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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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Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 6, 11:07 AM

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.    


Tag: declining populations, population, demographic transition model.

Sally Egan's curator insight, April 9, 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, 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.

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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Why people in China are protesting the ALS #IceBucketChallenge

Why people in China are protesting the ALS #IceBucketChallenge | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
It's got a little something to do with the worst drought they've had in half a century.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

It just goes to show, no good deed goes unpunished and what is humor/luxury to some on one part of the globe, can be the opposite to folks elsewhere.

 

Funny how folks always find a way to get on the PR bandwagon, regardless of their support for the intended cause, though.

 

Hashtag First World Problems

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Population Growth - YouTube

The growing world population affects food and water supplies, ecological balance, and the overall quality of life for everyone. This animation presents a var...
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Cause of New Mexico nuclear waste accident remains a mystery

Cause of New Mexico nuclear waste accident remains a mystery | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
A 55-gallon drum of nuclear waste, buried in a salt shaft 2,150 feet under the New Mexico desert, violently erupted late on Feb. 14 and spewed mounds of radioactive white foam.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

For my money, the waste issue is the largest challenge with nuclear power production.  Our general inability to administratively deal with this (e.g. know what materials were in the exploding barrel), the childish political NIMBY arc we are only too familiar with, and the growing realization that the devil is literally in the logistical details when it comes to safety and security of transuranic waste is crushingly disappointing.

 

I understand why some have called for an increased reliance on nuclear power in this era of growing carbon emissions, but none of those advocates seem interested in addressing the issues at Yucca Mountain, WIPP, etc. or at least feel that this side of the ledger is less problematic than global carbon emissions increasing.

 

see also:

 

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/nuclear_power/2013/01/nuclear_waste_storage_why_did_yucca_mountain_fail_and_what_next.html

 

http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/14/3038814/yucca-mountain-wipp-wasteland-battle-entomb-nuclear-waste

 

and the most recent congressional activity:

 

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/211890-house-rejects-bids-to-abandon-yucca-mountain

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Homeowner Fined for Water Conservation Efforts

Homeowner Fined for Water Conservation Efforts | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
A San Ramon homeowner is up in arms over being punished for her efforts to conserve during California's severe drought.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Yet another case of HOAs having their heads up their butts.

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The Perils of Aging: A Problem for Citizen Science?

The Perils of Aging: A Problem for Citizen Science? | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Citizen science surveys help scientists take the pulse of bird populations-but errors creep into the data as volunteers age, according to a new study.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

So...we can't trust the population with the most time on its hands to collected citizen science?

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Wind Farm Powering A Million Homes Nears Approval Deep In Coal Country

Wind Farm Powering A Million Homes Nears Approval Deep In Coal Country | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
A massive wind farm is getting closer to being built in Carbon County, Wyoming.
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This is climate change: Ohio’s water crisis was a man-made disaster

This is climate change: Ohio’s water crisis was a man-made disaster | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Industrial agriculture, invasive species and warming temperatures are all vital parts of this weekend's big story
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What ever happened to: "Small fridges make good cities"

What ever happened to: "Small fridges make good cities" | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

In 2007, The Interior Design Show displayed what remains the most beautiful and well thought out kitchen I have ever seen, designed by Donald Chong, now with Williamson Chong architects in Toronto. Chong's thesis was that Small fridges make good cities- people who have them are out in their community every day buy what is seasonal and fresh, buy as much as they need, responding to the marketplace, the baker, vegetable store and neighbourhood vendor.

 

It was an idea whose time just hasn't come in North America.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

Another good article.  But I would also suggest that this is all coming from the perspective of an urban dweller.  Oh, and pass me the soda and ice cream.  This story made me hungry...

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Two of America's food giants commit to fighting climate change

Two of America's food giants commit to fighting climate change | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Kellogg's and General Mills have made some industry-leading promises to reduce harmful greenhouse emissions. It's a start.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Great...now lets see some progress.

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Sierra Magazine's Annual Cool Schools Ranking of American Universities

Sierra Magazine's Annual Cool Schools Ranking of American Universities | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Our Cool Schools 2014 scorecard
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Sierra Magazine “Cool Schools” edition is out and CSU Channel Islands has moved up to #45 in this national ranking of sustainable universities.  The University of California and California State University campuses are improving each year on this (and other ranking systems).  

 

While we should also always be skeptical of such ranking systems, those centered on sustainability are much better metrics than the popularity contests that are the norm for "Best Schools."  To be sure there remains a certain element of that here, I think the more useful way to look at these is the trajectory a given campus has had over time on such rankings. 

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The 2014 GreenBiz corporate sustainability Twitterati Index

The 2014 GreenBiz corporate sustainability Twitterati Index | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Corporate sustainability pros are upping their game on Twitter. Our second annual look of who's got audience, activity and authority.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

The 2014 GreenBiz Twitter index ranks corporate sustainability executives active on Twitter. The index analyzes Klout, Kred and Peerindex scores to best develop a list based on audience, authority, and activity. 

With professionals that include Campbell Soup VP Dave Stangis, Nike CSO Hannah Jones, and MillerCoors Director Kim Marotta, the list is a great resource for those looking to get a frequent 140-character dose of thought leadership in corporate sustainability...if you're into that kind of thing.

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Luci Solar Lights | The Portable Solar Lamps by MPOWERD

Luci Solar Lights | The Portable Solar Lamps by MPOWERD | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Luci weighs only 4 ounces and collapses to one inch thin. Add a solar charged lithium ion battery and a 65 lumen light to the mix and you’ve got one impressive lady. Whether it’s for travel, disaster relief or anything in between, Luci always shines bright.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

My mom recently gave me one of these guys.  It seems pretty bright and the collapsable and waterproof nature makes it a natural fit for limited space (e.g. backpacking packs) or off-grid needs (e.g. first aid kits).

 

Nothing particularly revolutionary here, other than the fact this is a business trying to support the triple bottom line.

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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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▶ 7 Billion: How Did We Get So Big So Fast? - YouTube

http://skunkbear.tumblr.com It was just over two centuries ago that the global population was 1 billion — in 1804. But better medicine and improved agricultu...
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New Material Could Turn Cell Phones, Windows Into Solar Power Generators

New Material Could Turn Cell Phones, Windows Into Solar Power Generators | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Scientists at Michigan State University announced this week the creation of a “transparent luminescent solar concentrator” that could turn windows and even cellphone screens into solar-power generators.

This technology could mean that...
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Interesting, but 1% efficiency is pretty far from something being useful.  If they can up the effective EM energy captured, then we would really have something here.

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Assembly bill could lower cost of residential solar in California

Assembly bill could lower cost of residential solar in California | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Californians who want to put solar panels on their roofs could benefit from a state bill headed to the governor’s desk.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

The more we can streamline the approval process/permitting, the better it will be for everyone.

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Rescooped by PIRatE Lab from Ethics? Rules? Cheating?
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Inside The Most Dangerous Room in the World

Inside The Most Dangerous Room in the World | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
"To enter you must wear a respirator, 3 pairs of gloves, 2 pairs of socks, rubber boots and a hard hat—along with a hazmat suit"

Via pdeppisch
PIRatE Lab's insight:

The legacy of nuclear waste is a real issue with this form of energy.

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What Happens When Climate Change Becomes An Unignorable Part Of An Election

What Happens When Climate Change Becomes An Unignorable Part Of An Election | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The race to represent San Diego is rare in that both candidates acknowledge the threat of climate change. Some voters and environmental groups, however, have doubts about who will actually prioritize the issue in Congress.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Would that this would not be noteworthy.  And have happened twenty years ago.

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Climate change and drought in ancient times

Climate change and drought in ancient times | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The influence of climate on agriculture is believed to be a key factor in the rise and fall of societies in the Ancient Near East. An investigation into archaeological finds of grain has taken place in order to find out what influence climate had on agriculture in early farming societies. The research team analyzed grains of barley up to 12,000 years old from 33 locations across the Fertile Crescent to ascertain if they had had enough water while growing and ripening.
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Politicians need to address transport taboos, not just new technology, to meet carbon targets, say researchers

Politicians need to address transport taboos, not just new technology, to meet carbon targets, say researchers | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Transport accounts for 30% of carbon dioxide emissions in the EU, with emissions rising 36% between 1990 and 2007. New research has found a need to dissect the widely-held view that new technologies, such as biofuel and improved aircraft design, will result in carbon reduction targets being met.

Via Anita Woodruff
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Be wary of the the techno fix.

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World's top PR companies rule out working with climate deniers

World's top PR companies rule out working with climate deniers | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Ten firms say they will not represent clients that deny man-made climate change or seek to block emisson-reducing regulations
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This is positive news.  But I somehow can't help thinking that this is a bit like the virus creators that let a destructive force into the wild...then turn around and become consultants/experts in "solving" the problem for us.

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▶ 220 years of US population changes in one map

Every ten years, the U.S. Census Bureau calculates the exact center of the American population. Vox's Danielle Kurtzleben explains what that one statistic sh...
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VERGE 2014 | GreenBiz Conferences, Oct 27-30, 2014, San Francisco

VERGE 2014 | GreenBiz Conferences, Oct 27-30, 2014, San Francisco | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Advancements in the interconnected technologies for energy, buildings and transportation are creating huge opportunities. VERGE SF reveals these opportunities, bringing together innovators, entrepreneurs, and leading public officials for practical, scalable, solutions-oriented conversations.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Technology and sustainability intersect at this (not cheap) conference.

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Yet another global warming warning: Deep emissions cuts needed by 2050, says UN

Yet another global warming warning: Deep emissions cuts needed by 2050, says UN | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Global warming will reach dangerous levels unless deep cuts are made in greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report from the UN. Limiting global warming is still possible, the report says, but will entail substantial technological, economic, and behavioral challenges.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

No surprises here.  The new normal is the production of reports to say how dire a situation we are now officially in and how difficult it will now be to stave off the worst aspects of climate change.

 

Good job ignorance, greed, and inaction.  You seem to have won.  Bummer for our planet, people, and society, though.

 

See also:

 

http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/why-a-global-warming-pact-won-t-stop-global-warming-20140807

 

and to be sure, this is a problem across all sectors of our government.  See for example this recent lawsuit by 12 U.S. states claiming overreach by the EPA's modest emission regulations for coal-fired power plants:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/02/business/a-dozen-states-file-suit-against-new-coal-rules.html?_r=2

 

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Panels Ponder Context, Chemicals, Cradle to Cradle Textiles on #SB14sd Day 3 | Sustainable Brands

Panels Ponder Context, Chemicals, Cradle to Cradle Textiles on #SB14sd Day 3 | Sustainable Brands | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
“What if sustainability was at least 10 percent of every product decision at every company?
That’s the “What If?” question Steven Cristol, managing partner at Strategic Harmony, posed at his workshop Wednesday afternoon on “making sustainability unavoidable.” While it should be, the reality is that sustainability considerations often get brought up after product development decisions are already made, leading to waste, inefficiencies and failures.
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