Saudi Arabia – Broad Sustainability Reforms with New Rights for Women and Youth

Saudi Arabia is taking major and new steps for social modernization with reforms to engage its youth and women in shaping a more sustainable future for Saudi Arabia. It has been indeed several multi-layered and multi-scale challenges to perform such ice-breaking changes in the social fabrics of a society that emanated from deep rooted cultural traditions. While, it may seem simple, easy and straightforward for any outsiders to think that such changes can be done overnight, it is in reality a tectonic social transformation for Saudi Arabia to do such changes, it is also of historic dimensions. 

The MENA region, in this context, is taking major steps towards more open socio-economic and social reforms to join the global trends in the path to modern sustainable societies. As the three pillars of true sustainability involve environment, economic and social issues, all these can not be solved and implemented all at the same time. It is a long and gradual process that can not be faster or kept shorter. 
The decision of allowing Saudi women to drive comes amid a broad reform program that last week led to women being allowed into a sports stadium for the first time. This is also in parallel of many other long-term and large-scale reforms, vision 2030, to move away from being dependent on oil, to diversify the economy of the country, invest in infra-structure,  in women and youth, health, education and the labor market in general. 

https://www.google.se/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/26/saudi-arabias-king-issues-order-allowing-women-to-drive

Sustainability and Smart Cities – Does Biking and Walking pose More Threats than Cars to Life-quality? 

The piling up of air pollution in many cities and urban areas due to worldwide traffic chokes on millions of roads in many cities is still given official prioritaires or even promoted by legal actions. Air quality in many cities and urban areas around the world is becoming major health threats for everyone. Collective breathing of rubbish in the air of many cities is now much more serious than individual smoking, this is making living in cities a nightmare especially where thermal isolation is non-existing. In hot and arid climate zones with limited or no rain, poor air quality makes such health threat a chronical problem and daily struggle for survival. It is not only because of cars but also the failing and collapsing old infra-structures of aging transport systems not suitable for modern life. Many sources of pollution other than chemical ones, e.g. physical and biological, from factories, population and household in heavily populated areas with daily traffic (in and out) from rural areas add even more pollution to the emittions from traffic.

Even in some parts of the world cultural and social issues screen and shut out half of the population from promoting sustainable solutions in mitigating and counteracting the core roots of air pollution. Even more serious is where the whole population have no alternatives other than joining the heavy traffic and collapsing infra-structures thus removing all little ramaining possibilities to breath whatever left to breath. Even those who wish to walk can hardly find some safe, free and secure space to do so. 

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jun/12/girls-ride-bikes-iranian-women-defy-cycling-fatwa-tehran?CMP=share_btn_fb

Lessons Learned – Would Nuclear Annihilation Be A Lasting Solution?

What and who would we blame if we see the same events of “love-hate stories” being repeated in history, again and again but with different actors and in different places. It is hardly a love story that keeps played here and there as “Casablanca”, the American famous drama film and one of America’s great classics of 1942, just before WWII. The famous saying “Play it again Sam” that falls the same time as the birth of the nuclear era around the same time. In this case a “hate story” to put an end to the bloody WWII, where politics called upon all scientific and technical efforts to invent the first nuclear bomb, “the Manhattan Project” (https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-the-atomic-the-manhattan-project-1991237). It was an race against Nazi Germany to create the first atomic bomb that lasted from 1942 until 1945 and forced Japan to surrender and finally ended the war. But, it opened a huge gate and put the world to the Atomic Age. The first consequencess was mass of destruction of tectonic scale, the killing and injuring of over 200,000 people, in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It brought also massive suffering for generations as a result of genetic damages of direct and indirect damages of cell and DNA. At the same time, with the fear of nuclear weapons, Albert Einstein looked beyond the current war to future problems that such weapons could bring. In his letter to Niels Bohr (Danish physicist) in December 1944, he wrote “when the war is over, then there will be in all countries a pursuit of secret war preparations with technological means which will lead inevitably to preventative wars and to destruction even more terrible than the present destruction of life.” It was hardly the intention of Albert Einstein to come around with his famous formula of 1905, as part of his Special Theory of Relativity, where he pointed (http://www.doug-long.com/einstein.htm) that a large amount of energy could be released from a small amount of matter as expressed by the equation E=mc2 (energy = mass times the speed of light squared). 

Nuclear bombs became a reality that generated hundred of nuclear tests and laboratory work, known and unknown, to do more of the same stuff but yet with even more annihilation power. This brought the world and humans to live with constant threat and question repeated quite often would it be another “Play it again Sam”? It is not wrong at all to call nuclear bombs as tools for total annihilation as this is exactly what they are supposed to do, the total annihilation of life. 

Recently Guardian shared “Annihilating North Korea would create more problems than it solves (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/04/annihilating-north-korea-create-more-problems-than-solves-trump-us-right-nuclear-taboo?CMP=twt_gu). This is certainly true as what the previous wars did (WWI, WWII, Korea War, Iraq War, Libya War, …), just bringing more and more conflicts and problems.

For Trump and the US right, breaking the nuclear taboo has always been thinkable. Donald Trump thinks more countries should have nuclear weapons. Here’s what is known in the media (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/04/06/should-more-countries-have-nuclear-weapons-donald-trump-thinks-so/; https://www.google.se/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2016/06/02/politics/donald-trump-nuclear-weapons-japan/index.html; https://www.google.se/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2016/06/02/politics/donald-trump-nuclear-weapons-japan/index.html). Meanwhile, Donald Trump conveniently forgets the time he said more countries should have nukes and explaining that it is  the “dishonest” media: (https://www.google.se/amp/m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5828903be4b0c4b63b0d1c7d/amp; https://www.google.se/amp/amp.timeinc.net/time/4437089/donald-trump-nuclear-weapons-nukes/). 

The option of nuclear threat has been always on many tables around the world, what then the world will do with all the nuclear arms that exist around the world. 

Africa – The Best of Sudan Film & Video Competition 2018

The first global video competition about “The Best of Sudan” will be launched by Sudan Knowledge “SK” and The World Association for Sustainable Development “WASD” during the 5th International Diaspora Conference 2018 coorganized with, and hosted by the Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations system “JIU” in the Palais des Nations – Genève, Switzerland. Deadline of submission is the 15th of September 2017

https://youtu.be/l9oFc3BSxXgاخر يوم للتقديم ١٥ سبتمبر ٢٠١٧

SWAS 16th International Annual Conference, Genève 12-16 April 2018.

The World Association for Sustainable Development “WASD” will organize its 16th International Annual Conference in 12-16 April 2018, Palais de Nations, Genève, Zwitzerland. To be co-organized and hosted by the United Nations Joint Inspection Unit (JIU).

The Theme is “Public private partnerships for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda  for sustainable development”. 

See more at: http://www.wasd.org.uk/books/palgrave-studies-of-sustainable-business-in-africa/tt-sudan/

Drone Plans to Plant 100,000 Trees a Day

A system of drones has been developed to help quick rehabilitation of Earth’s lungs, forest trees. The system is supposed to help plant almost 100,000 trees per day.

The Earth is rapidly losing its forests at a rate much faster than humans can manage to replant with the same speed. How much is the degradation of world forest is, is not really known and figures vary. According to Scientific American “most analysts show up to 15 percent [of global carbon emissions] is due to deforestation.” This means that by clearing or burning the Earth’s forests, we are directly contributing to huge increase in climate change rates. One Australian engineer is enlisting technology to fight the battle against the ongoing deforestation. Dr. Susan Graham has helped to develop a pair of drones that can slow down some of such damage by planting trees at a rate that far outpaces what is possible to do by hand.

Read the complete story with the original video here: https://futurism.com/new-drone-plans-on-ambitious-mission-to-plant-100000-trees-a-day/

3R-Culture for Saving Planet Earth from Waste and Pollution. 

The 3R-culture “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is establishing itself with key concepts in the ever expanding ideology and awareness of the fight against the accelerating pile-up of waste and pollution. Waste and pollution is not only a threat for endangering the whole life on planet Earth but it is also one of the main core reasons for global contrains and malfunctioning in industry and technology. Furthermore, it has also huge impacts on micro socio-economic developments and stability of rural and coastal environments in particular the livelihood of the poor and local communities that are dependent on the natural resources of their land-water systems.

These multi-layered and multi-scale threats taking place in the Anthropocene and are caused by an ever expanding cycles of “production-consumption-waste” with increasing rates that we have not seen its peak yet, the “Peak Waste” (https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/ReciclajeInclusivo/esquemas-inclusivos-de-responsabilidad-extendida-del-productor-aprendizajes-desafos-y-oportunidades-por-derek-stephenson, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/when-will-we-hit-peak-garbage-7074398/, http://environment-review.yale.edu/tags/industrial-ecology-urban-planning).

In low income countries with increaing transformation towards industrialisation and urbanization but yet with poor public infrastructures and almost non-existing policies for environmental protection and preservation, waste and pollution threats are enormous. However, a new 3R-culture is emerging from grassroot rural communities to save their livelihood which, unlike big national/international industries and production/urban facilities, is very much dependent on their living land-water resources where they live, work and develop roots that can last for decades or even generations.

In the photo is the WORLD’S FIRST: THE PLASTIC-ONLY BOAT TO FIGHT POLLUTION that was created by the people of Kenya of the East Coast of Africa. This dohow in over 30 tonnes of recycled plastic waste, a waste which is indeed Kenya has lots of it. Such waste became the raw materials making a 60-foot dhow that is set to sail from the Kenyan coast to South Africa, in an initiative meant to raise awareness on the growing menace of plastics to marine ecosystem and spur a plastic revolution.

See more at https://www.fairplanet.org/story/worlds-first-the-plastic-only-boat-to-fight-pollution/?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#link_time=1501838864

How Would ICT lead us to? How True is True and how Fake is Fake in Growing & Diverse Knowledge Flora

The expanding globalization of knowledge in an era of increasing popularity of the  internet and its social media instruments has both positive and negative impacts on our understanding of the reality around us.

Recently it has been alarming reports on fake news and misleading information. But how would we judge the quality of information and sort out what is true and what is fake? The question is not easy to answer especialy with considerations to the ever growing complexity of the web of knowledge. Also, our society has changed and will continue to change not only what regards the diversity of news but also the increasing interdependency of the ICT on the contemporary new geologic Epoch the Anthropocene. It is proposed to underline the commencement of significant human impact on the Earth’s geology and ecosystems, including, but not limited to, anthropogenic climate change. Indeed, climate change is just one aspects of the impacts of humans on the Earth’s geology as it is only concerned with the changes in the atmosphere. There are other intensive impacts on the hydrosphere, biosphere and the lithosphere (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropocene). With the Paris Agreements and the associated obligations to promote and implement the UN-SDGs there are growing conflicting interests on global, regional and local scales involving setting rules and finding solutions for effective optimization of economic, environment and socials interests. 

Fake and false news are not new, have exited in previous history and will continue to exist, if not expand and accelerate. Fake news is a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media. It is intended to mislead in order to gain financially or politically, or environmentally often with sensationalist, exaggerated, or patently false headlines that grab attention. It uses eye-catching headlines or entirely fabricated stories to increase readership, online sharing and Internet click revenue. It also undermines serious media coverage and makes it more difficult for journalists to cover significant news stories (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fake_news).

With Iraqi war and most recently the 2016 Precidential elections in the USA fake news came to be the focus on several levels. One fake news entrepreneur, for example, says we should expect even more Trump hoaxes in 2017 (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.buzzfeed.com/amphtml/craigsilverman/top-fake-news-of-2016). Hoaxes about US politics were among the top-performing fake news content on Facebook in 2016, according to an analysis by BuzzFeed News. According to this article, twenty-three of the 50 top-performing fake news hoaxes we found on Facebook were focused on US politics. Overall, fake news about US politics accounted for 10.6 million of the 21.5 million total shares, reactions, and comments these English-language stories generated on Facebook this year, according to the analysis.

UN-SDG – Emerging possibilities for collaboration.

Currently, we are exploring the possibilities of mutual collaboration with major players within global applied sustainability issues. This is an interesting example, where coupling of science and technology with society, population and market needs, of pressing and urget nature in particular what regards transboundary socio-economic developments in the framework of UN-SDG.

<a href=”https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PLXHgKvdFTooyUZcIdNEi9wvVWjNSllBpV&v=ziLJ-FBGwK8&index=24″>https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PLXHgKvdFTooyUZcIdNEi9wvVWjNSllBpV&v=ziLJ-FBGwK8&index=24</a>

Volatile Politics – Economic Realities & ICT-constrains Trigger Global Instabilites

Classical and traditional top-bottom politics that ruled the world for decades, or even centuries, are facing new realities. Political promises get continuously modified or even totally violated as result of new elections that force abrupt changes in political systems and socio-economic landscape. The very reasons behind existing volatility in political systems and socio-economic landscape are:

(1) large-scale economic uncertainties because of cracking global socio-economic systems. Trumpism, Brexit, the bilateral “Germany-USA agreement” (following the example of the U.K.) and risks for collapse of the EU are examples of growing global socio-political and socio-economic multi-pole polarization with mainstream, populists, conservatives and economic elites on different sides, also any thing in between. While this division in itself is caused by new economic realities, it is likely to be the start of re-shaping and re-arranging the global economic structure and placing the rest of the world, i.e. those outside the new agreements and the political shifts, at great unknown risks (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1484871308/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=sl1&tag=theeconomiccollapse-20&linkId=002b83f02f5dba32c7f7247fa185c3b2#productDescription_secondary_view_div_1489735945264). The U.S. elections are not simple as it may seem but very much controlled by a complex outdated left/right paradigm with elites from a double-pole polarized society or a new unification towards “making America Great Again” or generally speaking “making Single counties great again”. So, the situation is not unique for the U.S. as election in other democratic societies, e.g. in Europe/Germany, are following the trends in the U.S..  Even if Trump and Brexit are legitimate anti-establishment, there entry (an expanding example) is likely to seal the deal on the economic shakes in international banks and existing markets (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-10/he-won-because-elites-want-him-there-global-economy-will-collapse). It is all about the independence of Global Elites to make the move to enslave all the people of the planet, economically, socially and morally (http://www.silverdoctors.com/silver/silver-news/the-global-economic-collapse-is-coming-marshall-swing/). Even Germany followed the example UK and conducted its own bi-lateral agreements with the U.S. . Though there is a European Union still individual nations, e.g. Germany in this case, can conduct its own bilateral agreement with the U.S. in the sane way Germany did with China. Can anyone imagine California, Florida or Seattle to conduct bilateral agreement with the whole European Union? Such trends are contrary to the ambitions to unify EU and can even cause gradual and increasing degeneration of EU. As this can develop internal barriers between the member states regarding convergence, i.e. organized coordination and integration, of the production and labor markets in Europe as a whole. Whether such bilateral agreements between single member states in Europe and external super economic powers are good for Europe as while is being debated (http://www.ab.gov.tr/files/ardb/evt/1_avrupa_birligi/1_11_dis_iliskiler/China_Germany_and_the_EU.pdf). The lessons gained from immigration policies in Europe, that caused serious conflicts between the member states of the EU, keep unfolding in other major sectors as well. In this context Trump is gaining more success in unifying the U.S. policies what regards building strong internal production and labor market. But Europe is going in reverse direction which will create increasing socio-economic gaps among the member states of Europe.

(2) Though ICT “Information Communication Technology” is considered an instrument for promoting better decisions through increased and rapid flow of information, this seems not to be always the case. There are no guarantees that all information and communication at all times are absolutely free from biases, false interventions, fake news and “alternative facts”. However, even in best cases the “tool-and-effect” link between ICT and economic development exemplified in numerous publications is dubious and misleading. As such a link is based on a narrow economic perspective of human action which ignores recent socio-economic developments and is not informed by the evidence on processes of development that has emerged from the few countries which achieved substantial economic growth in the last decades of the 20th century. The policy analyses and recommendations of major development organizations influence the interventions of information systems professionals in developing countries with misguided perceptions and prescriptions that stifle the undertaking of situated efforts to put ICT to effective use (http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/2575/1/The_link_between_ICT_and_economic_growth_in_the_discourse_of_development_(LSERO).pdf).

Technologies enable local and individual creativity and can improve the quality of human life. However, globalization as a result of ICT has clearly resulted in the exploitation of persons, spaces, and resources in developing countries. It can ultimately be empowering if it results in greater democratization by increased access to knowledge; accountability and responsiveness to government; more effective, immediate, and widespread communication among citizens and political organizations; and more equitable work, gender, and other roles within and across political borders. The real potential of the spread of ICT rests not singly in their creation of global networks and modes of production, but in their transformation of local, more proximal, ways of living and knowing. If these technologies do not aid in changes, more equitable forms of everyday living, then the relevance of all of their other impressive features and capabilities must be questioned (https://my.vanderbilt.edu/perkins/files/2011/09/Palmer-Perkins.2012.Technological-democratization.PGDT_.pdf). ICT and development transformation despite the remarkable theoretical capabilities remains weak in forming convincing arguments on IT-enabled socio-economic development (http://learning.uonbi.ac.ke/courses/ICS419/document/ICT4D_-_Discourses_on_ICT_and_development_-LSERO-.pdf). On the contrary, contradictory, complex and conflicting socio-political information are causing an increasing divergence in the political landscape with growing global socio-political multi-pole polarization of mainstream, populists and conservatives as well as religious and immigration divide as evident from Brexit, emerging bilateral agreements between EU-member states and the U.S., and Trumpism in the U.S., and conflicts in MENA region (Turkey) and Europe. While, ICT offers many promises and opportunities, it is also posing serious risks and uncertainties. Countries must fashion own responses as passive postures are likely to lead to increasing digital and economic divides, marginalization of poor and war-victims as well as increasingly costly and burdensome government with eroding economy  (http://www.springer.com/cda/content/document/cda_downloaddocument/9781441915054-c1.pdf?SGWID=0-0-45-879448-p173923431). ICTs can offer real opportunities to improve the social and political systems if considerable efforts are made to provide adequate infrastructures, maintain and sensitize the public on the need to embrace and apply the knowledge of ICT in their social and political life (http://www.idpublications.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Full-Paper-INFORMATION-AND-COMMUNICATION-TECHNOLOGY-ICT-APPLICATION-IN-SOCIAL-AND-POLITICAL-SYSTEM.pdf).

Our modern technology, more opened and high-speed ICT-based societies with whatever form of democracy does not neccessarly mean prosperty everywhere either in developed or developing countries. It remains for everyone to find out how to take advantage of all these developments. The only way is to understand the world around us and participate in shaping and reshaping the reality that we live in. Our security and safety is not any longer a personal matter but it is rather a collective responsibility. So, we need sometimes if not often to be reminded with basic facts where knowledge (false or right) is not any longer static but it is dynamically and continuously shaping and reshaping our realities. Modern societies are not running, anymore, on primitive grounds, simple and linear rules. Not all of us have the same reality, level of comprehension of the daily life and everything around us in short- and long-term perspective. Also, with all the existing mobility and mixture of cultures as result of the so-called globalization and immigration trends. The increasing and fast flow of all types of diverse information (including contradictory ones) through the Internet and the ever expanding landscape of social-media may add additional uncertainties, if not sorted out and coordinated. The reality, as we have it today, keeps piling-up in more and more complexity. Our decisions, at least for some of us and during some periods, are therefore likely to be biased in a way or another. At the same our interests and living conditions dictate upon us new pressures and additional uncertainties. In this context, we can only understand things as we perceive and experience them in reference to our instant hopes and fears. The overall environments, circles of relations and interactions have also much impacts on our judgement in political elections and voting on candidates who will take vital decisions on our behalf, even to run our families, societies and businesses. 

We would all agree that no system (including political ones, socio-economic structures with all aspects of immigration-integration policies) whatsoever can stay stable, or reach stability, unless there is some sort of equilibrium between the overall individuals, partners or components making up the systems. 

From science and technology we know what the concept of “equilibrium” means for proper functioning and operation where safety and security are essential components. The so-called “Scientific Approach” is universally applicable with great precision anywhere and everywhere. This is true in physics, e.g. whenever there is a set of forces acting on a body, a particle or even set of forces acting systems of many bodies or many particles. Once the number of forces, bodies or particles increase the complexity of the system become more and more apparent and delicate to any small changes in the forces and the systems. Also, in chemistry where reactants in chemical reactions or series of chemical reactions are brought together to give products. For the reaction, or reactions, to proceed and give the wished products equilibrium between reactants under specific and well-defined condition of e.g. temperature, pressure and amounts reactants and order of procedures must exist. The same here with increasing number of reactants and reactions it becomes more and more difficult to have control on all the parameters that define the quality and yield of the products. without using sensitive and comprehensive monitoring and control systems it would not be possible to achieve a desired equilibrium. The same is true in natural eco-systems which are often incredibly sensitive to change. For a healthy ecosystem for example to be in equilibrium, i.e. relatively stable state that keeps population sizes within a sustainable range. Consider the case of bears (who only eat fish) and salmon (who are only hunted by bears). If the bear population grows particularly large one year, the total population will require more fish to feed it. This will make the salmon population shrink. Over time, if there are fewer salmon, there will not be enough food for all of the bears to eat. Some bears will starve and fewer cubs will be able to prosper, leading to a smaller overall population the next year. As more time passes and the bear population gets smaller, the salmon population will start to increase again due to having fewer natural predators. In a perfectly stable ecosystem, this cycle can continue indefinitely. Of course, natural ecosystems are far more complex than this simple example, but the relationship between species applies to complex ecosystems as well. When eco-systems grow in complexity the system becomes much more sensitive not only for the internal dynamics between species and the associated competition within the food-web but also the external drivers.  

In any political system with complex social mosaic, cultural evolution and religious diversity the situation become very critical even if the system is democratic, opened and dynamic but yet dependent on external dynamics. In such systems there are always shifts in the political balances which is not strange but rather natural as dissatisfaction among individuals and groups is a natural  outcome of changes in internal policies and external interactions. Large-scale and long-term equilibrium under such conditions is very sensitive to economic and information flows that regulate the stability among the population. Shifts and disorders can be therefore critical to manage even with most sofisticated corrections and mitigation measures. 


Inauguration mosaic social posts from the national mall – Donald Trump 2017 from http://sandiegonewsinfo.com/inauguration-mosaic-social-posts-from-the-national-mall/