Category: Health & Fitness

Traditional medicine is an applied science that helps to maintain and restore health by prevention and treatment of illness in human beings. Nevertheless, nutrition and fitness emerged as supporting health processes in human beings through strengthening basic processes and the immune systems in human beings.

Managing Sustainability – Science, Technology, R&D Versus Politics, Socio-Environment, Economics

Where are we today in the process of promoting sustainability ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability). To know this we have to examine the existing situation. 

There are needs to know the diverse parameters and factors governing the outcome of our efforts in relations to the goals of the ongoing “sustainability mission” as defined by the UN-SDG (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_Development_Goals). It is essential to have wide-range of global observations, enough infra-structures of instruments and global alternative of approaches for measuring and assessing our achievement in managing the process and promotion of sustainability (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_management). We have just to apply the simple role “what we can not measure does not exist” also “what we can not measure we can not control”. 

There are many imperative questions in this context: how can we assess and measure sustainability? Do we have enough world-wide observation systems and tools? Are there enough appropriate instruments and approaches? Who is doing what, how and when? What are the spatio-temporal status of sustainability on regional and global scales? These questions and associated answers are not straightforward and far from being known everywhere, for everyone and whenever necessary for taking actions. So far, science, technology and R&D have not delivered sustainable answers for the addressed questions as if they did so, we did not need to be in the situation we have today and there is no warranty that they will do so in the future if we keep the addressed questions unanswered and keep going “business as usual”. 

What we know today is focused on replacing fossil-fuel with renewables, which is in itself a slow process and far from filling the complete width of managing sustainability. Associated with this is merely a single but imperative parameter (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parameter), i.e. the “changes in global average surface temperature” with complex system of observations upon which various models can predict essential and important data about climate and weather under the prevailing global warming conditions (http://www.globalissues.org/article/233/climate-change-and-global-warming-introduction).
Even if science, technology and R&D did what they are supposed to do to fully support and promote sustainability on the global scale still there are political, socio-environment and economic obligations for appropriate management of sustainability according to the outcome of the Paris Conference in December 2015 (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_United_Nations_Climate_Change_Conference). It has already taken several decades to convince world politicians and policy-makers to recognise the threats from global warming though it was already known for many decades in science and technology circles. It is this time lag and slow communication between science, technology and R&D on the one hand and politics, socio-environment and economics on the other which causes severe threats for appropriate advances and successful implementation of the UN-SDG.

The outcome of the Paris Summit of 2015 (http://unfccc.int/meetings/paris_nov_2015/meeting/8926.php) is an alarming collective reminder of what we constantly failed to do to meet a growing number of global problems. Beneath global warming there is, indeed, an accelerating pile-up of complexity of old unsolved issues.

  

From Megacities to Megaslums – Slums The Fastest Growing “Lifestyle Communities”

Historically, there have been three major global modifications for human settlement, migration and mobility on earth. These can even be decribed as tectonic transformations of our lifestyle, which have shaped and reshaped human life and affected human streams around the globe: agriculture, urbanization, and industrialization. These three can very well denote stages or phases of socio-economic developments without specific order though agriculture and food production are essential, central and common needs for us and will remain to be so. It is not strange that agriculture and food production were among the first activities for humans on earth, thereafter came industrialization and urbanization. However, science and technology were, and still are, natural prerequisites for any socio-economic development to take place anywhere. Implementation of innovations in science and technology is not straightforward, i.e. in the process of industrialization and urbanization, as it might seem in the first place. I do agree with Albert Einstein who is one of our great thinkers and philosophers of all times “The world we have made as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far creates problems we cannot solve at the same level of thinking at which we created them.” 

Urbanization is a major effect of the expansion of industrialization, and both urbanization and industrialization are very much dependent on science, technology and education. Urbanization, however, unlike industrialization has different dynamics and evolution, and can be much more dependent on policy-making and management, at least in terms of socio-economic planning. Even though, the simple definition of urbanization, i.e. the process by which towns and cities are formed and become larger as more and more people begin living and working in central areas (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/urbanization), the full definition does involve the quality or the state or the process of becoming urbanized. Increasing urbanization is hardly a new phenomenon, this has been happening since the time of the first city, somewhere between 6,500 and 8,000 years ago. Urbanization was even associated with many glorious and famous civilization, e.g. in ancient Egypt that brought excellent examples of harmony, social and cultural developmemts. Among important new issues that make us to re-think and re-consider what urbanisation brought with it: are sustainability; the implementation of UN-SDG; the emerging needs for adaptation to the post fossil-fuel era and what urbanization should be in terms of preservation and protection of water, energy and natural resources.

Post-agricultural urbanization caused dramatic increase in population in cities and towns versus rural areas. A process that began during the industrial revolution, when workers moved towards manufacturing hubs in cities to obtain jobs in factories as agricultural jobs became less and less common. Urbanization in China, for example, has brought hundreds of millions of people from rural locations to the bustling coastal metropolises. The effects of urbanization, however, are more tangible and better recognized than those of agricultural land-use; e.g. air pollution and increasing child asthma; forced choice between rural hopelessness and urban despair; does urbanization creates a good living places for all citizens and people, particularly families; increased loads of sewage discharge into the streams. Above all, the severe expansion of slums within and around major/mega cities and towns.

Across the world, slums are home to a billion of people, one in seven of the world’s population. By 2050, according to the United Nations, there could be three billion. The slum is the filthy secret of the modern mega-city, the hidden achievement of 20 years of untrammelled market forces, greed, neglect and graft (http://www.newstatesman.com/global-issues/2011/08/slum-city-manila-gina-estero). Megacities will often turn into Megaslums under the coming and increasing urbanisation, fueled by migration and differential birthrates. We see this occurring first of all in parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. As current immigration trends continue, we will see the emergence of true Megaslums in Europe, North America, Oceania, and even in Japan and other presently low-migrant wealthy nations that are losing the demographic race (https://alfinnextlevel.wordpress.com/2015/10/23/urban-world-utopia-or-global-dysgenic-idiocracy/).

For older cities in developed countries – London, Paris or New York – urbanization took place gradually over a century and with tight interactions with industries and engagenment from  research, technology and education. They had time, resources, know-how and knowledge to adjust. In contrast, in developing Asian, intense urbanization is taking place within few short decades in random fashion and completely degenerated from supporting infra-structures and with complete absence of public and basic services, e.g. education, health, transport, water and sanitation. Unlike the Western cities that urbanized earlier, developing Asian cities simply do not have the administrative, management, institutional and financial capacities to manage urbanization and resulting socio-economic upheaval within such short periods. Urbanization is, indeed a complex challenge, with implications that are difficult to forecast especially in the absence of coordinated policies, management and administration (http://thediplomat.com). Most disastrous consequences arise with rapid and random urbanization in the developing countries (http://www.iied.org/study-warns-failure-plan-for-rapid-urbanisation-developing-nations). Governments in Africa and Asia must have strict plans for urbanization or risk harming the future prospects of hundreds of millions of their citizens with knock-on effects worldwide. They should heed lessons from Brazil whose failure in the past to plan for rapid urban growth exacerbated poverty and created new environmental problems and long-term costs that could have been avoided (http://knowledge.zurich.com/risk-interconnectivity/the-risks-of-rapid-urbanization-in-developing-countries/).

By 2050 more than two thirds of the world’s population will live in cities, while the many benefits of organized and efficient cities are well understood, we need to recognize that this rapid, often unplanned urbanization brings risks of profound social instability, risks to critical infrastructure, potential water crises and the potential for devastating spread of disease. These risks can only be further exacerbated as this unprecedented transition from rural to urban areas continues. The increased concentration of people, physical assets, infrastructure and economic activities mean that the risks materializing at the city level will have far greater potential to disrupt society than ever before (http://www.afdb.org/en/blogs/afdb-championing-inclusive-growth-across-africa/post/urbanization-in-africa-10143/). Urbanization in Africa has largely been translated into rising slum establishments, increasing poverty and inequality. However, there are large variations in the patterns of urbanization across African regions. The relatively fewer slums in North African countries is mainly attributed to better urban development strategies, including investment in infrastructure and in upgrading urban settlements. More broadly, 60% of African citizens live in places where water supplies and sanitation are inadequate. As most of the migrants from rural areas are uneducated/unskilled, they end up in informal sector with low income and intermittent, and naturally seek for shelters or become tenants of slum landlords. Many African cities have, therefore, to deal not only with slum proliferation but also with increasing insecurity and crime. Weak institutions have contributed to poor urban enforcement, resulting in dysfunctional land and housing markets, which in turn has caused mushrooming of informal settlements. Furthermore, African governments have neglected the key drivers of productivity which include small and medium-size enterprises, human resource and skills development, and technological innovation. These factors are essential in advancing predominantly informal, survivalist and basic trading activities to higher value-added work (http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=35556&Cr=URBAN&Cr1#.VtsxxUV86nM).

Relevant slideshare: https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/PECSweb/urbanization-brief-history-future-outlooks; https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/RajendraPSharma/urbanization-a-theoretical-view-perspectives-growth-cause-and-problems

Here is a short summary on How Slums Are The Fastest Growing “Lifestyle Communities”: http://www.theurbandeveloper.com/fastest-growing-suburbs-slums/

  

Shaping the Future of Human Landspace – Pedagogics & Sustainability Education

Education for Sustainable Development “ESD” or Sustainability Education (https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/your-university/sustainability/sustainability-education/esd) is about enabling every human being to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to shape a sustainable future. The Nordic countries have long traditions in meeting the needs for changing climates by being at high-latitudes where water change phase from being solid ice to liquid water. Also, where precipitation can be either snow or rain. The point here is the phase change of the water, as from the management point of view, has much technical requirements though the high abundance of water is a gift of nature to the Nordic countries. Though the temperatures at high-latitudes may have positive impacts on health, they are technically speaking not as friendly to live in as compared to lower latitudes. In terms of the sunshine and its seasonality the Nordic countries are not in same lucky situation as countries around the Mediterranean or even the equator. Another severe limitation for life at high-latitudes is temperature as the functioning and metabolism of life systems in particular for humans have their own conditions. The associated challenges in terms of water and energy, however, turned to be of great advantage for finding answers for confortable living for everyone where the baseline is long-term and large-scale survival. This is exactly the core of sustainability where its there pillars have to be in tact (economic, environment and social). To translate population challenges to individual solutions of complex problems under varying and shifting “economic, environment and social” conditions, instruments and tools for doing so have to be accessible and affordable for everyone but yet in communicative and structured manner. That is being defined in modern times as EDUCATION where its content, i.e. knowledge, is not static but now and then needs to be updated, structured or even improved. This dynamic part of education and knowledge “RESEARCH” is imperative and has to continuous and intensive. The world-wide recognition of sustainability as life-style promotes new global necessities in education and research. In this context, pedagogical issues at all stages and types of education and research have been recognized by being essential. 

The Handbook of Research on Pedagogical Innovations for Sustainable Development is the outcome of a major conference in Finland celebrating ten years of work promoting education, especially teacher education, for sustainable development or sustainability. “Reorientation of teacher education towards sustainability through theory and practice. Proceedings of the 10th international JTEFS/ BBCC conference Sustainable development, University of Eastern Finland Reports and Studies in Education, Humanities, and Theology No 7, University of Eastern Finland Joensuu, 2013. The work in this conference has been done in parallel with the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UN DESD: 2005– 2014). The Conference followed UNESCO’s rigorous and open definition of Education for Sustainable Development.

The main areas of discussion were: Sustainable early childhood education (ECE) and preschool education; towards systemic and integrative research methodology in ESD studies; pedagogy of sustainable future: museums, forests and culture environments as platforms for 21st century learning; sustainable education issues in science education; sustainable ICT in education; adult education for sustainable development, arts, design and skills; home, health and well-being, tourism research – connections on well-being, education and sustainability; teacher education for inclusion; social pedagogy as a dimen- sion of sustainable life; sustainability in community practices; and Earth Charter: values and multicultural approaches to education for sustainable development.

Uncovering the whys: what motivates teachers and researchers to conduct education and research in particular towards systemic and integrative methodology, application and promotion of Sustainable Developments is of major global interest.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/gpoz7bk60qh66tp/Teacher%20education%20and%20sustainability.pdf?dl=0

  

Dubai 2050 – To Be Global Center for Clean Energy and Green Economy

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has launched the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to make Dubai a global centre of clean energy and green economy. 75% of the emirate’s energy will come from clean energy sources by 2050, thus establishing sustainable model in energy conservation to be exported to the whole world, and to support economic growth to protect the environment and natural resources and to foster coming generations for a more sustainable future. In this context, Dubai will become the city with the least carbon footprint in the world by 2050 with sustainable economic sectors based on non-renewable energy resources and are unaffected by volatile energy prices.

International companies and R&D centres are called upon to make Dubai a base for testing and applying the next generation of clean energy technologies to create a global model that can benefit the world. 

The launched strategy has ambitious goals and consists of five main clear pillars: Infrastructure, legislation, funding, building capacities and skills, environment friendly energy mix.

The infrastructure pillar includes building a Solar Park for generation of the largest solar energy in the world from a single location with a capacity  of 5,000 MW by 2030. The second pillar is establishment of a legislative structure supporting clean energy policies in two phases. Dubai Green Fund, i.e. the third pillar is related to financing solutions for investment in research and development on clean energy and its application. The fourth pillar aims to build human resources capabilities through global training programmes in the field of clean energy in cooperation with international organisations and institutes. The fifth pillar is focused on creating an environment friendly energy mix comprising solar energy, nuclear power, clean coal and gas.

http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/mohammed-launches-dh50bn-dubai-clean-energy-strategy-2015-11-29-1.612173

  

Dubai 2100 – Uninhabitable or Center of the World 

There are contradictory predictions about the fate of Dubai by 2100, i.e. uninhabitable or the center of the world. The temperature increase due to global warming can render life in the MENA region almost uninhabitable (http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/27/world/persian-gulf-heat-climate-change/; http://www.kippreport.com/fcs/abu-dhabi-dubai-and-doha-uninhabitable-by-2100/; 

http://m.mic.com/articles/127458/scientists-say-climate-change-could-render-the-middle-east-almost-uninhabitable-by-2100#.wYEmPYmaU).

However, the population dynamics which is predicted to decrease in the Americas and Europe and to increase in the Asia and Africa. This will make Dubai to be the center of the world instead of London which is currently holds this status (http://gulfelitemag.com/dubai-set-become-centre-world-year-2100/; http://m.khaleejtimes.com/nation/general/dubai-to-be-centre-of-the-world-by-2100; http://m.arabianbusiness.com/dubai-set-become-the-centre-of-world-by-2100-gov-t-expert-predicts-581660.html).
  

Global Warming and Rise of Sea Level – Would Your City Still be on Map 2100?

BI-Science YouTube is a Business Intelligent solution provider, for the on-line media industry, of videos about the newest discoveries in space, medicine, and biotech along with science explainers (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9uD-W5zQHQuAVT2GdcLCvg). 

This video by BI Science is about one of the many irreversible effects of climate change. Sea levels have been rising at a greater rate year after year, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates they could rise by another meter or more by the end of this century. In 2013 National Geographic showed also that sea levels would rise by 216 feet if all the land ice on the planet were to melt. This would dramatically reshape the continents and drown many of the world’s major cities.

Sea level rise is caused by two factors related to global warming: the added water from melting land ice and the expansion of sea water as it warms. The increase in sea level is being measured by two methods, i.e. tide-gauges and satelite altimetry (http://www.global-greenhouse-warming.com/measuring-sea-level.html). Many leading science and technology institutes and organisations have reported on the increase of sea level which is estimated to be up to or even more than 3.39 mm/yr depending on the used approached, e.g. https://www.skepticalscience.com/sea-level-rise.htm; https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/spmsspm-direct-observations.html; https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch5s5-5-2.html; http://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/sea-level/; https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-5-1-figure-1.html

Here are some inconvenient facts about the global impacts of the rise in sea level on heavily populated coastal regions (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VbiRNT_gWUQ).

Urbanization Trends – Sustainability is Not “One Size Fits All” 

How to make our cities sustainable, indeed there is no “one-size fits all” solution as cities around the world face different challenges when it comes to defining what a sustainable city is. Joinig the ongoing transformation to a more sustainable future is bocoming not only a global need but rather a neccessity where the urbanization process is not a random process anymore. Yet, the historical, cultural and traditional evolution will play cental role for adoptation along with many other indicators across socio-cultural, economic, climate, energy and environmental domains. ” Juliet Davis, senior lecturer in architecture at Cardiff University says “there will be no one size fits all”. Lucy Warin, project manager at Future Cities Catapult says “There are of course underlying principles that support good, sustainable urbanism – firstly, good city governance, powerful city leaders who know their region and can respond quickly as issues arise. And secondly, citizen engagement. Smart people make smart cities and any sustainability solution should start and finish with the citizens”.

More on how to make our cities sustainable at:
http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/apr/17/how-to-make-our-cities-more-sustainable-expert-view?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Here are, also, some quirky ideas for making our cities more sustainable:

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/apr/16/ten-quirky-ideas-for-making-our-cities-more-sustainable

This said, there are other important issues, what regards the global transformation to a more sustainable future, to take in consideration. Though about 70% of the global population is expected to live in cities by 2050, there very little known about how we can achieve sustainable rural-urban integration. This is specially true in developing counting where for example 70% of the African population is living in rural region with agriculture as a main source of income and employment. Rural Africa suffers from extreme levels of poverty in terms of energy, water and sanitation along with general lack of basic public services and infrastructures for education, health, transportation and communication.

 

Be Like a Snake and See at Night

The human eye can only see objects in daytime and not when it is dark by night. This is unlike, e.g. snakes, where they can see objects in dark space as well. The visibility of human eyes is made possible through the natural daylight coming from the sun which among its components some type of electro-magnetic radiation called “the visible light”. The visible light can also come from artificial light sources (http://www.continental-lighting.com/lighting-basics/artificial-light-sources.php) e.g. light bulb (heated wires), LED-lamps, flourescent, ….). Snakes for their visibility, for example, use other type of radiation called “the infra-red” which is also emitted from hot bodies including the human body. The global distribution of snakes bites leading to envenoming can be viewed at (http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1678-91992013000100205&script=sci_arttext&tlng=pt).

Researchers have now created possibilities for extending the visibility of human eyes to include in addition to visible light the infra-red radiation. Read the story below:

http://www.slipperybrick.com/2014/04/night-vision-contacts/
  

Getting Our Planet on the Sustainability Road – The Reversed Engineering 

The post industrial revolution era was  geared to lifestyle based on production and consumption engineering technology. While our global lifestyle is moving on new tracks to revert what went wrong in the post industrial era new concepts are being emerging. Future  technology will involve the expansion of the so-called “Reversed Engineering” where 12 GREEN Engineering Principles would be absolutely imperative for getting our planet on large-scale and long-term sustainability roads. 

Read more about this: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/es032373g