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International Day of Peace

Every year the IDoP is observed on 21st September. In its most immediate form it asks that all conflict of all kind cease for the 24 hours. But of course a single day of ceasefire is not a solution to armed conflict and a day of respite from other forms of conflict is very small respite indeed. The bigger aim therefore is to get people to reflect on what brings them to conflict and the possible ways to remove themselves from it for a more everlasting peace - itself one of the primary motivators for the very existence of the UN. In 2022, the specific theme is to end racism - a form of conflict that is unfortunately endemic in many places yet which has no logical basis. The UN will mark the day early on 16th September to match with events at the UNGA. . . .

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

Aiden Howe - 2022-23 ITSF YAC Member

I'm Aiden Howe, a Year 12 student studying at Chinese International School. I initially became interested in social issues in Year 10, when I first created Helpers for Helpers, a social organization focused on fighting domestic worker issues through outreach and events as well as sharing stories. After joining the first cohort of the UNITAR YAAPP programme and having the ability to connect with other youth, I co-created the Coalition for Minority Empowerment alongside fellow minority empowerment youth organizations Second Strings, Coexist, and KickAction, hosting the first ever youth-led UN event in Hong Kong. Currently, my focus has been on providing even more free opportunities for domestic workers to learn new skills and selfempower, such as our Mixing Bowl cooking classes and partnering with NGOs like SPLASH Foundation to host swimming lessons, and working in improving interconnectivity and collaboration amongst youth organizations on a local scale. My position on the ITSF YAC help . . .

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

Sustainability round-up - interesting articles from around the web

How Digital Innovation Has Accelerated Monitoring of the World’s Forests (IISD) Cooperation Needed to Correct Course on Gender Equality: UN Report (IISD) What is COP27? This year’s crucial climate talks, explained (Eco-business) Big promises, slow progress: sustainability culture rising up corporate to-do lists (Eco-business) Patagonia’s billionaire owner gives away company to fight climate crisis (The Guardian) Reasons for (cautious) optimism: the good news on the climate crisis (The Guardian) Clean energy jobs overtake fossil fuel sector but wages lag behind (CHN) 4 Online Courses for a Better Planet: From Sustainability to Plant-Based Nutrition (green queen) Agriculture drives more than 90% of tropical deforestation (Science Daily) What is The Line, the 170km-long mirrored metropolis Saudi Arabia is building in the desert? (The Conversation) AWS launches new Sustainable Cities Accelerator for startups (AWS)   . . .

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

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
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