The COVID-19 pandemics (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019%E2%80%9320_coronavirus_pandemic) though slowing down in the country of origin China with positive signs of recovery including China’s Hubei province to lift travel ban (https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-china-hubei-province-wuhan-travel-ban-467adb98-d5c0-4bdd-bf6b-eace981436a6.html; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/24/china-to-lift-travel-restrictions-in-hubei-after-months-of-coronavirus-lockdown) is still spreading enormously and continuing to grow around the world (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/world/coronavirus-maps.amp.html) with major calls for extreme measures worldwide (https://youtu.be/ZbXHIYBrFss) including for example total lockdown in India (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-asia-india-52024239). However, there are also interesting views that the COVID-19 pandemics will not last for more than few months (https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-03-22/coronavirus-outbreak-nobel-laureate) though this has been criticized by other researchers especially with fear that information on COVID-19 may suffer manipulations (https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/03/b09b868ec468-breaking-news-wuhan-doctor-blows-whistle-on-manipulation-of-virus-patient-numbers.html) or the leaders have prioritised restarting the economy over decisively containing the virus (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/23/life-after-lockdown-has-china-really-beaten-coronavirus) Amid the enormous reporting on COVID-19 there are ongoing socio-economic impacts of tectonic scales on all sectors worldwide (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/amp/business-51706225), e.g. the stock markets, banks, oil and gold prices, travel industry, industrial production including cars, hotels, restaurants and other services. Such impacts will still cause an increasing negative economic spiral on downstream activities and businesses. These trends have triggered several actions by governments around the world to mitigate the ongoing negative socio-economic impacts, e.g. the two trillions stimulus package in the US to businesses and workers forced to shut their doors and relief to American families and hospitals reeling from the rapid spread of the disease and the resulting economic disruption (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2020/03/25/world/coronavirus-news-maps.amp.html).
Education, Universities and Schools – COVID-19
Work is something we do, not something we always need to travel to, this was coined in the time of COVID-19 pandemic. It is also true what concerns education “education is something we do and not necessarily something we always need to travel to”. This may not be true in all situations but at least it can be a suitable alternative or it can be a supplement as well. From what we currently see around the world it is evident and clear that knowledge is needed to reach all and everyone specially in times when most of us has to be in collective or self-quarantine (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quarantine). However, free movement of ‘quality’ knowledge may be simple to say but how can this be implemented and achieved in reality is totally different not only what regards education (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education) but also for the sake of public awareness (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Awareness; https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_awareness_of_science). In both cases it is a major challenge for many, if not a puzzle for some. For both it also a matter of “what, why and how”. Knowledge empowers everyone and provide safety, security and welfare on several scales. Knowledge (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge) in itself is not a goal but rather an instrument that is also renewable. Knowledge-transfer is going through major transformation process, distance learning and online education can’t and will not take place overnight. We still don’t have accessible, affordable, well-structured and coordinated solutions on the global level that can help providing effective and high-quality distant education (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distance_education) and e-learning (https://youtu.be/r9ebNrKiYbM) for schools and universities. What regards public awareness there are constraints and uncertainties in the quality of knowledge as fake news and disinformation (https://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/A_short_guide_to_the_history_of_%27fake_news%27_and_disinformation) are penetrating everywhere. We have the tools for remedies and to mitigate the pitfalls. By being academic and yet a citizen in a society that is facing collective and deadly threat, COVID-19, that has already caused a state of emergency and considerable economic damage on regional and global scale, it is imperative to engage in finding practical and operational answers. It is a global urgency as, for different reasons, we will face similar situations and we will certainly need to have solutions for how science and technology in the ICT-era can be taught online. This also applies to all academic disciplines (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outline_of_academic_disciplines) and school education on all levels (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education). If the vaccines will take time to produce and medical treatments can’t be provided to everyone then we can ask ourselves, are there any alternative approaches to communicate knowledge not only for e-learning but also for the sake of effectively protecting our follow citizens from health and socio-economic losses? Universities have a third duty besides research and teaching, i.e. social engagement. Universities don’t need to wait to be asked from policy-makers to assist. They have possibilities to team up and initiate contacts with other public and private actors in order to innovate in new distant education and e-learning, also to take part in filling gaps in production and socio-economic services that are still needed in times of severe crises as those facing us now ‘COVID-19’. Much and very much more the academic staff and the higher education in general can do to create resilience in e.g. education and related services by effective implementation of ICT-solutions. Politics tell to implement social distancing, close campuses and recommend working at home on-line. Higher education, however, should have all the facilities, tools and expertise to deal promptly with wicked national crises such as COVID-19 that is currently paralyzing the whole society. Science and Technology in a state of emergency should be a solution to the problem and not part of the problem itself. Here ICT can be of considerable help, what regards how universities can have dynamic and effective roles in generating effective and powerful “university-society” synergies, by promoting what is required to achieve sustainable societies as stated and formulated in the UN-SDGs. Goal 17 of the UN-SDGs, i.e. ‘Partnership for Goals’ is for example a call for action by cooperation and collaboration between stakeholders. UN-SDGs are strategic goals for all sectors and actors in the society, including higher education and universities, to promote and achieve sustainable societies. In this context, the following components are of value to couple UN-SDGs with academic activities: curriculum; quality and benchmarks for sustainable developments; diversification in teaching, research and society interactions to achieve sustainability; policies, actions and guidelines; student engagement; and academic response in socio-economic crises. Many sectors in the society call for help to solve newly emerging and upcoming needs in times of crises (https://www.google.se/amp/s/news.sky.com/story/amp/coronavirus-tesco-becomes-latest-supermarket-to-create-jobs-to-meet-surge-in-demand-11961035). Student nurses are set to be mobilised to join the workforce early in order to support the front line response to coronavirus, as is the case of NHS in England (https://www.nursingtimes.net/news/workforce/nhs-to-summon-student-nurses-to-help-tackle-coronavirus-11-03-2020/). This is also the case for medical students which is indeed can also provide an opportunity to gain training (https://www.google.se/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/03/19/opinions/coronavirus-med-students-opinion-hollister-allen/index.html). Schools are sending kids home with devices, workbooks and other resources — but many others may not. Either way, parents are left with a dual challenge: managing new ways of working, while not allowing their kids to disappear into social media and video games for weeks or months. To minimize disruption to childrens’ education, keep a strict schedule and a list of goals to meet, we need to learn from Hong Kong what regards online learning during the coronavirus. What happened when Hong Kong’s Schools went virtual to combat the Spread of Coronavirus. A temporary solution during months long school shutdowns, the online classrooms may be an experiment the rest of the world can learn from (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/what-can-americans-learn-from-hong-kongs-unplanned-experiment-online-learning-during-coronavirus-180974331/). Yet not as schools close amid Coronavirus concerns, the digital divide leaves some students behind “We still had classes today, so I was asking my professors, ‘What if we come from an area where internet access isn’t readily available or reliable? About 15% of U.S. households with school-aged children don’t have high-speed internet access at home (https://www.google.se/amp/s/time.com/5803355/school-closures-coronavirus-internet-access/%3famp=true). This is even much worse in e.g. Africa because of different reasons, so coping with pandemics in the era of globalization may have severe feedbacks on global health and economies. What we learned from COVID-19 is that we are living in a globalized world and education is a global sector without boundaries and needs to be integrated and managed to meet new realities and needs.
Lessons Learned – COVID-19 and the UN-SDGs
The world machinery is now mobilizing all its efforts, but how? In this context, what do we need to learn and why? Never in the history of humanity there has been such a global determination on all levels to stop the a life threatening disease, a novel invisible enemy ‘COVID-19’. An aggressive nanoparticle virus that invaded the Planet Earth, infecting us humans, spreading with an extremely fast speed in all countries around the globe and paralyzing all sectors on national and global levels. First it was China, then Korea, Iran and Italy (https://www.wired.co.uk/article/coronavirus-italy). It is now accelerating in Europe, the UK and the US and following these it is expected to expand to the MENA region, South America, Africa and the rest of the planet. China did solid efforts to revert the advance of the COVID-19 and it seems now that it has passed the infection-peak of its population and on its way to recover. At the early stages of the appearance of the COVID-19 the rest of world took naive stand “wait and see”. However, with repeated warnings of WHO it was realized that any more delay and “wait and see” would bring disastrous impacts of tectonic scales to all countries around the world as it was seen in e.g. Korea, Iran and Italy to start with. Europe, took by surprise, was not prepared to take fast and common actions and the EU was very slow to agree on common and collaborative policies, i.e. what to do. However, this is not strange as the machinery in the EU (https://www.linkedin.com/posts/european-commission_coronavirus-covid19-activity-6645002380771368960-LmYC) is based on lengthy and complex chain of negotiations between the member states (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna1149491) especially what regards its internal and external borders (https://mises.org/wire/eus-once-open-internal-borders-are-closing-down). The member states of the EU, or rather the different countries in Europe, took their own actions and various pathways to cope with the internal spreading of the COVID-19 (https://www.thedailybeast.com/shuttered-europe-cracks-under-the-coronavirus-strain) in their countries. With the delay of common actions, as the rest of the world, Europe imported the COVID-19 and became in relatively short time a new epicenter for COVID-19. The most common and global criteria is how to flatten the infection-peak by social distancing and to empower hospital and healthcare capacities, and whenever possible to perform effective testing and screening (https://youtu.be/vww1nIIoqmw) in order to halt the spreading of the infections and minimize its fatal socio-economic impacts. Interesting enough Sweden set up a limit of 500 persons for gathering of people, Australia 100 persons (indoors) while many other countries including the USA and countries in Europe are recommending no more than 10 persons. Naturally there are reasons behind these figures, including the decision made so far by Sweden not to close schools and other associated links with its limited capacity in the health sector. It seems that many countries, even in developed economies, because of different reasons are not enough prepared to deal with wicked threats of large-scale and long-term nature. However, Finland seems to be very well prepared as they have until early this week very good testing and containment system. Finland though their high level of preparedness has imposed sharp restrictions of social distancing including shutting down their schools (https://www.svtplay.se/video/26027712/nyheter-direkt/finland-stanger-skolorna-pga-coronaviruset). Now, what have these issues to do with the UN-SDGs. It is interesting to see how goal 3 of the UN-SDGs “Insure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages” is very much dependent, linked and have complex synergies with all the other 16 goals of the UN-SDGs (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/) including goal 17 “Revitalize the global (and also regional) partnership for sustainable development”. The actions taken in the USA for example demonstrate the needs for effective partnerships between the private and the public sectors on the one hand, and combined synergies of top-bottom policies and bottom-top collaborative actions from the citizens. The strategies and policies taken in the USA, also to some extent in Europe, illustrate how modern ICT technology can be a great instrument in promoting effective and fast solutions to speed up the national actions and in proving effective top-bottom and bottom-top synergies. However, the testing in the USA for several reasons in not representing the actual situation (https://www.google.se/amp/s/amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/607348/) and the numbers of infections can be much higher, which is also the case for many other countries. The USA also has underlined the imperative involvement of the youth to assist in limiting the spread of COVID-19. The youth by being among the least affected groups by the health threats of COVID-19 and at the same time a spreading source of infection to the the risk groups of population. On the large-scale and the long-term perspective, it is evident from all what is said before the great importance of the UN-SDGs, i.e. in coping with major global crises that are facing and will be facing the humanity on planet Earth. Goal 1 “No povery” and goal 2 “Zero hunger” are essential to cope with the threats of COVID-19 at least in developing and poor counties. Quality of education, goal 4, is without of hesitation a key issue to cope with wicked problems such as COVID-19. Gender equality, goal 5, is imperative also to engage all the population in the mitigation of severe crisis such as the COVID-19. Goal 6, clean water and sanitation, is imperative for having high quality health standards and the same applies to goal 7, which is the driver of all products from food and industry. It goes without saying, goal 8 “create job opportunities for youth” by being part of the drivers of goal 9 “industry and innovation and infrastructure”. Goal 10 “reduced inequalities” are also important for effective engagement of all citizens in common threats. Goal 11, “sustainable cities and communities” is also part of empowering the citizens to take collective actions and measures for bottom-top effective synergies. Goal 12 “responsible consumption and production” is a key issue for empowering the society as a whole to act promptly and fast in coping with large-scale and long-term threats such as the COVID-19 where goal 13 “climate action” has feedback impacts from at least goal 12. Goal 14 “live below water” and goal 15 “life on land” are essential for food production, biodiversity and eco-systems services. Goal 16 “peace justice and strong institutions” are essential for providing the necessary safety and security to all the citizens to engage in bottom-up synergies.
EU, Sweden and the UK- The COVID-19 Policies
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.
“Wait and See” – The Coronavirus COVID-19 and National Responsibilities
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
Etiopiens premiärminister Abiy Ahmed får Nobels fredspris 2019 | SVT Nyheter
— Läs på www.svt.se/nyheter/utrikes/de-vinner-arets-fredspris
An important and innovative decision for Africa and the rest of the world. The political stability of East Africa is a strategic corner stone for promoting peace in a very dynamic region with emerging socio-economic potential for developments. Congratulations for this very wise support for implementing stronger bases for future sustainable development in Africa and the rest of the world.
Announcement – New Ph.D. Course “Sustainability in Science and Technology”.
REGISTRATION is opened for participation in a new Ph.D. faculty (Science and Technology) COURSE at Uppsala University “Sustainability in Science & Technology”. As far as possible and if places are available Ph.D. researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences are also welcome to register.
The European Paradox of Climate Change – Life Standard? or Life Quality?
The conflicting uncertainties regarding global warming and climate change is getting more and more real. It is not only a Chinese Hoax as described by the President of the United States (https://www.google.se/amp/s/time.com/5622374/donald-trump-climate-change-hoax-event/%3famp=true), it is also an European paradox causing social trauma (https://youtu.be/vGPU5SWV1DE) of two contrasting realities. A growing conflict and fear fueling collective social frustration about what we want in our life – Life Quality? or Life Standard? The Paris Agreement is now suffering from a new Hoax, a competition between two contrasting European (also global) interests, a comedian theatre 🎭 by the European Commission and the European Citizens. A blaming and shaming that is dividing Europe into two blocks. Whether you believe or not in global warming and climate change it is shame on you. Shame on you if you believe, though you want to protect and preserve the natural resources, as you are participating in the degradation of European standard of living. Shame on you if you do not, though you are concerned about promoting high economic living standard, you are not caring about the European life quality (also quality of life on planet Earth) by protecting and preserving our common natural resources and capital.
One example illustrating the European paradox and trauma what regards the Paris Agreement is the transport and air aviation sector. This also, applies globally. The transport and air aviation has huge emissions of greenhouse gases and contribute intensively in global warming and climate change. Still there are many other sectors that have more severe contributions (https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data). The standpoint of the European Commission what regards transport and air aviation is a comedian theatre 🎭 over global warming. On the one hand it supports the business-as-usual in transport and air aviation sectors (http://sorenandersson.com/aviation-a-climate-change-villain/; https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/transport_en; https://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/air_en; https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/aeronautics_en). The European Commission says “The Aviation Strategy is a milestone initiative to generate growth for European business, foster innovation and let passengers profit from safe, cleaner and cheaper flights, while offering more connections. This Strategy contributes directly to the Commission priorities of jobs and growth, digital single market, energy union and EU as a global actor. The Aviation Strategy of the Commisson will enable European aviation to flourish globally. So, despite the current economic crisis, global air transport over the long term is expected to grow by around 5% annually until 2030. While on the other hand the European Commisson supports the ongoing protests against business-as-usual in transport and air aviation (https://youtu.be/szdgJi2VKW8). The European Commission says, an air-flight from London to New York and back is producing carbon dioxide emission equivalent to the same emission that an average European citizen does by heating a home for an entire year.
Another important issue what regards carbon dioxide emission, is virtual emission. According to reports published by Our World Data Organization (https://ourworlddata.org) trusted by most reputed international Research and Media sources and institutions on “Carbon Dioxide and Greenhouse Gas Emissions” by Emissions” by Hannah Ritchie and Max Rose (https://ourworldindata.org/co2-and-other-greenhouse-gas-emissions). The report clearly indicate that the global emissions in greenhouse gases are still increasing and “if we switched to a consumption-based reporting system (which corrects for this trade), in 2014 the annual CO￼ emissions of many European economies would increase by more than 30% (the UK by 38%; Sweden by 66%; and Belgium’s emissions would nearly double); and the USA’s emissions would increase by 7%. On the other hand, China’s emissions would decrease by 13%; India’s by 9%; Russia’s by 14% and South Africa by 29%”. This indicates Europe, and in particular Sweden, are doing very little for the rest of the world to decrease the global carbon dioxide emissions and to actively participate in the global mitigation of the impacts of climate change. It is indeed an inconvenient truth about the European paradox and trauma what regards following the Paris Agreement and taking international agreements seriously instead of blaming and shaming their citizens and the rest of the world.
We are just listening to ourselves debating what are the reasons? Is it the older generation that destroyed the planet? Is it the fossil fuel that polluted the air and caused climate change? Is it the piling-up of waste, where plastics became daily food for other species on planet earth? Is is the irresponsible production of industry and agriculture that degraded the land-water systems? Is it the accelerating population growth that is causing pressure on water, energy and natural resources? Is the younger generation that is protesting against a world that they are still trying to understand? Is it about managing science and technology developed by the older generation to bring about sustainable societies for future generations? Is it the growing gaps of inequalities between the rich and the poor? or the disparities between the developed and developing countries? The debate is about whether to kill ourselves or not and why by the end decide not to (https://youtu.be/fnyljp3X4jU). A modern Hamlet ‘to be or not to be’ in real time, a comparison between the pain of life and the fear of the uncertainty of death. As for the Hamlet’s dilemma, although dissatisfied with life, was unsure what death may bring. Climate change is an undiscover’d landscape from which what is gone doesn’t return (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/06/david-attenborough-s-worried-about-this-ocean-threat-and-it-s-not-plastic). Only living species discover death for themselves but don’t return from it to describe it, it is a one-way ticket. So, if life with global warming is bad, the death from it might be worse.
Sailing on a luxurious boat as means of traveling is absolutely not a sustainable solution with astronomic costs and it is extremely unlikely to be a practical solution for public transport (https://www.google.se/amp/s/beta.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/08/15/swedish-climate-activist-greta-thunberg-is-sailing-america-amid-storm-criticism/%3foutputType=amp). However, it is an illustration of a disparate and a long-time human challenge to solve the complex issues of achieving sustainable living on planet Earth. To be united behind the science, as is given on Malizia, is to find affordable and sustainable solutions for the world population. If science is allowed to be defined by irresponsible consumption, the earth will be irreversibly and completely drained from its natural resources. We will gradually and definitely end up with an unhealthy planet over-populated and managed by an illiterate and poor majority. The history is repeating itself, challenges and adventures motivated to find better life on planet Earth, took place before, as in the time of Christopher Columbus during 1492-1504 (https://youtu.be/3fvXZzcrEcc). It has been always about finding better and prosperous alternatives of life. However, though the science and technology that we have today is far much advanced than at Columbus time the challenges facing humanity are much more severe for the majority of the world population.
Pre-announcement – The Imperatives of 2050-2100 “Sustainability in Science and Technology”
Currently science and technology can not predict how life on Planet Earth would look like in 2050-2100. In fact, we are facing huge uncertainties what regards how life would look like for us and other species that are sharing the declining and degrading resources on Planet Earth. With the exceptions of Ice Ages, this situation never existed before in human history. The Imperatives for life in 2050-2100 have fundamental prerequisies: the foundation of Science and Technology and the associated Scientific Method has to be based to solid Sustainability Pillars. A post graduate course for Ph.D. researchers at the Faculty of Science and Technology, Uppsala University “Sustainability in Science and Technology” will take place in November 2019.
This is a pre-announcement and an open invitation to get feedback from those who either wish to participate or to contribute in the course. The processes and actions for scaling-up science and technology to meet the UN-SDGs would require partnership for international collaboration. Information on the content and composition of the course, is given in the attached document.
Would Africa and Asia be the Future Destination of the Global rubbish?
While the world is talking about the severe threats and diverse degrading impacts of global warming, as the main driver of climate change (temperature, heat-waves, droughts, severe weather events, flooding, sea-level changes, malfunctioning of eco, bio-, agro- and aquatic-systems, ………. etc.), on all life forms on planet Earth. Many other threats, known but ignored for decades, appear and keep re-appearing in the horizon. What is more alarming and urgent is the running away from realities by deporting and exporting them far from our sight. It is the inconvenient truth about all other types of waste and pollution with far more harmful effects as is the case with greenhouse gases. It seems that the war for clean energy makes it acceptable to destroy the global water, eco-system resources and bio-diversity. These issues are triggered as the priority of the developed and rich countries is Energy on the first hand but it is a short-term vision of how we can deal with and treat our waste and pollution. We need to see the full reality of our planet and with all the increasing pressures on societies, politicians and the citizens to take actions, preserve and protect our planet Earth unified policies and actions need to be in place. It is not enough to have goals on paper “UN-SDGs” without transparent and accountable responsibilities. The increasing waste and pollution including but not limited to the enormous exploration and consumption of minerals, including fossil-fuel, and their diverse derivatives and products need to be dealt with otherwise we will end up feeding ourselves with rubbish as is already taken place in the developing countries.
Harmful and toxic waste and pollution (chemical, physical and biological) find their way to the atmosphere, hydrosphere and eco-sphere through different sources, pathways, processes and interactions due to diffuse or point sources, long-distant or short-distant, and direct and indirect injections. Their transport routes can be tropospheric or even stratospheric, also in the hydrosphere through surface water, groundwater and ocean transport systems. We have corresponding effects with different impacts on water and eco-systems as those caused by global warming. Parallel to the effects of greenhouse gases; carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen, soot-particles and sulphur oxides; we have other chemical and physical waste that seriously degrade water, eco-systems and biodiversity around the world. Degraded air-quality is a real global problem and it is still expanding and growing, however degradation in water resources, eco-systems and biodiversity has to be taken seriously on equal footing. It is straightforward to remove the sources and causes rather that solving their secondary effects. Many companies and actors do scape, in a way or another, from following the rules and regulations to limit the waste and pollution sources causing emissions of toxic and polluting gases including greenhouse ones. This is the case even in developed countries though the ‘Paris Agreement’ (see “The hidden truth behind Sweden’s waste disposal infrastructure” https://youtu.be/caw-969W-D4; “Exposing Australia’s recycling lie: plastics dumped, buried, burned” https://youtu.be/lqrlEsPoyJk). Even journalists are not allowed to get access to facts and to know what is going on? Reality is being censored and we as citizens have no way to know what is what?
Unfortunately, the ‘Paris Agreement’ says nothing about what solutions and actions we have to do. To what extent we should be serious and responsible about the waste and to get rid of the toxic and harmful pollutants for health though the increasing degradation of air-quality worldwide. The situation of pollution and waste, especially in many parts of Africa, is very serious if not tragic for many reasons. For Africa, here are five different reasons why the growing cancer of waste and pollution should be dealt with urgently (https://africafreak.com/5-serious-waste-issues-in-africa). Richer countries have been dumping a lot of their electronic waste (https://youtu.be/yUCoToorc9M) on poorer African countries in places such as Ghana, rather than disposing it properly themselves. The West dumps a lot of their e-waste on poor African nations, Africa has an underdeveloped waste disposal system, there are massive problems with waste and waste disposal in Africa. Africa has very low recycling rates. Though Africa in 2012 generated 108 million metric tonnes of waste only 10 million tonnes were recycled and the rest went directly into landfills. While a lot of countries in Africa barely produce any waste due to economic poverty, there are some countries that do contribute a fair amount of waste, e.g. Morocco, Algeria, Botswana, and Swaziland. Indeed, Africa suffers from severe underdeveloped waste disposal and collection. This of course in addition to the disastrous sanitation situation for 80% of the African population. In certain states in Gambia there are far too few waste disposal units to collect rubbish and deposit it safely. There has been uprising of vigilantes who are attempting to tackle the growing waste disposal in Gambia. Recycling stops rubbish from entering unregulated landfills and stops people burning the trash and releasing harmful chemicals (burning plastics releases carbon monoxide, a carcinogen causing cancer). Cairo is also a city with significant trash problem. It has been reported that some Cairo citizens were feeding their trash to pigs. However, interventions were done to limit the trash problems in Egypt. The situation is even worse in many other parts of Africa.
The most serious situation in Africa is what is going on in Ghana; European e-waste were found to poison the Ghana food-chain (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/apr/24/rotten-chicken-eggs-e-waste-from-europe-poisons-ghana-food-chain-agbogbloshie-accra).
The question is how would the UN-SDGs be promoted and implemented? What is the responsibility of the developed countries what regards their waste? Is it acceptable that the developed countries continue to export and deport their rubbish to Africa and Asia? We need to keep in mind that the majority of the world population 80% will be living in Africa and Asia by 2100. As consumers and citizens in the developed world and in trust of our policy-makers we leave our waste to be recycled at our countries as promised by the responsible authorities. But instead such waste is deported and/or exported to harm the population, degrade the environment and damage the biodiversity in Africa or Asia, is this acceptable?
Climate Activists – Let Politicians Talk With Scientists BUT Can Science Stop Climate Change?
The answer is definitely NO. The science and technology of today has NO solution to stop climate change before reaching the tipping point of irreversible impacts. There are already many changes on planet Earth apart from the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the ongoing warming. It is what most experienced and internationally well-recognized scientists say. Anyone who does not believe in this is an unaware dreamer, uninformed or/and misinformed politician. It falls in the responsibility of decision-makers to regularly seek, check, select and compile proper, correct and up-to-the-date information. There are different tools and instruments to do so. It is a complex and comprehensive task where policy-makers need to have the possibilities, qualifications and capacities to navigate in the diverse global landscape of knowledge. This includes regular and tight interactions with science and technology professionals and advisors.
The same limitations can arise in other sectors and there are continuous needs to have timely, updated and validated knowledge. Some research is just repetitive as low-quality journals still need to fill there pages with whatever material they can find. This is waste of resources, confusing and counterproductive, if so it is primarily a mis-management in science. Even in high-quality science, there could be “scientists” that still go on with “negative emission” experiments but the message to them is to be careful in their statements and to take their ethical responsibility. They do not need to promise more than what can be delivered in the near future as the matter is serious and above all not in their hands. What we need to know is the hard reality and not hopes for “science fiction” experiments. We do not need to fool ourselves, take risks and force solutions that are still immature. Enough is enough. We do not need to gamble with planet Earth that is already at great risk. There is no space to give uncertain hopes that can put future generations in large-scale risky experiments. All scientific facts that are available today tell us that the “negative emission” of carbon dioxide can not mitigate both the excess atmospheric carbon dioxide, and the additional yearly increase of carbon dioxide emissions, in few years as we do not have such technology today. We do not have time to wait for decades of innovation, experimentation and implementation of something that is still in its infancy. Who for good sake can convince all countries in the world to implement unavailable, risky, costly and uncertain “negative emission” solutions? Let us be very clear about this. “Negative emission” is as an inconvenient truth as the fact that global warming is caused by us humans. It is not about if we can stop global warming or not, it is rather about when we can do so. No one can give exact, well-structured and validated approach about how “negative emission” can technically, economically and environmentally be a successful universal approach to stop climate change.
The existing “negative emission” solutions are highly risky and not agreed upon internationally. They are not an insurance policy, they are high-risk gamble with tomorrow’s generation in particular those living in less-favored and climatically vulnerable communities set to pay the price if our high-stakes bet fails to deliver as promised. To relay on future negative emission technologies would in practical terms delay the needs to stringent and politically challenges policies for proper and immediate sustainable solutions. This would mean to pass the costs for reducing carbon dioxide, and its enormous disastrous environmental impacts, on to future generations. Some scientists and politicians, including Scandinavian ones, still believe that “negative emission” technologies can save planet Earth. An example is the Swedish Center political party “C” proposing to invest huge amount of taxes for R&D on “negative emission” innovation and inventions (https://www.instagram.com/annie_loof/p/BuDhdNVArtw/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=v7bit3k76m60). Naturally R&D is always good to do but it has to be based on realistic rational thinking and not on random ideas. “Negative emission” technologies have been heavily criticized for very longtime (https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2018/06/07/extracting-carbon-dioxide-from-the-air-is-possible-but-at-what-cost; https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/6/14/17445622/direct-air-capture-air-to-fuels-carbon-dioxide-engineering; https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2018/11/27/carbon-dioxide-removal-climate-change/; https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/28/climate/remove-co2-from-air.html). If this were done two-three decades ago that would have been probably much better, e.g. in connection with, or even before, the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyoto_Protocol). In 1992 there was already a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that commits state parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These issues were already known for politicians and scientists for about three decades ago. But no serious timely actions were taken politically, scientifically or technologically. To unify the whole world is still psychologically a huge challenge and would require intensive and huge efforts with no grantees for success (http://www.klimatupplysningen.se/2018/11/15/professor-jordan-b-peterson-ger-sin-syn-pa-klimatfragan/).
The only straightforward and acceptable solution is, on the first hand, to do what we should have done longtime ago and better late than never. Stop emitting carbon dioxide otherwise carbon dioxide will stop all life forms on planet Earth. Global warming, and many associated impacts and effects, are irreversible processes. The discovery that carbon dioxide can absorb heat is more than 150 years old (https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-15093234) and the threat of carbon dioxide for developing global warming was known for 123 years (http://www.rsc.org/images/Arrhenius1896_tcm18-173546.pdf). These discoveries show that validated science can save us if it is seriously and ethically used by politicians and scientists. It is very clear that politics, science and technology did not deliver solutions to protect planet Earth from global warming. Both politics and science systematically supported growth “linear” economy for very long time and failed to tune science and technology for the benefit of preserving and protecting planet Earth. In terms of human generation time that ranges from 22 to 33 years, this means that we failed to solve global climate changes during 4 – 7 generations. This is of course a very serious shortcoming in particular for politics but also, to certain extent for science and technology.
The most realistic now is, also, to find out how we can live side by side with a planet being gradually warmed up and to avoid further degradation of the life quality on earth. We need to be prepared to live in a new reality as the planet is not any longer the same as it used to be.
For more similar issues visit http://sustain-earth.com/ also https://www.instagram.com/sustain.earth/
Me and My Planet Earth – Every Year A New Birth Day Down Hill to Hell
In my lifetime, the life on planet Earth went through considerable degradation. Me and my fellow inhabitants had good times but bad times too. I chose education and science as my career. I will unfold how I experienced the evolution around me that brought us in this mess and the considerable fear that many young people are experiencing today. In some cases, it is a constant nightmare but certainly not for all.
As far as I remember and since I started to be aware of the world around me, and the growing inconvenient reality of the majority of people around me, I sank in an internal black-hole inside myself. This is although me, my family and the nearest friends around me were relatively in good shape and economically much better off than many others around us. We had many dreams and imagination for better future because of our own favorable conditions and the “State” still had enough resources to offer free and good education standards for the citizens. But only for those that were aware of the needs for education, had the motivation and could afford to go to school.
A black-hole that held me tight inside myself as an eternal prisoner with an intensive internal and never ending dialogue with myself. What for good sake was going on around me, how would such masses of people with complex and inherited socio-economic inequalities could manage to change their realities with yet unsolved political instabilities driven by the distant past of regional and global conflicts. Was this the life I am going to have for the rest of my life and for many years ahead? Although one could solve own problems but yet could not escape the environments around. As children at that time, the fifties, we were not allowed to speak out our-minds, even if we did so, the responses were not helpful to understand the complex reality around us. Realizing problems and conflicts without finding ways to solve them, or at least possibilities to change them, was a very source of constant fear. This made me, and the nearest people around me, much more frustrated and scared, also from diverse unknowns of both the near and distant future. For the lucky new generations of the nineties, even if modern life came up with different modern difficulties, they still had the internet to communicate, to debate, discuss and understand the world much better than me and my generation at that time of the fifties and the sixties.
To be born in the middle of wars, conflits, misery, poverty and above all illiteracy, ignorance and conservatism was not fun at all. Though these conditions, the life was still easy and enjoyable as these were not felt as suffering but rather challenges and every small positive outcome brought with it some happiness. I was still lucky to have a better start of life than many other around me, also many millions far from me on the same planet Earth. At the age of eleven is was the time for me to be brought in a big war right in every place in my city and its streets “Port-Said”, the Suez War (https://medium.com/@harrystead17/how-the-suez-crisis-set-the-sun-on-the-british-empire-4b8771807f30). I lived with my family in Port-Said in 1956 and during this war the city became cut off and isolated from the rest of the whole world for more than three month, no food, no water, no electricity, no school, no hospitals, no transportation ……. no civil life at all. It was a huge and enormous battle every day, every hour and every minute inside the city of Port-Said exactly in every street and all corner of the city. Many destructions, fires, shootings, crimes, rapes and killing. This was a daily experience for us and for all who remained living in Port-Said. Naturally, some people left and escaped the hell. The rest of the world was just running as usual with the exception that I, my fellow citizens, had to pay the price for observing how the Sues crisis sat the sun on the British Empire. No one imagined that this would or even could be so “the empire on which the sun never sets“. I did not understand and still I do not find any logic reason why such crisis couldn’t be solved with any other peaceful means. What the aggressive Sues War achieved by the invaders was just nothing other than bringing more damage not only to my world but for many others as well. There were definitely many victims but I was extremely lucky to survive this war. I remember the tragedies of the heavy bombing of the city and some houses around us were totally destroyed. At that time the war also added more conflicts to the rest of the world. An emotional actions of the most powerful countries that have nothing to offer other than destruction and damage. As a child and a global citizen (at that time we did not think as global citizens, it was only global politics) was just to accept wars caused by disintegrating empires that still tried to gain their lost power but ended up in polarizing the world to smaller separate powers. I, as the rest of the world, have just to accept such cruel behavior from the most powerful countries in the world.
I will continue unfolding my story in small parts and how the wars on plants earth made us blind and to forget about our basic needs on planet earth. Probably, the evil in us was much stronger than we could have ever imagined. Time was needed to dismantle such evil with the price of more destructions before we get time to deal with our needs without the constant fear that kept us in the captivity of insecurity.
Is Activism a Democratic Tool to Solve the Existing Enormous Disparities in the World? Or is it a beginning of a Global Civil War?
Is Climate Change issue turning the world into an increasingly organized activism that can trigger global waves of new fanaticism. After the case of the Swedish 16-years climate activist ‘Greta Thunberg’ waves of mass global protests took and are taking place. Yet, new preparation of massive school protests against politics and politicians are on the way and more are likely to take place. In The Guardian we can read the following: What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools’, prime minister Scott Morrison yells after being asked a question about school students participating in a climate change strike. Greens MP Adam Bandt asked if the PM would ‘listen to these kids, who are demanding your government to keep coal in the ground?’ Morrison’s response was that they should stay in school and leave politics to those ‘outside of school’ (https://www.theguardian.com/global/video/2018/nov/27/scott-morrison-tells-kids-going-on-climate-strike-to-get-back-to-school-video). Then the question to Morrison is why do you ask the citizens to vote? Would Morrison encourage people in the U.K. to stay at home and not participate in political elections or be engaged in political decisions and policies?
Scientistswarning.org, as is given on their home-page, is a Union of Concerned Citizens with a mission for protection and preservation of life on Earth. This organization is giving their total support for school protests (https://youtu.be/R6s8YgRH5T0). The essence of their mission is a protest against Consumerism, with its cast of advertising executives, bankers and economists, corporate CEOs, politicians, etc. It is all about the evolving of defective ‘operating system’ that insists on infinite, accelerating economic growth despite the ecological costs – namely the destruction of Nature. Many scientists have signed or endorsed what is displayed on the home-page of Scientistswarning.org to avoid the worst of ecological destabilization that we have inflicted on Mother Earth. We are all, as is said on their home-page “therefore de facto members of what we are calling the Union of Concerned Citizens of Earth”.
The ongoing school protests triggered by activists supported by international and national organizations are likely to expand to uncontrolled protests on diverse and global wider scales as there are million if not billions of less-privileged-people. Climate Change action is only one goal of the seventeen UN-SDGs. If our focus will continue to be focused on only one goal we are likely to run in huge trouble in the future. We can expect some sort of global civil wars that may include avalanches and waves of brutal activities around the world. That if things grow out of control. The Climate Change issue, though is certainly of global importance, is only a small part of the UN-SDGs (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/) with 17 goals and 169 targets that summarize the global defects in the socio-economic-environment systems around the world. The UN-SDGs is global comprehensive agreement that are designed by all world countries, they are shaped to mitigate and solve multi-layered disparities ranging from poverty, hunger, education, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth for all, reduced inequalities, responsible production and consumption, acceptable global quality of life on land and under water, peace/justice/strong institutions and partnership for goals. By being signed by all countries around the world give the global citizens the right to protest and to be activist.
The ongoing school protests in the developed countries are primarily focused on solving the energy issue “the so-called Paris Agreement (https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/what-is-the-paris-agreement), i.e. moving away from fossil fuel and turning over to renewables. The withdrawal of USA “Trump Administration” from the Paris agreement (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_withdrawal_from_the_Paris_Agreement) and the silent/passive acceptance of the world community of the USA action has indeed caused massive latent anger of the world citizens. The same scenario that caused enormous tragedies in the MENA region because of the Iraqi war (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_War).
The school protests initiated by climate activists, initially by Greta Thunberg’s family are not taking in their consideration the whole web of the UN-SDG thus are likely to trigger new series of violent protests around the world such as those took place in the MENA region in 2011, the Arab Spring.
Suggest a Solution?
Sweden’s Foreign Minister versus Canada’s Psychology Professor – Should Science be met by Political Insult?
In science, it is all about validated facts and reliable knowledge, the so-called Scientific Theory (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_theory), no more no less. It is not about opinions (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion) and emotions but it is rather about facts (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fact). Science is the main driver of validated knowledge as being deduced from validated hard facts (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fact) and it is the very bases of any healthy democracy. Opinions come and go but the domain of science is always based on hard facts and remains to be an ultimate reference based on neutral knowledge. However, in social sciences there are no absolute global facts as such as human diversity can be quite complex depending on many parameters. In exact science such as mathematics, physics and chemistry facts can be universal, absolutely correct and exact with high quantitative precision which is not the same as non-exact and qualitative sciences that can not be directly measured with calibrated instruments. In the later case observations can be bases in best cases on comprehensive compilation and statistical treatments of intensive arbitrary data.
Both politics and science should inform the public about how democratic decisions are made and how the public taxes are used to settle conflicts and disputes in the society. If both the Canadian professor Peterson and the Swedish Foreign minister Wallström were, as they are indeed, citizens like us they would demand to know what are the hard facts behind their arguments. Professor Peterson did, to a great extent, explain by “validated” science his views, indeed he has, to large extent, the scientific community behind him. The Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallström, on the other hand, did not raise any logic arguments and replied with an insult (https://youtu.be/7dJFa_cgero). The other members of the panel did not share the Minister views. I learned that “To think free is great, but to think rightly is greater”, this statement is written over the entrance of Uppsala University. Free thought and the right to express ourselves freely is absolutely fundamental but does not deserve insulation, it deserves free, ethical and fair debates. In this context, the question is, is the validated, or at least to large extent validated, science of Professor Peterson wrong? If so why? This was never explained by the Swedish Foreign minister and she even went on by insulting the people that listen, including university students around the world, to Professor Peterson. Well, the matter is so simple, if I was a politician, I would require an investigation about the facts stated by Professor Peterson. There are psychologists in Sweden and if professor Jordan Peterson is wrong then why the Swedish minister does not get a second opinion from the Swedish psychologists and just turn this matter to an open academic and social debate? That was much better than acting emotionally as she did. The same applies to Anne Lööf, the leader of the Swedish Center party, where she protested (https://youtu.be/Bv3ZNeoutjo) against Professor Peterson with a short statement by saying “WE” don’t agree with that? We, who is WE? Is it all the Swedish people? It is all the people of the Center Party? Or is it the liberals or the Alliance? This was not enough from her as she did not give any further explanations on why she does not agree on scientific facts and the reasoning of Professor Peterson? Even the host, journalist and leader of the Norwegian TV program, Fredrik Skavlan, did not do any follow-up events to find out which is which and why science and politics are in dispute? Unfortunately, any information that appear on the Internet spreads so fast and any corrections by experts my come with considerable delay. This was also the case here.
The topic of “Equal Outcome” and “Equal Opportunity” is very much discussed in literature and the basic definitions and explanations have been known for longtime (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equality_of_outcome). It turns out that there are great differences between the two concepts, i.e. “Equal Opportunity” and “Equal Outcome” in terms of politics (http://www.valuesandcapitalism.com/equal-opportunity-vs-equal-outcome/), i.e. to the left or to the right. As far as I know psychology is politically a neutral science and is always needed in democratic societies, it is the essence of healthy social fabrics. Psychology went through considerable advances, progress and developments and most of the content of modern psychology is still yet unknown to the public. Still the science itself is subject to several limitations by not being an exact science, as is the case in mathematics, physics and chemistry. Human behavior (psychology, sociology and anthropology) can not be modeled or parameterized, i.e. described by mathematical equations. The impacts of the two concepts, “Equal Opportunity” and “Equal Outcome” and their implementation, whether scientifically or politically based, on the society are enormous on several socio-economic and even socio-economic-environment levels. These differences should be explained to the citizens on every detail as at the end of the day the citizens should base their decisions and votes on what is what, why is why and how is how?
Definitely there is a big disagreement between science and politics on the highest levels (https://nyheteridag.se/swedish-foreign-minister-wallstrom-says-jordan-b-peterson-shouldve-stayed-under-a-rock/) though both are related. For us as citizens in a democratic society, we need to know what is the good science (correct and trustful news) and what is pseudoscience (bad and fake news). Science is always the main driver of healthy democracies and both science and politics are very much dependent on each other. Now, if politics continue to discredit science without validated facts then we will be in a very problematic situation for years to come. This will end up with an accelerating spiral of mistrust in science, research and education. It is a green light from politicians to the public to be suspicious about our education system. This is already taking place and it remains to see what type of society would be have in the future? Of course constructive criticism is very healthy for science and there is nothing wrong to question knowledge but this can not be on loose arguments, emotional opinions and definitely not through insulting the scientific community.
This said, there are still media-based concerns about Professor’s Jordan Peterson political argumentation (https://medium.com/s/story/a-field-guide-to-jordan-petersons-politicalarguments-312153eac99a). What concerns non-exact sciences, they have to be strictly validated and reproducible on several scales and levels as well as over very long periods of time. In this case, human science, they should be done preferably over generations. So, it is healthy to get a balanced debate of what is addressed by Professor Peterson but again through validated facts and fair debates from both sides, i.e. politics and science. Logically the scientific community should be more and more engaged in media debates as this in-fact one of the three duties and tasks of the universities and academies, i.e. research, teaching and outreach activities. Unfortunately, many universities and academies, if not all, are very passive in performing their third duty, and systematically ignore their third task, which indeed counterproductive what regards promoting and achieving sustainable societies. By being part of the scientific community I have to explain what science dedicates without mixing up science and politics. Then the citizens and voters have to take all these facts in their consideration to achieve more sustainable future for the coming generations as well. Very important questions in this context are: Do we need science? If, the political answer is yes, which indeed is, then we can ask is science a bad or a good compass for politics? Would “Equal Opportunity” or “Equal Outcome” be the best for promoting Circular Economy and sustainable societies.
Education Versus Politics – Our collective Suicide
There are no questions or doubts that we have serious conflicts and misconceptions around the world between Education and Politics. These conflicts are deeply rooted in the perception of the role of science and technology as essential and imperative drivers for sustainable developments and promotion of sustainable societies.
On the one side, politicians use (misuse) the outcome of science and technology to achieve, in best cases, short-term benefits not in favor of future generations. Also, politics is imposing restrictions on the mission of science and technology for the sake of improving the life quality of the global citizens. This has been the case for generations as it is evident from the great degradation in life quality on Earth in terms of air and water qualities as well as the accelerating abuse and decline of natural resources. These issues have severe impacts on future generations but also on current populations as well. Meanwhile, politics continue to contribute in the growing failure in education systems, in particular the higher education at universities (https://youtu.be/OReAF9qwMkY; www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6447626326525513728), including the associated mistrust in education to lead to successful long-term careers and real jobs. On the other side, it is also clear from how the citizens trusted, and still do so, that science and technology can bring better future for them, as they still go to schools and struggle day and night to join higher education. Of course, not all but the wealthy and lucky ones who have inherited advantages to support their education and to scape modern slavery of the imperatives of a failing growth economy. The citizens have also no other choice other than to follow political policies and growth economies that fail to meet their needs in particular to deliver security and safety for the future generations worldwide (https://youtu.be/Xwnqy51BJNM; https://youtu.be/GiD04TRwebQ). The perception of science and technology is dependent on what they bring to humanity and the society in terms of socio-economic opportunities with reference to the boundary conditions of life on planet earth, i.e. the environment and climate conditions on local, regional and global levels.
The political controversy on whether or not we need science and technology to run our societies is taking the same route as the classical conflict between the Church and science in the sixteenth’s century that resulted in a trial against Galileo Galilei and led eventually to his house arrest under the rest of his life. At that time, this was considered a generous punishment for his scientific work by being not along the mainstream catholic belief, i.e. that the earth was the center of the universe. The Church at that time was the political power that controlled the society, directed the track of science and even decided its outcome. The popular narrative would say that the Catholic Church feared Galileo’s truth and silenced him. Though all these restrictions, Galileo Galilei continued his scientific work which laid down the foundation for the successful work of Isaac Newton and his findings of a theoretical force (gravity) and a mathematical system (calculus) that when used together allowed astronomers to accurately predict the movements of our solar system. This all together gave us the hope that all natural occurrences are explainable in mathematics. Both Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton contributed in diverting the track of science in hybrid direction orchestrated by Albert Einstein.
These summaries illustrate the powerful role of conservative politics that restricts the scientific endeavors by being the collective outcome of the individual scientific works to the search for truth. But science always wins inspite of all political obstacles and restrictions. For the church to admit Galileo was right was to also say every other scholar for the past 1,500 years was wrong. This is the same for our politicians to admit that all life forms on planet earth are under huge threat. It is to also say that the current growth economy and the associated trends forced by business as usual in production and consumption are all wrong. Politicians even do more serious attacks on science as an excuse to go on with the same failing economic policies. If politicians continue to ignore science, as is currently the case, the mistrust in global education systems will face an increasing spiral of degradation. Also, politicians will force science and technology to proceed in supporting growth economies and halt many efforts to promote and implement circular economies as a consequence of an increasing mistrust in the role of higher education to support rapid transformation to a circular economy based societies.
Please, visit my Instagram and follow @sustain.earth
Is Swedish Politics Right, Left, Middle or Nothing at All?
Well, this can be discussed, the short-term and the long-term answers are still unclear (https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.thelocal.se/20181122/timeline-this-has-happened-in-swedish-politics-since-the-elections/amp). Politics is getting more complicated than ever before. Not all political parties have clear and straightforward definitions of what is right, what is left or what is middle. The actual question still remains: is the Swedish politics on the way to take new trends towards the same political structure as in the USA, i.e. two strict block politics either democratic (socialistic) or republican (right).
Just after the September elections of 2018, it may have looked as if there are no middle parties, or middle solutions, but in reality the final outcome of the ongoing negotiations will soon be clear. This will clarify the position of the middle parties and their impacts on the Swedish politics. Indeed, the middle parties (C and L, although they still belong to the right block), in particular C, have actively mediated an agreement between the two blocks, o.e. V, MP, S on one-side and M, L, C, KD, SD on the other-side. But how then it comes that C and L though being in the right block claim mediation by being middle parties? The political parties on either of the extreme sides (V and SD), though the content of their politics is totally different, can’t be compared especially what concerns national conservatism. However, both V and SD have strict conditions to be enrolled in the Swedish politics (https://youtu.be/KWnXc29X_EI
; https://www.svd.se/just-nulofven-forst-ut-att-traffa-talmannen) but in practical terms they have little, or even no, possibilites to take active part in future decisions (https://www.aftonbladet.se/debatt/a/bKl4AB/sjostedt-ar-det-sana-som-mig-du-vill-gynna). Although what is going on is the result of democratic elections, the consequences can be counter-productive for Sweden as a whole. Some parties are, more or less, telling the same story “our way or the highway or no way at all”. The strategic question for Sweden now is what type of politics would we expect and for how long? It is unfortunate to have a polarized political situation where the political parties agree not to agree. This is of no ones interest.
Nevertheless, the situation has gradually changed and though the complex situation changes did take place, specially towards collaboration over the political blocks (https://www.svt.se/nyheter/annie-loof-vi-rekommenderar-lofven; https://youtu.be/iDmf6EvUR3Y). After all, there will be winners and losers, there are reflections from neighboring Scandinavian countries that C is a winner by actively “bridging” the gaps, to some extent, between the left and the right blocks. But, the Swedish support to the political leaders in particular C has declined considerably since the September 2018’s election (https://www.metro.se/artikel/nya-siffror-förtroendet-för-politiker-dalar-störst-ras-för-annie-lööf). The outcome of the election results of September 2018 clearly showed that block politics is dead. This has also been told and confirmed by many parties (S, L, C and M) except the far right SD and the far left V. So, now we are left by two alternatives, either to move away from block politics or to go back to block politics forced by far left and far right.
To repeat the elections again will not solve the existing block polarization and will not even give answers in favor of political stabilities as we may get answers clustering around the two extremes and thereby go back to the same dilemma of unstable block politics. Repeating the elections are associated with democratic risks, i.e. to get populistic, or undemocratic, alternatives either to to the left or to the right. In this case, we will put Sweden and the Swedish population in a long-term pendulum that will swing for ever from left to right and from right to left again.
Two pieces by Pierre Portas
Two pieces by Pierre Portas
— Läs på flaviapoeta.wordpress.com/2018/04/07/two-pieces-by-pierre-portas/
The Days of Our Lives
The Days of Our Lives
— Läs på meandthe30dayproject.wordpress.com/2015/06/29/the-days-of-our-lives/
The Nobel Prize and the Sustainable Development Era – New challenges need diverse global solutions
Without hesitation the announcement of the Nobel Prize winners in Economics for 2018 to William Nordhaus and Paul Romer has been received with enormous satisfaction from a wide-range of diverse audiences around the world. Though it is awarded by The Sveriges Riksbank in Memory of Alfred Nobel, commonly referred to as the Nobel Prize in Economics, it has given an awakening signal to the global citizen; in particular young and marginalized people in the less favored regions; about the emerging importance of scientific innovation in supporting sustainability: (https://amp.theguardian.com/business/live/2018/oct/08/nobel-prize-2018-sveriges-riksbank-in-economic-sciences-awarded-live-updates; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/08/two-us-economists-win-nobel-prize-for-work-on-climate-and-growth-william-nordhaus-paul-romer).
In the new era of sustainability, more diverse and effective instruments are urgently needed to meet the needs of the ongoing global transformation and to effectively face the huge and accelerating threats imposed on planet Earth. The focus should not only be on us, i.e. what humans can do for each other, but also on what we can do for planet Earth. Though the huge data and research in global change and climate change since the later part of the past century, i.e. shortly after the WW-II, little attention was given for the role of innovation in trans-disciplinary and trans-sectorial sciences and technologies, i.e. what regards supporting all life forms on planet Earth. Though the Nobel foundation (https://sv.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobelstiftelsen) has been a dynamic source of inspiration, its support and recognition for the diverse, collective and inclusive benefits of life requirements on planet Earth, per se, was, and still, not clearly and effectively coupled to the individual disciplines of science and technology. Probably this has also, to do with the great lack of interest at the universities and the academies in coupling science and technology to the wider socio-economic-environment sustainability benefits specially on regional and global scales. Trans-disciplinary and trans-sectorial issues within and between science and technology have emerged more and more in the later part of the past century, however the coupling to socio-economic-environment aspects has only grown rather slowly by the end of the past century.
It is very clear from the will of Alfred Nobel that the Prize should be given to anyone that have made mankind the greatest benefit within the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace “utdelas som prisbelöning åt dem som under det förlupna året hafva gjort menskligheten den största nytta. Räntan delas i fem lika delar som tillfalla: en del till den som inom fysikens område har gjort den vigtigaste upptäckt eller uppfinning; en del den som har gjort den vigtigaste kemiska upptäckt eller förbättring; en del den som har gjort den vigtigaste upptäckt inom fysiologiens eller medicinens domän; en del som inom litteraturen har produceradt det utmärktaste i idealisk rigtning; och en del åt den som har verkat mest eller best för folkens förbrödrande och avskaffande eller minskning av stående arméer samt bildande och spridande av fredskongresser“.
The distinct definition and conservative classification of science and technology into individual and separate disciplines, e.g. physics, chemistry (and to lesser extend physiology or medicine, literature and peace) is of considerable importance for the advances within these disciplines themselves. Nevertheless, it has definitely caused greater gaps between the expectations of common people around the world what concerns achieving sustainable societies and the current achievements in science and technology. Planet Earth is our generous home and has to come in the first place what regards “mankind greatest benefit”. No one of us would like to go to a home that has restrictive boundaries for healthy life and in many parts of the planet even not fit for living at all.
But what is/are the problem(s), the market?, the economy?, the management?, planning?, ????. Since the early history of the Nobel Prize there have been many advances in science that promoted innovation in technology with further positive feedback on science and visa versa. This has promoted strong but yet narrow coupling to engineering and industry with only huge benefits for market economy “growth economy”. There has been little, or even lack of, attention to the health and the wealth of planet Earth in general. In this context, the Nobel Prize and other motivational instruments around the world, including the education and the research systems and the supplementary management infrastructures around them, have not been supportive enough to counteract these trends that caused more and more degradation in the health of planet Earth. Alternatively, the world community has not developed timely solutions, diverse and effectives instruments to meet the existing vacuum in innovation, inventions and employment that the world is currently dreaming about. The journey of science and technology has supported primarily the market economy “growth economy” rather than promoting science and technology to empower sustainable developments in general, i.e. to achieve appropriate and coherent coupling of science and technology to the “socio-economic-environment” requirements of future sustainable societies (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/; https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/envision2030.html).
Though these trends and obstacles there have been positive (but still limited) developments on personal, collective and organizational levels including few ones from the Nobel-foundation related groups (http://nobelsustainability.org/; http://np4sd.org/; http://www.climateaction.org/news/nobel-family-members-establish-the-nobel-sustainability-growth-fund; https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/2004/summary/; http://businessworld.in/article/Nobel-Prize-For-Sustainability-And-Global-Green-Investment-Bank-Announced-Mungo-Park-Chairman-Of-Innovator-Capital/12-03-2018-143141; http://science.sciencemag.org/content/294/5541/303.2.full; https://www.kth.se/blogs/studentblog/2017/10/nobel-prize-for-sustainability/; https://www.origingreen.com/en/sustainable-sourcing/; https://protix.eu/press_and_media/katerva-nobel-prize-sustainability/; http://www.nobelprizedialogue.jp/tokyo2018/; https://www.jsps.go.jp/english/e-nobel_prize_dialogue/npd_tokyo2015/index.html). This gives much pleasure for anyone of us who have followed the long journey of how sustainability emerged from the dark ages of the unconscious era of being in war with planet Earth, to be a central dream for many of us. It is indeed a long way to see how the role of science and technology has evolved from being focused on internal science and technology issues to the wider benefits for the human being by recognizing the imperatives of achieving and promoting sustainable life on planet earth.
While we are celebrating the Nobel Prize winners in the memory of Alfred Nobel, we ought to be reminded that we need many generous entrepreneurs like Alfred Nobel who can put more efforts to support the innovations and inventions for making our planet Earth Great Again. For several reasons the selection mechanisms of the Nobel Foundation what regards the Nobel Prize have its own technicalities that cause limitation to deal with what is addressed here. There are, still considerable needs for more effective and diverse innovative platforms to push forward and strengthen coupling science and technology with the basic sustainability pillars for future generations to come.