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Move Our Common Agenda from Ideas to Action

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has said we must start “moving the recommendations in Our Common Agenda from ideas to action – from abstract to concrete.” He has urged Member States to support “turbocharged” efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and make the SDGs “real in the lives of people everywhere.” Guterres highlighted progress since the report’s release 18 months ago, including the “breakthrough on loss and damage,” the recognition of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, the Transforming Education Summit, the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection, and the decision to establish a UN Youth Office. But, he said, we “need to go further and deeper.” But he warned that today’s forms of multilateral governance are not adequate to address the pace and scale of the challenges the world is facing. Emphasizing that “halfway to 2030, w . . .

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

We are greening ourselves to extinction

I really liked this article by Vijay Kolinjivadi in Aljazeera the other week. As the title suggests, there are numerable ways in which, worse than greenwashing, certain activities and decisions are being touted and promoted as ‘green’ but which clearly are not. Or at best are marginally better than current practice but not so much so that they make any significant difference. He highlights recent admissions that the whole carbon offset ‘industry’ is a sham but also points out examples of new ‘green’ industries being not all that green. Governments, the car corporations (of course) and a disappointing number of people who should know better, tout EVs as the new green alternative to combustion engine cars. But the problem is not just combustion engines. It’s our attitude to personal mobility and convenience. Real green solutions to ‘the car problem’ would focus on removing private motor vehicles wherever possible. Not replacing the . . .

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

Sustainability round-up - interesting articles from around the web

New land creation on waterfronts increasing (Science Daily) UAE's Jaber says keeping 1.5 Celsius goal 'alive' is top priority for COP28 (Reuters) EU formally bans sale of gas and diesel cars from 2035 (TechCrunch) Study: IPCC asks emerging countries to drop coal faster than rich nations did (CHN) Should You Become An Ultra-Flexitarian? (green queen) ‘Extreme situation’: Antarctic sea ice hits record low (The Guardian) China’s would-be parents and their climate concerns (Eco-business) Can indoor farms help Hong Kong reduce its reliance on imported vegetables? (Eco-business) Global inequality must fall to maintain a safe climate and achieve a decent standard of living for all – it’s a huge challenge (The Conversation) . . .

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

Major plug-in hybrid cars pollute more than official measures suggest

An article in The Guardian reports that research by Austria’s Graz University of Technology has shown that plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) emit far more CO2 than they claim in their sales brochures. Most emit 20-70% more and the BMW 3 Series was 311% its claims. The article gives some good oversight on how the car industry is essentially failing to deliver on its commitments while all the time making plenty of green claims. It seems to be one of the biggest greenwashers of them all. What the article fails to mention is that EVs of any kind should only be seen as an option of last resort and we need to reduce usage of and reliance on all personal vehicles of this nature. . . .

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

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

The UN observance for International Day of Women and Girls in Science was on 11 February. The theme was Innovate. Demonstrate. Elevate. Advance. Sustain. ( I.D.E.A.S.). Incredibly, in 2023, women are typically given smaller research grants than their male colleagues and, while they represent 33.3% of all researchers, only 12% of members of national science academies are women. Despite a shortage of skills in most of the technological fields driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution, women still account for only 28% of engineering graduates and 40% of graduates in computer science and informatics. While there are many nuanced elements to gender equality, the fundamental problem with gender inequality is how it represents a waste of human capital in so many areas. And with tech having an important role to play in a multi-faceted approach to sustainable development, wasting human capital is simply nuts. . . .

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

Sustainability round-up - interesting articles from around the web

The world’s first environmental clean-up happened 400 million years ago (The Conversation) Auto industry risks missing climate goal by 75% -industry-backed study (Reuters) Startups, here’s how you can make hardware without ruining the planet (TechCrunch) Europe proposes mass exit from energy treaty (CHN) What Is the Blue Economy? (green queen) ‘They get the big picture’: the Swedish tech startup helping cities go green (The Guardian) Recycling still a 'marginal activity' as single-use plastic production ramps up (Eco-business) Loopholes wide enough to ‘drive a diesel truck through’ – how to tell if a business is really net zero (The Conversation) How to build a tear-apart city (Future Planet) Geoengineering to cool earth: Space dust as Earth's sun shield (Science Daily) . . .

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

Balancing economic growth with the SDGs

An interesting report from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) - the World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) report - illustrates how a reduction in growth from the various impacts of covid, the Ukraine war etc have damaged gains made towards the SDGs. It’s a dilemma because of course much of the damage that has required the SDGs to even exist has been caused by economic growth. So it’s not just a question of having growth but what the nature of that growth is. this emphasises the dire need to shift systems to truly sustainable economic activity, green economies and so on. It also highlights how the SDGs are designed to incorporate economic, social and environmental measures. A hard balancing act. . . .

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

World Wetlands Day

Last week, 2 Feb was a UN Observance for the wetlands of the world. These are often overlooked in the media and by extension the public, perhaps as their destruction is less vivid that for example rainforest destruction. Just as the big cats get lots of attention in the animal world compared to endanger reptiles, so wetlands do not get enough attention. This is dangerous because they provide habitat to an incredible 40% of all species and they store carbon 55% quicker than rainforest. They also provide livelihoods to millions of people and offer important natural barriers to coastal erosion and coastal threats such as storm surges. Yet they are being lost at 3 x the rate of forests. In the few cases where wetlands have been restored the rebound in biodiversity, protection from hazards and improvement in quality of life has been astounding. Hopefully, this can be encouraged to be taken up at even faster rates. . . .

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