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Day of 8 billion

While we can never know the exact population of any large scale entity (even a city is unknown, let alone the whole world) we can make a reasonable approximation, and a year here or there does not make any difference to the global scale impacts over the coming decades and (hopefully!!) centuries of the human species. The UN will mark 15 November as the day on which humanity reached 8 billion people. This will draw attention to the patterns we see in fertility and population growth and how they impact on the quality of life and standards of living of people around the globe. In my school days we thought the world population might reach 20 billion!! Now it has reached 8 billion 12 years after hitting 7 billion and is expected to take 15 years to get to 9 billion and stabilize at 9.7 or so. This is good news as with a slowing rate of growth and a ceiling not too much more, planning for resource distribution and sustainability can become much more accurate. . . .

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

Hiding behind AI

There’s a very good article by John Naughton, professor of the public understanding of technology at the Open University, in The Guardian (for whom he writes regularly). He highlights the way that tech has followed other examples in history of using one label – for something perceived as ‘good’ – to describe a different thing, which may be perceived to be, or actually be, ‘bad’ or at least not ideal or not what we think it is. He highlights how machine learning is now almost always referred to as AI. Now machine learning is definitely not artificial intelligence but whether by laziness or something more pernicious that is the label now used and the tech companies do not object and in fact amplify it. Our feeling that AI may generally work for good, allows all the social and environmental damage of machine learning to go unchallenged and allows the continued economic exploitation of tech users through the data usage that machine learning manip . . .

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

Sustainability round-up - interesting articles from around the web

Day of Eight Billion (UN) Accelerating Net-zero Pledges with Public-led Climate Financing (IISD) COP27: three reasons rich countries can no longer ignore calls to pay developing world for climate havoc (The Conversation) Climate change: carbon offsetting isn’t working – here’s how to fix it (The Conversation) ‘Toxic cover-up’: UN blasts oil majors’ fake net zero pledges (CHN) In numbers: The state of the climate ahead of Cop27 (CHN) The 7 Best Vegan Books To Ease Into Eating Less Meat (green queen) Corporate Sustainability Is In High Demand. So Are Qualified Workers, Finds Report (green queen) The cost to Africa (CA) France to require all large car parks to be covered by solar panels (The Guardian) . . .

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

How to Minimize Waste On Amazon Orders

I really enjoyed this listicle in green queen not least because it combines common sense with some less well known ideas. I had never realized you could contact Amazon customer service and get them to mark your account for minimal packaging. Also first time I’ve come across Treeclicks. Of course if we can be mindful about online shopping we can consolidate a few things into one order to reduce packaging and of course we should know to retain and reuse packaging. What the article doesn’t mention is the other problem of transport emissions. The more you order the more times a van drives out to you. And if you deliberately over order and then return items, you are going to hell my friend. . . .

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

Systems Change Lab report

SCL has just published a report called State of Climate Action 22 which assess the progress on climate action across the sectors which collectively make up about 85% of all GHG emissions – agriculture, transport, industry, buildings, power and forestry. They used 40 indicators to measure progress and found NONE on course for 2030 targets. 27 were going in the right direction and the rest were getting worse. Published under Systems Change Lab on 26 October 2022, the report is a joint effort between Bezos Earth Fund, Climate Action Tracker, Climate Analytics, ClimateWorks Foundation, NewClimate Institute, the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, and WRI. Read: https://www.wri.org/research/state-climate-action-2022#:~:text=limit%20within%20reach.-,The%20State%20of%20Climate%20Action%202022%20provides%20a%20comprehensive%20assessment,technological%20carbon%20removal%2C%20and%20finance. . . .

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

Sustainability round-up - interesting articles from around the web

Climate and Health Linkages Come to the Fore Ahead of COP 27 (IISD) What long-term economic stagnation means for climate change (The Conversation) COP27: Calls for financial help come amid weak climate action (Eco-business) 'Green hush': Are fears of getting called out for greenwashing hurting firms' climate ambitions? (Eco-business) Four in 10 people don't want to have children as climate anxiety reaches record levels (Eco-business) Despite years of exposure to the climate science, I don’t believe we are headed for total societal collapse (The Guardian) 10 Traditional Chinese Food Dishes That Are Naturally Vegan (green queen) Meet 4 Startups Behind The Refillable Grocery Revolution (green queen) 3 Strategies to help you spend less at the supermarket (PCN) . . .

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

The dirty secret of banking (no not that one)

OK, so there are many dirty secrets in the murky world of banking. Money does that. But I came across a great substack by Bill McKibben highlighting the carbon footprint of the banking sector. He points out that while there has been plenty of media focus on the impact of crypto, actually this very explicit and obvious direct creating of atmospheric carbon pales into insignificance when you put it alongside all the carbon producing activities facilitated by the baking sector. Interesting read: If you think Bitcoin Spews Carbon, Wait Till You Hear About...Banking . . .

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

Jane Poon - 2022-23 ITSF YAC Member

Jane is an award-winning social entrepreneur with a passion for design, sustainability, and innovation. As one of the 16 UNITAR Youth Ambassadors representing the Asia Pacific region, she works closely with skilled youth advocates in furthering the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In 2021, Jane founded the student-led initiative ProjectProvision to mitigate toxic consumerism in Hong Kong, which has since been featured at Cyberport, Stanford University, RTHK, and the Hong SDG Summit 2022. To further aid environmental wellbeing worldwide, she has embarked on a series of projects, such as running an accessory upcycling business and developing a bioplastic material made from food waste. Last but not least, she is passionate in public speaking, and has spoken at events held by TEDx, the Applied Science and Technology Research Institute, and the Social Enterprise World Forum among others. As a member of the ITS Youth Advisory Committee, Jane has been involved in planning exciting events fo . . .

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