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Sustainability Science
How might we keep the lights on, water flowing, and natural world vaguely intact? It starts with grabbing innovative ideas/examples to help kick down our limits and inspire a more sustainable world. We implement with rigorous science backed by hard data.
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8 Surprising, Depressing, and Hopeful Findings From Global Survey of Environmental Attitudes

8 Surprising, Depressing, and Hopeful Findings From Global Survey of Environmental Attitudes | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Consumers in many countries are adopting eco-friendly behavior, but others aren't ready to be green.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This is a good benchmark.  But, lumping all Russians or Americans or Chinese together is perhaps not the best way to go about doing this.  There is marked difference in consumption in Moscow vs. Siberia, Los Angeles vs. Alaska, etc.  While the country level aggregation is great, it would be nice if we could see the break down (and especially the variance) of attitudes in the larger countries.

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PIRatE Lab's curator insight, September 29, 2014 11:58 AM

This is a good benchmark.  But, lumping all Russians or Americans or Chinese together is perhaps not the best way to go about doing this.  There is marked difference in consumption in Moscow vs. Siberia, Los Angeles vs. Alaska, etc.  While the country level aggregation is great, it would be nice if we could see the break down (and especially the variance) of attitudes in the larger countries.

 

This might make a particularly interesting comparison for some things when it comes to next week and our Coastal Opinions polling is done for the year.

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Bye-Bye, Baby

Bye-Bye, Baby | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Birthrates are falling around the world. And that’s O.K.

 

Why do commentators, like Chicken Little, treat this worldwide trend as a disaster, even collective suicide? It could be because declines in fertility rates stir anxieties about power: national, military and economic, as well as sexual. In reality, slower population growth creates enormous possibilities for human flourishing. In an era of irreversible climate change and the lingering threat from nuclear weapons, it is simply not the case that population equals power, as so many leaders have believed throughout history. Lower fertility isn’t entirely a function of rising prosperity and secularism; it is nearly universal.


Via Seth Dixon
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This op-ed from the New York Times provides excellent material for discussing demographic issues, especially regarding declining populations.  Many countries do fear the demographic uncertainty and are actively encouraging pro-natalist policies (with salacious ads such as Singapore's National Night and a Travel agency's 'Do it for Denmark' campaign).  The author of this article though, seeks to quell those fears.  

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Sally Egan's curator insight, April 9, 2014 6:44 PM

Challenges the ideas about the impacts of declining birth rates across the world. Contains interesting graphs of changing Fertility rates from 1950 for the highest and lowest GDP nations. Relevant to Population Geography. 

Sid McIntyre-DeLaMelena's curator insight, May 29, 2014 2:18 PM

The dwindling birth rates may be seen as negative to some in a sense of power insecurities, but the reality is that it is great for economic growth and prevents population issues. With high birth rates, movement tends to be higher towards immigration while low birth rates mainly have movement towards urban spaces.

Sarah Ann Glesenkamp's curator insight, September 17, 2014 7:35 PM

Unit 2

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Cocaine: the new face of deforestation in Central America

Cocaine: the new face of deforestation in Central America | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
In 2006, Mexico intensified its security strategy, forming an inhospitable environment for drug trafficking organizations (also known as DTOs) within the nation. The drug cartels responded by creating new trade routes along the border of Guatemala and Honduras. Soon shipments of cocaine from South America began to flow through the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC). This multi-national swathe of forest, encompassing several national parks and protected areas, was originally created to protect endangered species, such as Baird's Tapir (Tapirus bairdii) and jaguar (Panthera onca), as well as the world's second largest coral reef. Today, its future hinges on the world's drug producers and consumers.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

More drugs = less forest

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The End of the ‘Developing World’

The End of the ‘Developing World’ | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The old labels no longer apply. Rich countries need to learn from poor ones.

 

BILL GATES, in his foundation’s annual letter, declared that “the terms ‘developing countries’ and ‘developed countries’ have outlived their usefulness.” He’s right. If we want to understand the modern global economy, we need a better vocabulary.

Mr. Gates was making a point about improvements in income and gross domestic product; unfortunately, these formal measures generate categories that tend to obscure obvious distinctions. Only when employing a crude “development” binary could anyone lump Mozambique and Mexico together.

It’s tough to pick a satisfying replacement. Talk of first, second and third worlds is passé, and it’s hard to bear the Dickensian awkwardness of “industrialized nations.” Forget, too, the more recent jargon about the “global south” and “global north.” It makes little sense to counterpose poor countries with “the West” when many of the biggest economic success stories in the past few decades have come from the East.

All of these antiquated terms imply that any given country is “developing” toward something, and that there is only one way to get there.

It’s time that we start describing the world as “fat” or “lean.”


Via Seth Dixon
PIRatE Lab's insight:

The terms "developing" and "developed" are certainly problematic.  But so too are just about any such terminologies.  "Fat" and "lean" have their own host of problems.  But the unmistakable issue is that the world is much more diverse and harder to characterize than a century ago.

 

My vote would be a scale of corruption.  Or a measure of the disparity of income between the richest and poorest in the country, or perhaps a measure of the wealth/poverty concentration. 

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Joanne Wegener's curator insight, March 7, 2014 5:03 AM

Fat or Lean - what sort of world do we live in

An interesting discussion on the way we perceive and label the world.

Ma. Caridad Benitez's curator insight, March 11, 2014 10:15 AM

Hoy en día poca claridad de dónde exactamente queda y quiénes son? 

Seth Dixon's curator insight, March 13, 2014 10:46 AM

UPDATE: this article (from the Atlantic) on the exact same concept would supplement the NY Times article nicely.  

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AID Data: Open data for international development

AID Data: Open data for international development | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

"The AidData Center for Development Policy creates geospatial data and tools enabling development stakeholders to more effectively target, coordinate and evaluate aid. Funded through a five-year, $25 million cooperative agreement with USAID, the Center is a partnership between the College of William and Mary, Development Gateway, Brigham Young University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Esri."


Via Seth Dixon
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Interesting database/viewer for exploring international development/metrics.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, November 24, 2013 3:12 PM

This article in the Washington Post asks if foreign aid can make elections more competitive (spoiler alert: mapping the data at the sub-national level helps answer research questions like this).  What intrigued me even more than the article was the mapping platform that it was introducing. AidData is a fabulous new mapping platform to access information about international aid, it's effectiveness and where it is needed and what current projects are being funded by U.S. AID. 

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Here's how much aid the US wants to send foreign countries in 2015, and why

Here's how much aid the US wants to send foreign countries in 2015, and why | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The Obama administration wants to give Israel more than $3 billion. Will it get it?
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Quite helpful to see where our nation's international priorities are.  We apparently hate drug trafficking, bad terrorist-type folks, and AIDS.

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Is Ikea cutting down 600-year-old trees for flat pack furniture?

Is Ikea cutting down 600-year-old trees for flat pack furniture? | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The Forest Stewardship Council, which promotes the responsible management of the world's woodlands, says the wood Ikea cuts from forests in Karelia, Russia, isn't being harvested sustainably.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

What isn't sustainable about nuking centuries old trees for a TV stand for a divorced middle aged guy who needs to furnish his apartment or for a college kid she need s a bookshelf in her dorm room?

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Amazon deforestation dropped 19 pct between August and January

Rio de Janeiro, Feb 22 (EFE).- Brazil's portion of the Amazon rainforest lost between August 2013 and January this year some 1,162.5 sq. kilometers (448.8 sq. miles) of woodland, an area 19 percent less than the amount deforested between August 2012 and January 2013, which was 1,427 sq. kilometers (551 sq. miles), the government said.
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Trading up from poverty

Trading up from poverty | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON, DC – A long-held tenet of international-trade theory is that, in the long run, increased trade correlates with faster GDP growth.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

I understand all of the macroeconomic arguments, but am still not convinced that the World Bank is the best engine for economic development out there.  Globalization has (from my perspective and the studies I have examined) been quite wrenching and harmful in terms of local, traditional communities/cultures and in terms of overall environmental quality.  I like the fact the World Bank seems more focused on the lower 40% of the world's population (measured by income), but somehow I am not sure they will be particularly successful.

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Pelli Clarke Pelli’s Arboleda Urban Village in Monterrey, Mexico Integrates Smart Growth & Green Design

Pelli Clarke Pelli’s Arboleda Urban Village in Monterrey, Mexico Integrates Smart Growth & Green Design | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Arboleda, an urban mixed-use community now under development in Monterrey, Mexico, is designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects of New Haven, Conn., in collaboration with landscape design firm Office of James Burnett.

The project incorporates principles of sustainable design and green building and will be compliant with the LEED for Neighborhood Development standard. The development is designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects in collaboration with landscape design firm Office of James Burnett on behalf of Mexican developer One Development Group (ODG).

According to Pelli Clarke Pelli, the 26-acre Arboleda site will include residential and commercial development centered around a large central park and incorporating generous green space and native plantings, and all buildings will be LEED certified...


Via Lauren Moss
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