Category: Public Awareness

The bottom line for achieving sustainable socio-economic developments in modern knowledge-based societies is keeping basic education and public awareness on acceptable levels. This acceptable level can be defined on terms of having the UN-EMployment As Low As Reasonably Affordable and I will call this “UN-EM ALARA”. This is a rather simple rule that sets the requirements for basic education and public awareness in relation to labour market. This can be associated with un-employment rates of around 5% up to, but not higher than, 10% even during bad economical situations. These rates will still keep room for realistic competition without forcing wages and salaries to become low and un-attractive for having good quality of living. Achieving this is naturally a political challenge for policy-makers on all levels and would require careful monitoring and coordination of governmental policies, stakeholder’s activities, education and the labour market.
Any education below university and technical-colleague schools can be classified as basic education including traditional secondary and technical-based school education. Possibilities should be still opened for those having basic education and market-related experiences to pursue higher university studies.

The Global Water Cycle, More Rain but Less Water, Why? – Impacts on the Nile Basin.

The global water cycle is undergoing continuous and major perturbation what regards for example spatio-temporal changes in intensity and frequency of extreme events of flooding and wet-dry periods of land. Our understanding about climate changes has improved enormously, through the advances in GCM ‘Global Climate Models’, e.g. the predictions of tipping points in the earth’s system and associated severe heatwaves due to increase in temperature from the continuous emissions of greenhouse gases. Yet our knowledge on the impacts of climate change on the water global cycle is still improving specially the uncertainties mentioned above which is important for developing a sustainable-resilient agro- and food production.

New research is indicating that heat-induced global water cycle changes pose significant challenges to global ecosystems, soil stability and desertification, agro-food industries and human society in general. Indeed, quantifying historical water cycle change though very important to understand and assess , it is difficult owing to shortage of direct observations. In particularly over the ocean, where major parts of global precipitation and evaporation occur in the world oceans. Researchers have found new tools to improve our knowledge about key parameters processes associated with changes in the global water cycle. Air–sea fluxes of freshwater imprint on ocean salinity such that mean salinity is lowest in the warmest and coldest parts of the ocean, and is highest at intermediate temperatures. These findings were used to track salinity trends in the warm, salty fraction of the ocean, and quantify the observed net poleward transport of freshwater in the Earth system from 1970 to 2014. It was found that poleward freshwater transport from warm to cold ocean regions has occurred at rates that is not replicated in the current generation of climate models. Should this be the case, the implication is that the historical surface flux amplification is weaker climate models compared to observations. The results establish historical constraint on the poleward freshwater transport that will assist in addressing biases in climate models (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-04370-w) and thereby help us to better predict the behaviour and details in the global water cycle.

Climate change will therefore be intensifying the Earth’s water cycle at twice the predicted rates (https://amp.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/24/climate-change-is-intensifying-earths-water-cycle-at-twice-the-predicted-rate-research-shows; https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/science-tech/global-warming-amplifying-our-water-cycle-and-its-happening-much-faster-we). Rising global temperatures and the increasing amount of heat have shifted at least twice the amount of freshwater from warm regions towards the Earth’s poles than previously thought as the water cycle intensifies, according published analysis in Nature. In the future there will be more rain but less water as this is shown from Climate projections suggesting that, by end of the century, the amount of rain for example in the Upper Nile basin could increase by up to 20%. A new paper by the same group, shows that, despite more rainfall, devastating hot and dry spells are projected to become more frequent in the Upper Nile basin (https://theconversation.com/in-the-future-there-will-be-more-rain-but-less-water-in-the-nile-basin-129360?utm_medium=ampemail&utm_ source=email).

These trends in the global water cycle demonstrate that ‘RENEWABLE SOIL TECHNOLOGIES’ need to take in consideration the impacts of climate change on agriculture and agro-industries by being directly dependent on the renewable water resources. The Nile in general – world’s longest river – runs through 11 countries in Africa and its basin covers about 3 million sq kms, i.e. about 10% of the continent’s landmass. A huge population, about 250 millions people, is dependent on the Nile in Ethiopia, Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt. Almost all of the rainfall falls and feeds upstream countries of the Blue and White Nile – in the upper Nile (South Sudan, western Ethiopia and Uganda). While the lower Nile basin receives very little rainfall (Sudan and Egypt) and thereby depends heavily and directly on the Nile for water. Climate projections by the end of the 21-century, suggest that the rain in the Upper Nile basin could increase by up to 30%. However, despite more rainfall, the devastating hot and dry spells are projected to become more frequent in the Upper Nile basin.

Currently, about 10% of the basin’s population faces chronic shortages due to seasonal aridity and huge unequal access to water resources. The proportion of population that will face water scarcity will increase to 30% by 2040, i.e. more than 80 million people. These threats from hot and dry conditions will kill crops, reduce hydropower, diminish the water available for people and industry and heighten tensions over the distribution of regional water resources. By 2040, a hot and dry year could push over 45% of the people in the Nile Basin – nearly 110 million people – into water scarcity. In addition to this the population growth would drive water scarcity in the Upper Nile.

In conclusion, climate and population changes in the Nile Basin will project onto an already complex and tense socioeconomic and political landscape.

Human Madness and Suicide Nuclear-Wars.

Amid the disastrous threats of climate change and the accelerating degradation of the earth’s spheres regulating our life conditions, e.g. atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and the cryosphere, the human madness, or rather the institutional madness of our modern societies, is extending its horizons to new unprecedented and unimaginable levels of total annihilation.

As by today the governance of our societies is threatening all forms of life on earth with various arguments that we need security and safety in the world. We as citizens need to address fundamental questions for our own security and safety not only for us but also for future generations: do wars, in particular nuclear ones, make us more secure and safe? In many situations in the past, and even now, evidence based reasons and accurate rationality to conduct wide-scale wars were/are absent and decisions were/are taken anyhow, e.g. Iraqi war. Decisions to make wars were taken under false arguments with no justification or even minimal efforts to seek diplomatic solutions. The threats of the nuclear weapons aren’t new at all and have been present even after the end of WWII. In 1953, in the Korean war and with the conflicts between e.g. the USA and China during the Presidency of D. D. Eisenhower (https://www.history.com/.amp/this-day-in-history/armistice-ends-the-korean-war) were the threats for nuclear wars were very alarming. The plans to kill over 100 million Chinese were even described as good plans.

We need to take in consideration that though the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), also called Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, we still live under constant threats even from those who signed the NPT-treaty. The NPT-treaty was signed by the UK, USA, the Soviet Union and 59 other states in 1968 under which the three major signatories, which possessed nuclear weapons at that time, agreed not to assist other states in obtaining or producing them. The NPT became effective in March 1970 and extended indefinitely and without conditions in 1995 by a consensus vote of 174 countries at the UN. As of 2007 three countries (India, Israel and Pakistan) have refused to sign the treaty, and North Korea has signed and then withdrawn from the Treaty (https://www.britannica.com/event/Treaty-on-the-Non-proliferation-of-Nuclear-Weapons). The Non-Proliferation Treaty is uniquely unequal, as it obliges nonnuclear states to forgo development of nuclear weapons while allowing the established nuclear states not only to keep theirs but also to expand on their levels of threats and dimensions.

It is indeed, hard and even impossible to describe in moral terms how we can still afford to live under the threats of nuclear wars. Many people are still unaware of the consequences of nuclear wars. We as citizens live under constant and repeated threats that nuclear wars can take place anywhere and at anytime and indeed there many fingers around the world that can push the buttons of nuclear mass-destructive weapons. With advanced nuclear technologies, several countries have updated their nuclear arsenal (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_states_with_nuclear_weapons; https://www.statista.com/statistics/264435/number-of-nuclear-warheads-worldwide/) to unprecedented levels that can blow up all life for ever on the whole planet into ashes. A threat not only facing all of us but all other species as well including the whole biosphere. We aren’t properly informed about such threats and get incomplete information that either scale down the nuclear threats or informing us that we have protection and safety measures against them. Arguments are still used that nuclear wars are needed to provide security for nations without considerations to the security of us individuals that are even outside the conflict zones as the debris and radiation fallout from nuclear weapons have no boundaries even in the case of using the so-called tactical nuclear weapons for destruction of major cities, e.g. London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Moscow. Though there is enough firepower to obliterate life on earth and even if nuclear weapons aren’t used, modern life can be also destroyed by sophisticated conventional weaponry too including the piling up of refugees, homeless people and a wide-range of associated economic and food crises.

What can we as citizens do? We can do a lot, first we need to understand the dimensions of nuclear wars (https://youtu.be/2uv4HpQjTD4) and most importantly we can pursue joint pressures on world leaders to remove all together the constant threats of out-dated reasoning and thinking of such suicide-bombs (https://youtu.be/UJKQu8bmwPs).

📢 Announcement: Virtual Symposium on “Creativity and Innovation for Sustainability. 21 April, 10 pm Cairo.

In the memory of the International Day for Creativity and Innovation, the “Arab Federation for Creativity and Innovation” rowadalaamal.com holds a Virtual Symposium on “Creativity and Innovation for Sustainability”. This Virtual Symposium is being held under the care of “Arab Federation for Sustainable Development and the Environment” www.ausde.org.

You are invited to join this Virtual Symposium by using the link given below. It will take place at 10pm Cairo time and 11pm Mecca time.

✅ برعاية الإتحاد العربي للتنمية المستدامة والبيئة
⭕ يعقدالمجلس العربي للإبداع والابتكار بمناسبةاليوم العالمي للإبداع والابتكارالمؤتمر الافتراضي
🤚بعنوان:الإبداع والابتكارمن أجل التنمية
🔹الخميس 21 / 4 /2022
⏳الساعة11مساءمكةالمكرمةو10القاهرة
📌الرابط:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84163868686

The Dream of All Dreams – A Love Song in a Strange Land.

The dream of all dreams, is just a dream. Merely a dream, a dream of all dreams. Day and night, year after year, generation after generation; we all have dreams. Peaceful dreams, dreams we all dream but always end with dreams for safe and prosper life. Dreams for peace, peace with cries and tears that turn fear and hopes to series of dreams. The dream of all dreams, is just a dream.

The dream of all dreams, is just a dream. Thoughts of trust, yes trust and not mistrust. Dreams to bring us together with respect and care, to get us away from division. Division of all of us; taking side, with or against. It is about us, us? but who is us? We and they become you and me; you against me and me against you, who are you? The dream of all dreams, is just a dream.

The dream of all dreams, is just a dream. Dreams for peace, become dreams for war. The dream of understanding you becomes a dream of understanding me. Who are you? The dream of information becomes a dream of misinformation and what to do? The dream of helping becomes a dream of fighting, to get more and more, from you and me. The dream of all dreams, is just a dream.

The dream of all dreams, is just a dream. Energy, is a dream for security, a dream of economy. The dream for security becomes a dream of hate, dreams of guns and bullets. The dream of economy at homes; it is heat, light and food, is also a dream of energy. Volatile and insecure dreams as oil and gas triggering wars, oil wars, economic wars, insecurity wars. Energy wars with guns and bullets from time to time, here and there, endless wars, ugly wars. Barbaric wars fuelled by slaves of wars and arms. The dream of all dreams, is just a dream.

The dream of all dreams, is just a dream. With whom to talk and walk the walk, together, all together. World in blocks and Unions, east and west; and something else. Blocks in fate, which fate? Volatile blocks, volatile fates, breaking down now and then, here and there calling for wars. As in traffic, blocks and fates are just communication roads fuelled by oil; right or left with red zones, forbidden zones, insecure zones but always crossed. The dream of all dreams, is just a dream.

The dream of all dreams, is just a dream. West and East, North and South; opposite blocks with own goals or no goals. As in chemistry: ‘acids’ and ’alkalines’; or in physics: ‘positive’ and negative’ charges. In peace, they follow laws of chemistry and physics to trade; win-win with no loss. In conflict, as ‘particles’ and ‘anti-particles’ in physics; west-east and north-south, fight together to anni-hilate each other. But unlike in physics, no conservation to follow, always lose, just lose and great losses. The dream of all dreams, is just a dream.

The dream of all dreams, is just a dream. Renewable dreams not fossil dreams. Energy isn’t for free, produced and used, but never wisely and clean. Energy needs minerals, fossil minerals; mined and processed, yielding waste, waste and more waste. Conservation of materials; life-cycles for renewables, recycling for circular and clean economy. A dream, easy to say year after year, decade after decade, it is still a dream, an unachievable dream, a dream, a dream that we all dream. The dream of all dreams, is just a dream.

The dream of all dreams, is just a dream. Security in peace; energy for prosperity. Prosperity, Security and Peace aren’t for free. With and without gas, oil and coal, we still have dreams. Renewable dreams. Dream of all dreams; clean air, water and food, clean life; prosperity for all with security and peace. It is said: the renewables are the solution; do we have all the solutions? Solutions to live in prosperity, security and peace? The dream of all dreams, is just a dream.

The dream of all dreams, is just a dream. Energy, Economy and Prosperity in Security and Peace, for all; why West and East, North and South? Why they and we; you and me? Would the invisible walls, separating us from achieving prosperity goals, the UN-SDGs, go away and become ruins of the past as the Berlin wall? Are we still preparing for a grand war, a nuclear, a Third World War. Let it be Actions for the UN-SDGs and not for another World War. The dream of all dreams, is just a dream.

Falling in love to break away from industries and blocks for wars, carrying away all of us from peace, in a global captivity of irresponsible consumption of minerals; natural and fossil. The dream of all dreams, a dream of love that is requiring from us a love song, but how shall we sing a peace song in a strange land of wars? Let our thoughts of circular economy and the meditation of our hearts and souls for prosperity, take us away from the disease of wars for growth economy.

Ever, forever …. Secrets of Life

Ever, forever and ever, life forever. I have always life in me, ME ‘Mother Earth’. My star, my Sun, we share a secret together. It is the secret of life in you and me. My life, all forms of life, without you it wouldn’t be any life in ME, you and me. My star, my Sun, your gravity is holding me, is moving me around you, forever. My star, I am the only planet in a cosmic family that has life, an eternal life. Ever, forever and ever, life forever.

Ever, forever and ever, life forever. My star, burning star, reactor, fusion reactor. My star, my sun. The life in you isn’t like the life in me. I am a planet not a star. Your heat and energy are enormous. I have spheres protecting, safe-guarding me. My star, my sun. Materials and magnets screening the lethal radiation and particles from you. Ever, forever and ever, life forever.

Ever, forever and ever, life forever. Fulfilling my dreams, the dreams of life in me. The one, only one shining life on me. Giving life, life everywhere in and on ME. Life on land, life in soils, life in forests. Life in waters, lakes, rivers and oceans. Ever, forever and ever, life forever.

Ever, forever and ever, life forever. Energy in your light, shining on me, fuelling me. Photons falling on me, carrying energy, energy in motion, propagating in me. The invisible photons, colourful quanta and phonons, giving life to cells in my water and on my land. Flow of energy; atoms and molecules fuse together, generating life and energy. Ever, forever and ever, life forever.

Ever, forever and ever, life forever. Cascade of life, biodiversity expanding in me. Chains and chains forming life, webs of life, feeding on each other, feeding on me. Day, after day, year after year, hundreds, thousands, millions, billions of years. Ever, forever and ever, life forever.

Ever, forever and ever, life forever. Life, lasting life, always young and fresh forever. Healthy and wealthy life; happily evolving ever and forever, here and there. Nature without schooling, ME myself a science-engineering university, all in all. Ever, forever and ever, life forever.

Ever, forever and ever, life forever. ME is a cyclopaedia and work in progress. The planet ‘Mother Earth’ and its star ‘The Sun’ have always secrets, yet are always generous. The nature and the power in ME, are legacies of life, forever. Did we understand and learn from them? Did Homo Sapiens sustain the renewable gift of life that is given to them for free? Yes or No. If yes how and if no why?

The secrets my friend, as we know them by today, seem to be blown, blown away, even gone gone with the wind, may be gone forever.

They Asked Me – Mother Earth.

They asked me, they asked me about you, my mother, the mother of all mothers. The mother of all species, the Homo Sapiens, you and me, the children of a mighty mother, mother Earth. They asked me about you, I said: I can’t live without you.

They asked me, they asked me about you, my mother, you said: let me, let me dance with my partners. Let me dance with the music, the music of gravity waves of my galaxy. The milky way, the sun and its planets, the planetary system in our universe. Let me dance with my star, a twinkling star, a living star, a shining star. Shining on me, warming me for free and nourishing me with vitamin D.

They asked me, they asked me about you, my mother, you said: let me feel the gentle moist in the air, gently touching my skin. Moist that evaporates up to the sky, forming clouds in the sky. Clouds turning to tears and sometimes to rain. Rain that fall and flow on my skin, nourishing me. Showers of a crying sky, cleaning me and the air, the air around me, fresh air that we breathe, you and me.

They asked me, they asked me about you, my mother, you said: let the water flow through my skin, the soil on the land, let the water flow in rivers, the arteries of life. Let the water flow, stay here and there, in lakes, large and small. Let the water flow, flow and slowly seep through my skin, years after years, thousand or million of years, deep and deeper to rest after a long, a long journey. Rest and sleep deep in me, to be fossil, in my ground, groundwater in aquifers. Let it flow, flow here and there, to a large space, huge, an endless space, the sea. There, it gets warm and evaporate again and again to moist, the moist that is longing to come back to nourish me.

They asked me, they asked me about you, my mother, you said: let me be happy, happy for the free gift from the sky, pristine water, clean water, water that we drink, you and me. Nourishing my skin with minerals and nutrients once were eroded from my skin, a long the way, long way, everywhere. An eternal journey of water on, or in, my body, driven in motion by the heat of a star, a burning star. Keeping me a life, a life in cycles here and there refreshing my skin, thanks to its organic fabrics, catching the moist from air the and holding it in my skin, so it doesn’t get dry and die. A renewable life, a sustainable life, a legacy of the generous nature.

They asked me, they asked me about you, my mother, you said: let me, let me feed you and all other species, the animals and plants living on my skin. Species that I created in thousands or even in millions of years. It is the cry of the sky, the heat and shine of the sun nourishing me. Thanks for a free and renewable energy from a twinkling star, shining on me. It is the skin covering my body, a primordial and dynamic bio-geo-chemical reactor full of life on land and under the water. Turning the photons of the light, the molecules of the water, the substances of life in my body, and the trace-gases in, and from, the air ‘carbon dioxide’ to green forests, and a food-chain of vegetables and fruits on land, and fish and shellfish from rivers, lakes and seas. We also lucky to get fresh oxygen, for all species on land and under the water, to breathe.

They asked me, they asked me about you, my mother, you said: let me be warm, but not so warm in the thin cover on my skin, the cover above me, around me. Air masses and moist that is always in constant flow. It is a global flow from my waist at the equator. A flow here and there, up and higher up in spheres around me. All, or some of them, fall down, and down again to the poles, to be at rest and be in peace. The vapour in my clouds get squeezed to snow and buried in ice, polar ice and glaciers along the way. The magic of the heat from the sun forces the cover of my skin to change phase: moist on leaves and vapour in turbulent motion, silent waters and falling water, the waterfalls, falling snow, freezing to ice and in sheets of ice.

They asked me, they asked me about you, my mother, you said: let me feel, feel the energy in my body, the hydro-power in a flowing water, an energy in motion from upstream to down stream, from the land of the high mountains to the deltas of the low land at the sea. Let me, feel the energy hidden in air, the pressure gradients above me, the air masses blowing with the moving wind here and there, on the land and above the sea. Let me feel the energy within me, geothermal energy deep in my hot body, the hot vapour bursting out of the dark space deep in my body to see the light of the day at the surface of my skin.

They Asked Me – Mother Earth.

They asked me, they asked me about you, my mother, the mother of all mothers. The mother of all species, the Homo Sapiens, you and me, the children of a mighty mother, mother Earth. They asked me about you, I said: I can’t live without you.

They asked me, they asked me about you, my mother, you said: let me, let me dance with my partners. Let me dance with the music, the music of gravity waves of my galaxy. The milky way, the sun and its planets, the planetary system in our universe. Let me dance with my star, a twinkling star, a living star, a shining star. Shining on me, warming me for free and nourishing me with vitamin D.

They asked me, they asked me about you, my mother, you said: let me feel the gentle moist in the air, gently touching my skin. Moist that evaporates up to the sky, forming clouds in the sky. Clouds turning to tears and sometimes to rain. Rain that fall and flow on my skin, nourishing me. Showers of a crying sky, cleaning me and the air, the air around me, fresh air we breathe, you and me.

They asked me, they asked me about you, my mother, you said: let the water flow through my skin, the soil on the land, let the water flow in rivers, the arteries of life. Let the water flow, stay here and there, in lakes, large and small. Let the water flow, flow and slowly seep through my skin, years after years, thousand or million of years, deep and deeper to rest after a long, a long journey. Rest and sleep deep in me, to be fossil, in my ground, groundwater in aquifers. Let it flow, flow here and there, to a large space, huge, an endless space, the sea. There, it gets warm and evaporate again and again to moist, the moist that is longing to come back to nourish me.

They asked me, they asked me about you, my mother, you said: let me be happy, happy for the free gift from the sky, pristine water, clean water, water that we drink, you and me. Nourishing my skin with minerals and nutrients once were eroded from my skin, a long the way, long way, everywhere. An eternal journey of water on, or in, my body, driven in motion by the heat of a star, a burning star. Keeping me a life, a life in cycles here and there refreshing my skin, thanks to its organic fabrics, catching the moist from air the and holding it in my skin, so it doesn’t get dry and die. A renewable life, a sustainable life, a legacy of the generous nature.

They asked me, they asked me about you, my mother, you said: let me, let me feed you and all other species, the animals and plants living on my skin. Species that I created in thousands or even in millions of years. It is the cry of the sky, the heat and shine of the sun nourishing me. Thanks for a free and renewable energy from a twinkling star, shining on me. It is the skin covering my body, a primordial and dynamic bio-geo-chemical reactor full of life on land and under the water. Turning the photons of the light, the molecules of the water, the substances of life in my body, and the trace-gases in, and from, the air ‘carbon dioxide’ to green forests, an enormous food-chain of vegetables and fruits on land, and fish and shellfish from rivers, lakes and seas. We also lucky to get fresh oxygen, for all species on land and under the water to breathe.

They asked me, they asked me about you, my mother, you said: let me be warm, but not so warm in the thin cover on my skin, the cover above me, around me. Air masses and moist that is always in constant flow. It is a global flow from my waist at the equator. A flow here and there, up and higher up in spheres around me. The all, or some of them, fall down, and down again to the poles, to be at rest and be in peace. The vapour in my clouds get squeezed to snow and buried in ice, polar ice and glaciers along the way. The magic of the heat from the sun forces the cover of my skin to change phase: moist on leaves and vapour in turbulent motion, silent waters and falling water, the waterfalls, falling snow, freezing to ice and in sheets of ice.

They asked me, they asked me about you, my mother, you said: let me feel, feel the energy in my body, the hydro-power in a flowing water, an energy in motion from upstream to down stream, from the land of the high mountains to the deltas of the low land at the sea. Let me, feel the energy hidden in air, the pressure gradients above me, the air masses blowing with the moving wind here and there, on the land and above the sea. Let me feel the energy within me, geothermal energy deep in my hot body, the hot vapour bursting out of the dark space deep in my body to see the light of the day at the surface of my skin.

A Poem For Humanity – Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time, there were people, the same people. People of the same roots but here and there. They lived on land and moved on land, in valleys and mountains, crossed the seas and the rivers, but still the same people.
 
Once upon a time, there were people, the same people. They weren’t plenty and life was simple but yet tough. With all the ups and downs, they could live on whatever they hunted, gathered or planted on their land.
 
Once upon a time, there were people, the same people. They lived on nature, clean nature, and shared what they had. They lived the life, as it was, full of risks, natural risks. But no worries, it was green and they were together, laugh and cry, all in all. 
 
Once upon a time, there were people, the same people. They were humble and full of trust, trust of fate, whatever fate. They were poor but not greedy.  They were sad, even very sad but still happy. They were helpless but could help and even hopeless but full of hopes.
 
Once upon a time, there were people, the same people. They shared the land, the water and the sun, the same sun that nourished their life, their stocks, the lifestocks. Life was tough with ups and downs, they could settle now and then. But it came times where they walked the walk, the same walk, all together. 
 
Once upon a time, there were people, the same people. They lived on what they got and what they got was with hands or simple tools. All from the water, the forest, the land, the soils, and what they farmed.
 
Once upon a time, there were people, the same people. Now they learned to think, master tools and machinery and use their brains for more knowledge. Now they can fly or sail here and there and be anywhere on four wheels, not anymore by horses and camels.
 
Once upon a time, there were people, the same people. Now they can sit and even relax, and watch themselves in solid frames, to see the magic of their hands, their memories and the thoughts in their brains.
 
Once upon a time, there were people, the same people. Now work can be done less and much less by hands, fast and even much faster than ever by fabricated memories, RAM and storage memories, even in invisible memories of a complex landscape of clouds.  
 
Once upon a time, it came a time where the compassion of people went away and their wisdom faded to nowhere. The care for one another became buried in sand, as they got rich and richer and with their money they can buy, trade and get even more and more.
 
Once upon a time, it came a time where they revolted upon themselves, upon each other and upon their land and home, the mother Earth. The same people became new people, different people, more and more people.
 
 Once upon a time, it came a time where people were led by knowledge, plenty of knowledge, knowledge that can fly. Now they can talk but not in person as knowledge can travel in the air and move free. More and more, fast and faster with no limits.
 
Once upon a time, it came a time where money and things can move free in space from place to place and fast as the light of the sun. Information and communication can connect not only people to people, but also people to things and things to things.  
 
Once upon a time, it came a time where it became difficult to know what is what and information can be misinformation here and there. People drifted away from each other by frictions and illusions that with knowledge anything is possible, even to control nature and the planet, any planet.
 
Once upon a time, it came a time of a war after war, escalation of wars, silent and cold wars. Wall after wall fell and the Berlin wall became ruins of the past.
 
Once upon a time, the remains of old wars didn’t heal. The pain of the deep wounds of the past was still there. The threats of the invisible walls, the armed and nuclear wars were still there.
 
Once upon a time, it came a time, the time of economic wars. Yet, there were no worries as with the power of money people can do more and get more. More and more from people, from nature and from the planet, yes any planet. No worries we can have more and get more. It is the time of ‘I, me and mine’.
 
Then it came a time, a time where peace and liable talks became far, still very far in the distant past of the old times of wars. Honorable life on Earth is now merely a mirage that became more and more etched deep, deeper than ever, in our genes.
 
Once upon a time, it came a time. It is the time of all times, the time of either people on the planet, the whole planet, either love each other and love their planet, or die all together.

The Emerging Technologies of Vertical Cities.

With increasing global population and the growing sizes of horizontal cities which require much areal expansion on land that otherwise can be used for parks and green areas, vertical cities may very well be an alternative for housing. Though horizontal cities have many advantages, brought comfort to their citizens, contributed in organization of daily life and facilitated employment and effectively coupled businesses to the socio-economic conditions in societies, Yet, the fast urbanization and the huge expansion of horizontal cities come with several forms of negative impacts such urban-heat waves, increasing pollution and waste, land degradation and associated effects on water, energy, natural resources, biodiversity and life-quality. These environmental changes along with climate change will still trigger further wicked and multi-layered threats.

Vertical cities can be can be constructed in different 3D-architectural structures with interlinked flours that have environment and self-sustainable towers extending high in the sky. These 3D architectural buildings can save energy, water and preserve horizontal land for forest, agriculture and food production as well as promotion of recreation and biodiversity. These are of importance for supporting the UN-SDGs and promoting life-quality and prosperity. With modern technology and AI ‘Artificial Intelligence’ maintenance and running costs of vertical cities can be more economic and effective than traditional horizontal ones (https://youtu.be/d0gqonPNBgU).

There are growing sources of information and data on vertical cities, the involved technologies and other issues of relevance. The vertical city organization (https://verticalcity.org/index.html), for example, has the mission to inspire the ongoing conversation for the creation of new systems of living and was established by Ken King in 2012, Its aim is to ignite global debates about vertical cities as a more sustainable future with large and urgent solutions to the existing problems. It has team members in Portland Oregon, New York City, and Shanghai. It is supported by dozens of architecture, urban planning, energy, and sustainability experts that contributed with insights into the vertical city concept.

There are also books that give wide-range of the state-of-art on vertical cities. The Vertical City book ‘A Solution For Sustainable Living is a massive, is a multicolor, seminal and beautifully printed book. In this groundbreaking work, the authors Kenneth King and Kellogg Wong interviewed more than 30 of the world’s top architects, urban designers, engineers, microbiologists, transportation and sustainability experts before developing their proposal for vertical cities (https://verticalcity.org/index.html). The book itself envisions a sustainable future as based on emerging technologies of Vertical Cities. A Solution to Sustainable Living is the first and only book of its kind but this Kickstarter campaign is about way more than the book. The author Kenneth King was born in Shanghai in 1933 and currently living in New York City. He is an ecologically-driven and experienced architect with more than 40 years of professional work, known for the Montazah project in Alexandria, Egypt and Mokkattam project in Cairo that become a model for waste management in developing countries (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rayking/vertical-city-a-solution-for-sustainable-living).

Among other books is ‘Vertical Cities: 12 Towers Take Urban Density to the Skies’ in which it describe the advantage of the virtually endless vertical space within urban centers, entire cities-within-cities that could spring up into the skies, packing in thousands of new housing units as well as parks, recreational space, offices, shops and everything else you’d expect to find in traditional cities. These 12 residential skyscraper designs build up instead of out, often using staggered or stepped arrangements of stacked modules to maintain air circulation, access to daylight, views and other features as well (https://weburbanist.com/2015/06/17/vertical-cities-12-towers-take-urban-density-to-the-skies/). An alternative other than creating closed class-based communities, most make their communal spaces open to the public, and reserve the ground level for greenery. Examples on vertical cities (or semi-vertical cities) include: high-rise high-density tropical living in Singapore; stacked modules in Vancouver; vertical village in Singapore by OMA; vertical city in Jakarta; Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

The Water-Climate Nexus: Greening Deserts and Cities

Greening the deserts and cities are crucial for people’s wellbeing, alleviation of poverty and mitigation of climate change. Large-scale and long-term greening of the landscape whether in deserts or urban areas is a major challenge in many parts of the world. Though the ongoing threats of climate change there are successful examples of scaling-up and scaling-out the greening of deserts and cities.

This might seem as a paradox, difficult and even impossible mission, how is it possible to green the landscape under an ongoing crisis of climate where the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere is projected to increase more than 1.5 degrees Celsius in the near future. But it isn’t at all a paradox as such a scenario depends on the first hand on how to get the water to remain in the top surface layer of soils at the earth’s surface, i.e. to let the water to residence there for relatively longer time being bound in soil matrices and vegetations. It is a matter of getting the right balance between saving the water in soils and loosing it to the atmosphere by evaporation or the underlying soils by percolation. This is indeed the core essence of both mitigating the climate change and at the same time greening the landscape of the earth’s surface. However, this will still be possible and feasible as long as we don’t surpass the tipping points of the global water cycle that allows this equilibrium to take place on large and long-time scales. This is imperative and mandatory to mitigate the climate change in many parts of the world.

China has realized the importance to promote its ecological progress as being of vital importance to the people’s wellbeing and China’s future. Nearly 30 years ago, or more, the Kubuqi Desert in Inner Mongolia, i.e. the seventh largest desert in China, was a barren land with no water, electricity, or future. However, Elion Resources Group (ELION) has successfully afforested an area of over 6,000 square kilometers by means of technological innovation, leading to a 95 percent decrease in sand-dust weather and an increase by six times in precipitation in Kubuqi. This has also been a major step for alleviation of poverty in the region. During the process of ecosystem restoration it has been an industrial development simultaneously driven by desertification control and promotion of several government support to integrate diverse corporate commercial investments with combined market-oriented participation by farmers and herdsmen.

Sustainable developments is indeed a development with an emphasis on environmental and ecological improvements which resulted in transforming the vast areas of the Kubuqi Desert from being a “Sea of Death” to a “Green Economy Oasis” as we have it today. It is also a major shift towards a circular economy driven by sustainable and resilient circular agriculture technology for better environment and ecology with financial benefits and wellbeing to local communities and residents. The right strategies, persistent and resilient efforts allowed to successfully turn the vast expanse of dry and loose sand into wealth and prosper landscape for millions of people along with greener and healthy living environments.

After more than three decades of efforts and innovation, the process of desertification has been reversed and water returned back to land after centuries of ‘mismanaged’ animal grazing that had denuded the area of almost all vegetation and water where the local population existed in isolated poverty. Such large-scale and long-term transformation of barren sand-dunes into green oases can offer lasting solutions to desertification worldwide. Indeed, China is one of the most severely afflicted deserts in the world. By the end of the 20th century, China’s deserts were expanding at a combined annual rate of 10,400 sq km but now they are shrinking at a rate of 2,424 sq km per year. This is while the deserts and desertified landscape worldwide continue to expand by 70,000 sq km annually.

“Deserts should not be seen as a problem, but as an opportunity for change. Taking care of the desert and making it greener can lift people out of poverty, provide prosperity and help to develop areas,” says Wang Yujie, deputy director of the China National Sand Control and Desert Industry Society (http://www.china.org.cn/china/2016-10/11/content_39464603; http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-08/10/content_36739870.htm). The transformation of the Kubuqi desert to green land, changed also the life of the farmers and herdsmen from being plagued by violent sandstorms causing serious shortages of water and electricity, also resulting in poor basic living infrastructure including the lack of roads for transportation. As in many other deserts in the world the local people could hardly survive in sandy-dunes with miserable and poor living conditions where animals and cattle are forced to die from starvation and from being so thirsty in the cruel nature of the desert.

Singapore has also successfully turned their cities to green-living conditions though the complete lack of fresh-water resources as is the case in desert lands. The entire land of Singapore is transformed to sustainable, resilient and smart living environments relying primarily and totally on renewables from solar-energy and the continuous recycling of renewable water resources. China and Singapore, and to lesser extent the GCC countries, demonstrated that modern technology can turn uninhabitable landscapes to friendly and lovely living environments (https://youtu.be/P45r3vtU9lM).

Bhutan: First To Be Carbon Neutral But How and Why?

Kingdom of Bhutan – is the only single country in the world that isn’t only carbon-neutral but carbon-negative. It has replaced the generally and globally accepted concept of Gross Domestic Product ‘GDP’ by its own home-made concept Growth National Happiness ‘GNH’.

Bhutan (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhutan) has moved quickly from being one of the most closed states on the planet to an open, more or less, ‘modern’ country. It has its own local traditions that are intertwined with their social and economic spheres as well as religion. It has proved to be on the correct path towards full sustainability as it has to large extent eradicated corruption. It has tightly and gradually linked their traditions and religion to achieve environmental safety, economic growth, social developments including maintaining its own cultural heritage.

There are several reasons that allowed Bhutan to move fast towards reaching the status of being, the first country on the planet, Carbon Negative nation. It has very small population, one million, living on limited piece of land with well preserved nature (https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo/bhutan-landscape.html) and biodiversity. It has implemented rules to regulate the protection of its land and to use eco-tourism to support its public services specially education and health. Modern technology arrived to Bhutan very late, by the end of the 20th century, yet it is moving slowly in the process of urbanisation with focus on own self-sufficiency of food and respect for nature. This is though being located between two major economies, i.e. China and India, with much growing technological changes. It has banned export of its natural resources and it is using hydroelectric power as main source of electricity. It has already banned the fossil-fuel to be used by its industries. Its economy is based on agriculture yet with environmentally friendly processes. It is also moving towards the use of electric vehicles. In 2030 the country will start to absorb much more (several times) carbon than it emits and it will also be free from the air-pollution.

Yes We Can – The African Great Green Wall.

Young people in Africa, with support of the African Union, and in cooperation with youth from around the world (including university students and practitioners that participated on their own initiatives) are determined to build prosperous and rewarding future. Also, to take actions to stop the climate crisis, to promote and implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. While the challenges are huge and demanding, they are enormously motivated to work together. With simple but yet very effective approaches, starting with small plants, they aim to stop desertification that have been going on for millennium in the Great Sahara Desert of North Africa (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahara). This part of the world is one of the most arid, hot and uninhibited regions of the world. It has the world’s highest officially recorded average daily high temperature of 47 °C or 116.6 °F in a remote desert town of Algeria called Bou Bernous at an elevation of 378 metres (1,240 ft) above sea level, and only Death Valley of California rivals it.

A report from the UN reveals that drylands, including vast areas of desert, cover 41.3% of Earth’s total land area. What if large amounts of this land could be converted into fertile ground capable of producing crops? Also using their hidden natural vast resources sustainably. This is a particularly important question for many counties in the world which is now receiving serious and huge attention because of the increasing population, declining resources and also the diverse existential threats facing Earth. As we know the Arabian Peninsula including Kuwait 🇰🇼, Oman 🇴🇲 , Qatar 🇶🇦 , Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦 , the United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪 (UAE) has turned their desert to living and prosperous landscape. So, this can be also done for some of the great desert land of the Sahara that is separating Africa in two very distinctive and separated regions. China🇨🇳also turned, and is still turning, large areas of desert to green landscape (https://lnkd.in/epYPMChX). Technology isn’t only about urbanization and smart cities. Indeed, much can be done in rural, desert, mountain and coastal marine areas as modern technologies have unlimited possible solutions. Also, the Information Communication Technology ‘ICT’ and Internet of Things ‘IoT’ can facilitate and solve much of the previous difficulties. We need to think Out-of-the-Box and tune modern technology to meet needs other than cities and heavily urbanized areas. Science and Technology need to expand their horizons to wider global applications.

For ten years young Africans have been going to the desert to plant trees in their holidays. The communities of the Sahel-Sahara States are turning many acres of the desert to new green landscape just in several days. As is called ‘The Great Green Wall’ is an African-led movement (https://youtu.be/cphSne_HiPA) with ambition to grow an 8,000km natural wonder of the world across the entire width of Africa. A decade in and roughly 15% underway, the initiative is already bringing life back to Africa’s degraded landscapes at an unprecedented scale, providing food security, jobs and a reason to stay for the millions who live along its path. This will also help coping with the climate-crisis. Indeed, North Africa has enormous resources for producing renewable solar energies, and other solar-based technologies yet to be developed, as the world is turning its back to fossil energy resources for coping with the climate crisis and other associated threats.

Indeed, the movement of The Great Green Wall ‘GGW’ has diverse benefits not only for the most poorest Africans but also for Africa, the MENA region and the rest of the world in general (https://www.greatgreenwall.org/about-great-green-wall). It will:

(1) Improving millions of lives; (2) A global symbol for humanity overcoming biggest threat of rapidly degrading environment; (3) A vital contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals ‘SDGs’; (4) Growing a new world wonder across the entire width of Africa; (5) Growing fertile land, one of humanity’s most precious natural assets; (6) Growing a wall of hope against abject poverty; (7) Growing food security, for the millions that go hungry every day; (8) Growing health and wellbeing for the world’s poorest communities; (9) Growing improved water security, so women and girls don’t have to spend hours everyday fetching water; (10) Growing gender equity, empowering women with new opportunities; (12) Growing sustainable energy, powering communities towards a brighter future; (13) Growing green jobs, giving real incomes to families across the Sahel; (14) Growing economic opportunities to boost small business and commercial enterprise; (15) Growing a reason to stay to help break the cycle of migration; (16) Growing sustainable consumption pattern, to protect the natural capital of the Sahel; (17) Growing resilience to climate change in a region where temperatures are rising faster than anywhere else on Earth; (18) Growing a symbol of peace in countries where conflict continues to displace communities; (19) Growing strategic partnerships to accelerate rural development across Africa; (20) Growing a symbol of interfaith harmony across Africa. These are enormous incentives for the world to support the ongoing work of the GGW, it is now we can do it as we are running out of time.

Throughout history, humans have continuously moved and expanded all over planet Earth and turned vast unhibited areas to new prosperous landscape. Yet much of the natural resources on planet earth are kept unused or abused for some reason or another. What we don’t use properly we loose definitely and this was the case of the Great Desert of North Africa, the Sahara. It is now time to invest in Africa as Africa in the past supported Europe 🇪🇺and the USA 🇺🇸 , i.e. in the era of colonialism and slavery. With the birth of the UN after WWII, Paris agreement and the ratification of the UN-SDGs by the global community we are in a grand revolution to shape the world towards a new resilient and sustainable future.

From https://www.nationalgeographic.org/article/great-green-wall/

🛑 Fridays for Future – Global Climate Demonstrations.

Employees at Uppsala University UU, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences SLU, joining the Global Climate Demonstration today Friday 24 September at Forumtorget in Uppsala around 15.30.

This is to show the leadership of UU and SLU their concern about the climate crisis, and to demand immediate action against the climate change. Universities need to show in practical terms and measures that they takes science seriously NOW, and they need to lead not only by examples but by actions as well.

https://stayhappening.com/e/global-klimatstrejk-uprootthesystem-E2ISTVWDWE0

Would Liquid Metal Batteries Revolutionize Energy Storage?

Energy is one of the three main drivers, i.e. water, energy and natural resources, of all life forms on Earth. The sustainability of these three main drivers is a pre-request for our survival and more importantly for the survival of all forms of life on Earth (https://youtu.be/f6kwNNdOVr4), and more importantly for prosperity and improved life-quality. Unlike the other two drivers, energy conservation is of much more importance not only to satisfy our daily needs but on the first hand to cope with the many direct and indirect existential threats facing life. Also, how much energy we are consuming determines how much natural resources, including water, we would need for our activities. Energy in all its forms, either as stationary fossil or dynamic renewable resources, has complex interwoven challenges as it is strongly coupled to the social, environment and economic pillars of our modern lifestyle. Also, all energy production, distribution and uses are more or less, associated with different degrees and levels of negative impacts. Progress in energy conservation and renewable energy sources is determinant for the ongoing sustainability revolution not only to a climate-compatible circular economy, but also essential for achieving sustainable and resilient societies (UN-SDGs). We therefore need to be less dependent on fossil-fuel based-energy and to scale-up and scale-out clean and sustainable energy resources on the global scale. Renewables without appropriate affordable storage is not sustainable, we need also to have different sustainable and resilient storage alternatives for solar and wind energy solutions that can meet the different environment, weather and climate conditions. For example, limitations do exist in hot regions as in the MENA region and other parts in the world where the Li-ion batteries may not be the best choice. Also, manufacturing and production facilities need to be available where the natural raw materials for production are abundant. So, what regards batteries, one-size-fits-all option is unlikely to be sustainable and resilient under all conditions.

Moving away from fossil-fuel (coal, oil and gas) to renewable energy resources isn’t an overnight process as it is associated with many complex challenges specially what regards the huge needs of electricity generation, use and consumption, i.e. production and supply (https://youtu.be/eRz46AwPcSc). Solar and wind are becoming increasingly crucial for scaling- up and scaling-out the renewable energy resources. However, the very nature of these renewables by being intermittent sources and the fact that there is a wide-range of dynamic and variable needs by the stakeholders around the world in terms of intensity of energy needed in different applications.

One important aspect in the scaling-up and scaling-out the use of the renewable energy resources of solar and wind energy is battery-storage. Li-ion batteries, though are currently one of the best storage facilities, they still have several limitations to fulfill full scale applications that are required by the markets’ needs. Lithium-ion batteries are not necessarily the only ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for the energy storage of renewable solar and wind energies. They prone to fire and require extensive non-renewable resource extraction from the earth which may not be sustainable in the longer run because of the side-effects associated with their production and processing as well as the complete LC ‘life-cycle’ of the batteries, i.e. effective recovery of the raw materials.

An alternative new technology for energy storage is emerging in the world market. The US-based Ambri is now one of the so-far leading alternatives in energy storage and it aims to lower electricity costs, enable easy access and widespread usage of renewable energy systems, among other things. It is doing this by working on alternatives to lithium-ion technology such as liquid metal batteries and antimony electrode-based cells that are more resilient, long-lasting and eco-friendly (https://youtu.be/NiRrvxjrJ1U; https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/ril-rnsel-mukesh-ambani-ambri-renewable-energy-storage-7314091.html/amp). This liquid metal battery is an innovation in stationary electricity storage invented by Prof. Donald Sadoway, MIT, USA. At present Ambri can cater to projects that require energy storage systems from 10 MWh to 2 GWh. Energy-intensive industries need to reach climate neutrality by 2050. Various technologies are available for the decarbonisation of the iron and steel, chemicals, refining and cement industries as well as the existing financial instruments (https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2020/652717/IPOL_STU(2020)652717_EN.pdf). However, suitable energy storage technologies are still needed to help shape and enhance the transition to a climate neutral industries, specially the energy-intensive ones, not only in Europe but around the world.

Energy storage is vital not just for the business of mobility but for reducing the overall cost of electricity and, more importantly, mitigating climate change. It plays an integral role in the development and integration of renewable energy technologies—a technological space that is seeing rapid development. Energy storage is an indispensable bridge between intermittent renewable power and a constant, glitch-free supply of electric energy. Achieving sustainable and resilient societies would require having diverse and customized solutions to meet an increasing need of off-grid and decentralized energy-options, e.g. in rural and remote areas for household (https://youtu.be/yxABosWfuus) and also for energy-intensive industries (https://youtu.be/m8751tkBU_Q; https://youtu.be/m8751tkBU_Q; https://www.energy-storage.news/ambris-liquid-metal-battery-to-be-used-at-desert-data-centre-in-nevada/). As this will unload overpopulated urban areas and cities. The needs of such options are timely because of the huge flexibility that is offered by ICT ‘Information Communication Technology’ and AI ‘Artificial Intelligence’ that allow not being totally dependent on urban areas and cities. Agriculture and rural areas are still essential for our living and they are the underlying platform for supporting urban areas and cities.

It is still interesting to see how this new approach of liquid metal batteries for storage of renewable energies from solar and wind will continue their long-term progress (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/davidblackmon/2021/09/02/bill-gates-backed-startup-might-change-the-renewable-energy-storage-game/amp/).

Ambri a new addition to battery technology.

Political Correctness and Academic Stewardship: Management and (Skewed) Control in Swedish Universities.

Before introducing the lecture and presenting a previous related debate about the situation in Sweden regarding politics versus quality in higher education. We need to keep in mind that multi-layered paradoxes and controversies do exist around the world, but in different degrees, what regards the political correctness, political power and related needs in the society including quality of education, science and R&D. These are import and crucial as education, science and R&D are essential driver for the appropriate development and advance of societies and humanity in general. What do we expect without them?

Let us for example see the relation between science and politics as debated in one of the most reputed scientific journal ‘Nature’ in the article ‘Stick to the science’: when science gets political (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03067-w). It has three parts: history of science and politics; politics of the life scientific; and talking politics and talking science. Science is objective and evidence-based while politics is more about power, economy and balancing the needs of the society as emanated from the voters. The drivers of, and support for, science and politics are very much different but through out history there have been always mutual needs. More recently politics shifted more and more towards the society much more than science, e.g. equity and over many other issues defined by the UN-SDGs. There are also other facts need to be taken in consideration politics is much more short-sighted, in some sense, as compared to education, science and R&D. This is why politics shifts and swings relatively faster than education, science and R&D. In reality, funding of research councils and other funding organisations are based on political and economic decisions and when money and people are involved then science become impacted or even turbulent. Science never acted in vacuum and it has been always mutual interactions. This doesn’t necessarily need to mean that objectivity in science and higher education becomes cloudy and looses its main pillars of being evidence-based. Indeed, what regards science and politics, when science becomes only captured by normal politics, its value declines and drains away (https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.aaz7996). That is the case in many places around the world even in modern times where science is poorly needed to solve our existential wicked and complex threats as summarized in the UN-SDGs. Apart from politics there are other actors that can influence the outcome of education, science and R&D including culture, religion, believes and social fabrics.

Now, to the subject of this post, i.e. the Institutional Colloquium hosted by IFA, Uppsala University with the lecture of Prof. Mats Alvesson (Lund University) – Title: Management and (skewed) control in universities and colleges. Text in English is about the same subject and was previously published as an article in Swedish Newspapers (ppl).

The Colloquium will take place on Tuesday the 14th of September on 11:15 AM at Ångströmlab. Institute of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala Univesity, sal 2005. It can be also followed online at Zoom-link: https://uu-se.zoom.us/s/67413387328

The Lecturer. Mats Alvesson (website https://portal.research.lu.se/portal/sv/persons/mats-alvesson(071de634-ce8c-4f05-ac7d-0e1d06f2b381).html) is a professor at Lund University and also Univ. of Queensland, Australia, and City Univ., London. A Wallenberg scholar and one of Europe’s most quoted social scientists. His research area includes organizational culture, leadership and identity within organizations as well as a qualitative social science method. He has been particularly interested in functional stupidity. The concept was launched (together with André Spicer) in 2012 and is officially used in Sweden. Mats Alvesson is a diligent debater and author.

Institutionskollokvium: ‘Ledning och (sned-) styrning i universitet och högskolor’. Sammanfattning. Universitetets huvuduppgifter bör vara att bedriva god utbildning och forskning. Men dessa mål styr endast och i mindre utsträckning verksamheten. Andra funktioner och intressen tar överhanden: studentnöjdhet (vid kursutvärderingstillfällen), hög genomströmning, lärarnas karriärsoptimering, få allt att se bra ut, göra formellt rätt, imitera andra organisationer, expansion av administration mm. Ofta blir utbildningar kravlösa och ribban läggs lågt. Mycket forskning är av tveksamt värde och relevans. Föreläsningen tar upp problem i dagens universitet och högskola och pekar på lösningar.

The Colloquium/lecture in English: ‘Management and (skewed) control in Swedish universities and high schools’. Summary. The university’s main tasks should be to conduct good education and research. But these goals only and to a lesser extent govern the business. Other functions and interests take precedence: student satisfaction (at course evaluation opportunities), high throughput, teachers’ career optimization, making everything look good, doing formally right, imitating other organizations, expansion of administration etc. Educations often become unpretentious and the bar is set low. Much research is of dubious value and relevance. The lecture addresses problems in today’s universities and colleges and points to solutions.

The talk will include issues that was previously published in a Swedish Newspaper (https://www.gp.se/debatt/politisk-korrekthet-viktigare-än-kvalitetskrav-på-universiteten-1.38029174), here is the English translation:

Political correctness is more important than quality requirements at universities.
Debate. The universities will function as independent institutions that will be responsible for independent research and education on a scientific basis. As it looks today, however, the university’s management is increasingly acting under the influence of trends in the public debate and adapted education according to what is considered to be the right opinion in comparison with the wishes of the government, rather than creating a high quality business, write Mats Alvesson and Erik J Olsson Lund University. At the turn of the year, several heavy universities change rectors; for example Lund and Uppsala. In Linköping, a new principal has already taken office. Universities are primarily intended to be independent institutions that will be responsible for independent research and education on a scientific basis. However, this is in a state of tension, partly due to the view of universities as authorities, and partly to an increasingly widespread pressure to adapt to different opinions and different perspectives. Universities and colleges are authorities, which to a certain extent is reasonable, but the activity is undermined if government thinking is allowed to dominate, which leads to everything first and foremost being formally correct and characterized by loyalty to the wishes of political power. The focus will be on formalities rather than a good business.

The fact that universities are treated like other authorities is an expression of thoughtlessness. It will be easiest then. It will also be easiest for university managements who emphasize the government perspective more than the universities’ deeper assignments.

University managements often fail to safeguard the universities’ basic idea, which takes on different expressions. Here are some:

(1) Inappropriate recruitment and promotions. In many places, the principle of meritocratic recruitment has been abandoned and the employment of people who are in the heat has been accepted. Rather than professorships being announced and appointed in competition, resources have been used for internal promotion, with lower requirements and competence as a result.

(2) Gender quotas. Everyone is, of course, for equal opportunities regardless of gender. This is a difficult issue that may require investigation of obstacles and their remedies. In many places, however, gender equality has been interpreted as equal outcomes that are easier to measure and tick off. Counting the gender of course literature writers does not benefit the quality of education. There is a marked over-recruitment of women as professors, in relation to actual merit. Karolinska Institutet is an example.

(3) Improper influence. Engaging in politically sensitive research has its risks, as illustrated not least by a current case in Linköping. The researchers, who questioned the Crime Prevention Council’s political independence, were subjected to administrative abuse and a miserable work environment at the university. A student at the University of Agriculture who in a debate post criticized the animal husbandry of the business community was called to the university management to explain himself.

(4) Culture of insult. In Uppsala, a teacher’s statement of the n-word in a course in archive search caused great uproar. A student at KTH who produced statistics on immigration and crime was called to the director of studies and HR manager. The statistics were in themselves considered offensive. Lund has had several incidents where a few students felt offended by the teaching, which led to the courses being changed.

(5) Low demands on students. In many educations, the requirements are so low that full-time in reality means half-time or less. Most university and college managements seem to take a let-go attitude to this. Many who graduate are unqualified. 6. Opportunism. Sense of trends and need to be seen is strong. Sometimes honorary doctorates are used to get PR. Luleå University of Technology, for example, has recently appointed Charlotte Kalla an honorary doctor.

Of course, university managements cannot be blamed for all this, but they bear co-responsibility for the universities’ increasingly weak academic orientation and weak results – by following the current, doing what is easiest and minimizing risk. In terms of level of education, for example, the principals contributed to a reduction by pushing for the replacement of external review of degree projects with internal quality bureaucracy. Principals should primarily be university advocates and not government officials. It is more important to present the university’s mission, than to show sensitivity to politics, current opinions or uncritically follow dysfunctional regulations. It is important to safeguard what should be the point of universities and colleges: to primarily create high-quality research and education. It is not to demand too much that university managements here take their responsibility.

By Mats Alvesson, Professor of Business Administration at Lund University. Erik J Olsson, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at Lund University, Chairman of the Academic Rights Watch Foundation

Political correctness is more important than quality requirements at universities

Emergency Action to Restore Biodiversity and Protect Health from Global Environment Crisis

Indeed, it is not only about climate change anymore it is rather about a much wider large-scale and long-term Environmental crisis with unpredictable and irreversible impacts on biodiversity in general and the global health of humans in particular.

The combined effects and consequences of the ongoing degradation in biosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere on biodiversity and human health would create severe health threats for all life forms on planet Earth. These degradation are brought about by environmental (e.g. pollution and waste) and climate change because of green-house gases specially carbon-dioxide. There are already signs of such effects but not yet understood and systematically researched. Such wicked and complex problems are new in science in general and medical ones in particular, They can’t, and will not, be cured by medical treatments and far beyond human capabilities to deal with even if the multilayered unknowns will be known. The functioning and metabolism in our bodies depends very strongly on the environmental conditions including the temperature. This wasn’t known for Darwin.

The UN General Assembly in September 2021 will bring countries together to meet again at the biodiversity summit in Kunming, China, and the climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow, UK. This time is about the serious situation what concerns the risks to health of increases above 1.5°C, which are now well established. The call in this post is stating that “Indeed, in the past 20 years, heat related mortality among people aged over 65 has increased by more than 50%. Among other things higher temperatures will bring about increased dehydration and renal function loss, dermatological malignancies, tropical infections, adverse mental health outcomes, pregnancy complications, allergies, and cardiovascular and pulmonary morbidity and mortality. Harms disproportionately affect the most vulnerable, including children, older populations, ethnic minorities, poorer communities, and those with underlying health problems”.

Editorial Board of BMJ for emergency action to limit global temperature increase, restore biodiversity, and protect health (https://www.bmj.com/content/374/bmj.n1734). As stated in this article “Health professionals are united with environmental scientists, businesses, and many others in rejecting that this outcome is inevitable. More can and must be done now—in Glasgow and Kunming—and in the immediate years that follow. We join health professionals worldwide who have already supported calls for rapid action.”

Though the current attention ⚠️ is focused on climate change we have to take in consideration many other large-scale and long-term threats that are associated with the increasing environmental degradation from pollution and waste. This calls wider actions to promote and implements the UN-SDGs.

The COVID Pandemic – Safety-Security Micro- and Macro- Imperatives and the UN-SDGs.

Is the COVID pandemic over? Do we have validated and clear global answers? The vaccinations were expected to solve everything but this isn’t the case anymore and we understand that vaccines are not enough (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2021/08/18/world/middleeast/israel-virus-infections-booster.amp.html).

Recent surges in Covid-19 cases due to the delta variant are reigniting discussion on return-to-work. With Apple and Alphabet, for example, postponing return-to-work plans until October. In this context, other companies and employees are reevaluating whether they want to return to the office. If so, how to maximise safety and security issues for their employees and the rest of society in general. For example, the return to in-person work on a trial basis can be a solution and many companies like Apple and Google are designing hybrid work solutions and models with shortened work week rather than a full five-day week, though the resilience in each company’s hybrid model does vary (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.cnbc.com/amp/2021/08/01/why-youll-want-to-be-back-in-office-eventually-behavior-expert-.html?client=safari).

Even with the social nature of human beings will lead more workers to see the benefits of being in a workplace again. This isn’t the case for everyone and outdated standards of one-size-fits-all that still characterise conservative and traditional business-as-usual strategies need to be re-evaluated. This is, as health and safety concerns are likely to continue and will still make many employees resistant to work in office. So, employers may need to offer “trial basis” returns as a first step and to assess and quantify the large-scale and long-term outcome on equal foot as short-term and small-scale versions, of whatever the solutions or models they may use.

With the existing cloudy situation new questions and recommendations are emerging. Do we always need offices? (https://www.americanexpress.com/en-us/business/trends-and-insights/articles/is-an-office-necessary-1/). Indeed, many traditions need to be revisited, e.g. for what? when? also why? do we need offices? Do we really use, practice and benefit from ICT technology optimally? By the end of the twenty century they were many promises and expectations that ICT would give more resilience in working and allow people to be less dependent on offices. But, many of these promises and expectations became more and more volatile though the huge expansion of ICT ‘Information Communication Technology’, automation as well as the accelerating use of AI ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and ML ‘Machine Learning’. Also with the existing enormous needs to mitigate climate change and environment degradation as well as improve the life-quality in general (UN-SDGs). No question, transport and traffic issues can cause unnecessary stress, cost and inconveniences as well as more emissions of green house gases and pollution (sustain-earth.com). As an example, what regards gender and life-quality return to work it is harder for women (https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/08/nobel-winning-poverty-researcher-on-why-people-wont-go-back-to-work-.html). As people attempt to return to work, child care costs burden women more than men. Jobs don’t offer flexible options and don’t pay enough to cover child care costs. Do we afford to put future generations at more risk? Therefore, women are likely to stay home and not because they don’t want to return to work. COVID has allowed us to know more about the roots of poverty, gender and social inequalities.

Even with the new trends of trial basis and hybrid solutions there are still recommendations of what employers need to reconsider and what employees need to demand in their work places (https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2020/health/reopening-coronavirus/work.html). Among these it is required to know to which extent have coronavirus safety precautions changed in workplaces; What safety measures would be needed for workers in all settings?; Which types of employers and businesses might see the biggest changes right now?; What steps can workers take to keep themselves safe at work? What steps they should take when they get home?; What safety advices for people commuting and what employers can do for them?.

World Data – VACCINE ISN’T A GUARANTEE AGAINST A NEW SURGE IN COVID CASES⁉️, THE FOURTH WAVE IS A THREAT ⁉️.

The vaccination dilemma continues to emerge as worldwide data with somewhat, but not yet enough, increased statistical validity are becoming widely available (http://knoema.com/infographics/vzmsqj/covid-19-vaccine-effectiveness-in-data-over-120-countries-at-risk-for-new-covid-spikes). There are several key issues in this respect on the global, regional and country/local levels. The global and regional levels are dealt with primarily by the WHO. Though its considerable value in assessing the global data and monitoring the global trends of infection and its spreading, it has limited economic potential to influence the worldwide vaccination. This is part of great global discrepancies in the vaccination rates and frequencies. This creates huge constraints in the global health issues, in particular to achieve the UN-SDGs what regards health, education and poverty. There are no other worldwide organisations that have either economic capacity or economic responsibility to raise the vaccination rates on the global scale.

So, we still have an ongoing global dialogue about who will be vaccinated and who will get a boost of a third shot of vaccine (https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/covid-vaccine-booster-shots-delta-variant-are-being-over-hyped-ncna1275507). This adds new dimensions to how to handle the vaccination resources on the global scale. There are several reasons for the existing cloudy situation of the vaccination what regards its effectiveness, accessibility and availability. The Pfizer shot, for example, was only 39 percent effective in preventing symptomatic Covid infection from late June to mid-July, a nosedive from levels seen this winter and early spring. Though this observation is based on small group and covered narrow window of time, it has however triggered the needs for offering a booster of a third shot to people over 60 who were vaccinated more than five months ago. According to different sources the delta variant is more contagious and likely more severe than its predecessors, this has also raised prompt discussions on whether booster shots can stem them and once again restore the impenetrable immunity of vaccinated people.

The global penetration of vaccination is still a serious problem as some countries are almost ready with the vaccination of their overall populations while others have very low vaccination rates with only few percent of the total population are vaccinated. On the other hand countries with very high vaccination rates of 80% have more or less the same spreading rates of COVID as the countries with very small vaccination rates. This raises new worries that vaccines are not a guarantee against further surge in COVID cases and thereby additional risks for development of new mutations. For example, European countries where cases are increasing serve as a reminder that vaccination progress is not a guarantee against a new surge in COVID cases even in other parts of the world.

We still are getting new data about the efficiency of vaccines, for example moderna claims that their COVID-vaccine booster produces more robust response against the delta variant (https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/05/moderna-covid-vaccine-booster-produces-robust-response-against-delta.html). Data from different countries that used different vaccines, e.g. from China, also suggest that we still have little, or not enough, knowledge on the global effectiveness of vaccines specially what regards their long-term and large-scale behaviour with consideration to all the parameters involved in assessing the wicked issues COVID spreading in relation to vaccination and opening of economies.

A medical worker from Parrish Medical Center holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a drive through vaccination clinic for employees of Port Canaveral, workers at local hotels and restaurants, and residents of the Port Canaveral community.
Paul Hennessy | LightRocket | Getty Images

From Education to Industrial Education to 21st Mega Social Revolutions in Education

With the growing ’needs’ for knowledge we have first to know the ‘purpose’ of education. We have also to take in consideration the ‘construction of our societies’ and what is ‘meant’ by knowledge.

Indeed, there are many aspects of what we mean by ‘need’ and what we mean by ‘purpose’ as both are connected in several ways to each other what regards ‘knowledge and education’. Also, the ‘socio-economic environments’ of our societies that are part of both the need and the purpose of knowledge to be acquired by us and our fellow citizens.

Currently, we have a modern dilemma of a growing confusion on many levels about both the purpose of, and the need for, education as an instrument for acquiring knowledge. Part of the confusion is related to how to put the purpose in appropriate manner to fulfil the needs on individual levels or common collective levels in certain socio-economic context. The path between the purpose and the need in many cases is not straightforward and sometimes not known at all or at least not well-defined. On the other hand, it is logic to think this way, no one whether an individual or an institution gets interested in education without knowing the need of, and purpose for, education. Both the purpose and the need are related to the socio-economic conditions which further makes the educational process challenging on several levels.

Another aspect is how knowledge is being acquired. Is it acquired by accumulation of knowledge in our intellectual memory? or is it by developing it through independent and indepth consciousness where intelligence is a path for innovation? In this context, it seems that it is mandatory to get some sort of orientation or introduction about what raw knowledge is, if so what type of education can be suitable, i.e. in terms of purpose and need. It is like when you prepare a meal you would need raw ingredients but there would be huge options of both how you get the ingredients and how you prepare a meal for your own. In this context, raw knowledge can be a necessary pre-request to create new knowledge that are specifically needed to navigate in society and create meaningful life where innovation is a tool rather than what exists in the memory. Both the purpose and the need are related to the basic aspects about knowledge i.e. ‘what, why, when, where and how’ to acquire knowledge.

Knowledge is needed for all of us but for different purposes from both the society and the individual viewpoint. Knowledge as based on previously ones doesn’t lead to new jobs or new solutions it just create new copies for purposes that aren’t needed any more. Even if knowledge is needed only to get a job or to participate in socio-economic activities it is still an individual responsibility to freely select, shape, reshape, extend and practice in new forms that can be suitable and practical for one’s carrier and lifestyle. This is assuming flexible and resilient educations systems and democratic environments exist which aren’t necessarily the case everywhere.

When the purpose for which knowledge coincides with what we need it for then this type of specific knowledge is appreciated. Acquiring knowledge is always dynamic process as the purpose and need as well as the socio-economic context are all variables and can be volatile. There are no standard packages of knowledge that fits all of us under all conditions. We can put it this way there are no general keys for success in all part of our life except to be open-minded, critical and intelligent enough to select, compile and put together the necessary knowledge to fulfil whatever needs that may emerge.

The purpose of acquiring knowledge in the past century, by the global education systems, shifted gradually from being a resilient education process, that supports the free and unconditional choice of individuals to gain and access knowledge in any form or content, to a rigid well-defined chain of blocks and pre-defined frames for a mandatory entrance to the labor market. This has turned the whole education system worldwide up-side-down and made it an industrial enterprise for production of certified but in many cases unqualified graduates for the market itself. In this process, all the proper connections between the purpose for, and the need of, education were also systematically lost or at least disconnected. If education is about producing copies of intellectuals then it is a catastrophic machinery that makes everyone of us question the purpose of education and its need for a market that is already saturated. Did the institutions, whether schools or universities, fail with their mission to deliver appropriate education to the society in general and the market in particular? Or are the needs for independent graduates that can master their careers and lifestyles, just disappeared?

A global common instrument to acquire knowledge is education and it has been accepted at least in the past century as an instrument to satisfy our existing and emerging needs on the one hand, and to assist individuals to participate in shaping and forming the democracy in the society on the other hand. However, in past century education changed from being a resilient instrument to acquire and develop knowledge, to a one-size-fits-all instrument, primarily to get the very same jobs that have always existed. Moreover, the market in different forms penetrated and dived deep in the education systems, directly or indirectly including the private and public sectors, and made these systems extended arms for the industry and economy including traditional and out-dated ones.

Artificial Intelligence ‘AI’ and Machine learning ‘ML’ will further extend these arms. As the human memory has very limited capacity, the only way to benefit from education is not through competition on how much we can accumulate in our memories but rather by collaborative innovation through diversification of human intelligence. Current education systems of one-size-fits-all is out-dated and not suitable anymore. Future teachers have to invent and innovative far beyond being dependent on memory-based education. Deep consciousness in selecting and compiling knowledge and not blind compulsiveness in mediating the same knowledge is important for the innovation in communicating and developing knowledge. This is specially what regards promoting and implementing science and technology for the benefit of human-being with consideration to the UN-SDGs and for achieving prosperity on planet Earth.

Since the end of the 20th century new positive mega trends emerged but net yet fully utilized, i.e. scaled-out and scaled-up. There are great potentials to turn the failure in education machinery to considerable benefit for the mankind. These are ‘ICT’ Information Communication Technology and ‘IoT’ Internet of Things, ‘SMI’ Social-Media Instruments and of course the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals ‘UN-SDGs’.

These are major mega transformations that are already forming and shaping our societies very fast and with enormous power in many aspects and will continue to do so for generations to come. Unprecedented transformations are already taking place and the reasons are becoming very clear as we proceed in the 21st century. For the first time in human history we are heading to more resilient future that can free us from the so-far dominant Industrial Education Systems ‘IES’ with very destructive traditions of compulsiveness, forced competition, monopolies and unnecessary mismanagement of education. The strategic questions that we have to address now so as we can accelerate the benefits from these Mega Social Revolutions ‘MSRs’ for everyone and everywhere are: how can we tame these MSRs and unify them so as everyone of us turn education more and more to a Social-Use-Me-Instrument. This is of course possible but needs time, patience and Innovation. This will not happen overnight and it is about putting together these Mega Social Revolutions in an applied and effective framework with collective infrastructures.

Many of the issues addressed above are also taking place in R&D which unfortunately have catastrophic consequences for the life quality on planet earth. These naturally have also negative impacts for the prosperity of the majority of world population. Of course there are still some winners but if we don’t find solution all of us will suffer without exceptions as we have experienced, and still, with COVID-19. As in education the MSRs will help R&D to create new pathways for better future through innovations and inventions to protect and preserve life on planet Earth but the time-window to do so is becoming smaller and smaller so we have to intensify and accelerate our efforts to save our planet from further degradation and destruction. sustain-earth.com will expand on these issues in the future.

However, to start with follow this video that gives some basic aspects and dimensions about what key media-professionals say about education: https://youtu.be/PAaWZTFRP9Q

Violation of Work Environment and Code-of-Conduct also at Highly Ranked Universities

Statistics and reports don’t emanate from nowhere and it is true that ’no smoke without fire’. For many years, universities have been acting as closed clubs with their own internal rules for assessment and evaluation. The mis-trust in the performance of universities has been growing for many years because of their failure to solve population and society needs. More remarkably is to update their systems to help young people to find jobs and to meet future challenges. The universities are more internally focused on how to survive and their staff are busy searching for funds and own promotion. Gradually they are increasingly isolated from both the society and population needs, as it is clear from failing to integrate the UN-SDGs in their activities.

Nature (one of the world’s most cited scientific journals) has published several reports about the malfunctioning at universities. For example the infected work environments with many cases of victimised colleagues, e.g. Lund Univesity in Sweden (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01621-8); Max Planck Institute of Garching in Germany (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05634-8, https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05668-y).

There are also many other examples of unhealthy working conditions at our universities. A global study highlights long hours, poor job security and mental-health struggles. This study (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00101-9) involved more than 4,000 scientists who has painted a damning picture of the culture in which they work, suggesting that highly competitive and often hostile environments are damaging the quality of research and education. This is specially true among young Ph.D. students (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03459-7) where they expressed the widespread and deep-seated frustrations with training, work–life balance, incidents of bullying and harassment, and cloudy job prospects (see ‘Free thinking’). This survey also included new questions suggested by early-career researchers, including ones on student debt, bullying and harassment, and career responsibilities. A question about mental health — asked of all respondents for the first time — shed light on some of the more troubling effects of higher education.

Some funding organisations (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05071-7) started to take serious steps for cracking down on harassment and bullying. Scientists who have been sanctioned by their institutions could lose out on funding from e.g. the Wellcome Trust in the U.K., one of the world’s largest research-funding charities. Another funding organization, in the U.K. ‘The Leverhulme Trust’, has revoked a £1-million (US$1.3-million) grant from prominent palaeontologist who was also disciplined by his institution, the University of Bath, UK, after an investigation found he had breached its anti-harassment policy (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-06764-9). An elite US science academy expels a well-known astronomer following harassment complaints (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01461-6). This is the first time the National Academy of Sciences has kicked out a member for violating its amended code of conduct. It is clear that they are much lack of actions by strategic funding organisations and well-ranked universities around the world to follow the example of the U.K. and the U.S.

It is also documented that sexual harassment is rife in the science (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05404-6). Existing policies to address the issue are ineffective, concludes a long-awaited report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The NAS ‘the U.S. national academy of science’ told Nature that no one has used the complaint system put in place last year, even though several academy members are known sexual harassers. It is unfortunate that we let negative and destructive attitudes, what regards gender issues in general, to exist in our academic environment (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02640-7).

Enough is enough, we know what are the problems but we still don’t know yet how to cope with the corruption, abuse of public resources and how to improve the working environment at universities and our academies. With increasing globalisation and mobility of young academics and qualified professionals in the global landscape of science there are still huge needs to re-examine the existing multi-layered structural defects and obstacles to achieve sustainable/healthy working environments. Higher education should not be part of the piling-up social injustice and ought to demonstrate good leadership in the global journey for prosperity.