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Time for Degrowth?

Image by: Kamiel Choi from Pixabay   A great article in The Conversation by Katharina Richeter outlining “degrowth” as an alternative set og goals for economic planning and policy. GDP has stubbornly hung around as a default measure, driven by uninformed media and possibly those with an ideological/political reason to support it. But for over 50 years, prominent politicians and economists have been calling for the end of this poor tool which only considers output, not impact. A simple example would be to ask just how helpful is it for a country to increase its GDP by producing lots of bombs? Degrowth essentially asks us to start prioritizing the things that actually matter to us and properly reflect whether our economies are working for us. And it is egalitarian, democratic and fits with environmental sustainability targets. Perhaps it’s time we all started taking the lead from Bhutan and its Gross National Happiness index. . . .

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

Turning off the Tap

Image by: UNEP   A new UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report, called ‘Turning off the Tap: How the World Can End Plastic Pollution and Create a Circular Economy,’ argues that plastic pollution could be reduced by 80% by 2040 if countries and companies adopt concrete practices, market shifts, and policies that can inform government thinking and business action. It makes interesting reading as it highlights the complexities of shifting away from plastic which is so integrated into modern ways of behaving and producing and is of course linked into the powerful oil lobby. The report emphasizes the need to reuse, recycle, and reorient and diversify and to eliminate unnecessary plastic uses, as well as deal with plastics already in the environment that cannot be eliminated, reused, recycled, or replaced. Alongside this are the various social impacts for example in those places where plastic waste has become part of the informal economy. It should also be read alongsid . . .

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

Sustainability round-up - interesting articles from around the web

Image by: congerdesign from Pixabay   UNDP appoints new head for sustainable innovation hub in Singapore (Eco-business) Reusable packaging revolution is close (ScienceDaily) Three climate technologies every investor should have in their portfolio (TechCrunch) UN advises against offsets for carbon removal technologies (CHN) New Report Details Food R&D Strategy for Tackling Global Methane Emissions (greenqueen) Cop28 president’s team accused of Wikipedia ‘greenwashing’ (The Guardian) Rock ‘flour’ from Greenland can capture significant CO2, study shows (The Guardian) Explainer: Why fast fashion brands destroy unsold clothes (Eco-business) . . .

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

30 per cent of species could be abruptly lost at 2.5 degrees celcius of warming

Image by: Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay   A report in nature ecology & evolution has found that the pace of climate change is likely to far outstrip the ability of many species to adapt whether physiologically (biological evolution just doesn’t go very fast) or geographically through migration within ideal climate bands as they shift. This is called the problem of thermal thresholds and while species impact will be less than 15% up to 1.5 degrees of change, a further one degree of heating would probably double the impact to 30% of all species. This could have catastrophic knock-on effects for food webs and ultimately jeopardize the human food supply. The study used data from over 36000 species and related impacts from climate data from the mid-19th century thus giving significant weight to their projections for 2100. . . .

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

Forever plastic?

Image by: meineresterampe from Pixabay   Greenpeace has recently warned that recycling plastic can make it more toxic and can lead to the release of more microplastic into the environment. Among others, they referenced a recent report in the Journal of Hazardous Materials Advances which found between 6 to 13 percent of the plastic processed could end up being released into water or the air as microplastics. They also pointed out that much plastic sent for recycling ends up getting burned and releasing poisonous gases into the atmosphere. In addition to environmental pollution, a lot of plastic waste is moved from wealthier to poorer nations where it is dealt with by very low paid workers, thus shifting the main impact onto the most vulnerable in the world. Alongside all this as well of course is the fact that we do not fully understand the impact plastic packaging has on the foods it contains and thus how much we ingest and in what form. There are fears that recycled plastic . . .

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

Real experience of wild animal life?

Image by Kurt Bouda from Pixabay   A rather good article in The Conversation by Heather Browning and Walter Veit tackles the difficult question of what the overall experience of life might be for wild animals. This is an area which tends to succumb to the simplification of ideas that humans often prefer, especially in groupthink. On the one hand is a tradition of (over?) idealizing life in the wild and on the other of (over?) dramatizing it as a desperate struggle for survival ending in a painful death. The authors do a great job of putting the observable facts into context and showing the actuality is probably somewhere in between and, just as with human lives, some will be lucky to have much better ones than others. Overall, the article is a good read just to reinforce our gut instinct that nature is very much worthwhile in and of itself. . . .

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

1.5 deg by 2027

Image by Olya Adamovich from Pixabay   A report from the World Meteorological Organization of the UN has warned that within 5 years the earth will start breaching the 1.5 deg limit on a more frequent basis. The limit refers to the average annual global temperature when compared to the average before industrialization began in the 1700s. The pledge to act to maintain temperatures below this is famously contained within the 2015 Paris Agreement from COP21 which is the only legally binding agreement on climate action to be widely signed by the global community. While the Paris Agreement refers to long-term or permanent temperatures at this level, the WMO report says that we will begin seeing temporary breaches on a frequent basis from 2027 – much earlier than anticipated. If action is not taken this may mean a permanent move above the limit quicker than we thought. This is important as scientists believe this would be a point of no return which will severely impact humanit . . .

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

Sustainability round-up - interesting articles from around the web

Image by Devi Puspita Amartha on Unsplash   To solve Asia’s single-use sachet waste problem, promote reuse (Eco-business) We can stop disaster risk spiralling out of control (Eco-business) 31 Must-Watch Climate Change Documentaries (greenqueen) Regulators crack down on corporate carbon neutrality claims (CHN) Tyre-makers under pressure as too much rubber hits the road (Reuters) Can a city store as much carbon as a forest? (ScienceDaily) Nature is changing as land abandonment increases (ScienceDaily) COP27: Africa took climate action into own hands, Asia must too (Aljazeera) . . .

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