As with CV 19 we are all becoming more conscious about what we touch; let’s become conscious about how much plastic we let into our homes and life. Let’s be diligent and consistent and vocal about our food choices—and shift food fashion from top predator fin fish and shell fish 24/7 and out of season to high protein, marine-rich tofu. Let’s be diligent and consistent and vocal about our concern for the disappearance of the coral reef ecosystem and the decimation of marine wildlife due to illegal fishing and consumption. Let’s let our local, regional, national political leaders know that we care about the ocean… and we want them to prioritize caring about and protecting them too.
38 minutes | Jun 6, 2020
Bringing Cultural Intelligence Home Hindou Ibrahim Chair of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad I saw by my eyes, my future seven generations ahead and seven generations back and because of this I know which way to go. This statement captures the essence of my conversation with Hindou Ibrahim, the Chair for the Association of Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad. Speaking to Hindou is like speaking to nature herself, whose ability to adapt and to react to the changing environment and climate is as fluid, simple, direct, and natural as breathing. Like many Indigenous Peoples, Hindou has been trained since childhood in the cultural intelligence of her people- she knows the land, she’s learned how to observe the animals. She is sensitized to the climate, and she views her home as not just the family house, but as the wider community and bioregion. It’s her nature. Its the cultural intelligence she was gifted by her family. Hindou was fortunate to be born into a place and people who value above all else their cultural and ecological heritage, and who teach a way of directly sensing in the world “with my own eyes”—valuing every person and every living being as part of the natural ecosystem—making decisions about how to act—seven generations forward and seven generations back. In our conversation, Hindou shares with us how each one of us-whether we live in a suburb or a city can also learn how awaken our cultural intelligence, to respect every member of our society—the gardener, the farmer, the grocer, the health worker—as home-keepers. We can evolve our cultural intelligence to value every person as an essential worker in supporting our livelihoods; and to value nature as essential to regenerating sustainable economies.
28 minutes | May 19, 2020
David Nabarro IV
Today marked the end of the 73rd Annual World Health Assembly hosted by the World Health Organization for member states. President Macron, Chancellor Merkel, the spokesperson for the European Commission, Virginie Battu-Henriksson— all emphasized that global cooperation forward is the only effective means to avoid a viral spiral. These European Heads of State and many other world leaders agreed to help support and further fund the worldwide efforts of the WHO to continue responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Health Organization, comprised of 7000 employees in 100 countries, assists all countries to respond to health crises, and especially the developing, most vulnerable nations. And yet, WHO operates worldwide on a third of the US Center for Disease Control budget, reserved only for the United States. In my interview with Dr. David Nabarro in our continuing series: “Combatting COVID19 with Compassion” it is abundantly clear that our primary coordinated action must be to make it hard for the virus to move—and that means to practice good hygiene everywhere, protect yourself and others from spreading the virus by wearing masks and keeping physical distance, by ensuring local, sustainable community based health services in every town, village, county, and city—and by creating a smart system for preventing spread, protecting the most vulnerable, testing, isolating cases, contact tracing, and diligent, continual adaptation in business and government to respond to the highly contagious COVID-19 everywhere, all the time. As information is everywhere; it’s super important to critically evaluate one’s sources; so I am happy that I have the privilege to bring to you one of the most trusted sources of information on global pandemics, Dr. David Nabarro.
32 minutes | Apr 8, 2020
David Nabarro III
Combatting COVID 19 with Compassion Episode III: Solidarity with Developing Countries And compassion will lead us home, back to a healthier more equitable global society; if we urgently now direct our attention, resources, best learned Covid19 prevention practices, and health expertise (perhaps also virtual) toward communities in developing countries with little or no local health infrastructure. These small village communities and larger urban slums or refugee camps are the most vulnerable now to becoming infected by the corona virus— a virus which has largely spread from the developed world to the developing world seemingly overnight. How do you “stay home” when you are homeless? Conversely, how can you sleep at night without contributing somehow to the COVID 19 fight, knowing that others who live in the dark, have — to a high quality life- the same birth right? Let’s not forget that the poverty, hunger, conflict, and climate refugee humanitarian crises are still with us…and these people-these communities are not NOT NOW SAFE. They are the least resilient against the corona virus. And, they will be the communities to advance a second global wave of COVID 19 if we are not careful- NOW. In my interview with Dr. David Nabarro in our continuing series: “Combatting COVID19 with Compassion” it is abundantly clear that we as a global society have a massive opportunity here to invest in the long term health of our future— to finance a complete upgrade of developing world health infrastructure, to reset our global economy trending more toward greater equality, and to create a safer society practicing better hygiene and living more nutritious, healthy lives. If we play our cards right now, we can stay ahead of the COVID 19 curve while scientists find a vaccine and we can leverage the crisis to rebuild together a better world— one that’s more resilient, more prepared for future crisis, more energy and resource efficient… and optimally more humanitarian.
20 minutes | Apr 4, 2020
David Nabarro II
Combatting COVID 19 with Compassion: Rigorous Solidarity is Key Be safe. Be smart, Be kind. This mantra lies at the heart of our NEW series with Dr. David Nabarro, : Combatting COVID 19 with Compassion. Again, David now serves as a Special Envoy to COVID 19 with the World Health Organization. In this episode we focus on building solidarity locally and globally. Now that we are in lock-down; people need to feel supported emotionally, socially, psychologically; while physically isolating. There are 5 things needed on in every community to build and sustain solidarity: Knowledge is key, communication is key; public health resources and linking people to them is key. Everyone can participate in the COVID 19 solution— don’t wait to be asked, figure out ways to use your skills to help, , team up, adapt to others, and serve reliably—others are depending on you. These same principles apply at a global governance level, as well. Rigorous solidarity in coordinating plans, programs, and especially sharing resources with the most vulnerable in developing countries becomes most important. Let’s listen now to what David has to say about meeting the eye of the COVID 19 storm with Compassion.
36 minutes | Mar 28, 2020
Combatting COVID 19 with Compassion Series with David Nabarro, Special Envoy to WHO on COVID 19 Who would have thought before March 11th that our world would be turned upside down by a microscopic virus? But, today we have the COVID19 pandemic crisis well rooted in 199 countries and territories. At the time of my interview Dr. David Nabarro is the Special Envoy on COVID19 to the United Nations and former Executive Secretary to the World Health Organization. At the time of my interview with him there were 333,000 cases, less than 36 hours later the WHO reports 465,915 cases, worldwide. The pace and scale of transmission of COVID19 is extraordinary. And , we- the citizens of the world, lie at the heart of the solution to break the chains of transmission and bend the global outbreak curve. Clear from my interview with David is that physical distancing and sheltering in place is mission critical now for every person , everywhere. As well, its essential to be well ad rightly informed about the virus from the world’s leading experts. Join me in learning from David about the emergence of the corona virus, the cause and casualty of transmission, what it’s going to take (and how long) to mitigate and eradicate this virus, and who we must support- the 59 million health care workers on the ground, risking their lives to take care of the sick.
29 minutes | Mar 28, 2020
Indigenous Peoples- Guardians of Human+Nature Health Part I Our earth, what have we done to our earth? Oh, nature will survive. The real question is: What have we done to ourselves? Is COVID 19- nature’s wake up call, an opportunity to look at our world, the pace and purpose of our lives, the drivers of our market-based economy, and the impacts of our peoples on our planet? What can we learn from Indigenous Peoples about re-creating our human+nature relationship with humility? What can we learn from Indigenous Peoples about regenerating the natural places we love? What can we learn from Indigenous Peoples about rising above the fear, the force of a common threat to build communal resilience and common respect for every living creature on the planet? Rising from COVID19, as I believe we will, we have an historic opportunity to learn about how to be a thriving people in thriving places— we call home. We can evolve to become a new humane humanity if we would only stop, look, and listen to the ways and wisdom of Indigenous Peoples all over the world. They are responsible for protecting nearly 80% of the intact ecosystems in our biosphere. They are the true guardians of earth’s vital ecosystems. They are the secret to our recovery from pandemic diseases, like COVID19 and other global threats, like climate change. They are the people who are going to bring us back to human+nature health. Let’s listen to what Peter Seligmann, Chair of Conservation International and CEO of Nia Tero has to tell us about how he and his poly-culture organization are going to help bring humanity back to health— back to real life on a thriving planet.
19 minutes | Mar 20, 2020
It’s Education & Political Will, Stupid: Divesting from Fossil Fuels and Investing in Green, Clean, Renewable Energy is Simply Smart Now that we know with the corona virus—that when the world is faced with a global threat, perceived unilaterally by all as a global threat; governments can- in fact, move relatively swiftly; perhaps not always rightly, but relatively swiftly and forcibly, to mobilize and regulate large populations. When in our lifetimes have we witnessed a widespread shutdown of business and travel; and legally enforcible home- neighborhood lockdown? Not in my lifetime… Thus it begs the question: in the wake of the corona virus, how can governments apply these lock-down strategies and enforce these same regulations on business to shift from a still dominant fossil fuel economy powered by petroleum based oil, gas, and coal to a clean, renewable energy economy running on a global grid? Undeniably, this energy transition now makes social, environmental, AND also economic sense… So, what’s holding us back? Why have banks continued to invest 1.4 trillion USD in future fossil fuel investments this year? Especially, when they know that the RE energy transition is happening and that these energy assets will soon be stranded assets? Long Time climate action expert, Jennifer Morgan, now the CEO of Greenpeace International joins me to share her reflections on “Why”.
18 minutes | Mar 12, 2020
Crisis Creates Leaders at the Intersection of Business-Government-Society Andrew Liveris, former CEO and Chair of Dow; Board Member to Saudi Aramco We are living in a world continually impacted by more frequent and intense natural crises -- the earth’s responses to past and current human activity. The good news is that crisis creates leadership, according Andrew Liveris, former CEO and Chair of Dow. In our conversation at Davos 2020, Andrew gives us hope in alerting us that an intellectual revolution is happening. New models of leadership, business, and governance are being proposed and considered, while new intersections of leadership among formerly isolated groups in government, business, and society are beginning to take shape. We are not there yet; but the good news is that there is economic opportunity in regenerating nature and in turning waste to wealth. Let’s listen to more of what Andrew has to say about collaborating forward on the issues of natural capital, plastic pollution, sustainability, and more.
16 minutes | Mar 2, 2020
Diving Deep: How Technology and Near Real-Time Data Capture Helps us Dynamically Manage Fishing Operations and Ocean Ecosystems The earth’s ocean comprises 70% of the earth’s surface and is 3700 m deep (on average) and 10 trillion times more opaque than the earth’s atmosphere. What this means is that historically we have known very little about the vast ocean ecosystem, let alone its health. However, now given the constellation of 1000’s of low level satellites-equipped with different sensing devices distributed around the earth, recently we have begun to learn a lot more. In my interview with Jim Leape, the Co-Director for Stanford’s Center for Ocean Solutions, he shares with us a few emerging technologies that are allowing companies that buy seafood and governments that regulate international waters to better understand the provenance of the fish and identify illegal fishing operations. Join me for this fascinating underwater exploration of technology that is driving the more dynamic and transparent management of our ocean ecosystem.
15 minutes | Feb 25, 2020
Prince Albert II of Monaco
There's No Planet B or Ocean Z: It’s Time to Truly See Protecting Sea for What it Means to You and Me Prince Albert II of Monaco Clearly important to acting on climate is educating ourselves, sharing our knowledge, and reducing our carbon footprint in our daily lives. This means being awake and award of: What we buy? How we move? Where we use energy? How we zero-out and eliminate all waste? Cleary important for us to now know as humans is that we have tipped the natural order of life quite far, so far, so as to jeopardize our own survival… and our children’s future. In my interview with Prince Albert of Monoco we talk about: educating ourselves and acting on climate; why biodiversity loss is so important to us; climate solutions local, regional, and national leaders can take in cities; the importance of legacy; and vision for 2050. If our human civilization needs to decarbonize our lifestyles to become carbon neutral by 2050… that means all of us.
21 minutes | Feb 18, 2020
Rumblings on the New Bio Economy- A Cultural Revolution Happening We inherently know that we are connected to one another and the natural world. We also know that we suffer—emotionally, biophysically, socially, and economically when we disconnect from nature. Yet, we have advanced our human civilization in competition with nature, extracting earth resources as if they were infinite, polluting our ecosystems as if they were too big to fail, and exploiting wildlife as if extinction was only a dinosaur myth from the past. Now, as we are too many people, taking too much from nature without giving back. We are driving the biosphere to the edge of collapse. We have altered 3/4th of the planet; risking not only the wellbeing of other plants and animals, but risking our own Homo sapiens (Wise human) species. Now, we need a new cultural narrative. We need to advance our human civilization in collaboration with nature. We need to grow our global economy, societies, and businesses with a clear commitment to conserve nature and to recover ecosystem integrity. A new deal for nature and people now seems to require not just protection, but regeneration of degraded, damaged and developed systems. The good news is that the business opportunities to adopt this new deal narrative are infinite in the new bio- based economy… And, as $ 44 trillion USD (or half the GDP of the planet) are dependent on healthy, thriving ecosystems; then business can’t afford to wait. Investors in the future of business and businesses themselves must adapt and include nature in their calculations or risk their own demise. Time to Evolve. What can you do? Listen into my interview with Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International and find out how.
14 minutes | Dec 4, 2019
Focus on Forests
Focus on Forests The Amazon Forest, literally the lungs of the planet- responsible for respiring 20% of the world’s oxygen, was on fire most of the summer. Nearly 76,000 fires burned in the Amazonas this year, an increase of 84% from previous years. Thus, the light of world news has been for the past months on Brazil. And, as fires burn in other countries, like Bolivia, Greenland, Siberia, Greece, Spain, Turkey, France, Russia, and Indonesia, we are in heated discussions about the future management of our world’s forests. Fires literally in my backyard these past weeks, bring home the climate reality that our communities may inevitably be more susceptible to fires in in the coming years. Those of us in California living on the urban-wildland interface can now empathize with our Amazonas, Indonesian, European friends in the forest. Homes, businesses, woodlands, coastlines, citrus and avocado groves, vineyards were threatened again these past weeks in the California fires. Most people still remember also the record-breaking, life-threatening, devastating fires in past years. Yes, Fire is a natural part of these ecosystems; but fires are now burning hotter, longer, and more frequently under our new global warming normal. Coupled with increases in slash-burn agriculture practices; less regulation under present day political regimes; it seems we can expect increases in fire danger, ecosystem loss, and air pollution. But this future is not determined… and we can be the masters of our own destiny. According to Frances Seymour, Distinguished Senior Fellow, WRI (World Resources Institute), we can choose to save the patient in the emergency room from bleeding to death. We can protect our intact forests worldwide. We can halt deforestation and reduce slash-burn agriculture. We can invest in restoration. We can convert a percent of our agricultural lands back to forests…. we just need the will to do it! According to Marcello Behar, Corporate Affairs Officer, Natura; we can value a tree more standing than dead. Natura is the largest cosmetic company in Brazil and they pride themselves on walking the integrated bottom line-people, planet, profit. Embedded in their corporate culture are the values that the value of nature is both economic and ecologic. Natura believes that they and others can run their companies profitably for people and responsibly for nature. Let’s listen in as Marcello shares with us the example of the Acuba tree…. According to Sonia Guajagara, an indigenous activist and politician in Brazil, who offers her wisdom in Portuguese in this interview… The naturally intelligent future path is clear. It’s a mindshift change that is needed. “We simply need to restore the hearts, decarbonize the colonial minds, and re-forest the souls of all the people in the world”. We need to really respect nature, the integrity of ecosystems, and the ecology of communities. Why? Because this is Mother Nature, and she is the source of life… our life.
15 minutes | Nov 11, 2019
Eat Right- Save the Planet Olav Kjorven Chief Strategy Officer, Eat Foundation After twenty-five years of national and international policy work in development, environment, health, climate change, children’s rights, Olav Kjorven, my guest this week, now stands at the nexus of all these UN focal areas; working on the future of food, health, and agriculture. Olav is the chief strategy officer at the Eat Foundation in Oslo, Norway. EAT’s mission is to transform our global food system from field to fork through science-centered, novel policies, programs, and partnerships. Olav and I spoke together at the UN Summit in NY about the future of food production, nutrition, soil health, and food waste to food wealth. I laid out our seemingly mission impossible sustainable development challenge of increasing food production 70% while reserving 50% of land for wildlife habitat to accommodate our rapidly growing population. Olav calmly and confidently replied that if we really take a look at present agricultural use… there is a lot of “fat” in the system. We allocate 40% (at least) of productive land to stable crops to feed cattle. We waste now nearly 40% of food produced- field to fork. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can use simple technologies, like good ol’compost to reduce waste, nutrify soil, and sink carbon. We can apply a convergence of other technologies to create great efficiencies in agriculture production. We can educate better about how to reduce food waste and converge toward healthier diets in the family home. Actually, it’s quite exhilarating to talk to Olav and I look forward to more time to talk with him again about food in the future. There seems an abundance of simple ways each one of us can transform our health and the health of the planet — simply by making better, conscious food choices. Let’s listen in to Olav on how to eat well, liv healthy, sustain our planet.
12 minutes | Nov 8, 2019
Passion for the Planet and Optimism for the Oceans Danni Washington Science Communicator and TV Host Danni Washington is the first African-American woman of color to host an American science TV series. Deeply passionate about understanding the natural world and inspiring others to connect to nature, Danni continues to be a positive role model and voice of the future for a healthy planet on land and in the ocean. I caught up with Danni as she was hosting conversations with young global leaders during the UN Youth Climate Summit in NYC. The youth were sharing their concerns, hopes, dreams for a carbon neutral future. In our conversation, we both agreed that this generation of young activists are “woke” and intelligent and bring great value to the conversation on climate solutions here and now…Why? The youth today realize that they are the generation to live with the future we manifest with our actions today to decarbonize our world and regenerate natural ecosystems. Particularly drawn to the ocean, Danni shares with us her personal moment of clarity and commitment; when she knew that she would dedicate herself to ocean conservation through media and digital influence. I just loved the spirit and energy of this interview; let’s listen in. Enjoy.
22 minutes | Nov 4, 2019
Mr. Alfonso de Alba
Valuing the Voices of Youth and Nature in the Climate Conversation at the UN Mr. Alfonso de Alba Special Envoy for the Climate Action Summit The Climate Action Summit during the UN General Assembly in NYC this autumn 2019 was special in that it was fueled by conversations on: inter-generational climate solutions, nature-based climate solutions, and cultural climate solutions from indigenous communities worldwide. This was the key observation of my guest for this week’s Natural Intelligence Worldwide podcast, Mr. Alfonso de Alba. Mr de Alba serves as the special envoy for the Climate Action Summit. And, he was the driving force behind the pre- UN Summit discussions, which aimed to voice the concerns, comments, and commitments of the youth, indigenous, and environmental groups with greater volume throughout the summit. To this end, Mr. Alfonso de Alba felt the Climate Action Summit was quite successful. Key outcomes of the meeting included: greater attention to inclusivity in driving innovation, technology and finances toward in-country climate actions; greater financial commitment to both climate mitigation and climate adaptation; which includes resilience-building for the most vulnerable, developing countries and communities. greater attention by the international community to the gravity and urgency of acting on climate; as well; in collaboration; as everyone’s commitment-large or small now matters; and finally…. a greater commitment by Secretary General Guiterrez to convert commitments to reality; as well, to assist countries in reaching even higher aspirational climate goals. Let’s hear what Mr. de Alba has to say about the big wins from the UN Summit this year in New York and our commitment as a global community forward to rapidly decarbonize our world and to keep our global temperature increase to below 1.5C.
32 minutes | Oct 23, 2019
On Being Timelessly Mindful in Designing Our Carbon Neutral, Zero Waste, Pollution Free, Healthy, Happy Future World Bill McDonough CEO of McDonough Innovation, Co-author on Cradle-Cradle How do we move from a take-make-waste-single use consumer based society to one that designs clean, healthy products, whose elemental parts can be recovered and recycled back into a biological nutrient or a raw material to re-purposed for infinite use? How do we create a new refined lexicon for carbon-differentiating among fugitive, durable, and living carbon to drive correct and specific behavior toward true carbon neutrality in the world? How do we invoke a system’s thinking approach: to halting future production of toxic materials, to shutting down linear systems that continue to pollute our natural world on land and in the oceans, to engaging in effective regenerative activities that are going to help ecosystems heal?How do we inspire a mind shift from unconscious consumption to deeply considerate mindful use and infinite reuse of goods to fulfill a service? How do we lean into higher order questions about our lives, our world, and our impact on the world; now aware that we can— as a species, design the future for greater life in perpetuity or degrade our environments on a planetary scale for a darker days ahead? In my interview with Bill McDonough, he gives cogent answers to these questions and clear direction of travel for every one of us in our global society toward a carbon neutral, clean, healthy, circular world. It's time to ask higher order questions and to be mindful of our actions and lifestyle choices.
24 minutes | Oct 5, 2019
Carlos Manuel Rodriguez
Costa Rica's Seventh Generation Ethic: Invest in Nature, Invest in the Future Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Environment and Energy Minister, Costa Rica Costa Rica is one of the most efficient and healthy countries in the world— tripling their economic growth, while recovering 1.1. million hectares of degraded land, protecting their watersheds, operating on 100% renewable energy, doubling the projected forested area, and advancing a robust eco-tourism industry. It is no wonder that Costa Rica ranks high on the happiness, air quality, life quality indices. What’s their secret? According to Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Environmental and Energy minister for Costa Rica- intergenerational investment in protecting nature, which stems from a deep cultural understanding of the value of nature to the economic and ecological wellbeing of the country and people- is the key. How do we incentivize other countries and leaders to learn from Costa Rica’s success? Indeed, that is the central question. Currently, the world invests 0.008% of our global GDP in the protection of nature; yet nature has the potential to decarbonize our world and reduce climate stress by 30% while also providing up to $123 trillion USD of value in nature’s services. Clearly, the opportunity for investing in nature is a win-win-win solution for personal, political, planetary health. But, it’s important to realize that our current economic decisions are destroying the life support system of the planet… Thus, it is time to invest in nature.
24 minutes | Sep 17, 2019
From Fringe to Frontline: The Value of Nature is Coming Sharper into Focus for the Finance Community Naoko Ishii, CEO/Chair, Global Environment Facility (GEF) Imagine, $123 trillion USD of value is tied to the resources and services nature provides to our global society and global economy. Yet, for over a century we have taken the gifts of nature for granted. In my conversation with Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chair of the Global Environment Facility (GEF)- it is clear that the voice and value of nature is finally capturing the attention of the banking, investment, finance community. And, part of the reason for this is that it our planetary impact on the quality of living organisms and ecosystems is becoming more obvious, real, and scary. And, part of the reason for this is that the scientific community has leapt out of their comfort zone to better communicate science more clearly and enter conversations with the business community. In her interview with me, Naoko challenged the finance community to do the same; to educate themselves on the crisis and opportunity for investing in nature- in transforming the energy sector, in transforming the food sector, and for creating circular economies across all sectors of business. The good news is that as we breech ecosystem tipping points- we realize more and more that not only are the global commons as risk; but so is the global economy. And de-risking these threats to the ecology and economy of the planet must become everyone’s global mission. In this regard, partnership is key. And, GEF is one of the largest environmental funds-dedicated to advancing transformative, socially good projects to both protect the environment and to develop sustainably in emerging economies through leveraging their capital to attract other partners and create transformative, positive change in our environment. Thank you, Naoko and GEF for your leadership… and thank you for our interview.
31 minutes | Sep 10, 2019
Connecting the Other 50% to the Worldwide Web of Future Opportunities in Work, Health, Education Houlin Zhao, Secretary General, International Telecommunications Union Over half of the world society is connected to the internet…but imagine what a fully connected world would look like. Already e-commerce among the 55.1% of the world connected, accounts for 90% of global commerce. As a result, a whole wave of online entrepreneurs have set out into the virtual world to solve society’s problems, and have found their niche markets, even if on the other side of the world. Digital courses and online education opportunities have proliferated over the past 10 years; such that anyone with a 4G/5G network access could earn a degree in higher education without ever stepping foot on a university campus. Further, digital health information and alerts to potential health threats serves to keep our communities healthier and more resilient to the spread of infectious diseases, like Ebola. In my interview with Houlin Zhao, the Secretary General of the Intl Telecommunications Union; we explore what current and future benefits exist for our global society to adapt to and to adopt new 4IR technologies available in the global online network…We also discuss the importance in ensuring that everyone in the future- the other 50% of the world population, is connected to the worldwide web…. Why? Local SMEs and entrepreneurs are the most incentivized and best innovative force to solve local problems. So, the more people, esp. in poorer countries we empower with access to the internet to become educated, take care of their personal health, and even grow a business; the more prosperous and peaceful our world will become. This is the work and core mission of the ICT community. And, the ITU is there to support all partners and stakeholders in this mission. Let’s hear what Mr. Zhao has to say further about the importance of the ITU and its work in the world today.
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