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Global clean energy scorecard puts Australia 15th in the world

Global clean energy scorecard puts Australia 15th in the world | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Australia ranks equal 15th overall in a new World Bank scorecard on sustainable energy. We are tied with five other countries in the tail-end group of wealthy OECD countries – behind Canada and the United States and just one place ahead of China.

Called the Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy (RISE), the initiative provides benchmarks to evaluate clean energy progress, and insights and policy guidance for Australia and other countries.
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Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development
Sustainable development is about acting now with an awareness of the future.
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Anthropogenic Space Weather

Anthropogenic Space Weather | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

Abstract 


Anthropogenic effects on the space environment started in the late 19th century and reached their peak in the 1960s when high-altitude nuclear explosions were carried out by the USA and the Soviet Union. These explosions created artificial radiation belts near Earth that resulted in major damages to several satellites. Another, unexpected impact of the high-altitude nuclear tests was the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that can have devastating effects over a large geographic area (as large as the continental United States). Other anthropogenic impacts on the space environment include chemical release experiments, high-frequency wave heating of the ionosphere and the interaction of VLF waves with the radiation belts. This paper reviews the fundamental physical process behind these phenomena and discusses the observations of their impacts.

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Boy Genius Boyan Slat’s Giant Ocean Cleanup Machine Is Real

Boy Genius Boyan Slat’s Giant Ocean Cleanup Machine Is Real | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
wrote later in Natural History magazine. “In the week it took to cross the subtropical high, no matter what time of day I looked, plastic debris was floating everywhere: bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, fragments.” In the years since the plastic buildup has only worsened. In a recent article in the New York Times, Moore reported that the Patch, through a process of accretion, now contains “solid areas you could walk on.”

It’s, therefore, good news that a massive cleansing project is proceeding ahead of schedule. Boyan Slat, who first set out a vision of his Ocean Cleanup machine in a TED talk six years ago when he was just 17, today announced that he’ll begin hauling trash from the Patch in 2018. The news is vindication for the project, which has received plenty of TED-sized hype and millions of dollars in philanthropy, but which has also been criticized by some campaigners who say it’s sucked up resources and raised expectations to impossible-to-achieve levels.
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The Wellness Syndrome

The Wellness Syndrome | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Today, wellness is ubiquitous; it dictates how we work, consume, relate and live. At universities across America, students are being encouraged to sign wellness contracts, agreeing to pursue a lifestyle that enhances mind, body and soul.

But what happens when feeling good becomes indistinguishable from being good? When wellness becomes a moral injunction, what happens to those who fail at being 'well'? And is the moralistic and tyrannical insistence on wellbeing making us anxious, guilty, and unhappy?
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Behold the hippest tech on Earth: Blockchain for peer-to-peer solar energy markets

Behold the hippest tech on Earth: Blockchain for peer-to-peer solar energy markets | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

Most of us are aware of the environmental benefits of solar energy over fossil fuels, we’ve heard it numerous time: blah blah, cleaner air, blah blah, sustainability, and so on. You know, less world-endingly in general.

But adopting new energy sources won’t just mean cleaner energy, it can also lead to better utilization of the energy we’re producing. Many companies have been developing ways for solar panel owners to put their access energy out into the grid, but LO3 Energy is taking it a step further.

Kim Flintoff's insight:

Most of us are aware of the environmental benefits of solar energy over fossil fuels, we’ve heard it numerous time: blah blah, cleaner air, blah blah, sustainability, and so on. You know, less world-endingly in general.

But adopting new energy sources won’t just mean cleaner energy, it can also lead to better utilization of the energy we’re producing. Many companies have been developing ways for solar panel owners to put their access energy out into the grid, but LO3 Energy is taking it a step further.

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Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: Settled Science: Communicating with Climate Deniers. | April 26

Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: Settled Science: Communicating with Climate Deniers. | April 26 | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

Topic
Settled Science: Communicating with Climate Deniers


Description
In our next webinar for Climate Reality Leaders, we’re going to talk about some specific ways you can handle questions about the reality of climate change and navigate conversations with members of the public who don’t accept the science.

You’ll hear from Greg Jones, Science and Solutions staff, and from Climate Reality Leaders Brian Ettling, Laura Schmidt, and Joe Silverman. Register below to receive call-in information for the live webinar and to get on the list to receive a recording afterward.

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We need to get rid of carbon in the atmosphere, not just reduce emissions

We need to get rid of carbon in the atmosphere, not just reduce emissions | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Getting climate change under control is a formidable, multifaceted challenge. Analysis by my colleagues and me suggests that staying within safe warming levels now requires removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The technology to do this is in its infancy and will take years, even decades, to develop, but our analysis suggests that this must be a priority. If pushed, operational large-scale systems should be available by 2050.

We created a simple climate model and looked at the implications of different levels of carbon in the ocean and the atmosphere. This lets us make projections about greenhouse warming, and see what we need to do to limit global warming to within 1.5℃ of pre-industrial temperatures – one of the ambitions of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

To put the problem in perspective, here are some of the key numbers.
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Stop free water for Adani

Stop free water for Adani | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Sign this petition telling Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to stop the water license for Adani that would drain billions of litres of precious QLD water for FREE!
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UNEP-DHI Eco Challenge Australia | Water and Sustainability Game for Schools

UNEP-DHI Eco Challenge Australia | Water and Sustainability Game for Schools | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

UNEP-DHI Eco Challenge Australia. A serious game event for school students about Water Management and Sustainable Development.

WHAT'S INVOLVED WITH PLAYING IN
UNEP-DHI ECOCHALLENGE AUSTRALIA??

UNEP-DHI Eco Challenge provides an exciting and authentic learning experience for students in Years 5-12 through the online strategic game, Aqua Republica, to explore issues and solutions relating to water management and sustainable development.


Teams of two players set out to manage the water needs of community within the game world of Aqua Republica. [Schools may enter as many teams as they wish.]

Each school will nominate playing date/s when they will have access to the competition version of the game. 

ECO CHALLENGE AUSTRALIA 2017 - the WATER SECURITY edition is in place.

All participants will receive a certificate of participation at the national level.
UNEP-DHI will award certificates to international winners.
Curtin University will award prizes to the top 3 Australian teams.

Addressing the ACARA Cross-curriculum Priorities of Sustainability, and Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia the experience provides many learning opportunities across Social Studies, Science, Humanities, Health and Physical Education, English, Geography, and more.

 
Kim Flintoff's insight:

UNEP-DHI Eco Challenge Australia. A serious game event for school students about Water Management and Sustainable Development.

WHAT'S INVOLVED WITH PLAYING IN
UNEP-DHI ECOCHALLENGE AUSTRALIA??

UNEP-DHI Eco Challenge provides an exciting and authentic learning experience for students in Years 5-12 through the online strategic game, Aqua Republica, to explore issues and solutions relating to water management and sustainable development.


Teams of two players set out to manage the water needs of community within the game world of Aqua Republica. [Schools may enter as many teams as they wish.]

Each school will nominate playing date/s when they will have access to the competition version of the game. 

ECO CHALLENGE AUSTRALIA 2017 - the WATER SECURITY edition is in place.

All participants will receive a certificate of participation at the national level.
UNEP-DHI will award certificates to international winners.
Curtin University will award prizes to the top 3 Australian teams.

Addressing the ACARA Cross-curriculum Priorities of Sustainability, and Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia the experience provides many learning opportunities across Social Studies, Science, Humanities, Health and Physical Education, English, Geography, and more.

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A young inventor's plan to recycle Styrofoam

A young inventor's plan to recycle Styrofoam | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
From packing peanuts to disposable coffee cups, each year the US alone produces some two billion pounds of Styrofoam — none of which can be recycled. Frustrated by this waste of resources and landfill space, Ashton Cofer and his science fair teammates developed a heating treatment to break down used Styrofoam into something useful. Check out their original design, which won both the FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award and the Scientific American Innovator Award from Google Science Fair.
Kim Flintoff's insight:

How can Australian teachers enable this sort of authentic engagement - STEM+ in a challenge-based, student-centred, global collaboration framework - let teachers worry about assessment and curriculum - let kids learn and solve problems.

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Record-breaking climate change pushes world into ‘uncharted territory’

Record-breaking climate change pushes world into ‘uncharted territory’ | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
The record-breaking heat that made 2016 the hottest year ever recorded has continued into 2017, pushing the world into “truly uncharted territory”, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.

The WMO’s assessment of the climate in 2016, published on Tuesday, reports unprecedented heat across the globe, exceptionally low ice at both poles and surging sea-level rise.
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Report: Medical Alert! Climate Change Is Harming Our Health · The Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health (MSCCH)

Report: Medical Alert! Climate Change Is Harming Our Health · The Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health (MSCCH) | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Most Americans understand that climate change is real and are concerned about it. But most still see climate change as a faraway threat, in both time and place, and as something that threatens the future of polar bears but not necessarily people. The reality, however, is starkly different: climate change is already causing problems in …
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The Nile River Delta, once the bread basket of the world, may soon be uninhabitable

The Nile River Delta, once the bread basket of the world, may soon be uninhabitable | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
The Nile River Delta, once known as the bread basket of the world, may soon be unable to support even the population of Egypt. According to a multi-year study published in the Geological Society of America this week, the area where the Nile river drains out to the sea is suffering from decreased water flow, rising sea levels, and salt water intrusion—all of which damage food production and fresh water supplies.
“With a population expected to double in the next 50 years, Egypt is projected to have critical countrywide fresh water and food shortages by 2025,” the researchers from the Mediterranean Basin Program and the University of Maryland wrote in a summary of the study.
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Climate Deregulation Tracker - Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

Climate Deregulation Tracker - Sabin Center for Climate Change Law | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
The Climate Deregulation Tracker identifies steps taken by the incoming administration and Congress to scale back or wholly eliminate federal climate mitigation and adaptation measures. The tracker is linked to our database of climate change regulations. Read more →
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Accelerationism: how a fringe philosophy predicted the future we live in

Accelerationism: how a fringe philosophy predicted the future we live in | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Half a century ago, in the great hippie year of 1967, an acclaimed young American science fiction writer, Roger Zelazny, published his third novel. In many ways, Lord of Light was of its time, shaggy with imported Hindu mythology and cosmic dialogue. Yet there were also glints of something more forward-looking and political. One plot strand concerned a group of revolutionaries who wanted to take their society “to a higher level” by suddenly transforming its attitude to technology. Zelazny called them the Accelerationists.


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He and the book are largely forgotten now. But as the more enduring sci-fi novelist JG Ballard said in 1971, “what the writers of modern science fiction invent today, you and I will do tomorrow”. Over the past five decades, and especially over the past few years, much of the world has got faster. Working patterns, political cycles, everyday technologies, communication habits and devices, the redevelopment of cities, the acquisition and disposal of possessions – all of these have accelerated. Meanwhile, over the same half century, almost entirely unnoticed by the media or mainstream academia, accelerationism has gradually solidified from a fictional device into an actual intellectual movement: a new way of thinking about the contemporary world and its potential.

Accelerationists argue that technology, particularly computer technology, and capitalism, particularly the most aggressive, global variety, should be massively sped up and intensified – either because this is the best way forward for humanity, or because there is no alternative. Accelerationists favour automation. They favour the further merging of the digital and the human. They often favour the deregulation of business, and drastically scaled-back government. They believe that people should stop deluding themselves that economic and technological progress can be controlled. They often believe that social and political upheaval has a value in itself.
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We must plan the driverless city to avoid being hostage to the technology revolution

We must plan the driverless city to avoid being hostage to the technology revolution | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Trials of autonomous cars and buses have begun on the streets of Australian cities. Communications companies are moving to deploy the lasers, cameras and centimetre-perfect GPS that will enable a vehicle to navigate the streets of your town or city without a driver.

Most research and commentary is telling us how the new machines will work, but not how they might shape our cities. The talk is of the benefits of new shared transport economies, but these new technologies will shape our built environment in ways that are not yet fully understood. There’s every chance that, if mismanaged, driverless technologies will entrench the ills of car dependency.

As with Uber and the taxi industry, public sector planners and regulators will be forced to respond to the anger of those displaced by the new products the IT and automobile industries will bring to the market. But can we afford to wait?
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Space Pollution Could Be Humanity's Next Big Problem | Sci-Tech Today

Space Pollution Could Be Humanity's Next Big Problem | Sci-Tech Today | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
A paper written in 1978 by NASA scientist Donald Kessler warned that every collision was generating more debris and shrapnel as pieces flew apart on impact. This debris would then collide with other debris and spacecraft, creating even more shrapnel. Eventually space would become impenetrable due to the unstoppable cascade of colliding debris, Kessler wrote, taking out telecommunications systems and preventing future space missions.

"Some say we are at the tipping point of the cascade," Gorman says.

"This was not helped in 2007 when the Chinese fired a ground-based missile into one of their own satellites, and it broke into millions of little pieces. Some people said that alone accelerated us 20 years faster into a cascade situation. It was one of the single most destructive things that happened in earth's orbit.

"People are right to be concerned, and I'm not in the camp of 'she'll be right.' We do need to be proactive.

"My assessment is we haven't yet reached that tipping point. But we need to make some serious progress in the next decade, 20 years tops, if we are going to prevent disaster."
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For Your Next Adult Coloring Book, Shade In Data On Climate Change

For Your Next Adult Coloring Book, Shade In Data On Climate Change | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Adult coloring books are supposed to be relaxing. The Climate Change Coloring Book will hopefully get you a little worried.
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March set a remarkable new record for global warming, NOAA reports

March set a remarkable new record for global warming, NOAA reports | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that last month set an unusual and unexpected new record for global warming.


No month before March 2017 had ever exceeded the “normal” temperature (the 1981–2010 average) by a full 1.8°F (1.0°C) — “in the absence of an El Niño episode in the tropical Pacific Ocean.”


Why does this matter?

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Climate-driven species on the move are changing (almost) everything

Climate-driven species on the move are changing (almost) everything | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Last year in Paris, for the very first time, English sparkling wine beat champagne in a blind tasting event. Well established French Champagne houses have started buying fields in Britain to grow grapes, and even the royal family is investing in this new venture.

At the same time, coffee-growing regions are shrinking and shifting. Farmers are being forced to move to higher altitudes, as the band in which to grow tasty coffee moves up the mountain.

The evidence that climate change is affecting some of our most prized beverages is simply too great to be ignored. So while British sparkling wine and the beginning of the “coffeepocalypse” were inconceivable just a few decades ago, they are now a reality. It’s unlikely that you’ll find many climate deniers among winemakers and coffee connoisseurs. But there are far greater impacts in store for human society than disruptions to our favourite drinks.

Dramatic examples of climate-mediated change to species distributions are not exceptions; they are fast becoming the rule. As our study published last week in the journal Science shows, climate change is driving a universal major redistribution of life on Earth.
Kim Flintoff's insight:

Last year in Paris, for the very first time, English sparkling wine beat champagne in a blind tasting event. Well established French Champagne houses have started buying fields in Britain to grow grapes, and even the royal family is investing in this new venture.

At the same time, coffee-growing regions are shrinking and shifting. Farmers are being forced to move to higher altitudes, as the band in which to grow tasty coffee moves up the mountain.

The evidence that climate change is affecting some of our most prized beverages is simply too great to be ignored. So while British sparkling wine and the beginning of the “coffeepocalypse” were inconceivable just a few decades ago, they are now a reality. It’s unlikely that you’ll find many climate deniers among winemakers and coffee connoisseurs. But there are far greater impacts in store for human society than disruptions to our favourite drinks.

Dramatic examples of climate-mediated change to species distributions are not exceptions; they are fast becoming the rule. As our study published last week in the journal Science shows, climate change is driving a universal major redistribution of life on Earth.

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Letter From Higher Ed and Library Groups Supports Net Neutrality -- Campus Technology

Letter From Higher Ed and Library Groups Supports Net Neutrality -- Campus Technology | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Various higher education and library organizations representing thousands of colleges, universities nationwide Thursday sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and Michael O’Reily, urging them to uphold the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order. The groups believe that the strong net neutrality protections set by the order are essential to protecting freedom of speech, educational achievement and economic growth, according to the letter.

Net neutrality means that a broadband internet provider should enable access to all content and applications, and not block, slow or otherwise unfairly discriminate against any websites or online services. Since Pai was appointed as FCC chair, consumer advocates have been worried that the open internet will be dismantled. Pai has indicated that the FCC will roll back the Open Internet Order.
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Why so few Electric and Hybrid vehicles for the Australian market?

Why so few Electric and Hybrid vehicles for the Australian market? | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

We the undersigned motor vehicle users are aware of the economic and environmental impacts upon Australian consumers brought about by inadequate support for the shift to Electric Vehicles by Australian car sellers and the Australian state and federal governments.

We would like to see some positive action and a greater range of EVs and high efficiency hybrids that will enable Australia to move more rapidly to a renewable energy economy.

We are beginning to document the range of EVs currently available around the world but not introduced to the Australian market and will directly lobby car dealers, car brands, politicians and political parties until the situation changes dramatically.

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We would like to see some positive action and a greater range of EVs and high efficiency hybrids that will enable Australia to move more rapidly to a renewable energy economy.

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One of the most troubling ideas about climate change just found new evidence in its favor

One of the most troubling ideas about climate change just found new evidence in its favor | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Publishing in Nature Scientific Reports, Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University and a group of colleagues at research institutes in the United States, Germany and the Netherlands find that at least in the spring and summer, the large scale flow of the atmosphere is indeed changing in such a way as to cause weather to get stuck more often.

The study, its authors write, “adds to the weight of evidence for a human influence on the occurrence of devastating events such as the 2003 European heat wave, the 2010 Pakistan flood and Russian heat wave, the 2011 Texas heat wave and recent floods in Europe.”

But what does it mean for global warming to alter the jet stream? The basic ideas at play here get complicated fast. The study itself, for instance, refers to “quasi-resonant amplification (QRA) of synoptic-scale waves” as the key mechanism for how researchers believe this is happening — terminology sure to impart terror in nonscientists worldwide.
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The fossil fuel industry's invisible colonization of academia | Benjamin Franta and Geoffrey Supran

The fossil fuel industry's invisible colonization of academia | Benjamin Franta and Geoffrey Supran | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it


On February 16, the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center hosted a film screening of the “Rational Middle Energy Series.” The university promoted the event as “Finding Energy’s Rational Middle” and described the film’s motivation as “a need and desire for a balanced discussion about today’s energy issues.”

Who can argue with balance and rationality? And with Harvard’s stamp of approval, surely the information presented to students and the public would be credible and reliable. Right?

Wrong.

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Climate change will threaten mental health, experts say

Climate change will threaten mental health, experts say | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Experts are concerned about mental health issues linked to climate change, with studies showing a rise in factors such as depression, anxiety and aggression when people experience severe weather events.
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Great Barrier Reef tourism headed for tough times as coral bleaching worsens

Great Barrier Reef tourism headed for tough times as coral bleaching worsens | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
A year ago, Tourism Tropical North Queensland issued a call for members to "bombard social media with the tsunami of joy" to counter global news headlines suggesting the Great Barrier Reef was in trouble from coral bleaching.

A tsunami of a different sort will likely be needed this year as the bleaching has not only returned but is now hitting the key tourist zone from Port Douglas to Cairns and south to Townsville and beyond.
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