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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

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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Welcome to Sustainability Science

Welcome to Sustainability Science | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Welcome to my curation site for the emerging science of sustainability.

 

Here you will find an array of stories, examples, relevant cautionary tales, and data related to our hunt for a more sustainable economy with a reduced ecological footprint.  While my students, colleagues and I are interested in all aspects of sustainability, these pages have an historc emphasis on:

 

- human population growth rates/demography 

- product design/construction, especially:

    - triple bottomline

    - life cycle analyses (LCA)

    - sustainable supply chains

 - carbon footprints (especially carbon "finprints" of seafood)

 - food production/distribution systems

 - energy production/storage systems, especially:

    - dams and flow diversions

    - wind turbines

    - tidal power

    - solar panel efficiency/material advances

    - fuel cell design/material advances

 - general building design/construction, especially:

     - green roof/wall construction and plant palletes

     - lighting systems

     - elegant design

     - redevelopment/reuse

 - urban planning

 - role of mobile technology in fostering sustainability

 - elegant and effective communication

 

Thanks for visiting.  Please enjoy and let me know if I can answer any questions or be of any other help.

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Climate change is making storms more intense, scientists warn

Scientists have warned that even a few degrees rise in global temperatures can lead to increasingly severe storms. Now an international team of climate scientists has linked man-made climate change to historic flooding that hit the south of England in the winter of 2013–2014. It’s the first time a peer-reviewed research paper has connected climate change to a specific flooding event.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

In an article published in Nature Climate Change, the team said that their climate model simulations showed that anthropogenic warming not only increased the amount of moisture the atmosphere can hold but also caused a small but significant increase in the number of January days with westerly flow, both of which increased extreme precipitation. The authors explained that climate change “amplified” the violent storms that led to the area’s wettest January in more than a century and that it has likely increased the number of properties at risk and raised the costs of a flooding event.

 

Based on more than 130,000 simulations of what the weather would have been like with and without human influence on the climate, the study finds that man-made greenhouse gas emissions have raised the possibility of extreme flooding by 43 percent.

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CRISPR is coming to agriculture — with big implications for food, farmers, consumers and nature

CRISPR is coming to agriculture — with big implications for food, farmers, consumers and nature | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
It’s a curious vision of sustainable agriculture, though, that sees overcoming resistance to agrochemicals as progress. Should we really be enabling farmers to spray more glyphosate into their fields when the World Health Organization has found the chemical to be a “probable” carcinogen and when it’s been associated with collapsing populations of monarch butterflies? And using gene drives to snuff out wild organisms because they carry diseases or nibble on crops could have serious unintended consequences, such as destabilizing food webs and facilitating invasions by other species.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

It’s a curious vision of sustainable agriculture, though, that sees overcoming resistance to agrochemicals as progress. Should we really be enabling farmers to spray more glyphosate into their fields when the World Health Organization has found the chemical to be a “probable” carcinogen and when it’s been associated with collapsing populations of monarch butterflies? And using gene drives to snuff out wild organisms because they carry diseases or nibble on crops could have serious unintended consequences, such as destabilizing food webs and facilitating invasions by other species.

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As snowpack deepens, drought concern lingers

As snowpack deepens, drought concern lingers | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
News: As snowpack deepens, drought concern lingers | snowpack, water, california, year, reservoirs, percent, last, snow, rain, winter
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Climate change and urbanization, Tokyo nr. 1, water stressed cities of the world

Climate change and urbanization, Tokyo nr. 1, water stressed cities of the world | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Want to know which cities suffer from water stress? The Nature Conservancy has published a list of the top 20 of cities with water stress. Over 500 cities around the world were investigated. In (big) cities like Tokio, Shanghai and LA, a large number of people in a relatively small area puts a lot of pressure on water supplies, especially during times of drought.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

We often hear about how efficient our cities are, with low per capita carbon footprints and energy consumption.  But hidden in here is the simple fact that with these masses of humanity, we need to supply huge amounts of materials and energy flows to sustain the often many millions of individuals and all their associated activities.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Just Blew Everyone Away With This Post On FB. Wow.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Just Blew Everyone Away With This Post On FB. Wow. | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
What do you think of Arnie's message?
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Address the Cause, Not the Symptoms

Address the Cause, Not the Symptoms | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

"We must recognize that we shot past the opportunity to stabilize our population at a sustainable level of 2 billion about 80 years ago. We must now focus on humanely reducing population on the planet. Some recognize this harsh truth, but most are focused on symptoms. The issue of overpopulation is feared, ignored, misunderstood, falsely represented and demonized by people from all political and religious persuasions. The concept of too many people using up the earth’s limited resources lies outside the parameters of the typical activist’s world. It flies in the face of current norms and doesn’t fit into society’s dominant anthropocentric worldview.

"Bindi [the photograph] is the precocious animal-loving daughter of the late Australian “crocodile hunter,” conservationist and personality Steve Irwin. Bindi was invited to submit an essay on wildlife conservation to Hillary Clinton’s e-journal. She chose to focus on the threat human overpopulation poses to wildlife. “How is it possible that our fragile planet can sustain these masses of people?” Bindi wrote. She used the analogy of too many people showing up for a party and not having enough food to go around.

"Clinton or her lackeys heavily edited the piece before publication, censoring the overpopulation angle, but the feisty Bindi would have none of it. She refused to allow the gutted essay to appear in Clinton’s journal, and instead went about publicizing how Clinton had tried to silence her."


Via Garry Rogers
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Garry Rogers's curator insight, December 19, 2015 6:58 PM

GR:  This is a well-written review of an excellent book on population. For Earth:  We need to act now to stop greenhouse-gas emissions, and we need to act now to begin reversing our population.

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Myth Busting | It's On

Myth Busting | It's On | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

When it comes to the environment, most of us are tired of perpetual bad news. Melting ice caps, oil spills, climate change and deforestation are not the paths we want to travel down. On the contrary, renewable energy is the cost-effective solution to our ever-surging power needs.

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San Francisco's first Passive House apartment complex produces so much energy it powers its own Microgrid

San Francisco's first Passive House apartment complex produces so much energy it powers its own Microgrid | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
San Francisco's first Passive House apartment complex and California's first microgrid building is rising in the Mission Creek neighborhood of San Francisco
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Very cool.  This is the type of micrgeneration that we need so much more of.

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Sourcemap: supply chain mapping, visualization, and business continuity planning

Sourcemap: supply chain mapping, visualization, and business continuity planning | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The open directory of supply chains and carbon footprints
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This is down at the moment, but the examples and ideas look awesome!

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COP21: Strong Climate Policy Leads to Lower Business Costs, CEOs Say

COP21: Strong Climate Policy Leads to Lower Business Costs, CEOs Say | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
“With 90 percent of the world’s investments currently managed by the private sector, the best way to make real progress in sustainability and reduce the impact of climate change is to act through the supply chain and get the world’s top companies to implement a sustainable procurement program,”

Via EcoVadis
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EcoVadis's curator insight, December 4, 2015 4:49 PM

Love the part about "business leaders, meanwhile, continue to step up their efforts to influence climate policy.


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Feature: There’s too much carbon dioxide in the air. Why not turn it back into fuel?

Feature: There’s too much carbon dioxide in the air. Why not turn it back into fuel? | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
“Solar fuels”—basically, liquid sunshine—could make a big dent in future greenhouse-gas emissions, if they take off
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Let's make fuel from atmospheric CO2!

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Oil industry’s spending surged as it fought California climate bill

Oil industry’s spending surged as it fought California climate bill | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Oil companies who succeeded in weakening a California climate change bill massively increased their lobbying spending during the final chunk of the Legislature’s calendar, shelling out nearly $11 million to persuade lawmakers and to run a media campaign.

A centerpiece of Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative Democrats’ agenda, Senate Bill 350 became the target of a fierce opposition campaign from oil companies that targeted Democrats considered politically vulnerable and warned about gas rationing. In the end, bill backers succumbed, removing a provision that would have mandated a 50 percent cut in petroleum usage.

Newly filed lobbying disclosures illuminate the scope of the industry’s blitz from the start of the July to the end of September, a period that encompasses the frantic final stretch of the legislative session.

A pair of industry associations and a handful of oil companies combined to spend $10.7 million in the third quarter.

Via pdeppisch
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Welcome to the wild world of rhino conservation

Welcome to the wild world of rhino conservation | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
From fake horns to relocation, today’s wildlife protectors enlist new — and often unproven — strategies to save endangered species.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Let's 3D print some fake rhino horns to flood the market!

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After Texas stopped funding Planned Parenthood, low-income women had more babies

After Texas stopped funding Planned Parenthood, low-income women had more babies | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The state of Texas’ sustained campaign against Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics affiliated with abortion providers appears to have led to an increase in births among low-income women who lost access to affordable and effective birth control, a new study says.The analysis, published...
PIRatE Lab's insight:

A valuable data point in the debate about access to women's health providers.  Often we have shown reduced mortality, greater reproductive space, etc. when women are provided access to family planning resources.  We have far fewer examples showing the consequences of removing such resources once they have been established.  

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Brazil's worst environmental disaster, in pictures

Brazil's worst environmental disaster, in pictures | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
A Brazilian documentary photographer retraces hundreds of miles of destruction.
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Making sustainable palm oil a reality

Making sustainable palm oil a reality | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Consumers should, therefore, not boycott palm oil but demand its sustainability, as replacing it means having to use more land, thereby compounding deforestation.

Via EcoVadis
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EcoVadis's curator insight, January 10, 6:45 AM

A familiar paradox in sustainability - the current product (palm oil) is vilified, but in fact may be the better choice - but how to monitor and police the development efforts?. Check out the debate in the comments. Consumers still don't have the information needed to make a decision, e.g. to boycott, or which products to boycott.

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Invelox wind turbine claims 600% advantage in energy output

Invelox wind turbine claims 600% advantage in energy output | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
SheerWind's Invelox is said to increase wind energy output by 600 percent and does not rely on high speed wind to operate.
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Is the era of dam-building over? Backers of several major projects say it shouldn't be

Is the era of dam-building over? Backers of several major projects say it shouldn't be | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
This tranquil ranching valley lies 15 miles west of the Sacramento River. A one-lane bridge spans a dried-up creek at the valley entrance. But when Jeff Sutton stands there, he imagines water, lots of it.
Never mind that talk of flooding the Antelope Valley north of Sacramento and turning it into...
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ExxonMobil Investigated for Possible Climate Change Deception

ExxonMobil Investigated for Possible Climate Change Deception | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Lipstick on a Pig? It appears to be no coincidence that ExxonMobil has recently released a new series of beautiful and very slick TV and online ads implying that they are all about innovation and v…
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A Blueprint for a Carbon-Free World

A Blueprint for a Carbon-Free World | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
How the world really could phase out fossil fuels and rely on wind, water, light
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Tracing Cotton to Origin Nearly Impossible, Say Sustainability Experts - The Epoch Times

Tracing Cotton to Origin Nearly Impossible, Say Sustainability Experts - The Epoch Times | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Textile waste accounts for approximately 14.3 million tons of municipal solid waste generation.

Via EcoVadis
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5 steps to build the business case for sustainable procurement

5 steps to build the business case for sustainable procurement | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
It's not always easy to sell a supply-chain makeover, but these tips can help. Start with measuring your company's footprint.

Via EcoVadis
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Kimberly Codilla's curator insight, November 23, 2015 10:29 AM

Find out how you can build a sustainable procurement

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Stung by Keystone reversal, Canadian province doubles down on renewable energy

Stung by Keystone reversal, Canadian province doubles down on renewable energy | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
After getting a “major wake-up call” from the U.S. government in its rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline project, the leader of the Canadian province of Alberta announced an aggressive climate-change plan Sunday that sets emission limits for the oil sands and begins the transition from coal to renewable electricity sources.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Wow.  To be sure a press conference is not a policy and words are much cheaper than action.  But for the first time in a decade, the central government ministries and provincial offices in Canada (save for Quebec, which has been pushing this for a while) seem to actually be taking climate change seriously.

 

Let's congratulate our Canadian friends for taking this action.

 

Fingers crossed that this isn't just a collection of empty promises. 

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High-tech water-saving system draws a crowd at North Hollywood home

High-tech water-saving system draws a crowd at North Hollywood home | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Whether she's driving a hybrid car, installing solar panels on her roof or tearing up her beloved front lawn and replacing it with mulch, Carrie Wassenaar said, she wants to do her part for the environment.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Clearly, we don't all need computer controlled flushing our our rain barrel systems, but the idea is a sound one for larger systems (think apartments, office buildings, etc.).  Again, the cost will be huge for the early adopters but pave the way for more affordable systems in the future.

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Saudi Arabia is out of water so it grows hay in Arizona

Saudi Arabia is out of water so it grows hay in Arizona | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Outside of Phoenix, in the scorching Arizona desert, sits a farm that Saudi Arabia's largest dairy uses to make hay for cows back home.

 

(Image:  NPR)

"That dairy company, named Almarai, bought the farm last year and has planted thousands of acres of groundwater-guzzling alfalfa to make that hay. Saudi Arabia can't grow its own hay anymore because those crops drained its own ancient aquifer.
"The laws were put in place in the '70s, and kudos to Arizona — they were really one of the first states to put in groundwater laws. But the laws were really designed for local or domestic farming. The idea that another country would come and essentially export your water via crops just wasn't really around 30, 40 years ago. And so the laws that are in place are really inadequate for dealing with this new trend.

"This is occurring in a part of Arizona that is unregulated for groundwater. So there are no limits on how much water they can pump."


Via Garry Rogers
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Garry Rogers's curator insight, November 3, 2015 8:04 PM

GR:  Not sure how long Arizona can afford to export water to the Middle East.  Perhaps this will continue until 1) the depth to water becomes so great, the Saudis will find desalinization of water for livestock feed is cheaper than pumping the water and shipping the hay, or 2), the ruling Saudis complete their move to the U. S. and simply abandon the poor people of their country.

(Thanks to DT Lange for placing the link to this story on Robert Scribbler's site.)