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Sustainability in the LICs

One of the biggest issues that is addressed again and again is how to ensure that the economic development of the LICs can be done sustainability. How it can learn from the mistakes of the HICs and mitigate for the hugely damaging impacts of elements such as energy provision through fossil fuels and infrastructure with steel and concrete. There have been examples of leapfrogging in the east i.e. adopting better and newer tech without using a poorer, earlier version at all. Witness Africa’s early and rapid adoption of mobile phone tech which allowed an avoidance of the damage of laying phone lines but also gave remote communities instant access to money transfer. Yet many LICs, especially in Africa remain hampered by problems that have been around for years. This good article in African Business highlights this in the energy context. What much of this all points to of course is who should pay? And it seems more and more to me that the only viable answer to that is the HICs and . . .

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

Education in the SDGs

An interesting article was published in the IISD SDG Knowledge Hub yesterday titled Towards Transforming Education Summit: Is Acceleration the Right Approach? The authors argue that a number of struggles have been exacerbated if not overtaken by the various pandemic scenarios and that many places now should be reassessing and reimagining their education targets as a result. What always amazes me in these discussions is that very few people actually challenge the assumptions of what a national education system is or should be. I rarely see the even bigger question of whether government should even be involved at the curriculum and assessment level. Education is a highly specialized environment and government ministers often come to it with any number of biases. All over the world, education systems are dominated and shaped by political rather than educational and social criteria. Added to this is the idea of how national education needs may very well vary along the development pathway . . .

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

Sustainability round-up - interesting articles from around the web

Thailand and Taiwan's high net worth investors lead APAC in sustainable investing (Eco-business) Global turbulence may herald 'giant leap' to a greener era, says top scientist (Eco-business) Bali's snakefruit farmers champion agroforestry as tourism reopens (Eco-business) From Raising Chickens To Growing Mushrooms: Here’s How Livestock Farmers Can Make The Sustainable Leap (green queen) How to Minimize Waste On Amazon Orders (green queen) Give Africa’s youth a voice in shaping the climate agenda. It is their future at stake (The Guardian) Dark matter and lithium water: 15 big issues poised to affect oceans and coastlines (The Guardian) Ethereum: second biggest cryptocurrency to cut energy use by over 99%, but the industry still has a long way to go (The Conversation) Why the aviation industry must look beyond carbon to get serious about climate change (The Conversation) . . .

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

International Day of Clean Air for blue skies

Every year, 7 September is a UN observance for clean air. In 2022, the theme is “The Air We Share” which neatly encapsulates one of the biggest issues which is that air pollution is inherently trans-boundary and is illustrative of why we need global co-operation to solve air pollution and climate change problems. As the UN says: ?ir pollution is the single greatest environmental risk to human health and one of the main avoidable causes of death and disease globally, with some estimated 6.5 million premature deaths (2016) across the world attributed to indoor and outdoor air pollution. Particularly in developing countries, air pollution disproportionately affects women, children and the elderly, especially in low-income populations as they are often exposed to high levels of ambient air pollution and indoor air pollution from cooking and heating with wood fuel and kerosene. See more on the UN website: https://www.un.org/en/observances/clean-air-day . . .

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

Sustainability dilemmas - construction

One of the biggest issues in the sustainability discussion is about establishing the true impact of our activities. This in turn demands reliable data and rigorous science which are in short supply and take time to accrue. Time that many feel we do not have. This problem is obvious when you ask yourself questions like how many times should I use my “eco shopping bag” before it has achieved a net benefit compared to all the plastic bags I would have used? How can we know? The problem grows exponentially when we move to bigger ideas. Take SDGs 9 & 11 as they relate to building cities. We know that more and more people will be housed in cities in the coming decades. We know that concrete and steel are highly damaging materials. But what is the alternative? Like many sustainability answers, there are supporters of updating “old/lost” knowledge - in this case going back to wood construction. Modern tech will allow us to go up to 12 storeys quite safely and e . . .

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

Sustainability round-up - interesting articles from around the web

Inclusive Data as a Strategic Tool for Building Back Better After Pandemic (IISD) How sustainable living can help counter the climate crisis (UNEP) It is 100 days until Cop15 – and the omens are good for a global plan to protect nature (The Guardian) How car culture colonised our thinking – and our language (The Guardian) How to finance marine conservation without harming local communities (The Conversation) Climate-resilient breadfruit could boost food security (Eco-business) China's national carbon market still plagued by serious data issues and delays (Eco-business) What is the Degrowth Movement and Why Should You Care? (green queen) . . .

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

Snack anyone?

Anyone with a working knowledge of sustainability issues in the world today understands there are major problems with the food supply systems we have in place. They are structurally unequal, dependent on damaging tech, work against rather than with nature, and are looking like they could cause reductions in yields over the long term rather than the increase they were implemented for. One of the stand out arguments is that meat production is getting harder to justify on the two main grounds of it being hugely damaging to the environment and hugely inefficient in terms of the food calories per unit of resources put in. But we also know that vegan diets are problematic for overall human health. Insects are therefore a really good option for how we could maintain animal proteins in our food but produce them in a very much sustainable way. See a great overview in this article from The Guardian. . . .

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

Can we go on holiday sustainably?

Tourism is one of the most fraught areas of consumption for the sustainably minded and is a classic case of how much carrot and stick is needed between regulators and suppliers as well as how much interaction between those suppliers and their customers can lead to change. Until now, just about the only memorable change we have seen long-term has been the move by most hotels to reduce their environmental footprint by removing a certain amount of their complementary single use bathroom items and encouraging less laundry. This is though a great way to start in so many businesses precisely because it makes business, not just environmental sense. Part of the problem some industries face is rowing back on the “freebies” embedded in the consumer mindset by providers in a less well -informed age. In more modern times we have had more serious discussion about transport options, with the aviation sector still a long way from sustainability. It is extremely difficult to expect or a . . .

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