Category: Technology & Industry

Ever since the early days of the industrial revolution, industry has been totally dependent on technology, and both are dependent on science. Industry, by being the production of an economic good or service within an economy, has the power of generating the necessary resources for supporting technology, science and skilled labour. As a result of the industrial revolution, manufacturing industry went through many successive advances in technology, e.g. steel and coal, for supporting production and labour especially in Europe and North America. At a later stage, in particular after WWII, and with the increasing attention to the importance of education, science and technology as well as an accelerating access to the global natural resources, e.g. oil and mineral resources, combined with increasing globalisation and open market economy, many other major economic powers started to emerge and to grow very fast, e.g. Asia, India, China and South America. However, technology as an instrument of making, modifying, using tools, machines, techniques, crafts and systems as well as compilation of knowledge to solve and improve solutions of problems as well as to perform specific functions (input-output) has already long history. There are several prehistoric examples demonstrating the very nature of humans to invent new technologies, e.g. control of fire, agriculture, food and animal production, invention of wheel. The 21st century will be gradually shaped by new, clean and resource-effective technologies through further progress in ICT, nanotechnology, renewable energies and other inventions for more industry-based sustainable solutions what regards the conservation of natural resources. Gained knowledge on strengths and weaknesses in previous/existing technologies will allow us to move faster for achieving sustainable socio-economic developments.

Editorial Board – Dr. Mahmoud Abdel-Hafiez (AGYA)

It is our pleasure to welcome Dr. Mahmoud Abdel-Hafiez in the Editorial Board of sustain-earth.com. We would also like to congratulate him for being elected the German co-president of AGYA academy in sciences and humanities for the academic year 2021-2022. Short summary about AGYA Academy with text is extracted from the home-page of AGYA (http://agya.info) is also given below.

Dr. Mahmoud Abdel-Hafiez is currently associate Professor (Docent in physics) at Department of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University, Sweden. He has specific interest in studying quantum materials with thermodynamic, magnetic, and transport experiments in high pressure and low temperatures. His collaboration with others allow him to use neutron, x-ray scattering and muSR spectroscopy to study the magnetic ground state. The aim is to grow high quality single crystals of the materials used in his studies. His current interests include SC, CDW, and the behavior of electrons in 2D and 1D-materials.

In 2018-2020 he acted as Research Associate, Physics Department, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. During 2015-2018 he was Assistant Professor, Institute for Physics, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany. In 2014-2016 he acted as Group Leader at Center for High Pressure Science and Technology (HPSTAR) Beijing/Shanghai, China. While in 2013-2014 he was
Postdoctoral Researcher at Université de Liège, Belgium (Nanostructured Materials Group) directly after he finished his PhD in 2012 at TU Dresden / IFW Dresden, Germany (Thermodynamics and Magnetism). He obtained his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Solid State Physics, Fayoum University, Egypt. He has numerous publications in pioneer high-quality journals together with researchers from many other universities as given in his C.V..

Short Summary on AGYA Academy. The Arab-German Young Academy ‘AGYA’ has 23 countries with one mission in Sciences and Humanities for bringing together excellent Arab and German scholars to address common challenges and develop solutions through sustainable research cooperation. The member countries of the AGYA (based In Germany (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities ‘BBAW’) and In Academy of Scientific Research and Technology ‘ASRT’ in Egypt) are Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djubouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

AGYA promotes early-career scholars (3–10 years after PhD) from its member countries in the Arab world and Germany. The academy implements joint interdisciplinary research projects and initiatives at the interface of science and society with a focus on education, innovation, and science policy. It has various Work Groups in education, heritage, water, energy, environment, sustainable developments, health and society as well as innovation

The AGYA is unique organisation, it is the first bilateral young academy worldwide founded in 2013 and carries out research cooperation on equal terms. The academy’s members and its alumni/alumnae are involved in very interesting and broad activities for building a community of trust with interregional competence networking to inspire a new kind of research practice. Working collaboratively beyond borders, members share a socio-scientific vision of equal partnership and research excellence to realize cutting-edge research projects. AGYA has a well-structured cooperation framework with diverse infrastructure that enables strong links between researchers from many disciplines in the context of Arab-German scientific collaboration. Strengthening trans-disciplinary Arab-German human interactions allows fostering innovation in research across the natural sciences, technical sciences, life sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts. It is by far an inclusive programme for bringing science in its broad definition nearer to a diverse socio-cultural environment to engage young graduates and researchers in central sustainability issues.

The approaches of AGYA are based on fresh perspectives, the members and alumni/alumnae share an interdisciplinary approach to scientific enquiry, with the intention of seeking broad inter-disciplinary solutions to future societal challenges. By being motivated to conduct cross-borders and interdisciplinary research, they are socially committed as academic international leaders. In this context, AGYA offers an unprecedented and excellent opportunity that members from all kinds of disciplines, subjects, and research fields meet and develop their interdisciplinary projects. The complexity of today’s challenges and the ongoing transformation to sustainable and resilient societies necessitates input from different disciplines and cultures to deal with existing wicked and yet common existential threats.

Cross-cultural Arab-German landscape can provide researchers with the necessary stimulation to uncover how much Arab and German societies actually have in common. Scarcity of resources, like clean water, clean air, renewable energy and sustainable food are common future challenges that needs international collaboration. Arab and German societies share common experiences that emanated from modern needs for integrating global migrants into higher education and scientific discourse. In this context AGYA provides fertile landscape to cultivate cultural heritage using shared ancient cultural technologies such as storytelling. AGYA in this respect facilitates the emergence of fresh and pioneering Arab-German perspectives for strengthening new forms of North-South-South cooperation.

For ensuring inclusiveness through principles of self-governance AGYA members are independent and free to determine their own research topics and agenda. They do this by connecting and forming partnerships with fellow members. All members meet to discuss the academy’s affairs and agenda in bi-annual general assemblies, Steering Committee are bring elected annually by the members. Through its activities the AGYA participants develop outstanding intercultural understanding and build abilities in self-governance, self-organization, and self-expression in multi-cultural environment. Unlike other academic organizations, AGYA’s alumni/alumna act as ambassadors of this culture thus inspiring others across the Arab-German academic world.

Collaborative research across borders creates spaces of interaction between researchers and with policymakers and other stakeholders. Research cooperation cultivates long-lasting multilayered relationships for building an academic civil society with more potential for shared understanding to productively clarify and mediate outside of the political arena with evidence-based policy advice. This makes the AGYA academy a true cross-cultural think tank that benefit German and Arab societies.

The AGYA is a vehicle for empowering and capacity building to enable its members to obtain, improve, and retain the skills, knowledge and resources to advance in research and dissemination of science to the society. In this context, AGYA has outreach activities to attract young scholars at the pre-Ph.D. and Ph.D. levels with consideration inclusiveness in areas of research, academic life including gender balance and advance of women in the academia. Among other activities, AGYA conduct international exhibitions (e.g. ‘From Cinderella to Sindbad: German and Arab Timeless Tales in Abu Dhabi), annual conferences, symposia and hands-on training for Career-Development-Plans. These take place in all its member countries and across all disciplines including technical sciences, social sciences, natural sciences, life sciences, humanities and art.

For more information on AGYA, also why and how to join the Academy (e.g. eligibility, requirements and application) please visit https://agya.info

Credit: https://AGYA.INFO

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/

Role of Physics, Chemistry and Science in the Golden Revolution of Sustainability.

It has never been a time in human history where all needed Goals/Targets, Knowledge, Technologies, Human Resources and Communication Tools were known, available and accessible to perform collective and global revolution that allows bringing an inclusive sustainability right in our home, Planet Earth. This said, it has never either been so critical, urgent and imperative in all human history to put all our thoughts, efforts and resources together to save Planet Earth as we have it today. Planet Earth is facing enormous existential threats because of huge pile-up of degradation in climate, environment, biodiversity and the ‘socio-economic-environment’ qualities of our life.

The journey towards ‘sustainability’ has been very long with many and continuous ups and downs. We have only understood it late and agreed on it even later. So far we have succeeded to acknowledge it and to define what sustainability is, why it is needed and how to implement and achieve it on full scale and everywhere. It is not about if we can but is rather about when and more importantly how we could be able to maintain what we so far know, put them in practical actions to build robust sustainable and resilient life. Also, with all possible means we need it to be affordable and inclusive. So, we are in the most critical part of the equation with many imperative requirements to achieve what we defined as Goals/Targets. We will expand on these issues systematically in order to connect the dots of our Ability to Sustain Life, i.e. build SustainAbility.

Goals/Targets to achieve sustainability, or to at least to achieve resilience, are already summarised in the UN-SDGs that are now ratified by all countries. It remains to have a true political well by all the member states of the United Nations and more importantly to have serious, immediate and coordinate global collective actions to promote, implement, scale-up and scale-out the UN- seventeen goals and the associated targets (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/). The date to achieve all these ambitious goals by 2030 is not likely to be met but at least we should be on the proper roads and the appropriate tracks to do so.

Technologies that are science-based and sustainability validated need to be resilient, accessible, affordable and also adaptive for use anywhere. We have a Science-Technology nexus where science promotes technology and technology promotes science and visa versa. The cycle goes on and on where science and technology become improved and refined in a continuous non-ending process as our dynamic needs never ends but rather expand and accelerate. Among several examples on the connection between science and technology to achieve sustainable solution is how we arrived at the central role of electricity in our life (https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability/our-insights/sustainability-blog/these-9-technological-innovations-will-shape-the-sustainability-agenda-in-2019). In this context, tight and active participation of scientific and technical communities, i.e. universities, R&D institutions and industries, are essential both from the private and public sectors. This involves all the vertical and horizontal multilayered connections specially in education and the learning process. In the past century several innovations and inventions particularly in science, technology and literature including physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, earth sciences and medicine, engineering, agricultural and human sciences just to name some, have widened and deepened our understanding of global economy, politics and also promoted our efforts to achieve peace, security, safety and equity but the later ones. Still more and more needs to be done to counteract the degradation of life quality on Earth.

Knowledge to promote and implement these goals already exist and indeed anyone of us can consult Professor Google to seek information, to learn and to know about ‘what, where, why and how’ to participate in the ongoing sustainability revolution. Yet, we need to work together with responsibility, transparency and accountability across many knowledge domains (https://www.eolss.net/eolss-knowledge-sustainable-development.aspx) and not only in limited and narrow isolated disciplines based on fragmented and individual interests (http://www.developmentresearch.eu/?p=905). It is mandatory to increase our individual and collective participation with actions to work together (https://www.staff.lu.se/article/how-do-we-generate-knowledge-about-sustainable-development) with building teams, collecting and compiling appropriate knowledge as well as sharing our understanding and efforts by all available and accessible communication tools including the IoT ‘Internet of Things’.

Human Resources in this context are the bases to maximise our Ability to Sustain life on Earth by building resilient Human Resources (https://fardapaper.ir/mohavaha/uploads/2018/11/Fardapaper-On-the-importance-of-sustainable-human-resource-management-for-the-adoption-of-sustainable-development-goals.pdf). This has been evident through out the human history and during all the past transitions from the hunter-gatherer era to the agriculture revolution and all the way through the various stages of the industrial revolutions up to the post information revolution. We have now a collective human library that describes the collective human intelligence, not necessarily the human intellect. That is more or less accessible and affordable ‘Google’ to use and guide us for a better and prosperous future specially what regards the management of human resources (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/sd.2166). However, Google in itself just gives access to more or less all the known knowledge in the form of a ‘Black Box’ of ‘raw knowledge’. This access to knowledge needs to be sorted, refined and tuned for correct and proper use, also to improve through R&D for the sake of improving the global human resource capital. For developing critical skills for example Google has training and performance management programmes for human resources (http://panmore.com/google-hrm-training-performance-management). In this context, there must be a threshold of knowledge to get maximum benefit from Google which we can get through education and/or training, also through experiments including trial and error. By the end of the day, education and R&D are main vehicles for creating sustainable human resources empowered by the necessary knowledge.

Communication Tools are becoming increasingly available and affordable through ICT technologies ‘Information Communication Technologies’ that give us access to multiple services, businesses, education, trade, health and entertainment and are continuously shaping our daily life including for examples the diverse flora of social-media tools and instruments, e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, WhatsApp, Google Duo, private and public TV programs and….. many others. ICTs can help accelerate progress towards every single one of the 17 UN-SDGs. For example, helping to build resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation and services that allow countries to participate in digital economy and to increase their well-being and competitiveness (https://news.itu.int/icts-united-nations-sustainable-development-goals/#). These tools and the IoT ‘Internet of Things’ in general allowed to boost various types of human-to-human, human-to-machine and machine-to-machine interactions and eventually evolved more and more to sophisticated automation, ML ‘machine-learning’ and AI ‘Artificial Intelligence’ technologies. ICTs are already empowering billions of individuals around the world by improving the access to education and healthcare, and many other services such as mobile banking, e-government and social media, among others. However, there are still considerable needs to promote/improve the global interconnectedness because of its great potential to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divide and to develop knowledge societies, as does scientific and technological innovation across e.g. areas as diverse as medicine and energy (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?page=view&type=20000&nr=579&menu=2993)

The desire to build sustainable societies is not new and it has always existed but we didn’t have access to enough knowledge, instruments and resources. These are among essential requirements that were highly lacking in integrated and coordinated manner throughout the human history. This has indeed caused serious confusion about what life on Earth is and how we can work collectively to have wealthy and healthy life on Earth. However, We give here two major examples from chemistry and physics that were indispensable for connecting science and technology on the one hand and for putting them for the service of society on the other. These two examples show that developing robust sustainable and resilient technologies do need solving, compiling and coordinating complex web of known and unknown details through huge and diverse machinery of R&D. Also, to recognize the enormous needs for at least interdisciplinary, multi-disciplinary work, if not full transdisciplinary interactions within and between, for example, physics and chemistry on the one hand, and all other scientific disciplines on the other hand. The feedbacks from physics and chemistry as well as from other sciences, e.g. earth, environment, life and human sciences, helped the evolution of sustainable science and technology specially in terms of understanding the life conditions and boundaries on earth and also to provide better services for humanity.

This said, to see the evolution in physics and chemistry in terms of sustainable developments we will put them in historical perspective what regards the addressed issues. In chemistry the periodic table of elements will be explained by life demonstrations (https://youtu.be/kqe9tEcZkno). This is to increase the added value of pedagogy in education. Indeed, all elements of the periodic table have find their way in our daily life in away or another that made our life easier but also created multiple threats through the increasing waste and pollution. We should keep in mind that we need to consider the Life Cycle ‘LC’ of all the elements from cardle to grave (https://thebusinessprofessor.com/en_US/mgmt-operations/cradle-to-grave-definition). It is not only about processing, producing, using and consuming the elements of the periodic table but it is also about what are the consequences and impacts of the waste and pollution associated with all the elements, and their compounds, in the main spheres of the earth’s system (atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, biosphere and cryosphere. Many advances in chemistry and physics and other sciences were made possible through our understanding of the chemistry and physics (also in other sciences) of the all the elements of the periodic table, and their derivative minerals and compounds that resulted from natural processes in the Earth’s system, including reactions and interactions both under laboratory conditions and more importantly in the Earth’s system.

What concerns physics we will give a historical perspective of what electricity is and how electrons as moving charges carrying energies can produce also electromagnetic interactions and waves that carry information as well. The property of electrons to interact with energy, i.e. absorb energy, carry energy and emit energy, transform and transport energy as well as get annihilated and disappear all together have found enormous uses and applications, e.g. to produce and transport electricity to be used, stored and also to transmit, mediate and communicate information. Electrons are ‘energy and information’ messengers and you can imagine what we have and can achieved by understanding these mysterious particles that we still learn more and more about them. Indeed, electrons are the very bases of our today’s and tomorrow’s modern reality (https://youtu.be/Gtp51eZkwoI) every-day life and services.

In this context, chemistry and physics as well as mathematics have jointly allowed, to major extent, understanding the details and very secrets of the electronic structures of all the elements of the periodic table. Thereby contributed in building up an enormous and indispensable database of knowledge and models that allowed to convert light to electricity ‘solar panels’ and to store electricity in well designed, safe, efficient and effective batteries (also with help of ICT), as is the case of Lithium-Ion Batteries ‘LIB’. Yet, more is expected to come. Also, they allowed us to enjoy all modern ICTs tools such as computers, cell phones, tablets, ….. and an enormous flora of sensors and actuators that are now being used in automation and robots. These have opened many gates for shaping new industrial revolutions, i.e. AI ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and ML ‘Machine Learning’. Not to mention the household machines and tools as well as the technical needs of our industries are all an outcome of the magic services of electrons.

Enjoy the two well-selected videos that illustrate to the science behind the chemistry of the periodic table and the physics of electricity.

The growing awareness of accelerated use (mining, processing and production) of several elements of the periodic table and the associated threats from pollution/waste and the risks to run out of reserves of critical elements promoted mote integration of sciences. The concept of Life Cycle Analyses ‘LCA’, the rise of Circular Economy ‘CE’ and the needs to integrate Environment Social Governance in global businesses are some examples of the necessity to consider transdisciplinary approaches to integrate sciences for promoting and achieving the UN-SDGs.

Source Cheri Koones, Forbes.com “creating-energy-independence-with-solar-panels–storage-battery-systems-in-the-home”

🛑 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.

New on the Editorial Board – Mr. Safwan Elfar, Qatar National Cement Company, Umm Bab, Qatar.

It is a great honor to have Mr. Safwan Elfar on the Editorial Board of sustain-earth.com.

Mr. Safwan Elfar has a B.Sc. in natural sciences, with major in chemistry, from Qatar University. He started his career in the cement industry at Qatar National Cement Company ‘QNCC’. Currently, he is the laboratory supervisor, quality assurance and control professional at QNCC with cumulative scientific-technical engineering experiences in cement manufacturing processes and related materials.

During his career, over 20 years, he also gained diverse interests in environmental impacts of the cement industries and their by-product. He successfully developed recycling solutions for the cement-kiln-by-pass-dust by-product for use in zero-cement-content paver blocks (green concrete). He further uses his experience for other sustainability applications. As other cement companies around the world, including the MENA region, QNCC (https://youtu.be/Xuqm7a9d8Vo) is continuously updating its facilities and routines.

Irrespective to the fact that cement is among the most important materials in the building industry, there are still increasing pressures to minimize its manufacturing negative environmental footprint, for instance producing one ton of cement releases one ton of CO2 gas. Currently, 5% of global CO2 emissions is related to cement industries.

For more info. on Mr. Elfar, visit linkedin.com/in/safwan-elfar-8417642a

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.

COVID-19: Crisis and Challenges in Higher Education. The New Imperatives and Opportunities.

COVID-19 has changed the reality of life for many of us and will continue to do so for sometime. The first sectors that suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic were health services, the tourism and hospitality sectors along with other labor, trade and industry sectors.

Higher education, and education in general, has also been impacted by COVID-19 in various ways and are facing a global crisis that may take relatively longer time to recover depending of level of preparedness, availability of resources, existing infrastructures and degree of resilience. However, the crisis in education and higher education didn’t come as a surprise as it has been an ever growing cracking in higher education and global education systems in general, since the birth of ICT and IOT, and even before that. Indeed, many education systems around the world are either inherited or imported which have caused ever increasing gaps between what students get from their education and what is really needed in the market specially in the developing countries. Another short coming in higher education is the strong rooted tradition in out-dated disciplinary-based education systems where graduates have serious difficulties to meet today’s complexity in the labor market. The ongoing crisis is of global dimension and has introduced remarkable effects in R&D and also the associated educational infra-structures.

COVID-19 has changed our world dramatically and as we have in business and trade if you’re a brick-and-mortar retailer, an online store is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s essentially a must-have (https://www.bigcommerce.com/articles/offline-to-online/brick-and-mortar-retailers/). It is an inductive process that will be propagated very fast in all other sectors with far many new imperatives. All people simply need to be able to find you and communicate with you online. The COVID-19 has put new imperatives on sharp display when many brick-and-mortar stores were forced to temporarily shut their doors. Having an online store was the only way forward and it is likely that our world will change, at least partially in this direction as was the case with the old postage-system, to online banking, on-line booking of hotels, food, travels and all other ICT-services. Indeed, education will follow the same trend in a way or another. Though, the brick and mortar framework will still be the mainstay of our education system, for sometime, because of its undeniable advantages to learning in a shared physical space, online education is progressively and continuously gaining popularity. Still there are obstacles that need to be solved and will be solved. It is not a matter any longer of IF but rather WHEN and when was already yesterday. The autonomy and flexibility of e-learning make them extremely popular with working professionals and students as the entire e-learning industry is changing rapidly. This is an essential part of the ongoing Information Revolution.

Though there can be challenges to successfully tune and transform higher education systems, and the whole education landscape in general, from Brick & Mortar to Click & Mortar (https://digitallearning.eletsonline.com/2019/12/education-landscape-from-brick-mortar-to-click-mortar/) there are major long-term benefits and opportunities for generations to come. However, as we have learned from history higher education, and education systems, by being part of our social landscape are very much dependent on our lifestyle. Our life as we have it today and as it would be in the future is very much impacted by moving away from Brick & Mortar to Click and Mortar as the digital technologies are definitely here to stay and we have to adapt to this imperative reality. Sustain-earth.com will expand on many issues related to future threats, challenges and opportunities what regards higher education and and education in general.

Would Mandarin be the Second Global Language in the Future?

普通话会成为未来的第二种全球语言吗? 非洲和亚洲的趋势正在见证全球语言转换领域的这种持续变化。As we know “If you speak to people in your language, it goes to their heads but if you speak in their native language, it goes to to their hearts”.

With China is growing very fast to be soon the world super economic and financial power (https://www.google.se/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/business/2020/may/29/is-china-overtaking-the-us-as-a-financial-and-economic-power; https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/RL33534.html), as well as driver of trade and development not only in Asia but also in Africa. There are a lot of new facts and debates about what China is in reality and how the world would look like in the coming decades until the end of this century. In this context, is quite interesting to see the new trends in the expansion of the Chinese Mandarin language in the world education systems.


South Africa, in January 2016, cemented its place in history by becoming one of the first African countries to integrate Mandarin into its public school curriculum. This has ushered in a new era of ‘Mandarin language rush’ with other African countries following suit. In December 2018, Uganda also integrated Mandarin Chinese as a second language into their schools. Also, the introduction of the Mandarin Chinese language to East African school curricula signals China’s growing influence in Africa as a global superpower. In January 2020, Kenya’s Curriculum Development Institute announced that Mandarin will become part of Kenya’s school curriculum as an optional subject in elementary schools. Kenya is the latest East African nation to follow the Chinese-language trend in schools after Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-47657451), Zimbabwe and South Africa, among others (https://www.google.se/amp/s/globalvoices.org/2019/07/23/is-mandarin-chinese-the-language-of-east-africas-future/amp/).

The introduction of Mandarin is considered to be a key step towards creating beneficial developmental relationship for both sides. Many of the supporters see this step as a positive policy change that gives many African learners the opportunity to not only learn one of the most difficult languages in the world, but also compete effectively with their counterparts the east and the west in a rapidly changing and growing global market. Given the fact that China is currently one of the biggest players in the global market, they believe that Mandarin will enable African countries to solidify their economic partnerships with the Chinese. The supporters argue that many African countries have integrated French, English, Portuguese, and German languages in their public schools yet no such uproar as is being witnessed with Mandarin has ever been raised. The current opposition for the introduction of Mandarin is but a veiled attempt orchestrated by western powers to limit the economic influence of China in the region. Whether or not the ‘Mandarin language rush’ is a case of Chinese neo-colonialism, or developmental relationship, only time will tell.

However, China’s influence in Africa grows as more young people learn to speak Mandarin (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.cnn.com/travel/amp/mandarin-language-courses-africa-intl/index.html) and many many more will continue to do so. Let us give some few examples on how young Africans get motivated to take up Mandarin as their second language or at least their third language. We have to keep in mind that many Africans have English as their first or their second language. The tradition to take a European language such as French, German or any other is becoming largely outdated for many reasons, this is at least for the young Africans.

Mugandiri didn’t have any Chinese contacts until he write a letter to the Chinese ambassador in Harare and in less than two months after that, he had joined a fully-funded three-month programme for young entrepreneurs in south eastern China. Mugandiri was one of 25 participants from developing countries who visited universities and factories in Fujian Province, and met several Chinese businesspeople. He returned home and decided to find business partners in China he became aware of the language barriers. Mugandiri searched online and came across the Confucius Institute (CI) at the University of Zimbabwe. He enrolled in evening classes in Mandarin for a nominal fee. Read more about Mugandiri at https://africanarguments.org/2018/06/started-hype-chinese-spreads-fast-africa-language-success/.

Namisi Moses Apollo has become a celebrity in the villages of Luwero district in central Uganda, where he has been teaching the Chinese language at Everest College for two years. The 32-year-old teacher, who returned to Uganda in 2015 after studying in China for about seven years, has won the hearts and minds of local youths for his efforts to improve their future by teaching them Chinese. Namisi had previously taught Chinese at the Confucius Institute of Makerere University before relocating to the Everest College and introduced the Mandarin language to the rural youths, read more about Namisi at https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1168173.shtml.

Africa and Asia, including the MENA region, will house about 82% of the world population by 2100. The new silk road will boost the trade and the economy in the Asian, African and European corridor that will be joining these regions and the surrounding countries (http://www.indiandefencereview.com/spotlights/understanding-chinese-new-silk-route/; https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/building-new-silk-road; https://www.google.se/amp/s/amp.dw.com/en/sierens-china-new-silk-road-hangs-in-the-balance/a-53431109) thus creating a new global trade and integrated infrastructure for transport and mobility.

Even in many Asian countries the flip towards learning and mastering Chinese is becoming a new trend in their education systems, see for example Australia (https://youtu.be/3G1EyvRZmOs).

Sustainable Developments and Role of Water-Energy Systems in the Anthropocene

Our water-energy systems around the world have complex and comprehensive interactions within and between each other. Yet, the complexity is accelerating more and more as global water-energy resources are also dependent on in the ongoing changes in the climate and environment. More importantly, the growth in world population along the increasing needs for water, energy, food and natural resources as well as eco-system services add new dimensions to how and when we can achieve the goals of the UN-SDGs.

The WEBINAR https://youtu.be/G3D0X96IuqY conducted at Boston University throws some light on what, why and how we can advance our knowledge on water-energy-food-climate nexus.

COVID-19 Vaccins are here – Success Story to Defeat Our Common Enemy ‘COVID-19’

The worldwide endeavours and efforts to create safe, effective, accessible and affordable COVID-19 vaccines are beginning to bear fruits and to demonstrate the very beginning of the end to defeat COVID-19 and save the life of humans on Earth. 2020 is now ending by a remarkable achievement and success as 2020 will be remembered as one of worst years in human history for the past centuries, if not more. A handful of vaccines have been authorized around the globe; many more remain in development. Here you can follow the advances in the global landscape of vaccines (https://www.raps.org/news-and-articles/news-articles/2020/3/covid-19-vaccine-tracker). Other detailed information on development of COVID-19 candidate landscape are also complied in the WHO database (https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/draft-landscape-of-covid-19-candidate-vaccines).

The biggest vaccination campaign in modern history has begun. This is a remarkable event and a major milestone in modern history that brings happiness and relief for the global citizens as more than 4.2 million doses in seven countries have been administered, according to data collected by Bloomberg. Delivering billions more will be one of the greatest logistical challenges ever undertaken in human history (https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-vaccine-tracker-global-distribution/).

Advances in science and technology have always demonstrated enormous capabilities to save humans from common threats as in many other cases in human history. The boundaries between science fiction and technological realities are now vanishing very very fast and the 21st century can be a turning point for more and more common solutions to bring resilience and prosperity as long as politics (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics) and political well act hand in hand with science and technology. ICT and IOT can bring together the global efforts and endeavours in sustainable tracks of success by decreasing ‘top-bottom and bottom-top’ communication gaps. COVID-19 has indeed showed how humanity can join together and unify to defeat common threats.

By the end of 2020, sustain-earth.com wishes all of us a Happy soon coming 2021.

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Part II of the ‘Sustainability in Science and Technology’ – The Human Performance.

The performance of humans is driven by diverse needs for food and security to overcome the challenges for decent live on Earth. 

This is an introduction to Part Two of the WEBINARS on “Sustainability in Science and Technology” – The Performance of humans’, hosted by sustain-earth.com.

Africa is the origin of homo sapiens and the renewables helped their evolution during millions of years and their migration out of Africa 70 000 years ago.

During the hunting gatherer era humans started to master artefacts and simple tools, also to build small communities and settlements. They domesticated animals, plants and learned to cultivate land and build shelters for their living.

The agricultural era that started 10 000 years ago culminated in an outstanding ancient Egyptian civilisation that lasted 3000 years. During this era people used water to promote agriculture, farming and to produce food. These achievements were made possible by taking advantages of renewable resources only, the sun (heat and light), water from the Nile and limited use of natural resources.

The mechanisation of agriculture in the 18th century during the first industrial revolution triggered increasing use of artificial pesticides and fertilisers. However, the limited water resources on Earth caused new needs for diversification of water production and management in order to have clean, affordable and accessible water for the growing population and the increasing urbanisation. The first industrial revolution involved various manufacturing processes supported by water and steam power.

The second industrial revolution in Britain was based on increasing electrification and use of combustion engines, rapid standardisation and industrialisation of many sectors in the 19th and 20th centuries. The widespread developments of the first and second industrial revolutions created huge pollution and waste in the atmosphere, the hydrosphere and the biosphere that continued and continued until now. New but limited renewable technologies, however, with zero net emission of green house gases started to appear by the end of the 20th century. This was due to the fear that fossil fuels are limited and have negative impacts on life. These developments were possible by more affordable access to renewable energies and the expanding use of alternating and direct current motors. Indeed, there are still several environmental challenges for scaling-up and scaling-out the renewables. Among these are the storage of renewables and integrating them in well-established grids. However, renewables and batteries require needs for new materials and further expansion of mining and processing that are dependent on heavy consumption of water and energy.

The third industrial revolution of digitalisation started by the end of the 20th century and opened new possibilities for increasing efficiencies and volumes of communication not only between humans but also between humans and machines, and between machines and machines as well.

The Information-Communication-Technologies and the Internet of Things will allow extensive and intensive expansion of Science and Technology with new gates for innovation worldwide on all levels and in many sectors. We have now many examples around the world which demonstrate that the boundaries between science fiction and technological realities are vanishing very very fast. We are, now, in urgent needs to proceed with the 4th industrial revolution and to continue with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning but with careful attention to the demands of renewables, preservation and protection of life.

Pre-announcement for Forthcoming WEBINARS 2021: Sustainability in Science and Technology.

The WEBINARS on Sustainability in Science and Technology will be hosted by sustain-earth.com. and will appear in 2021. They are coordinated by Professor em Farid El-Daoushy (Uppsala University, Sweden) and will be given by many professionals and professors from around the world. It is based on trans-disciplinary and trans-sectoral approaches to explain and detail several patio-temporal yet complex, wicked and interactive problems that piled-up over very long periods of time and caused the evolution of a new geologic era, i.e. the so-called anthropocene.

In part one, the natural drivers of life on planet earth, in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and lithosphere, will be explained to give the necessary bases for understanding the boundary conditions of the natural climate and environment systems of the Earth. In part two the life-styles of humans ‘homo sapiens’ on planet since their evolution on Earth, and migration out of Africa 70 000 years ago, i.e. during different transitions and changes from the hanter gatherer era until now will be followed. Part three will give the impacts of the combined spatio-temporal interactions between human life and the planets’ own drivers on the global economic systems. Further part three will involve issues related to growth economy versus circular economy. In part four analysis of the performance of sustainability with reference to the first three parts will be done. In this context, resilience in human knowledge versus science, technology and innovation will be examined. These four parts together will give background information on ‘what, why and how’ what regards sustainability can be put together in a resilient framework to scale-up and scale-out science, technology and innovation to meet the UN-SDGs in order to achieve prosperity on planet Earth.

In summary the forthcoming WEBINARS can be described as follows:

Part One: The performance of planet Earth.

Part Two: The performance of humans ‘Homo Sapiens’.

Part Three: The performance of world economic systems with consideration to growth economy versus circular economy.

Part Four: The performance of sustainability. Resilience in knowledge versus science and technology.

Highly Recommended – All Our Food Is Nature Made. However ‘AI’ and ‘ML’ can Improve Food Industries.

Photosynthesis is the main reaction behind all life forms on planet Earth, it triggers life processes in global eco-systems on land and in aquatic systems (ocean, lakes and rivers). For photosynthesis to do its job and produce all forms of healthy and nutritious food that makes up global biodiversity, including us humans the ‘Homo Sapiens’ (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human) water is needed. Indeed, even if we say water is the origin of life, it isn’t totally 💯 correct as we still need carbon dioxide in trace amounts. An important question is high trace is trace? Even though we have water and carbon dioxide at the right concentration, we aren’t done yet, as we also need solar energy ‘light photons’ to initiate this magic reaction and the very secret of nature that evolved four billions of years ago, the ‘photosynthesis’.

There are many other imperatives that are needed for the natural photosynthesis to do its job properly and to keep it in tact with all the functioning and metabolism processes of life forms on earth apart from the reactants, i.e. water, carbon dioxide and the photon from the sun. We need healthy atmosphere and healthy hydrosphere, these underlying spheres of life are currently undergoing continuous degradation by us humans. This indeed imposes great threat for the proper functioning and metabolism of the very basic mechanism that fuels the life on Earth, i.e. the photosynthesis.

The atmosphere is important for agricultural sectors and farming, apart from supporting the forest eco-systems. Naturally healthy and fertile soils, are also needed, that have the right mixture of nutrients and free from toxic chemical remains and heavy metals. Also, soils need to have good water holding capacity which is regulated by the organic content. For the atmosphere to be healthy environment for the photosynthesis to take place on land, we must have suitable atmospheric composition, e.g. carbon dioxide concentration that allows having appropriate temperature, in addition to being a necessary component for photosynthesis. Also, not to have toxic compounds in the atmosphere such as nitrogen oxides that through photo-reactions can produce boundary-layer ozone that has negative impacts on growth of vegetation, in particular forests.

What regards aquatic systems we still need suitable temperature (which is dependent also on the heat-balance in the atmosphere) in water bodies, suitable pH as acidification from acidic nitrogen- and sulphur-oxides destroys the living-habitats of fish such the corals in the ocean, also it destroys the food-web and kills fish as in fresh-water lakes and rivers; suitable amount and levels of oxygen for breathing is also imperative in aquatic systems. Naturally, we need also other trace nutrients in particular phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium (applies also for healthy vegetation on land and agricultural production). However, excess amount of nutrients cause eutrophication as the water bodies become overly enriched with minerals and nutrients which induce excessive growth of algae. This results in oxygen depletion in the water body after the bacterial degradation of the algae. As an example is the so-called ‘algal bloom’ or great increase of phytoplankton levels. Eutrophication is often induced by the discharge of nitrate or phosphate-compounds, fertilisers or sewage into aquatic systems.

We humans so far failed to imitate nature, i.e. to do what is known as ‘Artificial photosynthesis’ which still science fiction. Would we ever have Artificial Intelligence ‘AI’ to cultivate our earth, produce our food and create an Artificial Biodiversity? ‘AI’ can create robots and machines that imitate us humans in many ways through collecting the patterns of our behaviour. Robots can’t run the life on our planet itself but they can be better version of humans through Machine Learning ‘ML’ and thereby replace humans to do many many jobs in food industries, and also many other industries.

The implementation of AI and ML in food manufacturing and restaurant businesses is already moving our industry to a new level of performance, enabling fewer human errors, less waste of abundant products, less infections. They also allow lowering costs for storage, delivery and transportation. They can create happier customers through timely and quicker service. Even they can allow voice searching, more personalised and effective orders. Robotics for big factories and restaurant businesses will occupy its niche very soon and will bringing more benefits in the long run. Both AI and ML benefit from the enormous flora of sensors, actuators in addition to digital coding and programming.

For more details on these issues see: https://www.google.se/amp/s/spd.group/machine-learning/machine-learning-and-ai-in-food-industry/amp/.

Being able to read all the article we invite you to follow us and subscribe to sustain-earth.com. Meanwhile enjoy these drinks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DT53K9d0vUU

Introduction – Part One: The Three Main Drivers of Life on Planet Earth “Energy, Water and Natural Resources”.

Introduction to the forthcoming WEBINARS, hosted by sustain-earth.com, on “Sustainability in Science, Technology and Innovation ’SISTI’ of Water, Energy and Natural Resources”. Part One of the introduction – The three main drivers of life on Earth: “Energy, Water and Natural Resources WENR”. These drivers, by being dependent on the main underlying and interactive sphere of the Earth System (atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and lithosphere) are decisive for the performance and quality of both the life on planet Earth and the life of humans.

These three drivers ‘WENR’ have, so far, sustained all life forms on planet earth. Energy from the sun triggers photosynthesis where water in the HYDROSPHERE together with carbon dioxide in ATMOSPHERE have been the bases of all life in the BIOSPHERE both on land and in aquatic systems. Minor amounts of earth’s mineral resources in the upper LITHOSPHERE are also used as nutrients in the evolution of biodiversity and associated eco-services we benefit from as well as the production of our food. Homo Sapiens are not only part of the global biodiversity but they are becoming the main actor shaping it. Homo Sapiens extended the production. use and consumption of energy, water and the natural resources in the atmosphere (where oxygen is also crucial for life), hydrosphere, biosphere and lithosphere (including fossil minerals) for their living. The extensive and accelerating use of these drivers has surpassed the natural capacities and boundaries of planet earth to sustain all its life forms.

These drivers are imperative to achieve sustainable prosperity through integrated and resilient economic, environmental and social synergies. They involve trans-disciplinary and trans-sectorial (nexus) interactions in the socio-environment-economic fabrics that are shaping the future our planet including all societies around the world. Incorporating Environment-Social-Governace ‘ESG’ is fundamental for healthy and wealthy economies around the world.

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Is Urbanization Done Right – COVID-19 and Greening of Cities

In the past decades we have observed an accelerating urbanization around the world where many old cities expanded enormously. Leaving little spaces for the citizens to move freely, to breath fresh-air, to exercise in natural environments and even be exposed to the sun. In many cities there are no affordable and easy access to parks, forests and green areas. Even more serious new cities in many parts of the world are built intentionally with increasing densification where living areas are designed to meet the needs of working adults, transport systems and cars as if recreation and children don’t exist.

All of us have definitely experienced the considerable degradation in the life-quality of our modern cities. They became parts of complex industrial production sites and we became part of complex machinery systems. Even with the invent and use of ICT we still over crowded in small areas, i.e. to be as productive as possible. In the early days of the ICT is was believed that people can be more flexible and resilient and not always forced to be in working places. However, business-as-usual became part of our life-style as if ICT doesn’t exist.

COVID-19 has drawn our attention to how urbanization and modern life-style brought with several negative impacts to life-quality. In many cities and urban areas around the world it is even hard to apply ‘physical distancing’ as there are no spaces to do so. Also, ‘stay at home’ isn’t a suitable practice as household may have many persons living in the same appartements and houses. Public transport systems, schools and public services can still be very crowded. Even the use of masks are not standard in many places or even not recommended or recognized as being a safe option. One can ask what options are left other than transmitting infections.

A city is more than its buildings and more than just housing. Modern densification is often about constructing as much housing as possible, as quickly as possible. Of course, considerations are great for housing but in the rush to build quickly it is important to slow down and ask ourselves: What kind of environments and life-style are we creating? Why and for whom are we building? How can we create cities and living environments that are sustainable, resilient and comfortable for everyone? Are our urban spaces contributing in a good built environment for pleasant life?

The Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning has produced a
document in response to public debate on the densification of cities and communities, and to provide inspiration and guidance regarding ways to supplement the existing environment. Densification is not only about housing, it is about good built environment and life-quality for the people who live, work and spend time in the city. This publication gives views and arguments concerning some of the challenges and opportunities of densification. It also has interviews conducted with a few people about how they approach the challenges that exist. For example: how people’s needs for sunlight and daylight can be satisfied, how disturbing sounds in a dense city can be handled, how vegetation can be used as a resource, how room for public services can be created, and how a densification strategy for the entire city might be developed. It highlights a number of examples of municipal densification projects, all of which have added value over and above new housing. Mirja Ranesköld, planning architect, was the project leader and Elin Normann Bjarsell, landscape architect, was a member of the project team. Other coworkers contributed with their views and suggestions during the course of the project. The interviews were conducted by Elisabeth Klingberg at PratMinus (https://www.boverket.se/globalassets/publikationer/dokument/2017/urban-density-done-right.pdf).

Here some example of successful planning in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden, where I spent marvelous time in its ’Slottsskogens’ (https://www.goteborg.com/en/slottsskogen/) with an animal park, one of the oldest in Sweden. Just to demonstrate the old good times.

2020 – 24 Hours of Daily Reality Taking Place on Earth and Countdown to Uncertain Future

Interesting and scary reading that describes the daily reality around the world as experienced during 2020. What is going on planet Earth and the impacts of our irresponsible use of the global natural resources, in particular energy resources (by industry, transport, building and others), is based on scientific data and statistics specially what regards the atmospheric pollution. Among such impacts is the accelerating increase in the earth’s surface temperature (1880-2019).

What is happening in the atmosphere is triggering a global ‘Domino Effect’ with severe impacts on all other key spheres on Planet Earth. In particular the hydrosphere, the biosphere and ecosphere with tectonic threats on our living landscape (both rural and urban) and on daily basis. Global warming is also a medical emergency in times where COVID-19 pandemic makes the life more severe for many of us. The can be. connections between global warming and the COVID-19 pandemic. What is more serious is the scientific and technological advances, for many reasons, would not protect us against the consequences of global warming and will not bring back the decline in natural resources including loss of biodiversity. What is done is done and can’t be redone. As an example the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissor is unlikely to solve diseases caused by air and water pollution, also the mitigate the loss in biodiversity and tackle degradation in life-quality of atmosphere, bio and eco-sphere.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Gus8YH7ROjn-twSwt7K_Yxk6MuCNquII/view?usp=drivesdk