Citizen-generated data and Sustainable Development

Ssanyu Rebecca at Making All Voices Count: “The call for a data revolution by the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel in the run up to Agenda 2030 stimulated debate and action in terms of innovative ways of generating and sharing data. Since then, technological advances have supported increased access to data and information through initiatives such as open data platforms and SMS-based citizen reporting systems. The main driving force for these advances is for data to be timely and usable in decision-making. Among the several actors in the data field are the proponents of citizen-generated data (CGD) who assert its potential in the context of the sustainable development agenda. Nevertheless, there is need for more evidence on the potential of CGD in influencing policy and service delivery, and contributing to the achievement of the sustainable development goals. Our study on Citizen-generated data in the information ecosystem: exploring links for sustainable development sought to obtain answers. Using case studies on the use of CGD in two different scenarios in Uganda and Kenya, Development Research and Training (DRT) and Development Initiatives (DI) collaborated to carry out this one-year study.

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Posted in Citizen, Sustainable development | Tagged ,

Climate change is causing a major redistribution of Life on Earth

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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Posted in Climate change | Tagged

City Regions as Landscapes for People, Food and Nature

This paper is focused on how agriculture – including the natural and cultural resources that sustain people in and around cities, and even in remote rural areas – provides important and reciprocal benefits to the sustainable development of both rural and urban communities. Practitioners and policymakers active in the relatively new fields of urban and regional or territorial planning for sustainability and resilience are beginning to engage issues of food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture. Historically, there has been very little systematic food related planning or policy by subnational or local authorities. Landscape or place based approaches to food system planning, such as the newly termed “city region food system,” are signs that this is changing. Rethinking the urban rural continuum comprising urban, peri-urban and rural landscapes can help integrate food and nutrition security with climate action planning, disaster risk reduction, economic and community development, water, biodiversity and other aspects of natural resource management. This is a multifaceted and evolving process for many practitioners located in both urban and rural landscapes in both high-income and low-income countries.

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Posted in City, Climate change, Food, Landscapes, Region, Rural, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , ,

Nature in Asian Traditions of Thought: Essays in Environmental Philosophy

Western environmental philosophers and some of our most distinguished representatives of Asian and comparative philosophy critically consider what Asia has to offer.

The first section provides an ecological world view as a basis for comparison. Subsequent sections include chapters by leading contemporary scholars in Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Buddhist thought that explore the Western perception of Asian traditions, the perception that Asian philosophy is a rich conceptual resource for contemporary environmental thinkers.

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Posted in Asia, Nature, Philosophy | Tagged , ,

A Rough Ride to the Future

In A Rough Ride to the Future, James Lovelock – the great scientific visionary of our age – presents a radical vision of humanity’s future as the thinking brain of our Earth-system

James Lovelock, who has been hailed as ‘the man who conceived the first wholly new way of looking at life on earth since Charles Darwin’ and ‘the most profound scientific thinker of our time’ continues, in his 95th year, to be the great scientific visionary of our age. This book introduces two new Lovelockian ideas. The first is that three hundred years ago, when Thomas Newcomen invented the steam engine, he was unknowingly beginning what Lovelock calls ‘accelerated evolution’, a process which is bringing about change on our planet roughly a million times faster than Darwinian evolution. The second is that as part of this process, humanity has the capacity to become the intelligent part of Gaia, the self-regulating Earth system whose discovery Lovelock first announced nearly 50 years ago. In addition, Lovelock gives his reflections on how scientific advances are made, and his own remarkable life as a lone scientist.

The contribution of human beings to our planet is, Lovelock contends, similar to that of the early photosynthesisers around 3.4 billion years ago, which made the Earth’s atmosphere what it was until very recently. By our domination and our invention, we are now changing the atmosphere again. There is little that can be done about this, but instead of feeling guilty about it we should recognise what is happening, prepare for change, and ensure that we survive as a species so we can contribute to – perhaps even guide – the next evolution of Gaia. The road will be rough, but if we are smart enough life will continue on Earth in some form far into the future.

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Posted in Climate change, Evolution, Human agency, Sustainability | Tagged , , ,

Climate Change and the Course of Global History: A Rough Journey

Climate Change and the Course of Global History presents the first global study by a historian to fully integrate the earth-system approach of the new climate science with the material history of humanity. Part I argues that geological, environmental, and climatic history explain the pattern and pace of biological and human evolution. Part II explores the environmental circumstances of the rise of agriculture and the state in the Early and Mid-Holocene, and presents an analysis of human health from the Paleolithic through the rise of the state. Part III introduces the problem of economic growth and examines the human condition in the Late Holocene from the Bronze Age through the Black Death. Part IV explores the move to modernity, stressing the emerging role of human economic and energy systems as earth-system agents in the Anthropocene. Supported by climatic, demographic, and economic data, this provides a pathbreaking model for historians of the environment, the world, and science.

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Read also: Coupling Earth History and the Human Past

Posted in Climate change, Earth system, Earth system science, Evolution, History, Humans | Tagged , , , , ,

Climate Change and Cultural Dynamics

The Middle Holocene epoch (8,000 to 3,000 years ago) was a time of dramatic changes in the physical world and in human cultures. Across this span, climatic conditions changed rapidly, with cooling in the high to mid-latitudes and drying in the tropics. In many parts of the world, human groups became more complex, with early horticultural systems replaced by intensive agriculture and small-scale societies being replaced by larger, more hierarchial organizations. Climate Change and Cultural Dynamics explores the cause and effect relationship between climatic change and cultural transformations across the mid-Holocene (c. 4000 B.C.).

* Explores the role of climatic change on the development of society around the world
* Chapters detail diverse geographical regions
* Co-written by noted archaeologists and paleoclimatologists for non-specialists

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Posted in Climate change, Culture, Socio-ecological systems | Tagged , ,

The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society

Climate change presents perhaps the most profound challenge ever to have confronted human social, political, and economic systems. The stakes are massive, the risks and uncertainties severe, the economics controversial, the science besieged, the politics bitter and complicated, the psychology puzzling, the impacts devastating, the interactions with other environmental and non-environmental issues running in many directions. This book summarizes the entire work which brings together a representation of the best scholars on climate change and society. It introduces the key topics, themes, layers, and issues related to climate change. It begins with the science that first identified climate change as a problem, and how it is received by and in society and government.

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Posted in Climate change, Society | Tagged ,

Resource Guide on Gender and Climate Change

Climate change is the defining human development issue of our generation. The 2007 Human Development report acknowledges that climate change threatens to erode human freedoms and limit choice and the report further underscores that gender inequality intersects with climate risks and vulnerabilities. Poor women’s limited access to resources, restricted rights, limited mobility and muted voice in shaping decisions make them highly vulnerable to climate change. The nature of that vulnerability varies widely, cautioning against generalization but climate change will magnify existing patterns of inequality, including gender inequality. In the agricultural sector, rural women in developing countries are the primary producers of staple food, a sector that is highly exposed to the risks that come with drought and uncertain rainfall. In many countries, climate change means that women and young girls have to walk further to collect water, especially in the dry season. Women in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, spend 40 billion hours per year collecting water – equivalent to a year’s worth of labor by the entire workforce in France; moreover, women can be expected to contribute much of the unpaid labor that will go into coping with climate risks through soil and water conservation, the building of anti-flood embankments, and increased off-farm employment.

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Posted in Climate change, Gender | Tagged ,

The Inequalities of Climate Change

Climate change is inextricably linked to economic inequality: it is a crisis that is driven by the greenhouse gas emissions of the ‘haves’ that hits the ‘have-nots’ the hardest. In this briefing Oxfam demonstrates the extent of global carbon inequality by estimating and comparing the lifestyle consumption emissions of rich and poor citizens in different countries. Strikingly, our estimates of the scale of this inequality suggest that the poorest half of the global population – around 3.5 billion people – are responsible for only around 10% of total global emissions attributed to individual consumption, yet live overwhelmingly in the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Around 50% of these emissions meanwhile can be attributed to the richest 10% of people around the world, who have average carbon footprints 11 times as high as the poorest half of the population, and 60 times as high as the poorest 10%. The average footprint of the richest 1% of people globally could be 175 times that of the poorest 10%. While COP21 in Paris will see a deal negotiated between governments on the basis of the total emissions produced in their territories, the real winners and losers will be their citizens. The litmus test of the deal will be whether it delivers something for the poorest people who are both the least responsible for and the most vulnerable to climate change, wherever they live.

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Posted in Climate change, Innequality, Poverty | Tagged , ,