Want to Help Reduce Water Pollution? Here’s How…

Good example of Mobox (a private sector company) promoting sustainable issues on their website…

“The fact of the matter is that we can’t live off of beer and energy drinks. H2O is a precious commodity, we simply can’t overlook, period. And, like all commodities – and their value – it might have an expiration date.

Pollution, global warming, overpopulation, collapsing ecosystems, el Niño weather system, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch , and hundreds of other threats taking a crowbar to our water supply’s knees.

The big looming global catastrophe isn’t an errant Asteroid or the rise of Artificial Intelligence. It’s the simple fact that we are running out of clean “drinkable” water. In fact, many impoverished countries already don’t have clean water. It’s a huge, massive problem.

Out off all these foreboding dangers, there is one we can take head one: water pollution.

But how can we reduce it? Here are 11 ways….”

John Hawthorne, Mobox More>>>

Colorado to create high-speed tube system in Denver

“Colorado drivers may be the first to escape traffic thanks to a new partnership between state officials and a Los Angeles-based hyperloop tech company.

Arrivo founder Brogan BamBrogan joined Colorado transportation officials in Denver Tuesday to announce a partnership to create a network of roadside tubes at the congested heart of the city that promises to whisk drivers and their cars to their destinations at speeds of up to 200 mph.

The public-private players include Arrivo, the Colorado Department of Transportation and E-470 Public Highway Authority, which operates a 75-mile, user-financed toll road running along the eastern perimeter of the city. The Arrivo test site will be near E-470 and groundbreaking is slated for early 2018.”

US Today More>>>

Sustainable Development Goals need a radical economic rethink…

“The Sustainable Development Goals are ambitious objectives; business as usual will not deliver them. Speaking on the recent International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres acknowledged the need for new thinking. “The pledge to leave no one behind will require innovative approaches, partnerships, and solutions,” he said. But this new model will only come about if we radically reshape the national, regional, and global economies that lie behind many of the obstacles to achieving the SDGs. We must rethink the way we govern and manage the global financial and economic system.

In part, that means rethinking the current trend to treat private finance as the default option for development. Private finance is being heavily touted by the World Bank, the G20, and others as the solution to the SDG financing gap — for example, through their enthusiastic promotion of public-private partnerships. Yet international private capital has proven volatile and is often short term. In fact, since 2015, international private finance has been net negative for developing countries — more money has been flowing out than in. This volatility has led some developing countries to protect themselves from external shocks by building up massive reserves. This is a sensible strategy given the lack of faith those countries have in the IMF and other global institutions to protect them in times of crises. However, in practice they build reserves by buying safe assets from developed countries. In other words, the poorer countries are lending trillions of dollars to the richest countries, particularly the U.S., at very low rates of interest….”   >>>>more

Author – Jesse Griffiths

Is Vertical Farming the Way Forward?

Farmers growing vertically, in a warehouse, say they can grow 100 times more greens per square foot than traditional farms.

Videos and articles are popping up everywhere about new vertical farms opening. An article from Business Insider features a new farm called Bowery, located in New Jersey. Using LED lighting that mimics natural light and instead of soil, growing hydroponically, they are producing over 80 different varieties of greens. Watering, moving plants, changing lighting, or atmosphere are being automated to save labor and energy costs.

Growing 365 days a year

Other indoor growers include AeroFarms, Edenworks, Freshbox Farms, and Green Sense Farms. They can grow 365 days a year, and each incorporates different types of growing such as aeroponics and aquaponics. And these new farms are allowing fresh vegetables to be brought to the table in a very short span of time.

Time will tell if the farms will continue after the seed money is gone. The best way growers can continue to see a bright future is to continue to cut costs by automating the processes that lack in efficiency. The lowest hanging fruit in the automation curve is the nutrient delivery or fertigation process. This is where the Dosatron Nutrient Delivery System (NDS) comes in to play.

More>>>

 

 

 

 

Superbugs: The world is taking action, but low-income countries must not be left behind

Dr Marc Sprenger
WHO Director, Antimicrobial Resistance Secretariat

Commentary
29 May 2017

While the world has woken up to the threat of antimicrobial resistance and is starting to respond, many low-income countries are struggling to find capacity and need greater support. That is the headline finding of a groundbreaking global survey of how well countries think they are doing in fighting antimicrobial resistance, conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Dr Marc Sprenger, WHO Director, Antimicrobial Resistance Secretariat

Bacteria are rapidly developing resistance to antibiotics. Viruses, fungi and parasites are doing the same. This is because we have been overusing and misusing medicines for decades. It’s called antimicrobial resistance, and it is a major global threat.

This silent tsunami, in which we are losing our ability to protect against infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and malaria, has been neglected for far too long. For years, microbiologists have been warning—with increasing volume—that indiscriminate use of antibiotics and similar drugs in humans and animals is increasingly rendering them ineffective.

Now, antimicrobial resistance has finally come to the forefront in health and political circles, leading to the development in 2015 of a Global Action Plan, endorsed by Ministers of Health and Agriculture at the governing bodies of WHO, FAO and OIE, and Heads of State at a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly last September. Since then, countries have been developing national action plans to put the globally-agreed policy changes into practice.

Our survey of country progress offers some good news. More than 90% of people in the world (6.5 billion) live in a country that has developed, or is developing, a national action plan on antimicrobial resistance. Some of the key areas in which countries report that they are doing well are: training doctors, nurses, and other health workers on how to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance; improving the prevention and control of infections; and strengthening systems to detect the extent of the problem. These are incredible achievements. National plans are multisectoral—which means that leaders in human health, animal health, and the environment, who often talk about joined-up approaches, are actually putting it into action.

When you drill down into the numbers, a slightly less rosy picture emerges. High-income countries that already have stronger health and agricultural systems are much better prepared to deal with antimicrobial resistance—more than 80% of these countries have a plan in place, or are developing one. By contrast, about 30% of low-income countries either have or are developing a plan. This is not surprising. Many low-income countries lack the expertise or capacity to develop a national plan, or they are overwhelmed by dealing with fragile health systems or outbreaks of infectious diseases.

Yet low-income countries are the ones that need to be the best prepared since they are likely to bear the brunt of resistance: infectious diseases are much more common, and their health systems are much weaker and less able to adapt as first-line antibiotics (which tend to be cheaper) become less effective. The burden of harder-to-treat infectious diseases and the impact of treatment failure in human lives and relative economic cost will be much higher than in richer countries.

The lack of preparedness in low-income countries should concern us all, no matter how rich a country we live in. Antibiotic resistance will not just affect the ability to treat diseases such as malaria or tuberculosis, which many might think occur in the poorest parts of the world. Resistant bacteria will challenge our ability to treat women in childbirth, people undergoing surgery, or those on cancer chemotherapy. And, in a globalized world, microbes don’t respect national borders. They spread with ease.”

More>>>

 

 

The Economic Development In Africa Report 2017 ‘Tourism for Transformative and Inclusive Growth’

Geneva, 29 June 2016 – Reaching the peak of Mt Kilimanjaro, having a medical procedure in Tunisia, observing Rhino’s at an eco-lodge in Namibia, rafting the Zambezi River, these are all forms of a growing and eclectic tourism industry in Africa. This year, UNCTAD’s ‘Economic Development in Africa Report 2017’ focuses on ‘Tourism for transformative and inclusive growth’ and encourages African countries to harness the dynamism of the tourism sector.

The United Nations designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The tourism sector has been praised for its capacity to stimulate economic growth through the creation of jobs and by attracting investment and fostering entrepreneurship, while also contributing, if properly harnessed, to the preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity, protection of cultural heritage and promotion of empowerment of local communities.

The UNCTAD report addresses some of the below key questions:

  • How does tourism contribute to structural transformation and more inclusive growth?
  • How can linkages between tourism and other productive sectors be harnessed to create additional economic opportunities and provide sustainable livelihoods?
  • How can the economic potential of intraregional tourism be fostered and better exploited through deeper regional integration?
  • What is the relationship between tourism and peace?

The ‘Economic Development in Africa Report 2017’ will be launched on 5 July 2017. In New York, a press briefing with Ms. Chantal Line Carpentier, Chief, New York Office, UNCTAD, will be held in S-237 at UN Headquarters at 11:00am (EST). Join UNCTAD for Press Conferences, and learn about the latest Economic Development in Africa Report from experts.

 

Global Sustainability Open Access Journal

Global Sustainability is a new Open Access journal dedicated to supporting the rapidly expanding area of global sustainability research. Without profound societal transformations, humanity risks destabilising the Earth system. In the last decade, the research field of global sustainability science has expanded rapidly to explore human social and economic pressure on the whole Earth system. This journal will explore global sustainability, planetary and societal resilience, and solutions for societal transformations. Global Sustainability will publish interdisciplinary original research, reviews and commentaries addressing how human activities interact with Earth system dynamics. It will invite work on sustainable pathways, evolution and resilience in the Anthropocene.

More >>>

Coastal Habitats of the Natura 2000 Network

Coastal regions generate 40% of our GDP, but development must be sustainable and must recognise the natural value of our varied coastlines. Only 13% of coastal species are in a ‘favourable’ conservation status, while 73% of coastal habitats are assessed as being ‘bad’ or ‘inadequate’.

It is in the interests of all business sectors, from tourism to shipping and fisheries, to safeguard and improve the health of our coastal ecosystems. Adopting an ecosystem approach to their management fosters, rather than hinders, growth and jobs.

The 96-page brochure, LIFE and coastal habitats, outlines the scope of innovative and best practices measures carried out by LIFE projects to improve the status of Europe’s coastal habitats and management of Natura 2000 network sites – from dune habitat conservation in the Baltic to coastal lagoon protection in the Black Sea. It features sections on all the different types of habitats targeted by the programme and concludes with a focus on the cross-cutting management issues facing coastal regions.

The EU’s integrated policy response covers action on climate change, water pollution, habitat loss and all the other factors impacting on European coastal areas, and LIFE has been instrumental in showing how these policy objectives can best be achieved.

Download: LIFE and coastal habitats

World population projected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050, and 11.2 billion in 2100

The current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100, according to a new United Nations report being launched today. With roughly 83 million people being added to the world’s population every year, the upward trend in population size is expected to continue, even assuming that fertility levels will continue to decline.

The World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision, published by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, provides a comprehensive review of global demographic trends and prospects for the future. The information is essential to guide policies aimed at achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals.

Shifts in country population rankings
The new projections include some notable findings at the country level. China (with 1.4 billion inhabitants) and India (1.3 billion inhabitants) remain the two most populous countries, comprising 19 and 18% of the total global population. In roughly seven years, or around 2024, the population of India is expected to surpass that of China.

Among the ten largest countries worldwide, Nigeria is growing the most rapidly. Consequently, the population of Nigeria, currently the world’s 7th largest, is projected to surpass that of the United States and become the third largest country in the world shortly before 2050.

Most of the global increase is attributable to a small number of countries
From 2017 to 2050, it is expected that half of the world’s population growth will be concentrated in just nine countries: India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, the United States of America, Uganda and Indonesia (ordered by their expected contribution to total growth).

The group of 47 least developed countries (LDCs) continues to have a relatively high level of fertility, which stood at 4.3 births per woman in 2010-2015. As a result, the population of these countries has been growing rapidly, at around 2.4 % per year. Although this rate of increase is expected to slow significantly over the coming decades, the combined population of the LDCs, roughly one billion in 2017, is projected to increase by 33 % between 2017 and 2030, and to reach 1.9 billion persons in 2050.

Similarly, Africa continues to experience high rates of population growth. Between 2017 and 2050, the populations of 26 African countries are projected to expand to at least double their current size.

The concentration of global population growth in the poorest countries presents a considerable challenge to governments in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which seeks to end poverty and hunger, expand and update health and education systems, achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, reduce inequality and ensure that no one is left behind.

Slower world population growth due to lower fertility rates
In recent years, fertility has declined in nearly all regions of the world. Even in Africa, where fertility levels are the highest of any region, total fertility has fallen from 5.1 births per woman in 2000-2005 to 4.7 in 2010-2015.

Europe has been an exception to this trend in recent years, with total fertility increasing from 1.4 births per woman in 2000-2005 to 1.6 in 2010-2015.

More and more countries now have fertility rates below the level required for the replacement of successive generations (roughly 2.1 births per woman), and some have been in this situation for several decades. During 2010-2015, fertility was below the replacement level in 83 countries comprising 46 % of the world’s population. The ten most populous countries in this group are China, the United States of America, Brazil, the Russian Federation, Japan, Viet Nam, Germany, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Thailand, and the United Kingdom (in order of population size).

Lower fertility leads also to ageing populations
The report highlights that a reduction in the fertility level results not only in a slower pace of population growth but also in an older population.

Compared to 2017, the number of persons aged 60 or above is expected to more than double by 2050 and to more than triple by 2100, rising from 962 million globally in 2017 to 2.1 billion in 2050 and 3.1 billion in 2100.

In Europe, 25% of the population is already aged 60 years or over. That proportion is projected to reach 35% in 2050 and to remain around that level in the second half of the century. Populations in other regions are also projected to age significantly over the next several decades and continuing through 2100. Africa, for example, which has the youngest age distribution of any region, is projected to experience a rapid ageing of its population. Although the African population will remain relatively young for several more decades, the percentage of its population aged 60 or over is expected to rise from 5% in 2017 to around 9% in 2050, and then to nearly 20% by the end of the century.

Globally, the number of persons aged 80 or over is projected to triple by 2050, from 137 million in 2017 to 425 million in 2050. By 2100 it is expected to increase to 909 million, nearly seven times its value in 2017.

Population ageing is projected to have a profound effect on societies, underscoring the fiscal and political pressures that the health care, old-age pension and social protection systems of many countries are likely to face in the coming decades.

Higher life expectancy worldwide
Substantial improvements in life expectancy have occurred in recent years. Globally, life expectancy at birth has risen from 65 years for men and 69 years for women in 2000-2005 to 69 years for men and 73 years for women in 2010-2015. Nevertheless, large disparities across countries remain.

Although all regions shared in the recent rise of life expectancy, the greatest gains were for Africa, where life expectancy rose by 6.6 years between 2000-2005 and 2010-2015 after rising by less than 2 years over the previous decade.

The gap in life expectancy at birth between the least developed countries and other developing countries narrowed from 11 years in 2000-2005 to 8 years in 2010-2015. Although differences in life expectancy across regions and income groups are projected to persist in future years, such differences are expected to diminish significantly by 2045-2050.

The increased level and reduced variability in life expectancy have been due to many factors, including a lower under-five mortality rate, which fell by more than 30 % in 89 countries between 2000-2005 and 2010-2015. Other factors include continuing reductions in fatalities due to HIV/AIDS and progress in combating other infectious as well as non-communicable diseases.

Large movements of refugees and other migrants
There continue to be large movements of migrants between regions, often from low- and middle-income countries toward high-income countries. The volume of the net inflow of migrants to high-income countries in 2010-2015 (3.2 million per year) represented a decline from a peak attained in 2005-2010 (4.5 million per year). Although international migration at or around current levels will be insufficient to compensate fully for the expected loss of population tied to low levels of fertility, especially in the European region, the movement of people between countries can help attenuate some of the adverse consequences of population ageing.

The report observes that the Syrian refugee crisis has had a major impact on levels and patterns of international migration in recent years, affecting several countries. The estimated net outflow from the Syrian Arab Republic was 4.2 million persons in 2010-2015. Most of these refugees went to Syria’s neighbouring countries, contributing to a substantial increase in the net inflow of migrants especially to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.