Sustain-Earth.Com supports all active efforts and challenges to promote and implement the Paris Agreement and the UN SDGs.
Indeed, UN-SDG can be regarded as the last call, after a series of regular and continuous calls on several regional and global levels, for meeting pressing and urgent needs for implementation of effective, practical and immediate solutions and measures of the pilling threats and degradation on earth’s environmental and climate systems.
Now the UNEP releases its recent GEO-6 Regional Assessment documents, May 2016. The Networking of “sustain-earth.com” got this information also from Hussein Abaza, an excellent Reporter on sustainability issues and Director at Centre for Sustainable Development Solutions “CSDS”, Cairo, Egypt.
A series of regional reports on the state of the planet’s health deliver the message that environmental deterioration is occurring much faster than previously thought and action is needed now to reverse the worst trends. The ‘Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6): Regional Assessments,’ published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), is a compilation of six reports examining environmental issues affecting the world’s six regions: the Pan-European region, North America, Asia and the Pacific, West Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), and Africa.
The release of the regional assessments coincides with the second session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-2), which is convening in Nairobi, Kenya, from 23-27 May 2016. The Pan-European assessment will be launched at the eighth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference in Batumi, Georgia, on 8 June 2016.
The assessments found that the regions share a range of common environmental threats, including climate change, biodiversity loss, land degradation, population growth, rapid urbanization, rising consumption levels, desertification and water scarcity, which all must be addressed in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The assessments involved 1,203 scientists, hundreds of scientific institutions and more than 160 governments, and are based on scientific data and peer reviewed literature. The regional assessments will inform GEO-6, which will be released before 2018 and will provide an assessment of the state, trends and outlook of the global environment.
The GEO-6 LAC assessment notes the strong impact of emissions from agriculture in the region, including an increase in nitrous oxide emissions of about 29% between 2000 and 2010 from soils, leaching and runoff, direct emissions and animal manure, and an increase in methane emissions of about 19% due to the plethora of beef and dairy cattle. Regarding air pollution, the assessment points to particulate matter (PM) concentrations above World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. In addition, Andean glaciers, which provide water for millions, are shrinking. The LAC region has eliminated lead in gasoline and made headway in reducing ozone-depleting substances.
Approximately 41% of all reported natural disasters over the last two decades have occurred in the Asia and the Pacific region, according to the regional assessment. In Southeast Asia, more than one million hectares is deforested annually. Other environmental issues discussed in the report reference that: approximately 30% of the region’s population drinks water contaminated by human feces; water-related diseases and unsafe water contribute to 1.8 million deaths annually; uncontrolled dumping is a significant source of disease; and population growth, a growing middle class and urbanization have led to higher emissions, ill-managed waste and increased consumption.
In West Asia, an increase in degraded land and the spread of desertification are among the region’s most pressing challenges, as they lead to an increase in water demand, over-exploitation of groundwater resources and deteriorating water quality. In addition, conflict and displacement are having severe environmental impacts, such as heavy metals from explosive munitions and radiation from missiles leaching into the environment, and increased waste production and disease outbreaks. Almost 90% of municipal solid waste is disposed of in unlined landfill sites and is contaminating groundwater resources. The report estimates that air pollution alone caused more than 70,000 premature deaths in 2010.
In Africa, air pollution accounts for 600,000 premature deaths annually. The report also highlights that 68% of the population had clean water in 2012. In addition, inland and marine fisheries face over-exploitation from illegal, under-reported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. According to the report, around 500,000 square meters of land in Africa is being degraded by soil erosion, salinization, pollution and deforestation. African megacities, such as Cairo, Kinshasa and Lagos, have inadequate sanitation services.
In North America, environmental conditions, including air pollution, drinking water quality and well-managed protected areas, have improved due to policies, institutions, data collection and assessment and regulatory frameworks. However, aggressive hydrocarbon extraction methods can lead to increased emissions, water use and induced seismicity, while coastal and marine environments are experiencing, inter alia, ocean acidification and sea-level rise. Climate change is exacerbating the drought in California by approximately 15-20%, and Hurricane Sandy, in 2012, was directly responsible for approximately 150 deaths and US$70 billion in losses. However, mitigation efforts are having a positive impact; for example, solar deployment made up 40% of the market for new electricity generation in the US in the first half of 2015, and solar now powers 4.6 million homes. In the Arctic, warming has increased at twice the global average since 1980, and over the past twenty years, summer sea ice extent has dramatically decreased, which has, inter alia, created new expanses of open ocean, enabling more phytoplankton to bloom and alter the marine food chain.
Overall, recommendations of the assessments include, inter alia: strengthening intergovernmental coordination at the regional and sub-regional levels; improving gathering, processing and sharing data and information; enhancing sustainable consumption and production (SCP); harnessing natural capital in a way that does not damage ecosystems; implementing pollution control measures; investing in urban planning; reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and diversifying energy sources; investing in environmental accounting systems to ensure external costs are addressed; and building resilience to natural hazards and extreme climate events. [UN Press Release] [UNEP Press Release] [UNEP Knowledge Repository] [Factsheet for GEO 6 Regional Assessment for Africa ] [Factsheet for GEO 6 Regional Assessment for Asia Pacific] [Factsheet for GEO 6 Regional Assessment for Latin America and the Caribbean ] [Factsheet for GEO 6 Regional Assessment for North America] [ Factsheet for GEO 6 Regional Assessment for West Asia] [ Full Regional Assessment for Africa ] [Full Regional Assessment for Asia Pacific] [Full Regional Assessment for Latin America and the Caribbean ] [Full Regional Assessment for North America ] [Full Regional Assessment for West Asia].
Now it remains to see how these “SMART GOALS” will be further put in an effective and fast implementation agenda of actions. They are still many unclear details as what, when, how and where these goals will be dealt with in particular who will do what, how and when. Though the UN-SDG seem to be more or less specific in general terms, they need to be successful and instruments have to be put in place to measure such success as what you can not measure is does not exist and what you can not measure you can not control. Unless these goals become successful they will be gone with the wind as many other smart UN goals.
Understanding existing pressures and constrains for implementation and performance of successful sustainable policies requires tight and continuous involvement of all citizens on large-scale and long-term socio-economic policies.
Planet Earth is a complex living organism with delicate balance that makes possible the unique functioning and metabolism of all life forms on earth. Water, energy and natural resources are essential and basic components that contribute in the earth’s delicate balance. Modern neccessities and future challenges are becoming more and more clear and require from us and future generations to keep such balance in tact with nature’s own dynamic processes. Our consumption of water, energy and natural resources needs to take in consideration the nature’s own delicate balance.
Visit, share and contribute in “Sustain-earth.com” to inform and be informed on our growing needs for understanding the basic of APPLIED SUSTAINABILITY. An introduction is given at ABOUT (http://sustain-earth.com/about/).
If you can not measure it, it does not exist and if you can measure it properly you would not be able to control it.
What is sustainability and how can we measure it, below are some information. To know more follow, share and contribute in: http://sustain-earth.com to know more
Appropriate and sustainable rural technologies are very rare as most of the global attention, driven by economical interests, is focused on urbanization. Such technologies are very poorly needed because of several reasons. They are, also, imperative for promoting successful long-term and large-scale sustainable urbanization. This is, even, essential in agricultural regions where rural communities are major parts of the national socio-economic structure, which is the case in many developing countries in particular Africa. This is at least necessary in the transition periods prior to large-scale and long-term transformation to urbanized societies where gradual, appropriate and sustainable integration of rural regions is necessary.
Urbanization has caused an accelerating drain of un-favored groups to mega and large cities (http://www.academia.edu/847075/Mexico_City._The_marginal_communities_social_and_ethnic_segregation_of_the_native_population). The random and rapid expansion of urbanized regions has promoted an ever accelerating pile-up of slum-communities in many regions around the world (http://www.schooljotter.com/showpage.php?id=158173) which indeed is not sustainable both from the economic and environmental perspective.
Some parts of the problem are associated with the negative impacts from global education, research and technology driven-policies around the world by being supported by national and international institutes and organizations including the United Nations and World Bank. Management of research, education and development programs fails to involve people from the developing countries to contribute in solving problems and difficulties in their native countries or at least to find partners from the developed countries willing to participate in solving the enormous problems and difficulties in this respect.
Fortunately, the global community started to recognize such problems and to take steps and efforts, though limited in extent, for achieving successful socio-economic development that is very much related to reducing poverty and the associated impacts of environment and climatic threats. An innovative example “Ecological System Designs for the Indigenous Community of Maruata, Michoacan, Mexico” is given here where researchers from the developing countries are demonstrating how to bring about successful ecological designs for living better, cheaper and ecologically sustainable.
The Three Gorges Dam represents the accumulated knowledge and know-how from all previous worldwide advances in dam technology including finding solutions for a wide-range of side effects apart from the main goal of generating power. It is the world’s largest power station in terms of installed capacity (22,500 MW), a hydroelectric dam that spans the Yangtze River by the town of Sandouping, located in Yiling District, Yichang, Hubei province, China. It has several innovations and integrated solutions. Except for a ship lift, the dam project was completed and fully functional as of July 4, 2012, when the last of the main turbines in the underground plant began production. The dam has 32 main turbines, each with a capacity of 700 MW, and two other smaller generators (50 MW each), with total electric generating capacity of the dam is 22,500 MW. The dam is intended, also, to increase the Yangtze River’s shipping capacity and reduce the potential for floods downstream by providing flood storage space. A partial solution for problems associated with the transport of nutrients because of silting behind the dam is, also, taken in consideration. Chinese government regards the project as a historic engineering, social and economic success, with the design of state-of-the-art large turbines, and a move toward limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
For comparison with the largest twenty dams in the world a global and historical survey is summarized in this document: http://largest-dams.blogspot.se
Published on 31 May 2013
Largest Dams in The World
10. Dead Sea (Bordered with Jordan, Israel and Palestine), its water is 9.6 times saltier than the ocean. No macroscopic living things can thrive in it and the high salinity makes life impossible to form with the exception of a very few bacteria and fungi. Because of the high salt concentration, the buoyancy of the water is so strong that a person cannot swim underwater and will push the body to float. The sea is also believed to have therapeutic powers to cure certain skin diseases.
9. Lake Berryessa Glory Hole, California. It is very important not only a tourist attraction but more so, it generates hydroelectricity. What makes it amazing is the bell-mouth spillway “Glory Hole” which is the largest of its kind with a diameter of 72 feet, a vertical drop of 200 feet and shrinks down to 28 feet. Once the water level reaches the maximum level, the spillway becomes submerged and it swallows excess water at unbelievable rate of 48,800 cubic feet per second.
8. Crater Lake, Oregon. It is formed during the collapse of Mount Mazama 7,700 years ago, 2,148 feet deep. It is considered the deepest in the United States and 7th or 9th deepest lake in the world. There are no rivers or any other bodies of water connected to the lake. Because of this, the water in the lake is considered one of the purest because of the absence of pollutants. The water is very clear and it has a visibility of up to 43.3 meters.
7. Lake Baikal, Siberia. Lake Baikal is a rift lake formed through continental crust being pulled apart. It is the deepest lake in the world with a depth of 1,642 meters (5,387 ft). Underneath the lake floor there is 7 kilometer of sediments placing the rift floor some 8-11 kilometers below the surface. Americans and Russian scientists studied the sediments with detailed climactic records dating as far back as 250,000 years. One of the most ancient lakes, its age is 25-30 million years.
6. Abraham Lake, Alberta, Canada. It is man-made lake in Alberta Canada. It is really beautiful during summer but what make it amazing is the frozen bubbles found underneath the lake during the winter season. These frozen bubbles are actually methane gas that is produced when bacteria at the bottom of the lake decomposes organic matter like animals, plants, and trees that died and sank to the bottom.
5. Taal Lake, Batangas, Philippines. It is a freshwater lake; it cradles the world’s smallest active decade volcano, the Taal volcano. The lake fills the Taal caldera which is a remnant and the spot where historical eruptions occurred dating back to 100,000 to 500,000 years ago. Within the Main crater lake is also a small island known as the Vulcan point. At 40 meters, Vulcan point is the world’s largest island within a lake (Main crater lake) on an island (Volcano Island) within a lake (Taal Lake) within an island (Luzon Island). It is confusing but that what makes it amazing…
4. Five Flower Lake, China. The Five-flower lake is one of the most popular and most beautiful lake among the lakes found in the Jiuzhaigou National Park in China. It is renowned worldwide and thousands of tourists visit it everyday. It lies at the end of the Peacock River at a height of 2,472 meters above sea level and has a depth of 5 meters only. This shallow lake reflects multiple colors and definitely a great sight to feast your eyes with. The bottom of the lake is littered with ancient trunks of trees crisscrossed everywhere.
3. Spotted Lake in British Columbia, Canada. The most notable feature of the lake is the multi-colored spots that are very visible and prominent even when viewed from the highway. The lake contains the world’s highest concentration of different minerals most notably, magnesium sulfate, calcium and sodium sulfates. The lake evaporates and during summer only the minerals remain and they form natural walkways in between and around the spots. It is also therapeutic and known to cure diseases. Fences preventing direct access protect the lake.
2.Lake Hillier (Pink lake) in Western Australia. It is famous for its pink color. It is really amazing in that it’s color is not derived from beta-carotene released by an algae when light penetrates the water; which is actually the case for Lake Retba in Africa and the Pink lake in Western Australia. These two lakes derive its color from the red pigment being produced by Dunaliella Salina and Halobacteria that use sunlight to create more energy. Unlike these two, the pink water of Lake Hillier is permanent even if water is taken from the lake and transferred to a different container.
1. Plitvice Lake in Croatia. It is inside the Plitvice National Park in Croatia, the largest national park in the country and the oldest in southeast Europe. It is considered the most beautiful lake worldwide because of it’s spectacular display of colors at different times of the day, at different angles of light and at different seasons. It was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage in 1979 among the First Sites worldwide. Every year, more than 1.2 million tourists from all over the world visit it. It is most famous for its 16 lakes arranged in cascades.
WWW (World Wide Web) is a system of interlinked hypertext documents, intended to provide global and effective communication systems through the Internet. Webpages can be viewed for their content of text, videos, and other multimedia where hyperlinks allow the navigation between different contents. The inventor of WWW, Tim Berners-Lee, realized in 1989 that his proposal for a more effective CERN communication system could be implemented throughout the world through hypertext “to link and access information of various kinds as a web of nodes in which the user can browse at will”. This was jointly done in 1990 with Robert Cailliau.
Douglas Engelbart already in 1968 demonstrated the invention of “human-computer interaction” where “The Mother of All Demos” retrospectively illustrated the complete computer hardware and software system of all known fundamental elements of modern personal computing. It was the first to publicly demonstrate all features, elements and capabilities of modern computers as communication and information-retrieval machines where the previous idea of Vannevar Bush for a Memex was turned into reality. Memex was visioned by Vannevar Bush, in 1945, that it could implement what is known today by hypertext with the aim to help humanity to have a collective memory and to avoid the use of scientific discoveries for destruction and war, probably an early starting point for sustainability.
Hypertext, including tables, images and other presentational content forms, is displayed on a computer display and other smart devices (mobiles, tablets, …..) with interaction to other text which the reader can immediately, or progressively at multiple levels, access via hyperlinks. An innovation of extreme importance for effectively and globally promoting communication, with high speed never known anywhere expect the speed of light, in all sectors and on all levels with tectonic changes and shifts within and between know and unknown boarders. Apart from economic, scientific and technical importance; populations around the world can easily access and afford sharing information, also for professional to produce and market products and services. Human-computer interactions are now advancing with unprecedented importance for public awareness and education on all levels especially for empowering individuals, groups and association in a wide spectra of new activities for engagement and shaping socio-economic sustainability on micro-levels, at any time and in regions and remote places that were never reached before. What we though was virtual yesterday is in fact very real today.
Since the birth of WWW an accelerating interest in human-computer interactions in all sectors of modern societies has emerged with tectonic changes in the flora of social media, public awareness and educational tools such as blogs and MOOCs “Massive Open Online Courses” focusing on Sustainability on different levels, specialities and content. Blogs and MOOCs are internet based and generally free of charge a matter of increasing importance for achieving socio-economic sustainability. They don’t have any entry requirements and are open to anyone anywhere in the world with an internet connection. MOOCs are linked to universities, may lead to certificates/diplomas and some universities give packages of MOOCs leading to degrees but this may be subject to fees.
https://www.mooc-list.com/tags/sustainability; is a general link with MOOC-list on sustainability issues with technical information, short specifications and descriptions of the courses. Some examples are given below:
https://www.coursera.org/course/susdev provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of sustainable development. It describes the complex interactions between the world economy and the Earth’s physical environment. Ecological processes and constraints significantly shape the patterns of economic development, demography, and wealth and poverty. At the same time, human activities change the physical environments, increasingly in dangerous ways.
http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20140511172841978 is a free MOOC course on “The age of sustainable development” that gives students an understanding of the key challenges and pathways to sustainable development – that is, economic development that is also socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable.
https://open.sap.com/course/sbi1; Conducting business in more sustainable ways is becoming increasingly relevant today and a “must-have” in the future. The sustainability megatrend is driven by a growing population, accelerating urbanization, resource intensity, government regulation, climate change, and – most importantly – by the fact that consumers are increasingly demanding healthy, affordable, as well as socially and environmentally responsible products.
https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/sustainability-society-and-you; it provides the knowledge and skills to do this by investigating sustainability from multiple angles and exploring what small steps you can take to have a real impact upon all our future. It gives an introduction to the values and principles associated with sustainability and some of the knowledge and understanding required to make sustainable decisions in personal and professional life.
http://50plus20.org/archives/2952; is a Collaborative MOOC on Responsibility, Sustainability and Ethics for Business and Leadership. The emerging model of offering Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) could pose a major threat to traditional model of management education with some estimating that up to 60% of traditional teaching could be disrupted or in part replace by MOOC offerings. Early adopters of online learning platforms will however find a limited choice of material and courses focused on the broad topic of “Sustainability, Ethics and Responsibility in Business and Leadership”.
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Professionals in all sectors and on all levels around the world are corner stones in shaping the future on our planet; they are, also, leaders that can direct its path. However, for our fellow citizens to be safe, secure and share their responsibility the conservation and sustainable management of our collective natural resources on the earth requires innovation, engagement, transparency and full participation in “serve and get served”. With these objectives we can turn past difficulties, existing obstacles and future threats to solutions, admittance and prosperity.
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