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World Water Day

Image by Chokniti Khongchum from Pixabay   Surely the importance of water needs no explanation. Yet in the modernized world, many people have lost touch with how precious and scarce water is. Millions of people have only ever known access to water as being turning on a tap, and most of those have never known the tap not to work. And just as many people have become divorced from a true understanding of food production, many people have no idea about how water gets to the tap or the role it plays in so many other areas from health to hunger to jobs to disasters and to geopolitics. But just as billions of people have no understanding of water, billions of others know only too well what it means to suffer or to be held back by problems in the water cycle. This year sees WWD kick off the UN 2023 Water Conference which will lead to the Water Action Agenda. See more at the UN. . . .

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia | Comments Continue Reading

Targeting power to drive change

Image by Alfred Derks from Pixabay   An excellent letter in The Guardian from Dr Laura Thomas-Walters makes a very good point about the protest strategies that may be most impactful. Responding to the Extinction rebellion decision to stop deploying protests which disrupt the general public, she highlights that public opinion is only one small part of how decision are made and policies determined and implemented in the so-called parliamentary democracies. Disrupting the public may be necessary at the start of a campaign to get people’s attention as the media will give it coverage (ironically given that the vast majority of media are right-leaning and disagree with the demands being made yet they give it the PR it needs) but the public will quickly become annoyed and may turn against the campaign in question if it pushes too hard. Much better to stop hitting ordinary people once the initial attention is garnered and then direct the action to where it matter most – . . .

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia | Comments Continue Reading

Sustainability round-up - interesting articles from around the web

Image by Chil Vera from Pixabay   Europe’s first wild river national park announced in Albania (The Guardian) Rainforests pump water round the tropics – but the pulse of this heart is weakening (The Conversation) Environmental rights as human rights in Asean: Why not? (Eco-business) Expectations vs. Reality: It’s Time To Change The Investor Conversation Around Sustainable Food (greenqueen) IMF approves first batch of climate resilience loans (CHN) Microsoft bets on algae to mitigate its growing carbon footprint (TechCrunch) Travel sector mulls green future but tourists reluctant to pay (Reuters) Recovering tropical forests offset just one quarter of carbon emissions from new tropical deforestation and forest degradation (ScienceDaily) Living with third world water conditions in Canada (FND) . . .

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia | Comments Continue Reading

Oh no, another ozone threat

Image by Chil Vera from Pixabay   Image by Chil Vera from Pixabay   A report on a study by MIT researchers in Science Daily relates how smoke particles from wildfires can erode the ozone layer – the name given to higher concentrations of ozone in the stratosphere which help to protect against UVA and UVB radiation from the sun. Studying the huge output of smoke from wildfires in Australia in 2019-20, the team identified a previously unknow chemical reaction which deplete the ozone. Ozone is simply O3 and so any reaction taking that oxygen away stops it being ozone and functioning as a protective shield. This is a hugely disappointing setback given the great success of getting global agreement and cohesion to reduce the use and ultimate release of CFCs in industrial processes, products and waste. That said, monitoring of the layer has shown improvement since protocols were implemented so with identifying this new threat perhaps a straight-forward extra effort t . . .

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia | Comments Continue Reading

Finally we have an agreement on the oceans

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay The resumed fifth session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC-5.2) convened from 20 February to 4 March 2023 at the UN to pick up where negotiations left off in August 2022, when IGC-5.1 was unable to finalize agreement. Despite the oceans making up 90% of earth habitat and containing a significant percentage of the world’s species, it has taken over 15 years of work and negotiation to get here. Threats from climate change, pollution, overfishing, habitat destruction, ocean acidification, and underwater noise have grown unabated due to the strange status of the oceans as having partly “owned” and partly “shared” spaces yet having these spaces completely and inherently interconnected by nature. But still the text has been agreed only through tenuous compromise and still needs ratification let alone actual implementation of policies to address it and of course enforcement of any new regulations. We still have a long . . .

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia | Comments Continue Reading

Sustainability round-up - interesting articles from around the web

Image by Borko Manigoda from Pixabay   COP27: Africa took climate action into own hands, Asia must too (Al Jazeera) Explainer: What are e-fuels, and can they help make cars CO2-free? (Reuters) Climate tech startups team up to decarbonize Arizona concrete plant (TechCrunch) Corporations push “insetting” as new offsetting but report claims it is even worse (CHN) 8 Circular Packaging Companies To Watch In The Race To Close The Waste Loop (greenqueen) Revealed: 1,000 super-emitting methane leaks risk triggering climate tipping points (The Guardian) Meat, dairy and rice production will bust 1.5C climate target, shows study (The Guardian) There is no one-size-fits-all solution to decarbonising cities: CapitaLand Investment's CSO (Eco-business) Economic growth is fuelling climate change – a new book proposes ‘degrowth communism’ as the solution (The Conversation) . . .

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia | Comments Continue Reading

International Women's Day

The United Nations Observance of IWD in 2023 has the theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”, and is aimed to recognize and celebrate the women and girls who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education. In doing do they are fundamental in advancing women’s needs by being both of and for digital advancement. Access to, and the skills to use, both the hardware of modern digital tech and the software and networks in which it works, are crucial to anyone looking to survive and indeed thrive in the modern world and the world of the future. Yet 260 million fewer women than men have access to the internet. In the field of ai, women hold only 22% of the jobs. These gaps will only worsen conditions for all women in the future if not addressed. The world is already overly designed by men for men and these inequalities can only embed continuing disparity for many generations to come. By closing the gender gap on di . . .

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia | Comments Continue Reading

CITES 50th

Image by Anrita from Pixabay   Fifty years ago, on 3 March the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed to ensure that international trade in both wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of those species. Ten years ago, the UN General Assembly chose the same day to declare World Wildlife Day. The observance of WWD is of course important to keep these issues in hand, but CITES is even more important as one of the world’s most powerful tools for wildlife conservation through that regulation of international trade – currently addressing over 36,000 species. Since 1973, however, the human population has more than doubled from 3.9 billion people to 8 billion, and demand for natural resources as a source of food, fuel, medicine, housing, and clothing has soared as a result. This puts immense pressure on species who find themselves in competition with the world’s most ruthless consumer. The c . . .

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia | Comments Continue Reading
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