Category: Politics & Infrastructure

Politics and basic infrastructures for society services are basic components that can promote regional security, democracy, socio-economic developments and global stability with feedback impacts on each other and on world trade, international agreements and treaties for promoting large-scale and long-term sustainable policies, e.g. green-house gas emissions, peaceful use of chemicals and nuclear energy, navigation and aviation, immigration policies, world trade, trans-boundary agreements, catastrophe and disaster aid, human rights, …… etc. Politics and basic infrastructures have also impacts on global economy, peace, security and democracy through complex global interactions of major military, religious, economic, government and democratic institutions, e.g. UN-organizations.

🛑 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.

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.

To join, follow and get all the updates about our WEBINARS, directly to your e-mail, subscribe @sustain-earth.com. We have also created YouTube channel to support our activities, subscribe and join us.

Highly Recommended 💯 – Public Health Risks, The COVID-19 Can Spread by AC and Building Ventilation

Though the expectation of vaccine is around the corner, we still need to wait for at least few months. Meanwhile COVID-19 will not go away by itself and it will still be with us for sometime.

It is commonly known that COVID-19 can spread through aerosol droplets for quite some distant, get attached and accumulated on surfaces for time periods that allow them to circulation in buildings by ventilation and air-conditioning systems. Though there are risks and indications that AC and ventilation systems can cause spreading of COVID-19 there are still limited, systematic detailed and comprehensive studies on the exact effects of humidity, temperature and the technical specification of filters in large central ventilation and AC system. Through the so-called ‘Memory Effects’, e.g. in Offices, Towers, Restaurants, Hotels and similar Complex Buildings. In theory, it is enough that few infected persons can cause spreading of COVID-19 in the whole building if control, considerations and precautions are not well in place. Though out-door air can be used to some extent to mitigate this problem there are still several limitations. So, degraded indoors air-quality can in itself cause serious public health issues as we still don’t have enough knowledge. Even being tested negative isn’t enough to be safe in air-flights (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.cnbc.com/amp/2020/10/14/travel-and-coronavirus-do-pre-flight-covid-19-tests-work.html).

We are facing the threats of a second wave that may very well be much aggressive and we need to be very careful about indoors air-quality. Air-quality is definitely a serious matter that requires good sanitation in air and also how to deal with it needs to call our attention.

Few observations, literature and research articles on this matters are given here.

https://www.google.se/amp/s/nationalpost.com/health/covid-19-likely-spread-by-building-ventilation-say-canadian-researchers-working-on-an-hvac-fix/wcm/fda18c51-8cce-4640-8855-52cec5b0410f/amp/

https://nationalpost.com/health/covid-19-likely-spread-by-building-ventilation-say-canadian-researchers-working-on-an-hvac-fix

https://www.urbaneer.com/blog/can_i_catch_covid_19_from_heating_ventilation_air_conditioning_systems

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7182754/

https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/air-conditioning-coronavirus/

https://www.businessinsider.com/turning-off-ac-could-limit-chance-of-infection-experts-say-2020-4

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

Sir David Attenborough and BBC for the Nobel Prize in Peace

The Nobel Prize for Peace (https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/lists/all-nobel-peace-prizes/) has been awarded 100 times to 134 Nobel Laureates between 1901 and 2019, 107 individuals and 27 organizations. Among the International organizaions: Red Cross that got the Prize three times (in 1917, 1944 and 1963), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees got it two times (in 1954 and 1981), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. (2007), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Mohamed ElBatadei (2005). These are some examples, in the same manner, we can argue that BBC and Sir David Attenborough would also be excellent candidates that deserve the Nobel Prize for Peace.

The world was just waiting for this incredible event of Sir David Attenborough to join the Instagram. It is just to use Instagram as amplifier for lifting-up biodiversity as an important part of ‘Life on Our Planet’. In just few days his Intagram Account went viral (https://instagram.com/davidattenborough?igshid=11ay0osmkukkp) with millions of followers and more to come. It is as he has an important message to us. The power of social media can hardly be ignored anymore even by highly educated professionals and politicians. What is more important is the content of social media channels that keep improving as more and more are becoming dependent on them and critical voices continue to add new dimensions as ‘survival of the fit’ is becoming an evolution and the norm for progress on the Internet. With the rise of the Internet (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet) and the boom 🤯 of social media (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media) it is crucial to underline that quality of the content is being recognised more and more by the users. For a great portion of us, that can’t afford regular schooling and/or the expensive higher education, the social media channels are becoming an important source, if not the only source, of knowledge. Classical, conventional and international broadcasting channels (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_broadcasting) aren’t the only standard source of information and knowledge for many of us as they used to be. Though these trends, the global education systems, including higher education, are still closed systems as they don’t necessarily serve, i.e. the needs, the majority of the world population but rather an elite minority, as in football and other sports. Education, knowledge and knowledge transfer are imperative also as tools for public awareness, to share the responsibility, and not necessarily as a passport to the labor market that still support growth/linear economy. Universities and higher education institutes still lack efficient tools to reach out to the normal citizens, mediate knowledge and come near the society through tight engagement and active interactions. This is also the case for public education funded by taxes. Though the extreme importance of education institutes, in particular higher education, they still use ‘business-as-usual’ strategies without enough outreach policies to mediate and advocate knowledge to the public for protection and preservation of our common natural resources. This is the third duty of the universities and not only to perform pure ‘Research and Education’ that still can’t cope to solve existential problems as climate and environment changes, and the collapse in biodiversity, also to offer the necessary services to the citizens in major health disasters and pandemics as COVID-19. This is partly because universities and higher education continue to fail in creating partnership for goals neither with the citizens nor with the politicians as these are also part of their responsibilities, i.e. not to be isolated from the society and live on their own.

Sir David Attenborough and BBC achieved what the world universities failed to do, i.e. communicate science and technology in pedagogic and simple way, to inspire and motivate people, specially the young ones. To raise biodiversity as equally important, as climate change what regards our survival on planet Earth, is without hesitation an outcome of the work of Sir David Attenborough and through the systematic and continuous support of BBC (https://www.google.se/search?q=david+attenborough+nobel+prize&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=sv-se&client=safari). This is why they are very well placed to be nominated for the Nobel Prize.