Our well-being on planet Earth depends on three main essential drivers, i.e. Water, Energy and Natural Resources (fossil minerals and renewables including biosphere and its eco-systems) ‘WENR’. To achieve sustainability and resilience in our societies and to promote prosperity requires using and sharing our common 'WENR' capital with consideration to the complex and multi-layered NEXUS, i.e. the interactions and processes within and between these three drivers 'WENR’. Currently, Earth is facing existential threats caused by us collectively. Scaling-Up and Scaling-Out 'Science, Technology and Innovation' of the WENR-systems and coupling them to the 'Socio-Economic-Environment' pillars of our societies as defined by the UN-SDGs are one of the very few means to mitigate existing and future threats and bring full vitality in the functioning and metabolism of all life forms and processes on Earth. Sustain-earth.com is an open access online platform that allows active contributions and feeback.
Category: Environment & Climate
All sectors of modern society can have impacts from environment and climate changes. There are two “groups” of waste and pollution, those with general impacts on the environment and quality of life, and the other group with specific impacts on climate and weather through the so-called global warming. However, there can be some overlapping between these two groups and induced effects therein. Achieving sustainable socio-economic developments depends on keeping good records and information on how our environment and climate are changing in terms of space and time. Air, water and ecological qualities are very much related to the consumption pattern of our common natural resources on the earth, also how we deal with our waste from household, agriculture and industries. Furthermore, waste and pollution can exist in different forms (gas, liquid and solid), originate from various sources and follow different paths of dispersion, and ultimately have different fates. Upon dispersion in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, ecosphere and in aquatic systems, pollution continues to interact with the biotic and abiotic components of the environment. Such interactions introduce degradation in climate, weather and the environment. Greenhouse gases, primarily from fossil fuel burning, cause global warming. Other types of pollution, e.g. heavy metals, toxic chemicals, acidic gases, agricultural and industrial waste, cause degradation of life quality and other damaging effects on the environment, water and ecological systems. Because of the existing and emerging competition on natural resources, and the diverse consumption pattern by stakeholders and industries, there are constant needs for developing treaties, conventions, regulations and agreements on all levels and sectors to protect the climate and environment and to promote sustainable socio-economic developments.
Africa has enormous untapped resources of renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, bio-energy and hydro-power (https://www.renewablesinafrica.com).
Africa has the highest incidence of food insecurity and poverty and the highest rates of population growth. Yet Africa also has the most arable land, the lowest crop yields, and by far the most plentiful land resources relative to energy demand. It is thus of interest to examine the potential of expanded modern production of renewable in Africa. Renewables in Africa are future strong enablers and drivers for sustainable developments with enormous socio-economic-environment benefits. Renewables in Africa will help to achieve its vision for Green Growth (https://www.greengrowthknowledge.org/sites/default/files/downloads/resource/African%20Development%20Report%202012_4.pdf). In Brazil, for example, bioenergy development have been synergistic rather than antagonistic. Realizing similar success in African countries will require clear vision, good governance, and adaptation of technologies, knowledge, and business models to myriad local circumstances. Strategies for integrated production of food crops, livestock, and renewables, e.g. bioenergy are potentially attractive and offer an alternative to an agricultural model featuring specialized land use (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4337098/). If done thoughtfully, there is considerable evidence that food security and economic development in Africa can be addressed more effectively with modern bioenergy than without it. However, what regards bioenergy which is so far a major resource of energy in Africa, researchers warn about its negative climate impacts and a brake on bioenergy by 2050 is suggested. This will alleviate the extreme pressures on land in the coming 30 years and avoid the negative impacts from high carbon footprint and excessive land use biomass production from crops, trees or grasses for fuel through 2100 (https://www.google.se/amp/s/phys.org/news/2019-12-bioenergy-negative-climate-impacts.amp).
Here we illustrate an excellent example of renewables from one of the African pioneers in Geothermal power generation in East Africa and the Rift Valley (https://geology.com/articles/east-africa-rift.shtml). The geology, evolution and landscape of the Rift Valley (https://geology.com/articles/east-africa-rift.shtml) in Africa makes it a unique resource and an example of the untapped renewable energy resources. Working opportunities in the energy market in Africa would open huge employment possibilities for technical engineers, including ICT.
DM and CEO of KenGen Rebecca Miano, Kenya, gives us a glimpse on the future of Renewables in Africa (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XOreOpeqQ4o&feature=youtu.be). KenGen as a global pioneer in geothermal energy in Africa and the world, it has access also to affordable inhouse expertise to meet crises such as COVID-19. However, demand in energy for expansion and modernization of power plants are enormous and would need more and more technical skills.
Why do we need Energy? Why do we need Water? Why do we need Food? and How these three basic needs are related to the Earth’s Natural Capital Resources. For Africa where its population will peak to reach about 40% of the world population by the end of this century including housing the youngest population on planet Earth, it is IMPERATIVE to know how this wicked “Water-Energy-Food-Natural Resources” Nexus will be managed. With the huge and growing global pressure on Africa’s mineral/natural resources and with the other given needs in mind, how can we define Africa’s Livelihood on the bases of achieving the UN-SDGs?
The new dams in Africa have the potential to meet increased energy (electricity) demands. At the same time, there are strong coupling between climate and the “water, energy and food” in Africa. Also strong links with the global needs for Africa’s natural resources. On the large-scale and long-terms spatio-temporal changes, locations of the planned dams could put the security of electricity supply at risk for large parts of Africa. As the majority of planned dams are located in river basins with upstream and downstream regions that rely on similar patterns of rainfall and hence be vulnerable all together to drought and dry years. Also, subject to other extreme climate and weather threats caused by major changes in rainfall pattern such as uncontrolled flooding. These vulnerabilities could lead to electricity supply being disrupted. This is why it’s important to factor climate variability and change into dam design and management, and diversify the electricity production, to avoid over reliance on hydropower.
Hydropower relies on the flow of water to drive turbines for electricity generation. It uses natural changes in elevation or artificial storage in reservoirs to take advantage of the water level difference. Drought or successive dry years can result in not having enough water to drive the generating turbines and thus cause shortage of electricity. In countries like the US and in parts of western Europe hydropower is complimented by other power sources. This means that in times of drought other sources of power can balance the shortfall. But in countries where the energy mix is or will be dominated by hydropower as in e.g. Africa specially the sub-Saharan African countries. Without alternative power sources, the impacts of climate can cause fluctuations in hydropower and thus can disrupt electricity supply. Supply might need to be turned off either to ration dwindling water resources or because demand simply can’t be met. For example, the Nile and Zambezi, where multiple dams are planned on the same river channels and lie in the same rainfall clusters. This means that dry years will affect storage in all the dams, lessen their ability to refill fully and could create a significant challenge for the supply of hydropower. There are already examples of this happening (http://theconversation.com/new-dams-in-africa-could-add-risk-to-power-supplies-down-the-line-89789). In December 2017, for example, Malawi’s state owned electricity company saw power output plummeting after a severe drought. Malawi relies almost entirely on hydropower and during the 2015–16 El Niño event, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe all experienced electricity outages due in part to reduced rainfall. Climate risks must be built into planning, this is particularly true in many of Africa’s river basins because they are highly sensitive to changes in rainfall. The increasing importance of hydropower and the potential for increasing levels of rainfall variability under climate change, underscore the need to incorporate climate risks into infrastructure planning in Africa.
There is no question the planned increase in hydroelectricity generation in Africa presents both significant opportunities and also challenges. It will assist the economic development of the continent, as greater electrification will drive industrialisation and support the creation of more secondary and tertiary industries. All these come with several socio-economic opportunities. Also, increase in water storage capacity will assist the agro-industry, by reducing its reliance on rainfed agriculture. However, an over reliance on dams could threaten food, water and energy security during times of drought, and would present challenges to a wide-range of communities that rely on the natural flow of water in rivers. Also, the boom of industrial and household activities around centralized power-stations and artificial water reservoirs can cause local and regional degradation in air and water qualities if strict rules and regulations for emissions and/or injections of pollutants are not properly put in place. These emerging threats and challenges need to be assessed with the water-energy-food nexus and life-quality in mind. If African countries seek to harness the wide benefits that their rivers provide, they must also learn from previous mistakes, minimise and mitigate the negative effects of the ongoing dam building.
The number of challenges that Africa presents in terms of energy-water-food nexus and life-quality are significant. As such nexus has also several feedback impacts on eco-system services and bio-diversity. Furthermore, the lack of adequate management of available water resources is contributing to an existing and accelerating water crisis in the African continent. Changes in climatic patterns are also expected to have impacts on crop yields, which in combination with population growth will lead to severe additional stress on water resources that otherwise would have to be dedicated to increase agricultural productivity. Under these scenarios, future water needs from the growing African energy sector may play a key role when combined with changes in water availablity and the future increasing demands from agriculture. A proper analysis of the water requirements of the African energy sector is important for an effective future planning and management of water, energy and food resources in Africa.
This said, an important and interesting issue is the impacts of water needs for energy use and production on the natural water cycle on local and regional scales in Africa, also probably on the global scale because of evaporation from an increasing number of artificial reservoirs behind the planned hydropower dams in the arid and semi-arid regions in Africa.
At this stage we give only one example on the ongoing plans in Ethiopia for hydropower production. However, sustain-earth.com will continue in detailing the what, why and how issues in the “water-energy-food nexus” in Africa. Follow the story here (https://youtu.be/NbKoXlYUNY0).
Let us see first what the Blue Nile means for the people sharing it. Water carried life and has deep roots wherever it exist, these roots are so powerful that can’t be ignored in any agreement. It is not only water and energy that the Blue Nile carried with it. The mystery of the Nile and the cultural issues of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt is a mesmerizing documentary that MUST BE SEEN. It is the best documentary for any one who is interested in the Nile River.
We warmly welcome Dr. Hussein Abaza to join the Editorial Board @sustain-earth.com. Hussein Abaza completed undergraduate studies in Economics at the American University in Cairo (Egypt) and postgraduate studies in Urban Housing Planning at the Bradford University in the UK.
Dr. Hussein Abaza is currently the Senior Advisor to the Egyptian Minister of Environment. Prior to holding this position he has worked for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) from 1982 upto 2009. During his tenure with UNEP he was responsible for formulating and overseeing the implementation of the UNEP Economics and Trade Programme, led the team which conceptualized and launched the UNEP Green Economy initiative in October 2008, and functioned as the Special Assistant to the Executive Director of UNEP. Positions while at UNEP also included Chief of the Economic and Trade Branch, Coordinator of the Committee of International Development institutions on the Envrionment (CIDIE), and Coordinator of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN).
Founded the Centre for Sustainable Development Solutions (CSDS) in 2011 with the main objectives of promoting green economy and sustainable development, with particular focus on Egypt and the Middle East. The Centre aims at achieving its objectives through technical support, research, training, community based activities, and public awareness campaigns. As an Advisor to the Minister of Planning, Follow-up and Administrative Reform and Head of the Sustainable Development Team launched in 2018 a process for revising and updating the 2030 Sustainable Development Strategy for Egypt. Prior to joining UNEP, functioned as Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Physical and Urban Planning project in Saudi Arabia, Managing Director of the Center of Planning and Architecture in Cairo, Egypt, and Director of the Islamic Investment company, Central and Northern Region, Saudi Arabia. Apart from functioning as the Senior Advisor to the Egyptian Minister of Environment, he is currently a Fellow of the Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research and Technology and a member of the Environment Council of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture.
During the course of his professional career he provided technical assistance and supported country projects in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Projects aimed at strengthening national capacities to conduct integrated assessment as a tool to integrate environment and social considerations in macroeconomic and secotral policies, develop a package of policy measures, including economic instruments for implementing mutually supportive environmental, social, and economic policies. He also participated and delivered keynote statements and attended a series of national, regional and international workshops and events on sustainable development and “Green Economy”. Meetings and workshops were convened in Abu Dhabi, Amman, Beirut, Florence, Hamburg, Islamabad, Marrakech, Rabat, Qatar, and Tunisia.
During his long and extensive professional life he worked as a consultant/advisor for a number of international organizations, including the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Economic Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the European Union (EU), Plan Blue, the Union for the Mediterranean (UFM), the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED), the Centre for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE), and the German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ), SWEEP-Net, SWITCH-Med programme, and the League of Arab States. He prepared and contributed to a series of publications on environmental and integrated assessment, the interface between trade and environment, valuation of environmental and natural resources, the use of economic instruments for environmental management, and the Green Economy for the Arab Region, and manuals on sustainable development, integrated policy making, environmental assessment, green economy, environmental economics, and trade and environment.
How would the Gulf countries help joining the transformation towards green economy? https://youtu.be/uBFb0pVyNZM
What would Steve Jobs (https://sv.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Jobs) says if he would have seen his life-time invention to be RECYCLED in the second-hand market in tiny small pieces, parts and components? Reverse Engineering ‘RE’ doesn’t leave any product, what-so-ever until it is copied, re-engineered and put together again and again even in its best original form. Every piece, part, component and/or even the smallest screws and contacts of any smart phone, including Iphone, or/and Ipads are now re-coded, re-sorted, put on shelfs, re-packed and sold in thousand of streets of China 🇨🇳. Also, for that matter anywhere else around the world. No wonder how curiosity, needs and motivations to survive van turn people to use their imagination to re-cycle and re-use even what we still define as SMART. It is the enormous, constant and pressing needs for reparation and maintenance of even the modern HIGH-TECK electronic devices and appliances have created new markets, series of supply chains and self-made employment around the world. High-speed production by automation in factories can be RE as needs and demand for services are huge and can save the economy of users. AI will also be copied no matter the level of intelligence and the recycling of intelligence will grow and flourish. Humans will always find ways to win over AI as the instinct of survival is an important attribute for search for better life. Intelligence is a key component for the survival of the fittest and it is why humans keeps expanding their intelligence specially with the accelerating access to knowledge and know-how through the Internet-Of-Things ‘IOT’. With the growing need and imperatives of sustainability, Recycling, Re-using and Re-creating can make our planet Great Again.
Yes we can, see here how you can build your own Iphone https://youtu.be/leFuF-zoVzA
Professor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is Biodiversity scientist, Entrepreneur, Author and the 6th President Republic of Mauritius. She has joined the Editorial Board of Sustain-Earth.Com.
It is a great honor to have Professor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim on the Editorial Board of Sustain-Earth.Com. She has been the Managing Director of the Centre International de Développement Pharmaceutique (CIDP) Research and Innovation, also Professor of Organic Chemistry with an endowed chair at the University of Mauritius. She has served as Dean of the Faculty of Science and Pro Vice Chancellor (2004- 2010). She also worked at the Mauritius Research Council as Manager for Research (1995-1997). She was elected and served as Chairperson of the International Council for Scientific Union – Regional Office for Africa.
As a Founding Member of the Pan African Association of African Medicinal Plants, she co-authored the first ever African Herbal Pharmacopoeia, authored and co-edited 30 books, several book chapters and scientific articles in the field of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. She has lectured extensively across the world; is a Member of the Editorial Boards of major journals, has served on Technical and national committees in various capacities. Elected Fellow of several academies and societies, Ms Gurib-Fakim received several international prizes including the 2007 l’Oreal-UNESCO Prize for Women in Science, the African Union Commission Award for Women in Science, 2009.
The 6th President and the First Female President of the Republic of Mauritius and served in that capacity during June 2015-March 2018. She was elevated to the Order of GCSK by the Government of Mauritius, and received the Legion d’Honneur from the Government of France in 2016. In 2017, she received both the lifelong achievement award of the United States Pharmacopoeia-CePat Award and the American Botanical Council Norman Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award. In 2018, she received the Order of St George at the Semperopernball, Dresden, Germany. In June 2016, she was in the Forbes List for the 100 ‘Most Powerful women in the world’ and 1st among the Top 100 Women in Africa Forbes List 2017, 2019. She is honoured as one of Foreign Policy’s 2015 Global Thinkers.
More about Professor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim can be found in Wikipedia (https://sv.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ameenah_Gurib); Forbes (https://www.forbes.com/profile/ameenah-gurib-fakim/); Council of Women World Leaders (http://www.councilwomenworldleaders.org/ameenah-gurib-fakim.html); Linkedin (https://mu.linkedin.com/in/aguribfakim).
Scaling up science and technology to promote and implement the UN-SDGs is crucial for achieving sustainability in Africa and bringing prosperity to future generation. In this context coupling science and technology and integrating them in the socio-economic-environment pillars of society is imperative. We invite you here to see the progress, challenges and opportunities for cross-sector innovations toward gender parity, among others, in leadership in Africa and globally. https://youtu.be/sx8d_Xkt4xY
Sustain-Earth.Com is tuning its activities towards building sustainable communities in Africa. Instruments and tools will be gradually imbedded and integrated to facilitate more effective cross-boundary collaboration both vertically and horizontally, e.g. through ‘top-bottom’ and ‘bottom-top’ interactions for interactive and coherent participation of all stakeholders in different sectors and on all levels. This is needed to promote and implement the UN-SDGs as they give guideline of what is needed to achieve prosperity. Three main drivers are essential in this respect Water, Energy and Natural Resources. However, ‘What, Why and How’ to produce, use and consume ‘Water, Energy and Natural Resources’ for Sustainable Development need responsible and resilient managent in all sectors individually and collectively. Scaling-up ‘Science, Technology and Innovation’ and their effective, integrated and coherent coupling to society, population and market needs is imperative in this context.
Africa’s population is the youngest in the world and is growing very fast. Yet future challenges to cope with the degradation in climate, environment and biodiversity are diverse, complex and multi-layered. In this context, AGRICULTUREfor example, needs Water, Energy and Natural Resources to promote and accelerate food security, make Africa a net exporter of food and to add value to its agricultural products and for regional integration. To achieve this the agricultural sector needs: to increase its production and productivity; improve the functioning of national and regional agricultural markets; foster investment and entrepreneurship in agrifood value chains; foster access to food and improved nutrition; and also to improve management of the water, energy natural resources.
More about these issues in the following report (2013africanagricultures.pdf).
Sustain-Earth.Com is happy to introduce Dr. Patience Mususa who is now on the Editorial Board of sustain-earth.com. Dr. Mususa is a an anthropologist and architect with an interest in sustainable urbanism, the politics of green transitions and the impacts of the extractive industries. Dr. Mususa is a senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala, Sweden. Here is also a short video on Dr. Mususa where she talks about some of her applied research in key mining issues in Africa as based on field data, observations and studies. These are central, crucial and imperative for promoting and achieving the UN-SDGs through building sustainable and resilient infrastructures with appropriate ‘socio-economic-environment’ national and international links. See more on her here: https://youtu.be/JPqw2hdlaZc
While ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ in singular terms are composed of unique individuals from all walks of life, we still seek and need common solutions in spite of the fact that the modern political party systems are product of socio-economic conflicts of the last few centuries (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left%E2%80%93right_political_spectrum). Globalisation, by being affected by internetisation, is strongly shaping and reshaping democracies around the world. More and more intensive and complex engagement of world population, i.e. individuals of “WE THE PEOPLE”, is taking place. So, the number of solutions to achieve peace, security and prosperity are becoming endless especially if sustainability, with its ‘socio-economic-environment’ pillars, is to be seriously and actively taken in consideration. However, from the Science and Technology viewpoint a problem is a solution that is not yet found’ (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/288957; https://www.itseducation.asia/article/finding-possible-solutions; https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/look-for-the-solution-within-the-problem.html; https://www.aicpa-cima.com/news/the-problem-is-the-solution.html). We are desperately seeking new solutions and this remains to be the main concern shaping this century though the problems, barriers and challenges in our modern societies are becoming multilayered in nature, complexity and even diversity. It is not straightforward to tune individuals and their political structures to the same goals, i.e. to redefine what is meant by ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ in global context. It is a spatio-temporal dynamic process coherent with an ever ongoing progress in the development of human evolution on planet Earth.
This said, the COVID-19 crisis by being part of a complex health system on planet Earth demonstrates clearly the paradox in how to define ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ from viewpoint of individuals and communities, i.e. in ‘bottom-top’ models on the one-hand; and in political structures and governmental institutions, i.e. in ‘top-bottom’ models on the other-hand. Considering the global geographical data of COVID-19 and the associated antibody tests by today (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/) we may conclude that the so-called herd immunity, population immunity, or social immunity hasn’t been achieved yet as the time elapsed since the breakdown of the novel coronavirus ‘COVID-19 pandemic’ is yet very short. Herd immunity (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herd_immunity) is a form of indirect protection from infectious diseases that occurs when a large percentage of a population become immune to an infection. Generally, it can be achieved through previous infections thus providing a protection for individuals not yet immune. As COVID-19 is resulting from a new virus it will take longtime to achieve herd immunity and unless we keep doing at least what we are doing now we could face severe consequences. According to WHO, we are currently taking huge and yet unknown risks by reopening our economies. The spread of COVID-19 is refuelling itself and accelerating in the same way as it started back in China by the end of 2019 (https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/19/who-says-coronavirus-enters-new-and-dangerous-phase-as-daily-cases-hits-record.html). Herd immunity can be also achieved through vaccination which in the case of COVID-19 is not yet available and may take up to several years for worldwide public use. However, there is some light at horizon as we have new reasonable explanations about the contradictions in global infection and death rates around the world. We have delayed effects in the global immunity that resulted from BCG vaccination which has been introduced and still being used in the developing countries. This is apparent from the strong correlation of reduced infection and mortality rates of COVID-19 in the developing countries. Excluding the countries with low-income levels that have few number of cases of COVID-19 per million inhabitants, i.e. 0.32± 0.09, because of risks for biases from improper reporting. The middle high and high-income countries with current universal BCG policy (55 countries) the same value of COVID-19 is 59.54± 23.29 (mean±s.e.m) cases per million inhabitants, to be compared with middle high and high income countries that never had a universal BCG policy (5 countries) with about 4 times the number of cases per million inhabitants, with 264.90± 134.88. This difference between countries is significant (p=0.0064, Wilcoxon rank sum test), suggesting that broad BCG vaccination along with other measures could slow the spread of COVID-19 (https://www.dw.com/en/can-a-tuberculosis-vaccine-help-combat-covid-19/a-53388220). The epidemiological evidence, from this German-study, indicates that differences in morbidity and mortality produced by COVID-19 across countries might be partially explained by a country’s BCG vaccination policy. Italy, for example, with very high COVID-19 mortality never implemented universal BCG vaccination. Japan with low COVID-19 mortality rate despite not implementing the most strict forms of social isolation have been implementing BCG vaccination since 1947. Iran that is heavily hit by COVID-19, started its universal BCG vaccination policy only in 1984 thus leaving anybody over 36 years old unprotected. China despite having a universal BCG policy since the 1950’s, its tuberculosis prevention and treatment agencies were disbanded and weakened during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). This, according to this German study, could have created (https://www.dw.com/en/can-a-tuberculosis-vaccine-help-combat-covid-19/a-53388220) a pool of potential hosts that affected by and spread COVID-19. However, the situation in China, assuming COVID-19 data from China are correct, now seems to have improved relatively fast. So the present global COVID-19 data suggest that BCG vaccination seem to significantly reduce mortality associated with COVID-19. The earlier that a country established a BCG vaccination policy, the stronger the reduction in number of deaths per million inhabitants, consistent with the idea that protecting the elderly population might be crucial in reducing mortality. Similar studies have been performed around the world, researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia (MCRI) organized a trial to investigate whether the tuberculosis (TB) vaccine known as the bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) might offer protection against COVID-19 (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/covid-19-could-tb-vaccine-offer-protection). Earlier work has shown that it might reduce the risk of some respiratory infections that are entirely unrelated to TB (https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31025-4/fulltext). In this publication it is indicated that in addition to the specific effect against tuberculosis, the BCG vaccine has beneficial nonspecific (off-target) effects on the immune system that protect against a wide range of other infections and are used routinely to e.g. treat bladder cancer. This led to the suggestion that vaccination with BCG might have a role in protecting health-care workers and other vulnerable individuals against severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Also in a study carried out in France and The Netherland (https://www.france24.com/en/20200403-could-tb-vaccine-protect-medics-from-covid-19) it is stated that though BCG vaccine does not directly protect against the coronavirus, it can provide a boost to the immune system which may lead to improved protection and a milder infection. So, the race to develop COVID-19 vaccines has well and truly begun, but amid this research excitement another, rarely talked about vaccine is suddenly getting a lot of attention (https://www.gavi.org/vaccineswork/can-bcg-vaccine-protect-against-covid-19). During its long existence, an array of evidence has emerged suggesting that BCG vaccine may also offer beneficial off-target effects, providing some protection against not just some forms of TB but other diseases as well as it appears to help boost the immune system.
So, putting COVID-19 in a global historical perspective what regards the evolution of pandemics and diseases that threatened humanity reveals and uncover many important and strategic issues (https://www.converse.edu/story/reflections-on-current-past-pandemics/; https://www.historyassociates.com/the-covid-19-pandemic-in-historical-perspective/; https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/spanish-flu-pandemic-and-mental-health-historical-perspective). Until around 1970, historical research about pandemics had been virtually non-existent. Some novels and popular histories appeared over the decades, but it was Alfred Crosby’s 1976 book Epidemic and Peace, 1918 (reissued in 1989 under the title America’s Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918) that paved the way for international research about the subject. One of the book’s major achievements was to draw attention to the fact that the pandemic quickly disappeared as a topic of public conversation soon after it was over, ignored by periodicals and textbooks for decades. To many historians, this collective silence is as much a part of the pandemic’s story as the course of the disease itself. The first outbreak of global diseases occurred from 1347 to 1351, killed up to 50% of the Europe’s population (https://www.converse.edu/story/reflections-on-current-past-pandemics/). King Edward III of England ordered English ports to be closed before the plague reached England late in the summer of 1348. The best advice, that remains to be true until today, anyone could offer was to flee, in essence a form of social distancing. As in this case distancing all the population of England by closing its borders. A more recent pandemic, the influenza of 1918-1919 also has even more lessons for us to learn (https://www.historyassociates.com/the-covid-19-pandemic-in-historical-perspective/). The 1918 influenza pandemic occurred in a world devoid of viral vaccines, relatively minimal medical knowledge, medical infrastructure, and limited global communications. Most important, a century ago, medical professionals didn’t categorize the flu as a viral infection and there were no efficient, precise ways of diagnosing and documenting the influenza. There were neither a World Health Organization for global coordination of health issues nor scientific know-how to allow for isolation of viruses and the generation of quick effective antiviral tests. The origin of the 1918-1919 disease is still undetermined, it seemed to simultaneously appear in the USA, Europe, and Asia. Usually, influenza affects the young and the elderly, described as a ‘U’. The outbreak of 1918-1919 described as a ‘W’ shape as young, elderly and many in the twenties and thirties were affected too. Over 500 million people were infected worldwide, i.e. one-third of world’s population at that time. Between 50 and 100 million people died worldwide and 675,000 people in the USA. The period 1918-1919 overlapped with WW-I, so in addition to the huge lack of understanding of infectious diseases and medical responses, specially to civilians, the WW-I itself put more constraints on medical reserves and full implementation of social distancing both in Europe and the USA. Both Europe USA and other countries were placing most of their attention and support to the war. In the USA for example, as the flu found a foothold, Philadelphia’s health commissioner ignored warnings from medical experts and proceeded with a planned parade to support the war effort. While St. Louis issued warnings almost immediately when the first cases appeared and its health commissioner promptly banned public gatherings exceeding twenty people, closed schools, theaters, churches, and other places for several weeks. The death rate in St. Louis amounted to less than half, per capita, of that in Philadelphia. Flattening the Curve by social distancing was already used in 1918 though other cities around the world still went business-as-usual in running civil and public sevices, and businesses promoting the war.
The BCG vaccine (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/BCG_vaccine) first became available in 1921 and it appears on the World Health Organization (WHO) List of Essential Medicines. More than 100 million babies globally receive the BCG vaccination each year. Aside from TB, the BCG vaccine also protects against other conditions that involve mycobacterium (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycobacterium) including leprosy. Scientists produce the vaccine using live Mycobacterium bovis (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycobacterium_bovis) taken from bovines, which they have attenuated to reduce their virility. Although no studies, to date, have investigated the BCG vaccine’s influence over SARS-CoV-2, the scientists hope that the story might be similar. If the BCG vaccine can bolster and strengthen the immune system, it might reduce the infection rates of SARS-CoV-2 or lessen the severity of COVID-19 (http://theconversation.com/could-bcg-a-100-year-old-vaccine-for-tuberculosis-protect-against-coronavirus-138006). This is actually an important finding of the careful studies and examination of the global spatio-temporal data of COVID-19. So, without the collaboration of world health institutions, collation, coordination and compilation it would have been impossible to arrive to such achievement which is an essential conclusion for the advancement in science and technology. This is a reminder of the strategic importance of Goal 17 of the UN-SDGs “Goal 17 seeks to strengthen global partnership to support and achieve the ambitious targets of the 2030 Agenda to bring together national governments, the international community, civil society, the private sector and other actors”. Again the Goal 17 itself can’t be achieved without promoting and implementing a web of many other underlying infra-structures that are very-well defined in the UN-SDGs. Such underlying infra-structures allow stronger coupling of the citizens and communities to their multi-layered governmental and institutional bodies and organizations on all levels and scales. It is a matter of improving and strengthening vertical and horizontal communications in ‘botton-top models’. ‘Top-bottom models’ are not as effective and efficient in the developing and less-favored countries, it can be also the case in some developed countries. This is how to arrive to the proper operational definition of “WE THE PEOPLE”, i.e. empowering the citizens to enhance their performance in the very basic three pillars of sustainability: social, economic and environmental. A global transformational process where the responsibility is shifted more and more towards citizens to achieve knowledge-based democracy of engaged and well-informed citizens.
“Globalisation” (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimensions_of_globalization) means different things to different people, and the same applies to “Democracy” (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy). Globalisation has benefits, challenges e.g. risks and contradictions (https://www.chathamhouse.org/london-conference-2015/background-papers/overcoming-risks-and-contradictions-globalization; https://velocityglobal.com/blog/globalization-benefits-and-challenges/; https://www.newyorkfed.org/newsevents/speeches/2017/dud170511) with tectonic transformation and challenges associated with it. It has Pros And Cons for the poor and the rich countries in terms of access of small businesses, multi-nationals and working people to free markets. Not all barriers in globalisation, that hider the promotion and implementation of the UN-SDGs, can be eliminated overnight and risks still remain for social injustice, abuse of human rights, unfair working conditions, mismanagement of natural resources, and ecological damage, violation of intellectual properties, spread of infections and diseases, human trafficking and degradation of social welfare in general (https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikecollins/2015/05/06/the-pros-and-cons-of-globalization/amp/). We have also to take in consideration the existing illiteracy, corruption and misconduct in developing countries. Also, the remains of destructive impacts in the socio-economic fabrics that resulted from centuries of colonisation and slave-handel.
Both democracy and globalisation are dynamic in evolution and depends on political structures around the world. The shift from agricultural and rural societies to industrial and urban ones has forced new challenges that resulted in economic development but also economic competition. Advances in science and technological were major drivers that resulted in screwed shifts and systematic changes with trends in more and more differentiated, polarised and degenerated globalisation and democracies (https://ged-project.de/globalization/what-are-the-drivers-behind-economic-globalization/) in favour of trade and economic structures as defined and driven by growth and linear economies. Growth and linear economies, as consequences of screwed globalisation and democracies, are in flavour of developed countries that have easy and prompt access to science and technology on all aspects (https://ourworldindata.org/is-globalization-an-engine-of-economic-development; https://www.salon.com/2014/08/02/how_the_middle_class_got_screwed_college_costs_globalization_and_our_new_insecurity_economy/). Currently, globalisation is not an accurate descriptor of the 21st century as there has been tectonic and huge internet-driven transformational changes sweeping in all public and private sectors, trade and businesses. Yet, the international economic landscape is not tuned to incorporate within it the UN-SDGs. It is unfortunate that the UN-SDGs are degraded and reduced to only one goal, i.e. Goal 13: The Climate Action. Though Climate Action is important in itself, the same can be said for all goals as evident from COVID-19. The term internetisation is believed to be a replacement for the concept of globalisation as time and geography are irrelevant (https://www.google.se/amp/s/theconversation.com/amp/internetization-a-new-word-for-our-global-economy-88013). Internetisation is the contemporary face of globalization as it includes all modern tools of electronic globalisation and embraces the digital connectivity and empowerment of the internet and the World Wide Web. Globalisation of knowledge, including science and technology, and the associated impacts on industrialisation and economy, has benefitted, almost entirely the developed countries, through the considerable brain-drain from the developing countries either actively or passively. In passive terms, all researchers around the world are forced to publish in international journals that either controlled by the science and technology policies serving mainly growth and linear economies or fit in the science and technology strategies defined by the developed countries.
The gradual and systematic shift from ‘globalisation’ to ‘internetisation’ has also negative and positive impacts as is the case for globalisation. IOT, ICT and social media are still controlled by free market economy, i.e. linear and growth economy. This evolution has affected the way individuals define ‘WE THE PEOPLE’, i.e. from viewpoint of the citizen which is not coherent with how the political structures define it. We are not any longer living in isolated bubbles. Here are some literature that explain how countries, citizens and businesses around the world are becoming more interconnected, as various drivers such as technology, transportation/travel, social media, and global finance make it easier for goods, services, ideas, innovation and people to move freely across traditional and classic borders and boundaries (https://courses.lumenlearning.com/marketing-spring2016/chapter/reading-globalization-benefits-and-challenges/). These changes underline the ongoing transformation from ‘slow globalisation’ to more and more ‘fast globalisation’, i.e. ‘internetisation’. In any case, the major impacts on businesses that provide an abundance of worldwide benefits comes with major challenges for individuals, stakeholders and governments (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.globalization-partners.com/blog/benefits-and-challenges-of-globalization/amp/; https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/spero.htm). As globalisation or ‘internetisation’ can open and create new markets and technological advances with potential to empower and enrich everyone, so far it has created global unsustainable ‘socio-economic-environment’ inequalities. So, more and more political challenges have emerged that urge us, our governments, institutions and multilateral policy-makers to overcome the associated risks and contradictions. As companies, and stakeholders alike, start to grow and expand they face new difficulties to navigate and reach their global expansion goals and overcome competition barriers, decentralisation of industires, protectionism and cultural differences around the world. However, it is time to end the profit-at-all-costs mentality, because if we don’t build an economic future within a sustainable framework in which we are respectful of our planetary boundaries, and the need to change our energy, use of natural resources and technology systems, then we will not have a living planet for human beings. It is also, very important for countries to recognize there are essential services that need to be provided in terms of healthcare, education, good governance and a social safety that cannot be compromised on. The volume of needs that we have today made it clear that global cooperation is imperative and abundantly clear.
The rise of ’Black Lives Matter’, ‘I Can’t Breath’ (https://youtu.be/7Hj__JaNBI4), ‘Anti-Slave’ and ‘Anti-Racism’ demonstrations (https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/07/world/global-floyd-protests-weekend-intl/index.html; https://www.marketwatch.com/story/george-floyd-demonstrations-across-europe-grow-larger-and-louder-2020-06-07) around the world uncovered various socio-economic realities and disparities. These represent future challenges that are imperative for promoting and achieving sustainable societies. As by today, it is not straightforward, even in higher education and developed economies, to realise and grasp the involved dimensions associated with the inconvenient truth about how minorities, including blacks, immigrants and less favoured groups (https://socialsci.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Sociology/Book%3A_Minority_Studies_(Dunn)/02%3A_Dominant_and_Minority_Groups/2.01%3A_Dominant_and_Minority_Groups) may still feel or experience disparities in modern societies including Europe e.g. UK (https:www.timeshighereducation.com/blog/why-my-professor-still-not-black); Sweden (https://liu.se/en/article/svart-i-sverige). The stories that, to some extent, still remain to be part of our social heritage are rooted in many underlying historical and cultural events about racism, as documented and explained in Science. The sociocultural and socio-economic stratification of historical roots are still causing and promoting socio-economic barriers and hinders for inclusive integration and assimilation. Remedies and mitigations are well described in the Paris agreement of 2016 which was signed by the international community, i.e. the UN-SDGs compromising 17 goals for the prosperity and well-being on planet Earth (https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/envision2030.html). Michael E. Ruane, a graduate of Harvard University and reporter at the Philadelphia Bulletin and Washington Post writes “Such thought exists today with pernicious assumptions about the current nature of black life and black people, still featuring age-old racist references to blacks as animals. It persists despite the advent of modern DNA science, which has shown race to be fundamentally a social construct. Humans, as it turns out, share about 99.9 percent of their DNA with each other, and outward physical characteristics such as hair texture and skin color, about which racists have long obsessed, occupy just a tiny portion of the human genome” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/a-brief-history-of-the-enduring-phony-science-that-perpetuates-white-supremacy/2019/04/29/20e6aef0-5aeb-11e9-a00e-050dc7b82693_story.html). Until early 20th century the thoughts of Louis Agassiz, the famous Swiss American scientist and Harvard professor, who was studying what was called polygenism, and the New York lawyer and racial theorist named Madison Grant pointed that “blacks were often situated along the evolutionary ladder midway between a classical ideal and the orangutan”. Grant, whose father, a Union army doctor, had earned the Medal of Honor in the Civil War, believed in a rigid racial hierarchy, with “nordics” at the top and blacks and others at the bottom. It was not until 1936, when the African American sprinter Jesse Owens smashed the ideas of Hitler and Madison when he won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics. But Owens’s own track coach belittled the success of black runners: “It was not long ago that his ability to sprint and jump was a life-and-death matter to him in the jungle.”
The historian Ibram X. Kendi says “What black inferiority meant has changed in every generation . . . but ultimately Americans have been making the same case and even when “Americans have discarded old racist ideas, new racist ideas have constantly been produced for their renewed consumption” and some day the time will come “when Americans will realize that the only thing wrong with black people is that they think there is something wrong with black people.” Ibram X. Kendi, Ph.D. in African American Studies in 2010, Temple University, USA and a leading scholar of race and discriminatory policy in America.
The growing blind fear for the collapse of modern ’economic’ democracies because of the major failure of integration policies in the US and Europe, caused serious political conflicts in Europe and call for military domination in the US against protesters (https://www.democracynow.org/2020/6/2/trump_insurrection_act_military_against_protests; https://www.dn.se/ledare/peter-wolodarski-det-ar-sa-har-demokratier-dor/). Also, the shortsighted economic growth in Europe, that doesn’t promote the UN-SDGs (except what regards one goal, i.e. Climate Action), has triggered major refugee crises in 2015 and 2016 consisted primarily of a sharp rise in the number of people coming to Europe to claim asylum. Arrivals have now dropped, and governments have cracked down on the movement of undocumented migrants within the EU; many thousands are stuck in reception centres or camps in e.g. southern Europe, while others try to make new lives in the places they have settled (http://www.theguardian.com/news/audio/2018/jun/25/five-myths-about-the-refugee-crisis-podcast). Interestingly, the refugee crisis itself resulted from series of wars, e.g. Gulf war in 1991 (https://www.thebalance.com/cost-of-iraq-war-timeline-economic-impact-3306301; https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refugees_of_Iraq) based on false beliefs about weapons of mass destruction and triggered a spiral of political conflicts and instabilities caused by sanctions against Iraq, violence during and after the American-led invasion and occupation. It is also well-known and well-documented how Africas colonial history has affected its socio-economic developments (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/07/how-africas-colonial-history-affects-its-development/; https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000065575) and still remains to be a major underlying obstacle for building sustainable labour market specially for the Africas young population.
Socio-economic disparities existing in the labour market promote toxic cultures in workplaces on micro and macro scales. They are plagued by fighting, drama and unhappy employees to the point that productivity and the well-being of the people in the office is affected. There are seven major signs of toxic culture to look out for in your workplace (https://inside.6q.io/toxic-work-culture/). On the large-scale and long-term these trigger enormous damage not only for work places but for communities and the society as a whole. They can be hidden for long-time and can show up at anytime with different consequences and impacts (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/08/business/media/refinery-29-christene-barberich.html; https://www.google.se/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/media/2020/jun/09/editors-resign-us-publications-accusations-racist-toxic-culture). The victims of a toxic work culture are often the employees in particular those belonging to minority group such as immigrants and out-sourced workers specially to foreign (offshoring or nearshoring) businesses (https://yaro.blog/2641/is-outsourcing-exploitation/).
When and how we will be able to integrate the seventeen UN-SDGs in all sector activities around the world remains to be imperative. Unfortunately most of the focus still put on one Goal, i.e. Climate Action, which indeed is far from being enough to achieve prosperity, security and safety on planet earth.
To start with ‘racism and discrimination’ do exist in many forms and ways but with the growing global socio-economic-environment awareness the impacts and consequences of ‘racism and discrimination’ can’t be denied anymore. ‘Enough is enough’ and the whole world is now protesting after the legitimate cry of George Floyd “I Can’t Breath” that resulted in his cruel death. Finally racism and discrimination that has been taking place systematically and by institutional organisations even in democratic societies is being filmed (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.the-sun.com/news/924037/girl-who-recorded-george-floyd-killing-therapy-online-trolls/amp/). The echo of George Floyd is a symbolic reminder of how we humans still fail to give space for each other to exist. This is done through how we brought up to think and to act ‘Me, my and mine’ as by today in year 2020 the survival of some on the Earth with seven billion people, among other living species, is still ruling above all and everything. It has now culminated in a phrase ‘I Can’t Breath’ that millions and millions (if not billions) of people wish to say but they were always, and still, ordered to listen. This mindset is a long-standing historical heritage that was gradually and systematically allowed to grow and expand globally. From generation to generation, it has established itself as a global culture to dominate our life-style on planet Earth. It is not only about discrimination and racism but it is about a cancer (with no medicine) or a virus (with no vaccine) that has resulted in destroying all forms of life on planet Earth including humans themselves.
Modern democracies started to feel the pain of racism and discrimination as expressed by those suffering from it “I Can’t Breath”. This has been crystal clear through endless negotiations in the UN committees to bring peace and prosperity to our world. The cure, that the world agreed on, is being defined in a holistic document of 17 goals; the UN-SDGs of 2016 (https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/envision2030.html) which is a roadmap for achieving sustainable development for all. Indeed it is a collective global approach for counteracting all forms of historical racism and discrimination by building on the principle of “leaving no one behind”. Among these goals is erasing poverty and hunger that are very dominant in the black communities specially in Africa (https://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/research-news/2017-10-25-pollution-and-poverty-a-deadly-mix.html) also through providing people with quality education, health, clean water, sanitation, energy, equal opportunities and decent jobs. Global partnerships are needed to achieve these goals by peaceful means. The wicked problems of racism and discrimination though neither be solved overnight nor be left for centuries without solutions. We can’t keep running away from them by todays business-as-usual policies, strategies and politics. ‘Enough is enough’ and the world can’t go on turning their backs and leaving behind future generations on a planet that is full of ‘viruses’ of different forms. It is an imperative and urgent need to tune our collective efforts to save the planet from a total annihilation. Better late than never.
Health is a key issue for the sustainable socio-economic-environment transformation of any society. That is clear and evident now to all, and everyone, of us specially in the time of COVID-19 pandemic. However, moving the whole African continent and putting it on a sustainable roads of secure and safe public health it neither trivial nor can be achieved overnight. Africa is very much different and has several obstacles that hinder direct transfer and import of technology from the developed world. But challenges and opportunities are enormous. Not all innovations are likely to survive in the longterm and large-scale because of several reasons that are either treated or will be treated in sustain-earth.com. Future innovations have be based on solid and deep rooted sustainability pillars. Examples on such innovations are given at (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/aug/26/africa-innovations-transform-continent) and will be commented on, elsewhere, at sustain-earth.com. We need to screen all the existing innovations to evaluate and assess them against the new criteria of sustainability.
The African demography (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Africa) has special features what regards population distribution, growth, health, diseases, health care systems, transportation, urban/rural mobility, economy, …. ect all of which have to be taken in consideration to bring about successful transformation to sustainable communities. In the current state of development, innovative ICT-medical tools provide appropriate solutions to offer public health services as ICT/IOT has capabilities to couple P-2-P and M-2-P communications by short-cuts without the need of unnecessary transport specially in critical situations and for people in isolated locations. One such ICT-based solutions is Cardiopad that enables Remote Heart Diagnosis through digital tablets (https://youtu.be/NFIOuy3J-IQ). This has been developed by Arthur Zang, a Cameroonian engineer. When such new innovations find its way in the market they open a chain of other applications and services that can together build integrated and coherent infra-structures to scale-up solutions for whole communities. Let us congratulate Arthur Zang, his team and Cameroon for their innovation.
According to UNICEF, Pneumonia kills half a million children under five in sub-Saharan Africa (https://www.unicef.org/media/media_89995.html). Pneumonia, an infection in one or both lunges by bacteria, viruses, and fungi, causes inflammation in the air sacs in lungs that can make it difficult to breath. COVID-19 is an actual example that can cause severe pneumonia among elderly specially risk-groups.
Among several African innovations (https://www.responsiblebusiness.com/news/africas-news/5-african-innovations-help-achieve-equitable-prosperous-future/) that could help achieve an equitable and prosperous future is Biomedical smart jacket ‘MamaOpe’. This is an example of increasing number of start-ups in Africa that are based on innovation that seeks to offer consumers better experiences in areas such as commerce, health, finance, and agriculture. Such innovations play a key role for a sustainable development future in Africa.
A main contributing factor to death, of children in Africa from pneumonia, is the slow diagnosis in particular in remote areas far from medical centres. Ugandan inventor ‘Brian Turabagye’ has created a biomedical smart jacket that can diagnose the condition four times faster than a doctor and it’s also more accurate. Sensors embedded in Smart Jackets (http://mamaope.com) pick up sound patterns from the lungs, temperature and breathing rate and within four minutes, the data is computed and sent to a mobile phone application which then gives a diagnosis. The device is called MamaOpe “mother’s hope” and doesn’t require a doctor to run the tests and a unique feature is that it can be used at remote locations. This wearable medical device could help save millions of lives in Africa and beyond every year.
Sustainable development in Africa will be brought about by spreading innovation across the continent. It stems from the extreme needs for immediate sustainable solutions for the critical problems facing and threatening its advance to the next phase of development. One of such obstacles to achieve sustainable communities is waste, that either existing, e.g. sanitation, or emerging, e.g. e-waste and waste from fossil remains (mining including oil). Innovation for better healthcare, increased access to quality of education, improved social life, poverty reduction and better life-quality by promoting renewable-based technologies are some examples.
Africa is urbanising and ‘motorising’ faster than any other region in the world. The degradation of the continent’s urban air quality will triple or quadruple within 15 years. Invention of small cars, e.g. electric mini-cabs, such as Mellowcabs (https://youtu.be/UKlkS8ZloRE) that operate on three-wheels with low cost, eco-friendly is a convenient taxi and transport services in that can empower cities across Africa. Other innovations are that these vehicles are being manufactured from recycled materials, and feature state of the art electric motors and batteries. Other multi-layered advances in these small and practical vehicles that are embedded in their technology are ICT-technologies, connectivity, data collection, and analytics are catalysing a technology revolution that could dramatically alter the face of the transport sector in Africa and beyond.
In several previous posts (sustain-earth.com) several issues were addressed to describe and highlight the diverse characteristics of our present era ‘The Anthropocene’ in particular what regards human waste and pollution (sustain-earth.com). In this context, positive and promising innovations to handle, treat and turn waste to beneficial and friendly products in the developing countries, e.g. Africa, are being introduced. Waste and pollution from irresponsible production and consumption are being continuously injected to our main spheres that govern all life forms on planet Earth, e.g. the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere in three forms, physical, chemical and biological remains. The threats has to do with how we use our natural capital resources, including the minerals in the lithosphere, of planet Earth that have caused enormous, continuous and commutative damage to all life forms on planet Earth. Unfortunately, we have accepted and even welcomed all types of waste and pollutions to the level that we are gradually pushing the waste and pollution peak to unknown distant future. A future that doesn’t belong to us. Waste and pollution is described by some people as a ‘hoax’ or ‘fake news’ not created neither by the market nor by us. So, let it be the fate of future generations and the fate of who don’t contribute in ongoing irresponsible production and consumption. It is the current narrative to keep expanding and supporting irresponsible production and consumption. That is the philosophy of denying and refusing to listen to the facts of science that brought us to the point of tip-over of our planet Earth to the very edge of no return. So, would the young generation of Africa manage to change such narratives?
The electronics industry generates up to 41 million tonnes of electronic waste ‘e-waste’ that brings with it an ever growing problem worldwide especially in Africa as certain countries have become dumping grounds for electronics from Europe and North America. After WWII and the gradual independence of the African countries much of the military materials of the colonial powers from Europe were leftover in many Africa countries. Since then the e-waste started also to grow in Africa as some African counties were used as dumping places of electronic waste. This represents an additional pile-up of waste besides the home-made waste being produce in Africa. Recycling industries in the developed countries are based on turning waste to profitable products with least possible economic resources otherwise the waste is shipped elsewhere. WoeLab, an African 3D-printing innovation that is now stepping up its small-scale recycling efforts on the African continent. It is a way of combating the e-waste in Africa and members of the Tanzanian community technology hub joined together to create Africa’s first-ever 3D printer from e-waste. Such newly born industry is utilizing the discarded electronic parts to help advance the technology of the region where about 60% live in poverty thus offering access to emerging and self-sustainable technologies to improve their livelihood.
Generally speaking, global waste is gradually piling up and we are constantly and continuously pushing peak-waste more and more into uncertain and unknown distant future. This without hesitation will bring humanity to a wave of successive threats in the same way as the COVID-19 crisis that we are going through now. The amount of human garbage is rising fast and won’t peak this century unless global transformational changes in responsible production and consumption can take place (https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2013/10/30/global-waste-on-pace-to-triple). By 2100, the growing global urban population will be producing three times as much waste as it does today. That level of waste carries serious consequences for our cities, and the global environments as well, around the world.
It is certain that environmental destruction because of waste is enormous (https://www.nature.com/news/environment-waste-production-must-peak-this-century-1.14032). Solid waste ((https://www.theworldcounts.com/challenges/planet-earth/state-of-the-planet/solid-waste). Waste is mostly an urban phenomenon as compared to rural communities because of less packaged products, less food waste and less manufacturing. The acceleration of waste in the 21st century that already started in the 20th century because of the global transformation from agricultural to industrial activities brought with it much of new and serious threats to the atmosphere (https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/gaseous-waste), e.g. greenhouse gases and climate change and degradation in air quality. Also, to the biosphere, e.g. collapse of biodiversity, the ecosphere with degeneration of eco-systems services and the hydrosphere (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.transparencymarketresearch.com/amp/liquid-waste-management-market.html), e.g. degradation in water quality of the global water resources. The countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are the largest waste generators, producing around 1.75 million tonnes per day. This is expected to increase until 2050 due to urban population growth and projections to 2100 show that global ‘peak waste’ will not happen this century (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/when-will-we-hit-peak-garbage-7074398/) if current trends continue in the same way, i.e. ‘business-as-usual’. This is although waste in OECD countries will peak by 2050 and Asia–Pacific countries by 2075, waste will continue to rise in the fast-growing cities of sub-Saharan Africa. We produce 11 billions ton of waste every year, i.e. on average over one ton of waste by everyone of us on the planet. What regards solid waste it comes from construction and demolition (36/%), household (24%), industry (21%), commercial (11%), water supply and sewage (5%) and energy production (3%). Add to this gaseous and liquid waste. How soon the world’s trash problem begins to decline, i.e. the global peak waste, will depend upon how soon Sub-Saharan Africa will manage to decrease it’s own waste production, e.g. through prevention, reuse and upcycling, recycling, reduction, controlled and uncontrolled disposal.
Statistics from around the world regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, including the most developed countries in Europe and the USA, show considerable gaps in our health care systems in particular for the risk groups of world population. According existing data most infections and deaths do take place in hospitals (https://www.bbc.com/news/health-52196978). It is an unprecedented truth in the 2020 that our modern health care systems, even in most advanced countries, are unable to provide safe and secure medical treatments for the most needed when it is needed. It is a scary reality for all of us, even for professionals in the health care sectors. The working conditions in hospitals and in health care systems are suffer from several uncertainties with clear associated risks to die among doctors and nurses in COVID-19 is also unacceptably high (https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/asia-pacific-health-workers-risk-all-to-fight-covid-19/1791014; https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/90-000-healthcare-workers-infected-with-covid-19-icn/1831765). The pitfalls and other shortcomings in global health care systems and the related health consequence are being analyzed, assessed and compiled by WHO (e.g. 20200411-sitrep-82-covid-19.pdf). The figure given here shows people died with confirmed COVID-19 in England and Wales by week ending 27 March 2020 according to data from Office for National Statistics (https://www.bbc.com/news/health-52196978). In this figure about 93% of the people infected by COVID-19 died in hospitals, i.e. a total of 501 persons out of a total of 538).
This situation and chaos didn’t take place overnight, though according to the UN-SDGs of 2017, Goal 3 calls is about: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/health/). Naturally the global health care system is very much dependent of other major factors: education; life on land; life under water; clean water and sanitation; poverty; hunger; energy; economic growth; industry and innovation; inequalities; sustainable cities and communities; responsible production and consumption; climate action; peace and strong institutions; partnership in goals and gender equality, all of which are goals in the UN-SDGs-package. According to New York Times, we knew the coronavirus is coming, yet we failed “the vulnerabilities that COVID-19 has revealed were a predictable outgrowth of our market-based health care system”. Also, in Europe, the crisis has been systematically developed and evolved during very long periods, e.g. for Sweden (https://mobil.unt.se/ledare/mangarigt-kaos-i-varden-av-de-allra-aldsta-5564852.aspx) as the death of coronavirus in olderly health care is above 45%. There are several reports of COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes across Europe, e.g. strains on health and social care systems and healthcare workers have been reported with shortages in laboratory and testing capacity, personal protective equipment and healthcare capacity (including ICU ventilator and healthcare workforce capacity and staff being absent due to illness, quarantine or isolation (covid-19-rapid-risk-assessment-coronavirus-disease-2019-eighth-update-8-april-2020.pdf). These highlight vulnerability of the elderly in long-term care settings and the importance of infection control measures to protect the vulnerable population in nursing homes. However, this is the situation of the reality as we know it today and more unknown data and facts will be unfolded gradually as the COVID-19 pandemic will still remain with us for some time. There is no definite answer how long it will keep circulating and how the future will be. Let us hope that we will not have the same fate as the dinosaurs, it was probably a virus that caused them to disappear. When science and technology has no solution it is only the natural laws of the survival of the fittest as described by Darwin.
Indeed, the pandemic is far from bring over and several counties, e.g. in Europe are hesitating in opening their economies or rather have considerable difficulties and uncertainties to do so. At the same time the rates of infections and death are still rapidly growing in many countries around the world, e.g. Russia, Brazil, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Bangladesh, Colombia, South Africa, Egypt, Kuwait, Algeria, Nigeria, Iraq and Bolivia (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/).
We are back to Darwins time of the 19th century which strongly motivated him to do research on biological evolution rather than studying medicine. Ironically, he didn’t realize the strong links between medicine and biological evolution which we are facing today because of our tight interaction with ecosphere to secure our food. In his research he answered many questions as how species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwinism).
In the shadow of the first COVID-19 pandemic and as we are slowly seeing some glims of recovery we started to get new warnings of feared threats of a second corona wave. It is difficult to forecast how such a wave would like as there are so many unknowns and variables in terms of how, when and where we will be reopening our economy, also where, when and how the second wave will take place? Here we see complex scenarios involving multi-layered ‘physical-chemical-biological’ dynamic interactions involving a wide-range of parameters and factors that we rarely experienced on the global scale in our modern urbanized lifestyle. The geological era of the anthropocene that is forming our todays reality has never been as complex and dynamic as we have it today. It is even an impossible wicked problem for our supercomputers to solve and it is only a matter of a vanishing amount luck that can save us. Yes it is a true, harsh and certain inconvenient reality. The COVID-19 will not go away by itself, why should it, and what we currently know about COVID-19 is not enough to save us as we are still blind, locked-down all together in a dark quarantine and searching about a dark object called COVID-19.
As far as we know from previous historical evolutions epidemics of infectious diseases behave in different ways. With this in mind loosen restrictions in many countries is raising concerns in the UK and Germany about the potential for a second wave and how Europe should respond. The 1918 influenza pandemic for example killed more than 50 million people in multiple waves, with the latter more severe than the first (https://www.google.se/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/20/will-there-be-second-wave-of-coronavirus-).
It does not come with a surprise that we are getting many new alarming warns from leading expertise about a possible second wave of COVID-19 (https://www.livescience.com/covid-19-second-wave-flu-season.html; https://www.thecut.com/2020/05/second-wave-coronavirus.html). Reopening our economy without having various precautions and enough preparedness about how to deal with a possible new outbreak of a second wave is just a blind gambling. It is, therefore, legitimate and understandable that our public-health officials and private citizens alike are beginning to worry about an unknown, unsafe and insecure future. A failure this time would mean a bad fall and a bad winter with disastrous global impacts. The resurgence of COVID-19 next winter could hit many countries’ health care systems even harder than the original outbreak and this is according to the warns from Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A second wave that may very well coincide with the start of the usual flu season in many places, i.e. a more difficult one than we just went through of a flu epidemic and a coronavirus epidemic at the same time. So there are fears in the US that the second wave could be much more severe (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/04/21/coronavirus-secondwave-cdcdirector/%3foutputType=amp). In this context there are much concern and discussions what regards reopening the economy in the US (https://www.google.se/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/04/29/health/us-coronavirus-wednesday/index.html). Also, if this takes place in the spring we will also have double threat from a coincidence of regional spring allergies in different parts of the world from e.g. pollen, dust/sand or other fine M2.5 particles and aerosols with coronavirus epidemic. Imagine now these can even take place in heavily polluted areas with toxic chemical and physical particulate aerosols or gases. In our globalized, over-populated and urbanized world that we live in today we need to build public health infrastructure that ensure that we have the capacity to stay in the containment mode on all levels and scales. It goes without saying that the fast wave of worldwide urbanization after the second world war and the tight interactions between humans, animal and food production systems, also the global trade and business infrastructures have definitely brought much more health risks for increasing pandemics. Much more need to be done regarding the combined effects and integrated impacts of physical-chemical-biological pollution. It is unfortunate that we examine these impacts separately as our respiratory system is without hesitation dependent on air-quality and the collective/integrated doses from these pollution sources ’physical-chemical-biological’.
Another interesting issue that strongly influencing the rate of infections and death is the age structure (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_world) in different countries. Though the size of population in Europe and the US is 26.5% of the world population, the highest infection and death rates do exist in these parts of the world though they enjoy high living standards. One of the reasons for such high rates is that a relatively more proportion of the population in these countries is over 65 years as compared to Africa and Asia. While Africa and Asia has more younger population, e.g. under 15 years. According to 2018 world statistics (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_world; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy; https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/median-age/) Europe has 16% under 15 years and 18% over 65 years; North America (mainly the USA) has 19% under 15 years and 15% over 65 years. The corresponding figures for Africa and Asia are as follows 41% younger than 15 years and only 3% older than 65 years for Africa; and 24% younger than 15 years and 8% older than 65 years for Asia. Africa enjoys the youngest population in the world and to a lesser extent the same for West Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and parts of the Americas. Part of the explanation is also related to the culture and management of health care of the elderly which is very clear by comparing e.g. Sweden by New Zealand. It is now suggested that e.g. Sweden will be re-examining its elderly health care system as the COVID-19 pandemic (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/) has shown that the health care of the elderly in Sweden need to be revisited. Though there are much worse infection and death rates in Europe and the USA, Sweden usually leads the world in innovation and improvements once that realize what goes wrong. The issue in Sweden is about that Sweden took a different path of tackling the COVID-19 as Sweden has generous space and landscape as the rest of the Nordic countries, so the citizens can whenever they want enjoy natural social distancing by escaping the tight urbanized centers of cities. It is rather that very high percentage of infections and deaths are taking place in the health care institutions of the elderly people. Hopefully, the rest of Europe and the USA need to revisit their living style and their elderly health care systems as well.
Different strategies and approaches have been implemented in various spatio-temporal scenarios by different countries to cope with breakdown of COVID-19, its local, regional and global evolution in terms of spreading and containment. Never in the history of humanity there have been such involvement of politicians, policy-makers, stakeholders and citizens as we are experiencing in the COVID-19 pandemics. Thanks to the wide-scale of engagement worldwide and the open access to everyone to the World Wide Web ‘WWW’ (https://sv.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Wide_Web) that made information, data and statistics as well as the critical analyses of news on COVID-19 openly accessible and affordable worldwide. With some exception in the variations of the quality of information and data, it has been possible to follow with reasonable convenience the COVID-19 pandemics also with possibilities for live-updates (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/?utm_campaign=homeAdUOA?Si). So far great achievements with various degrees of success were obtained, yet much need to be done to declare being winners against COVID-19. Currently, it is not certain if we can securely and safely reopen our economies at least globally on local and regional levels. It is too early to say when and how we can do so. We are in a transition state requiring new measures and actions to get the situation under total control and not to be confronted continuously with a pressing state of “lifting or not lifting” the restrictions of the total lockdown of socio-economic activities and businesses around the globe. In this context, so many countries are confronted with yet complex challenges and difficult decisions. The way to go back to normal life is not simple, easy or straightforward or even clear as it would involve several careful and well-balanced decisions on multi-layered spatio-temporal scales involving how COVID-19 would look like after recovering from the first round of the pandemic in the northern hemi-sphere. Currently, we started to see signes of partial spatio-temporal recovery in many, but still limited, places around the world as we see, also, signes of partial spatio-temporal spreading in other regions far from the original epi-centers in China, Europe, Asia and the USA. So, there would be unknown delayed-effects here and there with further negative feedbacks. There are mainstream theories or hypotheses and even evident-based facts on why we have achieved various successes or failures in coping with COVID-19. Among high-lights is the secret behind New Zealand’s (https://youtu.be/mKorML1GPVY), Vietnam’s (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_coronavirus_pandemic_in_Vietnam), Germany’s (https://www.google.se/amp/s/amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/610225/) COVID-19 success, also to some extent UAE (https://www.khaleejtimes.com/Dubai-lifts-24-hr-movement-restrictions-in-Naif-Al-Ras–), just to mention some. Is it the wise management of New Zealand’s, Vietnam’s, Germany’s and UAE’s or are there other yet unknown circumstances? Is it because of policy-makers and their leadership as based on scientific background and how science-based approaches are coordinated with effective engagement of public/private institutions, stakeholders and citizens? Or is it the strong appeal to the notion of social togetherness and the believe that we will pass this test if all citizens genuinely see this as their task? Is it also, about the very rational assurances and emotional appeal to the citizens, institutions and stakeholders at a time of rising panic? In any case, it is thanks to a variety of factors, e.g. Vietnam, New Zealand, Germany and UAE that appear that these countries have dealt with the outbreak better than many other countries. Germans for example largely continue to heed the chancellor’s detailed directives. Unlike in the US, Italy, Spain, France, the UK and others with high rates of cases and deaths, total deaths in Germany, Vietnam, New Zealand and UAE have been relatively low or even very low. However, any resulting successes are at least in some degree attributable to the leadership, a way of bringing “divergent interests together in compromise,” as explained by some. Their abilities to admit what they don’t know, and delegate decisions, have been particularly important for healthy political structures. In the case of Germany, it is about putting together experts from well-funded scientific-research organizations, including public-health agencies and the country’s network of public universities. The Berlin Institute of Health, a biomedical-research institution, has, like other organizations, recently pivoted its efforts in order to study the coronavirus, e.g, working closely together to “establish nationwide systems” of research. The federal government, with Merkel at the helm, plays a convening role, recently gathering all of the country’s university medical departments into a single coronavirus task force. The virus is still far from defeated but judging by Merkel’s approach in collating information, her honesty in stating what is not yet known, and her composure she may someday be remembered not as Germany’s greatest scientist, but as its scientist in chief: the political leader who executed, celebrated, and personified evidence-based thinking when it mattered most. This is an unfailing demonstration on how the “Scientific Approach” even in wicked socio-economic crises can lead us to successful outcomes. On the other-side of the mainstream celebrities and politicians with large social media followings are proving to be key distributors of disinformation, random thinking and irrational speculations relating to coronavirus. According to a study that suggests the factcheckers and mainstream news outlets are struggling to compete with the reach of influencers. The actor Woody Harrelson and the singer MIA, for example, have faced criticism after sharing baseless claims about the supposed connection of 5G to the pandemic, while comments by the likes of the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, playing down the scale of the crisis in the face of scientific evidence have attracted criticism in recent days (https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/apr/08/influencers-being-key-distributors-of-coronavirus-fake-news). This also the case of president Trump that considerably played down the risks of COVID-19 and delayed putting in place mitigation actions, also as unlike other global leaders who pledged to accelerate cooperation on a coronavirus vaccine and to share research, treatment and medicines across the globe did not take part in the WHO initiative with a sign of Trump’s increasing isolation on the global stage. Both China and the US have accused each other of bullying and disinformation over the COVID-19 outbreak thus damaging efforts to secure cooperation at the G20, the natural international institution to handle global health outside the UN (https://www.google.se/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/24/us-stays-away-as-world-leaders-agree-action-on-covid-19-vaccine). Yet, as countries from Italy to New Zealand have announced the easing of coronavirus lockdowns, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, back at work on Monday after being hospitalised with the disease, announced that it was too early to relax restrictions there (https://cyprus-mail.com/2020/04/27/some-countries-prise-open-covid-19-lockdowns-but-uk-says-not-yet/). For Europe as a whole it remains to see how the economy will be reopened (https://shmfakhruddin-net.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/shmfakhruddin.net/2020/04/20/europes-plan-to-ease-restrictions-for-covid19/amp/). This reflects how sound policies play an important role not only in saving lives but also in how fast economies can be reopened and recovered.
The coronavirus is taking strong grip in the member states of the EU and the spreading of COVID-19 has achieved different stages in the member states with variable geographic rates, extent and hot zones distribution. The top of the spreading-peak is far from being achieved in all of the member states as is the case in China where the recovery seems to be taking place. The situation in Europe is worse than the corresponding one in China at its early stages of COVID-19 spreading (https://www.svd.se/who-kraver-mer-provtagning-och-isolering; https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/toi-edit-page/save-lives-with-social-distancing-how-to-protect-your-family-from-coronavirus-primed-to-hit-india-like-a-bomb/). The EU is now facing tectonic threats on several scales as coronavirus is new, aggressive and fatal on all levels and has complex, dynamic and fast interactions and impacts on all sectors. Though there has been division between the EU member states regarding how they can deal with COVID-19, the policies have shifted and converged very rapid into general strategies to limit spreading of the COVID-19 by restricting mobility and gathering of the citizens in public and working places. However, such restrictions don’t apply to strategic and critical service in key sectors such as health care. In higher education and upper school system there is major turn from campus teaching to distant and IT online teaching to limit gathering and travel and transport (mobility). It is a total turn away from previous theories and actions to use, apply and implement the so-called ‘herd immunity’ (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herd_immunity; https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/coronavirus-herd-immunity-meaning-definition-what-vaccine-immune-covid-19-a9397871.html%3famp) as it was suggested, e.g. in the UK (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/16/pm-tells-britons-to-avoid-non-essential-contact-with-others). Sweden has (https://youtu.be/Snnflr_8HKM) in particular taken many solid decisions in this respects to protect and support its citizens on several levels. The UK (not member state) shifted away from considering potential advantage of the population to acquire some element of herd immunity as this scenario, according to new data from Italy would require the loss of very high number of people from the coronavirus. The herd immunity model fierced backlash on social media in the UK with people claiming it amounted to evidence that their government was happy for large numbers of people to get coronavirus (https://www.google.se/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/politics/2020/mar/15/boris-johnson-to-hold-daily-coronavirus-press-briefings). All of the member states in Europe however aren’t in favor of such strategy and follow more or less the recommendations of the WHO to break the chain of the COVID-19 transmission, i.e. to limit the expansion of the disease. Early actions (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/toi-edit-page/save-lives-with-social-distancing-how-to-protect-your-family-from-coronavirus-primed-to-hit-india-like-a-bomb/) can save lives and the WHO has previously slammed the UK and Sweden for scaling back coronavirus testing and warned ‘don’t just let this fire burn’. However, though “Wait and See” strategies exhausted the early possibilities of coronavirus testing, the new policies now are going in the right track to save more lives and empower the citizens by correct public awareness tools as well as to give the private and public sectors the necessary economic support. In Sweden for example, the government has launched strong economic support packages (300 billion ‘swedish crowns (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.thelocal.se/20200316/sweden-launches-300-billion-kronor-coronavirus-crisis-package/amp) to protect businesses and jobs from the fallout of the new coronavirus. Among other measures in Sweden for example, narrowing the possibilities of gathering and mobility, strengthening distant and online teaching, intensifying health care efforts, public awareness on protective health issues and providing economic support to compensate impacts from shutting down work-places and effects from health injuries.
Since the breakdown of a new Coronavirus in China and an early alarm by a Chinese physician (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2020/02/06/world/asia/chinese-doctor-Li-Wenliang-coronavirus.amp.html) who tried to sound a warning that a troubling cluster of viral infections in a Chinese province could grow out of control with serious consequences, the rest of the world responded with a naive and irrational thinking “wait and see”. This is though it is a novel and rather unknown virus (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html) and the very first alarm by doctor, Li Wenliang, was an outcry to the world, and not only to China, to be prepared about what could happen in the future. The logic and rational thinking tells us another reality, as experienced everyday since the outbreak at Wuhan and after very long “wait and see”. The reality that a virus is a virus and can hit any person anywhere once is exposed to it directly or indirectly. It is a blind gambling to think something else as we live in very tight and densely urbanized communities, and not seldom overpopulated cities, on a very globalized planet with very fast, ultra active and even super crowded transport systems 60/24/7. How can we continue to sleep with a virus that doesn’t sleep, has constant and enormous possibilities for spreading globally and not only locally or regionally as previously thought. We thought that what happened in Wuhan wouldn’t happen somewhere else and people around the world continued watching what is going in China and how the virus is spreading with no idea that we belong to the same planet. The virus has no boundaries to stop it as there are no effective medicine to halt its spreading, no well-defined information on the dynamics of its transmission and how containment can be done on national and global scales. Though these known facts the world was left with only one irrational option “Wait and see” until it is right among us, in our working places and allover the globe in almost every country. The WHO was criticized by being slow to act on this epidemic as in previous health crisis (https://youtu.be/Fha0m7Wo3F0). Statements from WHO are based on the global statistical spread “wait and see” of the virus and not on the nature of the virus itself and careful forecasting and predictions of what could happen as based on spatio-temporal consequence analyses of the transmission and spreading dynamics. With an early (at a later stage) but yet fast global spreading of the coronavirus the WHO did warn the global community about quick actions and economic solidarity. Consequently, many countries around the world were still slow to act as they followed the early statements of WHO rather than taking own initiatives to protect their national population. New viruses such as COVID-19, by being novel is not among the priority list of WHO (https://www.who.int/activities/prioritizing-diseases-for-research-and-development-in-emergency-contexts) so it came as a surprise with insufficient strategies how to handle it more than “wait and see”, as a first reaction, and this in itself caused huge “wait and see” uncertainties among politicians, as economic issues based on growth economy have also to be taken in consideration. Though the science is crystal clear, it is new novel virus (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2Fabout%2Ftransmission.html; https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/as-coronavirus-spreads-many-questions-and-some-answers-2020022719004) with far unknown impacts and serious precautions have to be in place as being experienced and guided from reality (https://youtu.be/A1yXTlvTB08). Many information was given to individuals (e.g. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/cleaning-disinfection.html; https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7927017/How-travel-safe-coronavirus-outbreak-according-expert.html). How to deal with it on the personal level is of course very important but being an issue of Public health the main responsibility is still, and should be on the first place, on the national level as effective national and timely strategies supported by coordinated infra-structures are imperative in such situations. By intuition everyone of us felt it will come sooner or later to our homes but we reacted irrationally hoping that what happened in China will not happen to us though human beings, in spite of where on planet earth, are biologically the same organism (http://www.project2061.org/publications/sfaa/online/chap6.htm) driven by basic human biology principles (https://www.edx.org/course/essential-human-biology-cells-and-tissues). It is time now to rethink about more sustainable socio-economic system where health and economic issues are treated on equal footing (https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/coronavirus-recession-economy-would-pose-unique-threats-federal-reserve-response-2020-3-1028956481). Better late than never, the OECD declared a sharp recommendation that “Governments need to act immediately to contain the epidemic, support the health care system, protect people, shore up demand and provide a financial lifeline to households and businesses that are most affected (https://www.google.se/amp/s/abcnews.go.com/amp/Business/coronavirus-cut-global-economic-growth-outlook-half-oecd/story%3fid=69334244). There are no other means to face a new emerging reality that requires sustainable policies as formulated by the UN-SDGs. For Coronavirus live updates: Bookmark this map to track global cases in real-time (https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6). The global map of coronavirus as by 10/3-2020