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The make-or-break climate summit: here's what's at stake at Cop26

Cop26 may involve dozens of world leaders, cost billions of pounds, generate reams of technical jargon and be billed as the last chance to prevent calamitous global heating, but at its simplest the climate conference in Glasgow is a debate about dialling up or dialling down risk……(The Guardian) . . .

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

World Cities Day

31st October is World Cities Day when the UN seeks to raise awareness of particular issues concerning our urban systems with a hope that political and practical action can be stimulated. It is only the last decade which has seen the world’s population shift from being predominantly rural to predominantly urban, and this trend will lonely continue. While on the face of it cities can appear highly dirty concentrations of noise, air, water & light pollution and highlight all the issues humanity faces with the way it lives, they also represent immense hope for the future if addressed properly. By concentrating human activity into smaller spaces there are huge efficiencies to be had, most obviously with transport and energy. Of course this has to be set against studies concerning construction which may counter-intuitively show low rise buildings to be lower impact.  But all kinds of sustainable systems can be deployed if we properly harness the social and economic benefits . . .

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

Sustainability round-up - interesting stories from all over

Sustainability continues to grow in the C-suite (GreenBiz) Gain confidence in following a “green” career (GreenBiz) Why finance is crucial to sustainability progress – case study (Eco-Business) Sheer scale of some countries makes targets daunting (wbcsd) How the West’s obsession with fast fashion compounds an environmental nightmare in Ghana (The World) Microplastics are everywhere — but are they harmful? (Nature) Leading Banks Launch Guide to Setting and Implementing Net Zero Banking Strategies (ESG Today) . . .

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

Considering impact of building materials

The Parson’s School of design has a cutting edge department called the Healthy Materials Lab. Recognizing that materials release chemicals and we take in much more than previously realized, the school hopes to help designers for the future have a better understanding of designing health into the very fabric of the built environment. Not only is it the right thing to do (or put another way, now we know materials harm us it cannot be morally right to build with them and laws need to catch up) but it makes sense from a holistic viewpoint on the working of social groupings. Even if you want to take a very transactional and economic lense, more harm means more illness, more healthcase costs and less productivity and so on. . . .

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

Alternative ways to highlight social issues

The story of the puppet Little Amal (overview in The Guardian, official website The Walk - Good Chance) in a production by Good Chance Theatre is a great example of how social enterprises can take different approaches to addressing the issues that concern them. In this case, using a striking piece of street theatre to raise awareness about the plight of refugees everywhere and more specifically those on the route from Syria to London. It forces the viewer, and those reading reports about it, to reflect on what life must be like to have no home and no sense of security at all from meeting basic needs to personal safety. And what it says about us if we reject refugees, turn them away, do not help. . . .

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

SDG round-up

Sustainability (or lack of) in the news: How biodiversity loss is jeopardizing the drugs of the future (with links) (The Guardian) Battle over emissions from shipping (The Guardian) Innovative environment approaches – trees on twitter (The Conversation) Yet another argument against GDP as a valid benchmark (The Conversation) Last chance for coral (IISD) Voices critical of COP26 (XR) UN chief calls crisis for fragile states (UN) . . .

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

Clean environment now a human right

On 8th October, the UN passed 4 new and important resolutions. They address the right to development, the rights of indigenous peoples, the rights implications of the pandemic and for the first time: the Human Right to a Safe, Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment. The Human Rights Council thus recognizes the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment and encourages States to adopt policies for the enjoyment of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment as appropriate, including with respect to biodiversity and ecosystems, and invites the General Assembly to consider the matter. You can read the resolution document here. . . .

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

Car free Berlin?

An interesting article from The Guardian which is a good illustration of how climate/environmental problems are “wicked problems”. Most of us would agree that EVs are a good step away from combustion engines burning fossil fuels. Many of us would also be able to then say that renewable electricity to charge those vehicles is the next important step. But what about all the other problems around private cars for personal mobility? Resource use for manufacturing. The lack of circularity in car design. The air pollution from tyre wear. Congestion and the impacts of time loss. And so on. Hence the call by campaign group Berlin Autofrei to ban cars altogether from central Berlin. With many people enjoying lower traffic levels in the pandemic, this may get more support than before and certainly has many merits as amore radical yet doable approach to all the problems that come with personal car use. . . .

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