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Language Matters Around Problems

For a long time, as a Geography teacher, I have emphasized to students the need to be careful around language and the climate crisis is a perfect example. For me, the science has proven the anthropomorphic influence on climate for a long time. But at the beginning, people were still debating it and this was playing out for most people in the media where the science and the arguments had gone through the wringer of the journalistic process. The media is a fantastic source of information but students mustn’t forget that in the end the editorial responsibility is maximizing eyeballs and nothing else. Thus, the early years saw the climate crisis described as the greenhouse effect and that terrible metaphor was used in a negative way. Without the “greenhouse effect” there would be no life on earth so we can see how quickly that went wrong. Then this shifted to global warming, which has a nice fuzzy feel to it, especially if you live in colder climes. Finally we saw clim . . .

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

Hydrogen Transport Difficulties

Debates around sustainability initiatives can often become quite binary. But the world isn’t like that and we need to recognize the complexity of the problems we face. I was reading recently about the problems still facing hydrogen as a fuel of the future. The potential for hydrogen is huge as a clean, efficient and “ubiquitous” energy source. Most debate focuses on the quality of the fuel production methods and how well we have progressed in that area. But while the potential for hydrogen fuel production is spread across space much better than fossil fuels, it will always still be to a certain extent location dependent as the production facilities take considerable investment (unless we hit a utopian future where perhaps a house could produce its own hydrogen fuel). So this creates a new set of problems around moving hydrogen fuel from producer to consumer as hydrogen is difficult to contain without leakage, causes embrittlement of metal casings, can be technically . . .

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

Sustainability round-up - interesting articles from around the web

Hydrogen uses to be determined by delivery methods available (reuters) Fate of ‘sleeping giant’ East Antarctic ice sheet ‘in our hands’ – study (The Guardian) Driving out invasive species on islands has high success rate and big benefits (The Guardian) Five easy ways to use less water at home – and not just in a drought (The Conversation) 58% of human infectious diseases can be worsened by climate change (The Conversation) Borderless haze threatens Southeast Asia (Eco-business) Slow take off: the flight path to net-zero air travel in Southeast Asia (Eco-business) Divisions deepen over rush to finalise deep sea mining rules (CHN) The War On Plastic: Are We Missing The Bigger Picture? (green queen) . . .

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

UNGA high-level event

The UN General Assembly’s high-level thematic debate titled “Moment for Nature” took place in New York on 19 July. Convening the heads of major UN agencies involved with the challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, land and ocean degradation, pollution, and unsustainable consumption and production, it allowed for messaging particularly around moving to fill the gap between intention and action – an idea being pushed now as more acceptance and evidence sways ever larger numbers of people to realize the need to change behaviours at all levels. A very good summary of the key components and points made can be found in a longer article on IISD.   . . .

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

My Sustainable Living Challenge

The UN Environment programme has linked up with the UN Systems Staff College to gamify a swathe of sustainable living content that has been developed and taught by them over the last couple of years. They have selected a number of graduates from their programmes to be the first cohort and help deliver a first practice and feedback of the game. It is a challenge over 6 weeks and began on 18th July. ITS Foundation founder Danny Harrington has been selected to take part and is getting into it. The great thing is it forces you to go back and revisit ideas in greater depth, research them for your local community/environment and then begin to take action towards improving on areas where you can. Solutions to sustainability programmes will always need to be multi-faceted and a combination of top-down (e.g. government regulations and corporates offering choice) as well as bottom-up (the work of civil societies and the way we live our lives as individuals). . . .

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

Sustainability round-up - interesting articles from around the web

Magic Numbers? Why the Politics of Indices Are a Problem Rather Than a Solution (IISD) China’s ambitious rooftop solar pilot helps drive ‘blistering’ capacity growth (CHN) UN body makes ‘breakthrough’ on carbon price proposal for shipping (CHN) Four things cool countries can learn from hot ones about dealing with heatwaves (The Conversation) In defence of ants (The Conversation) Meet 4 Startups Behind The Refillable Grocery Revolution (greenqueen) How can data centres go greener? (Eco-business) The workplace of the future: smart, sustainable, holistic (Eco-business) Old cars forced off road as Europe’s clean air zones nearly double (The Guardian) . . .

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

The nuclear question

Nuclear power has had a troubled history in more ways than one. The  more recent question revolves around whether we should class it as renewable or non-renewable, safe or dangerous, clean or dirty, polluting or non-polluting. Even the iea seems to be hedging it’s language, saying it “makes no recommendations to countries that choose not to include nuclear power in their energy mix” but concludes that “building sustainable and clean energy systems will be harder, riskier and more expensive without nuclear” as they release a 2022 Fuel Report. Here in Hong Kong, a certain amount of the territory’s electricity supply comes from the Daya Bay plant in mainland China. One of the HK power companies holds a stake in the plant. Certainly nuclear means lower carbon emissions and is safe from global price volatility which oil is most certainly not. On the other hands are the questions of power station construction, the centralized production model, wast . . .

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

African initiative

On this Nelson Mandela International Day, it seems appropriate to highlight an initiative from the African continent. “Plastiki Rafiki” was a project started by the Construction by Design (CBD) service club at the International School of Kenya. As a youth-led, non-profit sustainability initiative, this is very much the kind of thing the ITS Foundation supports and celebrates. Essentially, the initiative sees a range of groups sourcing plastic waste in their areas, upcycling the waste into new products and selling them on a self-funding, cost recovery basis. They explain it all best on their website. . . .

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