There are no questions or doubts that we have serious conflicts and misconceptions around the world between Education and Politics. These conflicts are deeply rooted in the perception of the role of science and technology as essential and imperative drivers for sustainable developments and promotion of sustainable societies.
On the one side, politicians use (misuse) the outcome of science and technology to achieve, in best cases, short-term benefits not in favor of future generations. Also, politics is imposing restrictions on the mission of science and technology for the sake of improving the life quality of the global citizens. This has been the case for generations as it is evident from the great degradation in life quality on Earth in terms of air and water qualities as well as the accelerating abuse and decline of natural resources. These issues have severe impacts on future generations but also on current populations as well. Meanwhile, politics continue to contribute in the growing failure in education systems, in particular the higher education at universities (https://youtu.be/OReAF9qwMkY; www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6447626326525513728), including the associated mistrust in education to lead to successful long-term careers and real jobs. On the other side, it is also clear from how the citizens trusted, and still do so, that science and technology can bring better future for them, as they still go to schools and struggle day and night to join higher education. Of course, not all but the wealthy and lucky ones who have inherited advantages to support their education and to scape modern slavery of the imperatives of a failing growth economy. The citizens have also no other choice other than to follow political policies and growth economies that fail to meet their needs in particular to deliver security and safety for the future generations worldwide (https://youtu.be/Xwnqy51BJNM; https://youtu.be/GiD04TRwebQ). The perception of science and technology is dependent on what they bring to humanity and the society in terms of socio-economic opportunities with reference to the boundary conditions of life on planet earth, i.e. the environment and climate conditions on local, regional and global levels.
The political controversy on whether or not we need science and technology to run our societies is taking the same route as the classical conflict between the Church and science in the sixteenth’s century that resulted in a trial against Galileo Galilei and led eventually to his house arrest under the rest of his life. At that time, this was considered a generous punishment for his scientific work by being not along the mainstream catholic belief, i.e. that the earth was the center of the universe. The Church at that time was the political power that controlled the society, directed the track of science and even decided its outcome. The popular narrative would say that the Catholic Church feared Galileo’s truth and silenced him. Though all these restrictions, Galileo Galilei continued his scientific work which laid down the foundation for the successful work of Isaac Newton and his findings of a theoretical force (gravity) and a mathematical system (calculus) that when used together allowed astronomers to accurately predict the movements of our solar system. This all together gave us the hope that all natural occurrences are explainable in mathematics. Both Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton contributed in diverting the track of science in hybrid direction orchestrated by Albert Einstein.
These summaries illustrate the powerful role of conservative politics that restricts the scientific endeavors by being the collective outcome of the individual scientific works to the search for truth. But science always wins inspite of all political obstacles and restrictions. For the church to admit Galileo was right was to also say every other scholar for the past 1,500 years was wrong. This is the same for our politicians to admit that all life forms on planet earth are under huge threat. It is to also say that the current growth economy and the associated trends forced by business as usual in production and consumption are all wrong. Politicians even do more serious attacks on science as an excuse to go on with the same failing economic policies. If politicians continue to ignore science, as is currently the case, the mistrust in global education systems will face an increasing spiral of degradation. Also, politicians will force science and technology to proceed in supporting growth economies and halt many efforts to promote and implement circular economies as a consequence of an increasing mistrust in the role of higher education to support rapid transformation to a circular economy based societies.
Please, visit my Instagram and follow @sustain.earth
A very basic phenomena in many elections around the world 🌍 is the struggle between the left, the right politics and anything in between, on political power and the associated manipulations with arguments to get the votes 🗳. The economic issues are always of central importance in all global elections. On the other-side it is interesting to know how the political, and thereby socio-economic-environment, ideologies of different parties are being perceived by “WE THE PEOPLE”, especially in the short time window where all the competing parties are actively engaged in a common public debate, i.e. just before the end of the voting period. Another very strategic question, not yet central in many elections or even absent, is the impacts of political systems and debates therein on the public what regards Planet Earth itself. Indeed, Planet Earth 🌏 and its subunits have no possibilities (tools or means to empower it legal rights) to vote and the only means is to actively illuminate all the critical and central issues, about the natural functioning and metabolism on Planet Earth, to the citizens. In principle, such possibilities/rights are delegated to someone else, but is it delegated to the politicians? or to “WE THE PEOPLE”?, this is not clear or even unknown. Another issue is the quality, transparency, the will and knowledge of the politicians on the one hand and the political maturity and the socio-economic-environment awareness of “WE THE PEOPLE” on the other.
In any case, in political elections someone else is taking decision or has the VETO, on behalf of the Earth. As we are in the geological era of the Anthropocene we have to re-consider the role of politics on Planet Earth and its performance in this regard as this on the long-run will have serious impact on all future generations. This is logic as we are getting more and more dependent on a Planet Earth and not the reverse. A degenerating Planet with declining resources in terms of quantity and quality. Let us analyse these issues.
The functioning and metabolism of Planet Earth, or the Earth’s system, as a unique organism in the solar system, can be understood (on its own merits or alternatively with consideration of the interference of humans) in several ways depending on how it is divided into subunits, subsystems or sub-spheres (all of these involve climatic zones with geographical boundaries and thereby counties). Before doing this, we must appreciate the imperative importance of the solar radiation 🌞, in particular the “sunshine”, i.e. the light 🌈 and the heat 🔥from the sun, for planet Earth.
From the biodiversity point of view, The Earth, as it is, is mainly composed of living things with essential biological processes. Without living things our planet could be anything else, of an empty physical space (as other planets), other than a home 🏡 for living things. We would even not have realized its and our existence, as we wouldn’t be here in the first place. Yet, we wouldn’t exist if there were no living things other than us. So, the diversity of living things is a pre-request for our survival. As our survival is dependent on other living things then we can at least appreciate that other living things need each other for their survival as well. Now let us examine the other needs of living things, i.e. the biosphere. First of all our biosphere is ruled by several boundary conditions that are primarily driven by what we have around us in terms of quantity and quality as well as the processes regulating, or being involved, in their functioning, metabolism and ecology. The living things, as they breath, need air but not any air, it must be of the certain suitable composition and quality that can support the life of the living things on planet Earth. That is what we know as the atmosphere and it has really what is needed for all living things (in particular oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide) providing that its composition and quality are kept within the requirements to support and sustain the life of the living things. As the atmosphere has active interactions with other sub-spheres, subunits or subsystems of the Earth, therefore, there are no guarantees that its composition will remain optimal for living things in particular with consideration to the enormous interference of humans through manipulating all the existing natural resources on planet Earth and beyond (think about colonisation of space and intensive use of airplanes). This however, has contributed in changing the atmospheric composition is such away that the temperature of the Earth is increasing and started to surpass what can be considered for safe living on the planet. Also, the air quality available for world population is not any longer as good as before and for some parts of the world, in particular cities, it is getting worse and unacceptable.
The living things on Earth need water 💦(hydrosphere) as it is the essence of the generation, regeneration and the diversity of living things. The underlying process for life on planet Earth is photosynthesis (whether on land or in the aquatic systems of surface and marine waters). Water and carbon dioxide are the basic components for the generation and regeneration of living things on planet Earth through photosynthesis and by being fueled by the sun ☀️ . Yet, other elements/compounds must be available in water in particular nutrients but with appropriate amounts, not too little and not too much. Fortunately, water is a perfect carrier for such elements “trace elements” and the balance between the atmosphere and the hydrosphere (including global exchange processes of carbon dioxide) was so far appropriate for healthy photosynthesis on land and in aquatic systems. However, water is also a solvent for other harmful elements/compounds, so water through its journey in global environmental systems can be also a source of threat as well. Water like air, in this sense, needs to have certain content of life promoters, i.e. nutrients, to support and sustain life. The hydrosphere (including surface water, groundwater and the ocean 🌊) as the atmosphere has been exposed to serious degradation in quality because of the severe interference of humans with both the atmosphere and the hydrosphere through the three main revolutions, i.e. agricultural, industrial and rechnological. This has loaded, and for some regions overloaded, both the atmosphere and the hydrosphere with several pollutants and waste remains. The water cycle, in variable degrees and scales, has also started to deviate from what can be considered safe for our living.
For several reasons we need land (lithosphere) for our living, where else can we live? The survival of living things, in particular humans, need healthy ecosystems with suitable and appropriate living environments on the first hand. Modern urbanization including the vast expansion of cities that have developed very rapid on the expense of natural ecosystems such as forests, river and lake catchments, islands, oceans and marine coasts. Though cities are important form of living yet they generally need to be up-graded to fulfill modern sustainability requirements in terms of supporting the economic, environment and social needs of the citizens. In many parts of the world cities are either over-aged or mainly built (modern cities) to serve mostly (and in best cases) working and economic needs of the citizens with little consideration to the environmental and social needs of well-balanced mix of people of different ages, interests, origin and requirements, and in particular to support the diverse needs of families. This however, evolved with heavy price of mental instabilities, stress, segregation, social isolation, limited mobility, insecurity, loneliness, lack of transparency, ……….. etc. Most seriously is the growing lack of multi-layered integration of rural (villages, desert 🐫 and agricultural communities) and urbanized areas (cities and industrial centres) though the considerable advance of technology in particular transportation and ICT. The land, also, provide several other basic services, i.e. the same way ecosystems provide services, for humans. Mining, for example, of natural resources is among these services which also developed in such a way that it can produce enormous amounts of diverse waste and pollution. This is of course, in addition to draining the Earth in unsustainable manner, from its natural resources. In several parts of the world, the living conditions of the communities that are dependent on mining for their living are indeed not acceptable. Agriculture and land-use consume over 70% of our freshwater resources, yet food is becoming insufficient for the growing world population, also climate change and global warming can hit hard and further worsen the situation.
With this said, the political debates around the world are very much similar in one sense. In terms of sustainability they show how politics failed to manage Planet Earth and the needs of its future inhabitants. The situation as we have it today on Planet Earth, on any level from individuals to countries is to forget about the future generations, live now and take a “selfie”. To avoid to take responsibility for what went wrong or can be a threat for future generations and just blame it on others: it is simply not our failure; it is someone’s else. The same story we hear everywhere and at anytime. The politics now is about putting our world, including the global population, in competition (for more consumption) to see who is the best to make himself, a group of people, a piece of land, a culture, an ideology or ……. or …….. Great Again and for some populations it is to re-invent a future that brings back the Great distant past Again. This is done, unfortunately, with little consideration to the consequences to the rest of the world. “FIFA” did it good, again and again, and made our world happy, let us have politics a la FIFA’s model. Nature played it good according to Darwin, so if FIFA’s model would not work, let us do nothing and let the “natural selection” fix it all and for ever. In the world of politics, it would not work these ways, would it? It is getting confusing and the world politicians are in despair what to do, or precisely what not to do, as the problems we created for Planet Earth are by far much complex, larger and deeper than we can ever imagine.
The arguments of the coming politicians, or on their way to enter politics and take over, are the ones that say “those before us were not good and we can do it better”. It is all about new experiments of the same old versions but with different facade, who knows. We can only judge by the outcome after they leave the political theater and by that time it is late or even too late, this is how the state of Planet Earth as we have today developed.
What politicians did so far is to Take power over the citizens for the purpose to represent them. To represent them for whom? and for what? Is Planet Earth existing in the political equation of affairs? Take over our fate, Take over the management of all the natural resources on Planet Earth that were the result of billions of years of evolution with arguments to create jobs and multiply the economic gains. But this has resulted in an accelerating deterioration and degradation of Planet Earth. Has Planet Earth ever existed in any political managent model? , i.e. including Taking control over national capital and wealth and Taking decisions to shape the future of all coming generations, to form new pathway of competition for more consumption (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot). All of these created more and more barriers, frustrations, caused degeneration of planet Earth and stripped it out of its natural resources. At the same time degraded the quality of all life forms on Planet Earth. Humans on planet earth are reproducing themselves and generating new copies of the same old ones with politics that support and promote these trends. More of the same with increasing numbers where the typical route of success is to do like others, be part of a main stream culture to consume more and carry on to produce more and more waste and pollution.
The collective global results and the overall sum of all political transformations over the past generation, regardless how, where and when they were originated, developed and performed have definitely resulted in a major trend towards complete consumption of all the natural resources on planet Earth including enslaving its population.
We need a political well to empower Planet Earth against deteriorating the living conditions and the quality of life on Earth. Yes, it is probably late but definitely not too late as much of the human achievements on Planet Earth are indeed reversible with the help of innovation. It is all about one goal and one mission that can be summarized in one word “Sustainability” no more no less.
The final question to politicians (including capital based policy-makers, is: would the management of planet Earth empower OR enslave it? Is current and future politics and associated economic policies, are still tuned for an ever increasing unconditional consumption. If so who would promote and implement the UN-SDGs, if not how would the UN-SDGs be promoted and implemented? The UN-SDGs are currently looking like a huge vessel in a stormy ocean with little fuel and unorganized staff with no pilot on charge. It is hoped that the passengers on the vessel “WE THE PEOPLE” will anyhow and by any means navigate it peacefully to its final destination. May be or may be not who knows, those who constructed the vessel “THE POLITICIANS and CAPITAL OWNERS” are not actively and promptly prepared to revise and restore whatever goes wrong which unfortunately resulted in what we have today.
Sweden has been a leader in climate change research for many decades. It has, also, many early research contributions in predicting the impacts of fossil fuel consumption on global climate by being the main driver (https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/2/) of the ongoing global warming. Sweden has been active also in supporting global actions against global warming. All of these thanks mainly to the Swedish researchers. But this is not enough and there are risks that the changing political landscape in Sweden can follow the trends in the USA under Trump administration. Thereby what Sweden did and achieved in decades can be lost and gone overnight or at least would require much work and resources to recover.
This said, Sweden’s approach in the past and still, as many other countries around the world, did not take enough measures to cope with its internal security and safety against the threats and the consequences of global warming. It is becoming more and more clear from what Sweden is currently facing from forest fires (https://nordic.businessinsider.com/sweden-is-battling-historic-fires—asking-europe-for-help–), increasing algal blooms and impacts on water quality (https://sverigesradio.se/sida/avsnitt/1121659?programid=2054), fluctuations in groundwater levels and feedback impacts on water security for household and agriculture (http://www.vattenmyndigheterna.se/SiteCollectionDocuments/gemensamt/nyheter/2017/Ronja_uppsats.pdf), changes in precipitation/rain with various feedbacks on many sectors (https://grist.org/climate-energy/the-16-scariest-maps-from-the-e-u-s-massive-new-climate-change-report/), changes in temperature with feedback impacts on railways infrastructures (https://d1rkab7tlqy5f1.cloudfront.net/TBM/Over%20faculteit/Afdelingen/Engineering%20Systems%20and%20Services/EJTIR/Back%20issues/9.2/2009_02_05%20Climate%20Adaptation%20of%20Railways.pdf), ……….. just to give some examples. Climate change and global warming are threats that can ruin the basic underlying infrastructures of the Swedish welfare system. As in many other countries around the world, the focus was, and still, on strengthening the energy systems with relatively little attention to the weather itself, the associated effects on the water sector and the coupled impacts on energy, eco-system services, household and food production. Water, Energy and Natural Resources nexus are technically neither fully understood by political elites in Sweden nor in many other countries around the world. Apart from the technicality of these nexus they have many critical interactions with the main sustainability pillars (environment, economic and social) that will shape our future societies for generations to come.
The ongoing election campaign in Sweden is still characterized by short-term interests what regards sustainability. The reason is that the political landscape become cloudy as it gradually went through long period of degeneration and confusion. What happened in Sweden this summer forced climate change threats to “occasionally” take more space in the political agenda (https://www.thelocal.se/20180809/wildfires-put-climate-on-the-agenda-in-swedish-election). If what happened this summer did not take place, for statistical reasons, then more “business as usual” was a definite outcome. Sadly enough, no political party has a unified policy for how to secure and safe Sweden against climate change. More seriously, there is no collective and unified responsibility from all the political parties on what, when and how Sweden can act or at least should do to meet what researchers have addressed for many years, if not decades. The existing arguments that emanated from what happened this summer in comparison with last summer clearly demonstrate how politicians mix long-term climate changes with short-term weather phenomena (https://www.svt.se/nyheter/lokalt/norrbotten/akesson-sd-om-demonstrationerna-ovardigt-en-demokrati). The political debate what regards climate change and global warming is very shallow, misleading, confusing and even couterproductive (https://www.svt.se/nyheter/inrikes/lovin-mp-och-akesson-sd-rok-ihop-om-varmen-och-branderna, https://www.svt.se/opinion/jimmie-akesson-om-bonder-och-lantbruk).
It turns out that like common people our politicians (except MP), what regards the strategic values of sustainability, are taking the same path as “resistant bacteria”, in particular SD thus following what is known as “psychological climate paradox”. The main question is and remains to be why our brains ignore climate change (https://www.weadapt.org/knowledge-base/using-climate-information/climate-psychology)?.
Naturally the weather is dependent on the climate and not the other way around. Much of the changes that are happening now are irreversible weather phenomena triggered by climate changes (https://youtu.be/4PBuwXeotII). Without hesitation no country on planet earth would be safe and secure from climate change threats as global warming has multi-layered weather phenomena that are tightly linked to the diverse facets of the water cycle and its spatio-temporal interactions with coupled atmospheric-hydrologic processes and interactions on planet earth (including the ocean).
Many media sources are reporting severe and serious disasters around the world because of the emerging and ongoing threats of extreme weather events in the summers of the Northern Hemisphere, e.g. heat waves, forest fires, hurricanes, sandstorms, floodings, intensive haze and humidity events. If we still do not believe in what global research and predictions that are bring made during several decades by international climate expertise there are no other means to be convinced than experiencing the harsh and deadly consequences that we can not run away from them. Welcome to a planet heading to a definitive death. Photos @CNN
The consequence of the global cancer that mother earth got because of the global warming (increase in the global average temperature) is growing rapidly in the earth’s body and the impacts of the such fever is causing the global weather to be wild as can be observed and felt everywhere and anywhere around the globe.
Follow us on Instagram @sustain.earth where we will share with you the situation and observations in the Gulf region where the temperature is expected to increase to above 60 degrees Celsius in the future. How would life looks like at such extreme temperature?
The Marina of Dubai, UAE, with its haze in the background. The temperatures now, in summer 2018, is still just above 40 degrees Celsius which is more or less within the range of affordable living.
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/
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/
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
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.