Thursday, 10 April 2014

Sources and impacts of marine litter by Jane Lee/ Marlisco

Monday, 8 April 2013

United Nations Human Development Report

The report divides its main analysis into two sections – firstly identifying the key drivers of the rise of the south and secondly, raising future issues that need to be addressed to maintain this process. Both contain factors that will impact on sustainabililty. The three key factors driving the growth of the south are:
  1. A proactive developmental state;
  2. The tapping of global markets;
  3. Determined social policy innovation.
All three of these ‘key drivers’, emphasise an interventionist and active regulatory role for the state rather than merely leaving key choices in the hands of the free market. Indeed the report explicitly notes that the best-performing southern economies ‘diverge from the unfettered liberalization espoused by the Washington Consensus’. Thus, discussing the ‘tapping of global markets’

The Report has five main conclusions for the future:
  1. Rising economic strength in the south must be matched by a full commitment to human development – a commitment that is as much to do with economic necessity as the moral case for human potential.
  2. Less developed countries can learn and benefit from the success of emerging economies in the south – it cites recent Chinese and Indian joint ventures and start-up manufacturing investments in Africa as an example of this.
  3. New and stronger institutions are needed to promote trade and investment and accelerate experience sharing across the south.
  4. Greater representation for the south can accelerate progress on major global challenges – the report cites the emergence of the G20 as an example of this process but points out that India – a nuclear power, an economic giant and soon to be the most populous country in the world still has no permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
  5. The rise of the south presents new opportunities for generating a greater supply of public goods – the report cites climate change as an example of the kind of issue that the south’s new power may help to solve.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Sustainable Development Goals Surfing to Saftey or Suffer the Final Wipeout

I'm running through the thought piece in Nature on what the SDG's will look like. Must say that I’m struggling to see this new paradigm. The three pillars approach was always seen as a starting point for broader exploration and expansions. The economy, society, and earths life support System is also far from new and is in fact part of the existing paradigm.   Of course I understand the need to translate a hugely contested, ambiguous concept into a meaningful policy grounded form, but there is also a need to maintain an appreciation of this complexity.  I worry about this articulation and its transmission to the six proposed SD goals.  I will elaborate on this at a later point. For now I draw on the imagery used in the article and obviously this is going to stand out in light of my research into sustainable development and Surfing.  A sweeter synergy I could not have asked for.




Not only a  wave, the most terrifying of waves, the Tsunami well at least an artist’s impression,  as this wave does seem to have a shoulder and a very workable face, can’t make out if it’s a left or a right though. There is a flimsy boat about to be pounded  by said wave.  Four figures at the helm and one looking back at the stern, life rings are seen thrown asunder, not needed now, the image would suggest, as it is too late.   In the background a volcano billowing smoke, undoubtedly about to erupt and cover everything in the vicinity with red hot magma.  Is this how the authors imagine the Anthropocene?  This too is something I will explore in more detail at a later date.  For now I simply ‘note with interest’ the use of the wave and the multiple ways this iconography is employed. We must ask ourselves with SDG’s that now put the economy front and centre, well in the middle anyway. What is it selling now, a car, a T-shirt, in this instance it is an ideology, a political imperative that none can escape from. A global community bound to and responsible for (to very varying degrees) the disintegration of the global life support system.  The image leaves one wondering.  Does the life boat mange to surf the wave to the saftey of the shore (though im worried about the volcano) or does it suffer the final wipout.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Proposed Sustainable Development Goals

More thoughts on this when I have time to think !

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Goal one: Thriving lives and livelihoods.
End poverty and improve wellbeing through access to education, employment and information, better health and housing. It should include targets on clean air that build on World Health Organisation guidelines for pollutants such as black carbon.

 Goal two: Sustainable food security.
The MDG hunger target should be extended and targets added to limit nitrogen and phosphorus use in agriculture; phosphorus flow to the oceans should not exceed 10m tonnes a year; and phosphorus runoff to lakes and rivers should halve by 2030.

Goal three: Sustainable water security.
Achieve universal access to clean water and basic sanitation. This would contribute to MDG health targets, restrict global water runoff to less than 4,000 cubic kilometres a year and limit volumes withdrawn from river basins to no more than 50-80% of mean annual flow.

Goal four: Universal clean energy.
Improve affordable access to clean energy that minimises local pollutionand health impacts and mitigates global warming. This contributes to the UN commitment to sustainable energy for all, and addresses MDG targets on education, gender equity and health.

Goal five: Healthy and productive ecosystems.
Sustain biodiversity and ecosystem services through better management, valuation, measurement, conservation and restoration. Extinctions should not exceed 10 times the natural background rate. At least 70% of species in any ecosystem and 70% of forests should be retained.
Goal six: Governance for sustainable societies.
Transform governance and institutions at all levels to address the other five sustainable development goals. This would build on MDG partnerships and incorporate environmental and social targets into global trade, investment and finance. Subsidies on fossil fuels and policies that support unsustainable agricultural and fisheries practices should be eliminated by 2020.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Sustainable Development: Revisiting the basics

Over a number of blogs I have tried to elaborate on a number of  perspectives on sustainable development.  It is important, at times to remind ourselves of some of the basics.  Whilst not flawless (what is) the following are very useful.