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When I see this photo, I recall strong feelings of some parts of my early life, i.e. up to the age of 11-12 years, or so. It is difficult to retrieve all the details of this period of childhood. The memory or the brain as such either had not developed enough to organize, sort all events, one by one and structure them in coherent series of events or there were no physical objects for every separate event that such events could be associated with. This can be also related to, that the brain was still in the process of development and therefore all events could not be easily available. Whatever the reasons were, formulation of the details of my early childhood would be limited to some separated and scattered memories.
So, as a matter of fact I do not remember everything on daily basis, as day by day events. However, I can only reflect in general terms how I and my own environments (home and family, school and free time) interacted together and with each other. This bunch of young kinds in the photo was among very few things I (the person far to the right) remember from my early childhood. As went to school all of us, we could only spend the summer holidays together and whenever we were allowed to spend sometime outside the walls of our houses. The area we were living in had no gardens and no special playing places for children, so we were left to own judgement to select among available children in our age, i.e. from the very near houses to us, one or two at most. Indeed, that worked out fairly good in my case and I do have very good reflections and memories with these bunch of young kids. My younger brother Mourad was always with us but he was the most quite of us all, he is the second to the left in the photo. The first to the left, Saeed, was our leader “the boss” and was always ready to defend all of us and could find smart ways to manage our group in difficult times, i.e. when we run in trouble as in few some cases when we behaved in “wayward” manner. Otherwise we had traditional street games, mini-football, jump rope, “hide and find”, rope competition, ……. . Later on, when I searched the group, I find him “Saeed” a polis officer in Port-Said, I was not surprised when I visited him as he managed the school, joined and graduated from the Polis High School in Cairo. The one in the middle of the photo is Abou Zead, he was like all of us ready to share his free time, in frictions-free fashion and above all easy going, as we could alway be in agreement. The one next to me “Abbas”, more darker than us, was ready to do as we did. As far as I remember after we all became friends, i.e. getting over introductory conflicts, checks and acceptance from our parents, we had very nice time and fun together. My brother Mourad which I will tell more about later on, became a high ranked military engineering officer “radar specialist” in the Egyptian Army. The other two Abou Zead and Abbas, I lost track with them and I do not know anything about them.
Follow my story, in separate parts I will uncover more and more about myself and my journey in life.
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
MIT “Massachusetts Institute of Technology” and Harvard University along with other world’s best universities offer FREE online classes and MOOCs. EdX initiative, which was launched May 2012, is offering highest quality courses, created by schools and partners who share joint commitment to excellence in teaching and learning, both online and in the classroom. Currently, there are 300+ courses in many areas of study, including biology, business, chemistry, computer science, economics, finance, electronics, engineering, food and nutrition, history, humanities, law, literature, math, medicine, music, philosophy, physics, science, statistics and more. These courses and MOOCs are available in English, Chinese, Mandarin, French, Hindi, Spanish, (Latin America). So far, x-Consortium involves 400+ faculty and staff teaching courses and discussing topics online where 100,000+ certificates were earned by edX students from around the world. As of 22 October 2014, more than three million users joined over 300 courses online. EdX is a massive open online course (MOOC) provider and an online learning platform and differers from other MOOC platforms, such as Coursera and Udacity, in that it is nonprofit and runs on an open-source software platform.
Charter Members of Edx colleges and universities drive the edX vision and mission, including the founding members MIT and Harvard, along with the other leading global institutions of the x-Consortium. Member institutions are a carefully selected group of universities, NGOs, businesses and other high-profile quality course builders.
Check the web-site of Edx to find our the participating universities and institutes, available cources and classes and how to register and join On-line e-learning.
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.
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.
http://sustain-earth.com is a platform and a BLOG for integrating and marketing sustainability in education and research, and popularization of sustainability in science and technology. It supports “Open Access”. It has built-in functions and instruments for coupling education, research and technology with society, market and population needs on national and international levels. It, also, acts for promoting “Business-to-Business” and creating “Career-Development-Plans” for professionals and graduates in the emerging applications of sustainability and socio-economic developments. http://sustain-earth.com is an instruments and vehicle for developing and implementing applied sustainability in all sectors and on all levels.
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Eric Maundu, owner and founder of “Kijani Grows” (“Kijani” is Swahili for green), isn’t a farmer, he’s an engineer with a computer science degree from USA. Maundu himself ran from agriculture in his native Kenya- where he saw it as a struggle for land, water and resources. In the USA he felt the negative impacts of urbanization, industrial waste and traffic pollution on contamination of soils and degradation in land-water resources. In industrial/urban areas and cities, freeways, roads, light rail and parking lots so there’s not much arable land and the soil is contaminated. With these threats in mind he realized he could farm without soil, with little water via aquaponics and with possibilities to use “self-cleaning” and recycling as well as that he could apply his robotics background to farming. An amazing combination of: physics; chemistry; biology; ecology; and computer science in one system.
No soil, instead Maundu is growing plants using fish and circulating water. It’s called aquaponics- a gardening system that combines hydroponics (water-based planting) and aquaculture (fish farming). It’s been hailed as the future of farming: it uses less water (up to 90% less than traditional gardening), doesn’t attract soil-based bugs and produces two types of produce (both plants and fish)., i.e. a full meal!
Maundu- by being trained in industrial robotics- has taken the agricultural craft one step further and made his “aquaponics” smart. Using sensors (to detect water level, pH and temperature), microprocessors, relay cards, clouds and social media networks. Maundu has programmed his gardens to tweet when there’s a problem, e.g. not enough water or when there’s news, e.g. an over-abundance of food to share. With these smart solutions the same information can be shared with farmers in Iceland and China.” Maundu believes that by putting gardens online, especially in places where solar-powered gardens are totally off the grid), is the only way to make sure that farming remains viable to the next generation of urban youth.