Archive for the tag “Sustainable development”

News update

Global Harming: Indias rich have a bigger ecological footprint than the world average
Nihar Gokhale, Catch News
It is no secret that theres a growth in luxury goods in India. A 10-minute walk in any big city would attest to this. Over the last few generations, lifestyles have changed significantly, and a culture of consumerism is setting in at a fast pace. It is mind-boggling then, that environment minister Prakash Javadekar declared last week that Indians believe only in need-based consumption and shun extravagant consumption, thanks to their value systems.

Incidence of dengue higher due to erratic rainfall this year
Down to Earth
The rapid progression of the disease has taken many by surprise as the high incidence is unseasonal compared to earlier trends. The dengue virus usually strikes the city only after the end of the monsoons in October. The reason for the temporal shift, say experts, is the erratic weather and rainfall that the country has witnessed this year. Many scientific studies in the recent past have drawn connections between weather variables and the incidence of dengue. Many scientists are in agreement that a combination of higher mean temperature in a region and high humidity fosters higher rates of dengue transmission and incidence. (Also read: Climate change and vector-borne diseases go hand in hand)

Delhi will record worlds largest number of premature deaths due to air pollution
The Times of India
In another 10 years, Delhi will record the worlds largest number of premature deaths due to air pollution among all mega cities in the world. By 2025, nearly 32,000 people in Delhi will die solely due to inhaling polluted air. Kolkata will see its number of premature deaths spike between 2025 and 2050 and will record 54,800 deaths due to air pollution more than Delhi which will record 52,000 deaths and Mumbai with 33100 deaths during the same year. (Also read: More people die from air pollution than Malaria and HIV/Aids, new study shows)

Worlds first smog filtering tower goes on tour
The Guardian UK
The Dutch city of Rotterdam has opened the world’s first smog-free tower. Co-designed by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde, the seven-metre high tower sucks in dirty air like a giant vacuum cleaner. Ion technology then filters it, before returning bubbles of smog-free air through the tower’s vents. It is able to clean 30,000 cubic metres of air an hour, according to Roosegaarde.

Scientists predict huge sea level rise even if we limit climate change
The Guardian UK
Even if world manages to limit global warming to 2C — the target number for current climate negotiations — sea levels may still rise at least 6 meters (20 ft) above their current heights, radically reshaping the world’s coastline and affecting millions in the process. That finding comes from a new paper published in Science that shows how high sea levels rose the last time carbon dioxide levels were this high. That was about 3m years ago, when the globe was about 3-5F warmer on average, the Arctic 14.4F warmer, megasharks swam the oceans, and sea levels stood at least 20 ft above their current heights.

Will the Paris Climate Talks Be Too Little and Too Late?
Fred Pearce, Yale Environment 360
At the upcoming U.N. climate conference, most of the world’s major nations will pledge to make significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. But serious doubts remain as to whether these promised cuts will be nearly enough to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change.

Are Nomads a Climate-Change Weathervane?
Tom Hart, New Internationalist blog
Urban civilizations have done their best to curtail nomadism. It’s a life that doesn’t fit well with owning vast tracts of land and an ordered, well-administered state. What states have failed to achieve deliberately might be finished by climate change accidently. Ironically, the moment in history when states more or less tolerate nomadism could also be the very moment when the environmental basis for the phenomenon could be undermined.

Syria peak oil weakened government’s finances ahead of Arab Spring in 2011
Matt Mushalik, Crude Oil Peak
While the attention of the world is on the refugee crisis we need to look at the causes of this mass exodus. In this article we analyse to which extent peak oil contributed to a fiscal deterioration so that the Syrian government was forced to introduce unpopular policies (tax increases, removal of fuel subsidies, increasing cost of cement etc) which contributed to the unrest.

Peak Oil Has More To Do With Oil Prices Than You May Think
Robert Rapier, Oilprice.com
We should really talk about peak oil as a function of oil prices. In that case, we can say with a pretty high degree of certainty “The world has passed peak $20 oil.” If we could magically freeze the price of oil at $20, we would see the sort of peak that the imminent peakers projected. That doesn’t mean that oil prices will never again fall to $20, as supply/demand imbalances do wildly swing prices at times. It just means that $20 isn’t a sustainable price for meeting current global demand. That also means that the average price of oil in the future will be much greater than $20, which is why I downplay those predictions of very low oil prices.

Sustainable Development: Something New or More of the Same?
Charles Eisenstein
The new U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) convey real concern and care for the environment. Yet at the same time they are wedded to the ideology of economic growth more GDP, more industrial infrastructure, roads, ports, etc. without considering whether other forms of development could better meet their goals of poverty elimination and ecological sustainability.

 

 

Odanthurai Tamil Nadus energy self sufficient village

Odanthurai powers

Times of India

COIMBATORE: Just a fortnight after the civic body elections, a village panchayat in Coimbatore has decided to offer free electricity to its residents within the next five years.

Having already won international acclaim through its unique welfare schemes and energy self-sufficiency drives, Odanthurai near Mettupalayam has begun efforts to develop a corpus of Rs 5 crore to install wind and solar energy farms.

This project will enable free supply of electricity to over 8,000 residents. This effort is quite remarkable at a time when the rest of Tamil Nadu suffers power deficiency. Read article

Read about Odanthurais many achievements
Read researcher B. Priyadharshinis report of a visit to Odanthurai

Odanthurai Tamil Nadus energy self sufficient village

Odanthurai powers

Times of India

COIMBATORE: Just a fortnight after the civic body elections, a village panchayat in Coimbatore has decided to offer free electricity to its residents within the next five years.

Having already won international acclaim through its unique welfare schemes and energy self-sufficiency drives, Odanthurai near Mettupalayam has begun efforts to develop a corpus of Rs 5 crore to install wind and solar energy farms.

This project will enable free supply of electricity to over 8,000 residents. This effort is quite remarkable at a time when the rest of Tamil Nadu suffers power deficiency. Read article

Read about Odanthurais many achievements
Read researcher B. Priyadharshinis report of a visit to Odanthurai

Sustainable Development: Stories from those making it possible

A publication by FLEDGE, Chennai

From the Preface:
While a large amount of time and energy is spent on deciding the future of sustainability using the Rio+20 outcome document ‘The Future We Want’, limited space is available for local communities to tell their stories on how simple, on-the-ground initiatives are being pursued enabling them to secure their livelihoods. In the absence of our ability to listen to the experiences from the ground, informed policy making and setting the agendas related to SDGs would be weakened.

In the process of looking out for the case studies and experiences on how community based interventions could provide long-term solutions for sustainable development, we came across a number of inspirational stories that range from simple interventions to secure income for local people though value-addition to biodiversity to house-hold actions to secure food and nutrition.

In this publication, we have made an attempt to collate the experiences of a range of communities in using biological resources as basis for securing livelihoods and moving towards the path of local level development, supported by a number of spirited Non-Governmental Organizations in India. One important undercurrent to the compilation is that for development to happen one need to innovate but innovate according to the needs of the local people. Read more…

Breakthrough Institute: An Ecomodernist Manifesto

The Breakthrough Institute


From the Introduction:
To say that the Earth is a human planet becomes truer every day. Humans are made from the Earth, and the Earth is remade by human hands. Many earth scientists express this by stating that the Earth has entered a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene, the Age of Humans. As scholars, scientists, campaigners, and citizens, we write with the conviction that knowledge and technology, applied with wisdom, might allow for a good, or even great, Anthropocene.

A good Anthropocene demands that humans use their growing social, economic, and technological powers to make life better for people, stabilize the climate, and protect the natural world. In this, we affirm one long-standing environmental ideal, that humanity must shrink its impacts on the environment to make more room for nature, while we reject another, that human societies must harmonize with nature to avoid economic and ecological collapse.

These two ideals can no longer be reconciled. Natural systems will not, as a general rule, be protected or enhanced by the expansion of humankind’s dependence upon them for sustenance and well-being. Intensifying many human activities — particularly farming, energy extraction, forestry, and settlement — so that they use less land and interfere less with the natural world is the key to decoupling human development from environmental impacts.

These socioeconomic and technological processes are central to economic modernization and environmental protection. Togetherthey allow people to mitigate climate change, to spare nature, and to alleviate global poverty. Although we have to date written separately, our views are increasingly discussed as a whole. We call ourselves ecopragmatists and ecomodernists. We offer this statement to affirm and to clarify our views and to describe our vision for putting humankind’s extraordinary powers in the service of creating a good Anthropocene.

View/download An Ecomodernist Manifesto
Read Kurt Cobbs stinging critique An Ecomodernist Manifesto: Truth and confusion in the same breath which questions some of the fundamental assumptions behind the manifesto.

News update

India Struggling Between International Image & Equity at Lima Climate Talks
Dispatches from COP 20, Lima by Kabir, Whats With The Climate
Indian government delegation is warming up for a test match like scenario at COP 20 in Lima. It seems that India in coordination with other developing countries will push for Adaptation, Adaptation, and Adaptation at par with mitigation in Paris, 2015 climate deal. The equal parity between mitigation, and adaption in the mandate of Global Climate Fund was appreciated in the interaction.

Is India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, a climate leader?
Mat Hope, The Carbon Brief
In May, Narendra Modi was sworn in as the new prime minister of India. Many hoped he would prove a climate change champion. Six months later, those expectations have been tempered.

Can China Cut Coal?
David Biello, Scientific American blogs
Coal is cheap and getting cheaper in China. In fact, though the country may require more and more coal imports to satisfy its voracious demand, the cost of coal is cheaper now than in 2000, according to an analysis by WWF’s Hu. As a result, the owners of coal-fired power plants can still make money burning the polluting rock to generate electricity—and even more money if they keep pollution controls in the off position.

Watching the Watchdogs: 10 Years of the IEA World Energy Outlook
David MacLeod, Integral Permaculture
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is the energy watchdog of the industrial world. The IEA World Energy Outlook has gradually moved from rosy to pessimistic reports over the last ten years, or what Stuart Staniford called “increasingly reality-based.”

Down With Sustainable Development! Long Live Convivial Degrowth!
Justin Hyatt, Inter Press Service
For anyone who recently attended the Fourth International Conference on Degrowth in Leipzig, Germany, listening in on conference talk, surrounded by the ecologically savvy, one quickly noticed that no one was singing the praises of sustainable development. Nonetheless, development per se and all that this entails did take centre stage, as a crowd of three thousand participants and speakers debated ongoing trends in the fields of environment, politics, economics and social justice.

The Fragmentation of Technology
John Michael Greer, The Archdruid Report
As resource depletion and economic contraction tighten their grip on the industrial world, the stock of existing and proposed technologies face triage in a continuum defined by two axes—the utility of the technology, on the one hand, and its cost in real (i.e., nonfinancial) terms on the other. A chart may help show how this works.

Are Humans Going Extinct?
Dahr Jamail, Truthout
Without a major shift away from coal, average global temperatures could rise by 6 degrees Celsius by 2050, leading to devastating climate change. Some scientists, Guy McPherson included, fear that climate disruption is so serious, with so many self-reinforcing feedback loops already in play, that humans are in the process of causing our own extinction.

Roadmap for Sustainability, Equity and Peace

Note: Paper to be presented by Sagar Dhara, one of the founder-members of Peak Oil India Group, at the XXXVII Indian Social Science Congress, Aligarh Muslim University, 27-31 December, 2013

What is our share of energy in nature?  How should we distribute it?
Search for a roadmap to a sustainable, equitable and peaceful human society

Sagar Dhara1

To become sustainable, equitable and a peaceful society, humans must power down by at least 60%, become solar beings, distribute energy equitably and manage it democratically. For this, global outlook must change from Gain maximization for a few to Risk minimization for all species.  The formulation of sustainability indices and a wide public discussion for short and a medium term programmes for such a transition should be conducted. Read more…

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