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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

SDG round-up

Sustainability (or lack of) in the news: Debt issues around climate policies (The Guardian) CEO of Mars talks supply chain transformation (The Guardian) Global urban population exposure to extreme heat (PNAS) Are hydropanels the way of the future in water stressed areas? (Source) Report on historical responsibility for carbon emissions (Carbon Brief) Global Citizens Assembly to attend COP26 (GA) Persistent problem of fast fashion (Vogue Business)   . . .

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

International Day of Rural Women 2021

Friday Oct 15 is International Day of Rural Women 2021 and is themed Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19. As the UN page states, women have borne the brunt of pandemic impacts and been at the forefront of pandemic recovery. And rural women have often carried an even greater burden, especially in marginalized remote areas. In our SDG context, clearly addressing the needs of rural women falls under SDGs 5 and 10, bu, as with all our SDG consideration we must remember the interconnectivity. Helping rural women will also have a positive impact on SDGs 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, and 15. Rural women are a cornerstone of sustainable development. . . .

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

Eco-anxiety on the rise

This excellent article in The Guardian highlights the rising sense of eco-anxiety being felt around the world, especially among the young. There is a paradoxical need to highlight all the environmental, social and economic problems the world is facing so that solutions can be sought and implemented which will at the same time focus our minds on the existential crisis we may be facing. Similarly, we have made great progress in recognizing and understanding mental health issues but face exacerbating poor mental health outcomes with all our reporting and awareness. But we have to face up to the fact that this is the only option for survival and take optimism from that. If we can see efforts being made to solve the problems we face then we can join in those efforts and be positive about the future. . . .

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