sustainable development
Indian farmers growing record yields with no GMO crops or pesticides

Contrary to claims by Monsanto and government conspirators, we can indeed meet the world’s hunger without the use of genetically modified seed and manufactured chemicals. Bumper crops of rice, potatoes, and wheat are being grown in India using methods of Agroecology.

The Global Impact of E-Waste: Addressing the Challenge

This paper examines the volumes, sources and flows of e-waste, the risks it poses to e-waste workers and the environment, occupational safety and health issues, labour issues and regulatory frameworks, and links this growing global problem with the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) current and future work.


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The Main Issues posed by E-Waste and that this paper tackles:
  • High volumes – High volumes are generated due to the rapid obsolescence of gadgets combined with the high demand for new technology.
  • Toxic design – E-waste is classified as hazardous 
  • waste having adverse health and environmental implications. 
  • Approximately 40  per cent of the heavy metals found in landfills comes from electronic waste.
  • Poor design and complexity – E-waste imposes many challenges on the recycling industry. Toxic materials are attached to non-toxic materials, which makes separation of materials for reclamation difficult. Hence, responsible recycling requires intensive labour and/or sophisticated and costly technologies that safely separate materials.
  • Labour issues – These include occupational exposures, informal sector domination causing health and environmental problems, lack of labour standards and rights.
  • Financial incentives – In general, there is not enough value in most e-waste to cover the costs of managing it in a responsible way. However, in line with EPR policies, new opportunities can be realized with the rise in the price of many of the materials in electronics, such as gold and copper.
  • Lack of regulation – Many nations either lack adequate regulations applying to this relatively new waste stream, or lack effective enforcement of new e-waste regulations.
Related UN Resources:

So, let us start with the basics. What is the 2030 Agenda? What exactly is it that is going on right now?

The United Nations Sustainable Development Summit is happening in New York right now, and it will be happening for the next three days. It’s a meeting between world leaders where the aim is to all agree on the formulation of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 sustainable development goals and their 196 sub-targets. The meeting will take the whole weekend, but already the Agenda has been adopted, and we now have a world Agenda for the next 15 years. The Agenda will, to put it simply, dictate the approach of the UN in their work, both how they work internally and how they work with their member states and other partners. It will also have a huge impact on how countries tackle the different challenges that they are facing in everything from environmental sustainability, to education, poverty elevation and gender equality, just to mention a few.

Worth noting is that the negotiating part of the 2030 Agenda (where member states argues about if they should use this word instead of that, and other things that surprisingly will have much bigger implications than one might think) is more or less done. The draft of the goals has been negotiated and worked on since 2012 and he Rio+20 conference, and will most likely be adopted in their entirety at this stage.

The 2030 Agenda is “a plan for people, planet and prosperity that also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom”. It is at its core an integrated set of goals and targets that illustrates the interconnectedness of the “three pillars of sustainable development” (social, environmental and economic). All goals are in the formulation of their targets connected to multiple other goals, and together they create a web of targets and goals, where one cannot pull one strand without taking into consideration how it connects to other aspects of sustainable development. This creates a complicated set of goals, and the world is definitely facing a challenge in its work towards the realization of the 2030 Agenda. However, it is also our only chance to ensure that we protect not only our selves, but also the planet we live on, and that we ensure that the needs of the present is met while also ensuring that the possibility of future generations to meet their needs is safeguarded. Our actions these coming 15 years will be crucial for how life on our planet will look in the future, and there are many exciting, if challenging, things ahead of us.


This title maybe misleading but the intention is pretty peaceful! Legend has it that after the World War II got over, American pilot Gale Halvorson airdropped candies in the name of hope, for the Berlin children. War equals devastation, so dropping candies instead of bombs was probably personal retribution. Inspired by this incident, designer Hwang Jin wook and pals have come up with a plan to combat deforestation and desertification of land in a similar fashion. Their mission is called “Seedbomb.”

Mission Seedbomb involves a bomber aircraft and charges full of the Seed Capsules. Essentially the project involves artificial dispersal of seeds over arid areas where natural vegetation has lapsed due to man-made follies like deforestation leading to desertification. Each capsule contains artificial soil and seeds, and are air-dropped over the selected regions.

Housed in biodegradable plastic, the artificial soil provides nourishment and moisture to the seed; till it grows out to be a strong enough plant to sustain itself. As the sapling matures, the plastic capsule melts away, leaving behind a brand new generation.

Sounds like Mission (im)Possible to me, however the logistics of desert environment and the kind of seeds to be dispersed will require a lot research and expertise from the botanists. Because once the capsule melts away and the artificial soil’s nourishment and moisture used up, it’ll take a lot of effort on the plant’s part to survive the harsh environment.

Designers: Hwang Jin wook, Jeon You ho, Han Kuk il & Kim Ji myung

F: Yankoodesign

Spiralling global temperatures by Ed Hawkins on Climate Lab Book.

How does this trend bode for staying within the Paris climate agreement of a 2 degrees Celsius limit on global warming? Are we taking sufficient action, and quickly enough, to do anything about this trend? What are the impacts of these rising temperatures- in the short and long term?

Related posts:

The Fort McMurray wildfire- impacts of climate change in the here and now?

Paris climate agreement: key points

Paris climate summit: 2 degrees or 1.5 degrees- what does it matter?

$2.2 trillion of wasted investment in fossil fuel projects in a 2 degree world
The corporate scramble for Africa

There is a new corporate scramble for Africa’s natural resources. You’d think it should play differently this time. After all, it’s a half century since political independence and decades since the first waves of resource nationalism resulted in the nationalisation of extractive industries across the continent. Since then, both sides have come to realise they need the other, and there’s this new buzzword of sustainable development.
Women 'are the foot soldiers of climate change adaptation'

“Kusum Athukorala, one of the country’s leading experts on water management, agrees that women are key to adapting effective measures to deal with water challenges and changing climate patterns.

“Women are the foot soldiers of climate change adaptation,” said Athukorala who heads the Network of Women Water Professionals, Sri Lanka (NetWwater) and the Women for Water Partnership…

However, despite their importance, women are still being largely left out of the decision making, according to a new report by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). The report - The Challenges of Securing Women’s Tenure and Leadership for Forest Management: The Asian Experience - found that gender discrimination is still rampant.

Arvind Khare, RRI’s senior director of country and regional programmes, said that women’s roles should not only be recognized but should also be enforced. He took the case of land rights in rural China, where women often find themselves losing land, due to cultural and social norms, despite laws that are gender neutral on paper.

“How can we look at climate adaptation and food security when those who do most of the work at ground level have no say?” he asked.

Via AlterNet
A manifesto for a more sustainable world | John Sauven
John Sauven: We can do more than just endure or adapt to climate change, we can tackle it and create a better, more just society in the process
By John Sauven

John Sauven wants to disrupt the latent complacency in our thinking and actions regarding climate change.

We need a broad and deep change to the current economic and political paradigm. We need to challenge those old values and develop new ones more appropriate for living in the Anthropocene – values that support conscious, active stewardship in an interlinked world. This in turn will depend on the mobilisation and empowerment of people across the world. We need a society in which government is answerable to people and corporations are answerable to government. That society is not going to build itself from above. The Arab Spring and the Occupy movements may have faded after their huge initial impacts, but ‘we are the 99%’ has become a rallying cry on almost every continent.

But why is social change fundamental to tackling issues, such as climate change? Climate change is not about diplomacy or energy or capital or economics. Climate change, like many other important issues, is about power. A new energy system means new power relations.

The resources required to rapidly move away from fossil fuels and prepare for the coming heavy weather could pull huge swathes of humanity out of poverty, providing services now sorely lacking, from clean water to electricity, and with a political model that is more democratic and less centralised than the models of the past. This is a vision of the future that goes beyond just surviving or enduring climate change, beyond ‘mitigating’ and ‘adapting’ to it, in the grim language of the United Nations. It is a vision in which we collectively use the crisis to leap somewhere better than where we are right now.

We know how we can prevent the worst of climate change, rejuvenate soils, protect fish stocks. We know how we can create a more just society, how to build a better education system, give people clean water, provide human rights for all. These are not mysteries. We have the technology and the ability and the knowledge. What we are lacking is the will to make real political and social change.

The only thing that will instigate that change is if enough of us are willing and have the courage to act together to build a more sustainable world.

We must create more visionary global institutions to tackle climate change and the wider environmental crisis. Only a global agreement that provides an effective mechanism for sharing the costs of reducing emissions fairly between the world’s countries – as well as cushioning the most vulnerable against the climate impacts that are already inevitable – will work. And that will only happen if we make it happen from the ground up.

Our planet may be the only place in the universe where life exists. It is a precious thing, and it must be protected and nurtured, not torn apart for the short-term gain of a few. Humans are a force of nature, but we are a conscious force and we can use our power for good. We are not spectators, we are players, and we can shape the game, all of us together. It is time for all of us to see humanity for what it is: as a single species, interdependent on other species and the one, finite and beautiful planet we live on.


In images that hauntingly echo the well documented drying up of the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan/Uzbekistan, Lake Poopó, Bolivia’s second largest lake, has been officially declared as having ‘evaporated’.

With similar causes and impacts to the Aral Sea case- water diverted for agriculture and mining, exacerbated by drought linked to climate change, leading to the degradation of already fragile natural ecosystems and wildlife, undermining the lifestyles of local people dependent on the lake, and leading to the displacement of these populations.

We cannot afford to ignore these cases- such as the Aral Sea and now Lake Poopó- that clearly demonstrate the causal links between mismanagement of local environments, and significant social and economic consequences. We must change behaviour and redesign infrastructure so that we work with nature, not against it.

Images- via the Guardian and the Independent:

Top: Satellite images showing the extent to which Lake Poopó has receded in just 3 years between April 2013 and January 2016.

Middle: Fishing boats abandoned from the shore of the dried up lake- (particularly reminiscent of images taken several years previously at the Aral Sea).

Bottom: Tyre tracks and the carcass of a bird on the now parched ground of the lake bed.

Friday is the International Day of Forests!

Forests are essential for the survival of people everywhere, and more than 1.6 billion people worldwide depend on forests for food, fuel, medicines and livelihoods.

On Friday’s International Day of Forests, communities around the world will celebrate forests and their vital role for sustainable development.

Get photos, videos & more, and join the celebration of forests here


“Water holds the key to sustainable development, we must work together to protect and carefully manage this fragile, finite resource.”  - United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Happy World Water Day!

World Water Day is held annually on March 22 focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

Our Volunteers around the world work with local governments, clinics, nongovernmental organizations, and communities at the grassroots level, where the need is most urgent and the impact can be the greatest, focusing on outreach, social and behavior change in public health, hygiene and water sanitation.
Vatican's Pontifical Acadamy of Sciences embraces sustainable development

Surprising suggestions on sustainable development by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the scientific academy of the Vatican established in 1936 by Pope Pius XI.

Pope Francis and the Academy’s strong embrace of solutions for sustainability and climate change issues are placed in the context of helping the poor:

The advances in measured productivity in all sectors – agriculture, industry and services – enable us to envision the end of poverty, the sharing of prosperity, and the further extensions of life spans. However, unfair social structures have become obstacles to an appropriate and sustainable organization of production and a fair distribution of its fruits, which are both necessary to achieve those goals.

The Academy - and the Pope - are using strong and critical language:

Humanity’s relationship with nature is riddled with unaccounted for consequences of the actions each of us take for both present and future generations.

Socio-environmental processes are not self-correcting. Market forces alone, bereft of ethics and collective action, cannot solve the intertwined crises of poverty, exclusion, and the environment. However, the failure of the market has been accompanied by the failure of institutions, which have not always aimed at the common good.

In early 2014, the Academy held a 4-day workshop on sustainable development. Attendees discussed past, present, and future development issues and proposed solutions that must:

…be taken in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of forthcoming development in the context of the ongoing cultural evolution of mankind.

They agreed to seven solutions, and apparently the Pope will challenge Catholics (and world leaders) to commit to implement them.

First…ameliorate the living conditions of poor populations, particularly in developing areas of our planet. [Produce more] (g)enetically modified (crops, such as), Golden Rice containing a precursor of vitamin A is an excellent example of the feasibility of this proposal and its beneficial effects.[1]

Secondly, [address] anthropogenic climate change.

Thirdly, agricultural practices should be reconsidered, including those introduced by the green revolution, in order to minimise undesirable environmental impacts in the longer term.

Fourthly, [commit to] science-based policy assessment before the introduction of the proposed measure.

Fifthly, partnerships between scientists, enterprises and political leaders, rather than single individuals or enterprises, should be involved in the introduction of novel innovations.

Sixthly, special efforts should be made to rapidly integrate available scientific knowledge on the laws of nature relating to life functions, including life evolution, into everybody’s knowledge.

Finally, [address] increasing density of the human population. Appropriate goals should be set to reach quickly a more stable equilibrium that can persist without a negative impact on the highly appreciated biodiversity and diversity of habitats on our planet Earth, which has a constant size and a very long life expectancy.

From the Summary of the Joint PAS/PASS Workshop on Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility, here.

Took this picture on my way home from fishing today.

This is just another subliminal message to promote the self driving car. To get us out of our cara. Taking away our freedom of mobility and the liberty to move and live where we want, when we want.

This is all part of the Agenda 21 plan.

@redbloodedamerica, @quitefranklytv, @gop-tea-pub, @your-uncle-dave

A global transition is needed to shift linear economic models typified by carbon intensive energy consumption and significant environmental impacts, where we ‘take, make and dispose’ natural resources- to circular models with reduced energy requirements from low carbon renewable sources, with minimal environmental impacts, and where natural resources are recycled and reused, and products are maintained and re-manufactured. 

Investing in projects and schemes, and across a range of sectors and scales, that align with this transition can have significant environmental benefits, as well as other positive sustainability related outcomes. Consider, as examples, the range of environmental, social and economic benefits that can be achieved at both a regional/national, and global, level of investing in cycling as a mode of urban transport- or by designing and engineering natural infrastructure that works in harmony with existing natural systems.

Watch on

Scientists in South Korea say they have produced gasoline from genetically modified Escherichia coli, a bacteria more commonly associated with food poisoning in humans. The researchers, from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, say their work could one day lead to a new and sustainable source of clean fuel.