Joined up thinking for the Irish Left
New Books Worth Reading Mon Sep 19, 2016 23:25 | Seán Sheehan
13 Billion ? Lucky for some? Mon Sep 05, 2016 13:04 | Tony Phillips
Rebuilding Ireland: Long on Promise, Short on Detail Mon Aug 29, 2016 22:20 | Eoin O'Mahony
Brexit and Other Issues: Comments on the Current Situation Mon Aug 29, 2016 21:52 | Brendan Young
Bin Charges: From Private Circus to Public Service Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:38 | Michael Taft
Irish Left Review >>
What is Dogmatism and Why Does It Matter? Wed Mar 21, 2018 08:10 | Sylvia Smith
The Case of Comrade Dallas Mon Mar 19, 2018 19:44 | Sylvia Smith
Review: Do Religions Evolve? Mon Aug 14, 2017 19:54 | Dara McHugh
Fake News: The Epistemology of Media Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:52 | Gavin Mendel-Gleason
Officials and Provisionals Sat Apr 01, 2017 22:54 | James O'Brien
Spirit of Contradiction >>
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005
Denis O’Brien: Are the sharks closing in?
Kathy Sheridan: Afraid to speak truth to power? Anthony
Una Mullally: The youth of Ireland are on the march Anthony
Gombeen democracy v real democracy Anthony
RTE news bias – Destroying credibility Anthony
Public Inquiry >>
A bird's eye view of the vineyard
Putin took away Lukashenko?s chance to sell Russian oil to Poroshenko by Ruslan Ostashko Mon Oct 22, 2018 01:25 | Scott
Translated and subtitled by Scott Humor Click ?CC? button for English subtitles. Soon, Belarus won?t be able to make money on re-export to Ukraine oil products they receive from
Moveable Feast Cafe 2018/10/21 ? Open Thread Sun Oct 21, 2018 20:30 | Herb Swanson
2018/10/21 19:30:02Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of
Will There Be A Second ATO in Zakarpattia? by Ruslan Ostashko Sat Oct 20, 2018 19:21 | Scott
Translated and captioned by Leo. Make sure to press CC for English captions. A Ukrainian female journalist published a video capturing the movement of the Ukrainian Armed Forces
Russian Farmer: Thanks for Sanctions, Mr President! Putin: Thank the West Fri Oct 19, 2018 23:28 | The Saker
Freedom and Other Illusions: Further excursions into what used to be called ?high versus low culture... Fri Oct 19, 2018 19:40 | The Saker
Freedom and Other Illusions – Further excursions into what used to be called “high versus low culture” (or, further illusions concerning American art & the Medium / et cetera) With
The Saker >>
Cuba Flies Lone Flag for Sustainability
Thursday October 11, 2007 23:10 by Tech1.0
According to a new study on ecological sustainablity published in New Scientist, Cuba is showing the way on life in a post-oil world.
(from last week's New Scientist - I'm publishing this in the inter-national public interest...)
"We don’t need environmental evangelicals to tell us that sustainable development is a good idea. Yet, if that is our goal, we are heading in the wrong direction - with the exception of Cuba. So says the first study to examine the ecological impact of changing lifestyles around the globe.
We don’t need environmental evangelicals to tell us that sustainable development is a good idea. Yet, if that is our goal, we are heading in the wrong direction - with the exception of Cuba. So says the first study to examine the ecological impact of changing lifestyles around the globe.
An international team led by Mathis Wackernagel of the Global Footprint Network looked at how the living conditions and ecological footprints of 93 nations have changed in the last 30 years.
They used the ecological footprint (EF) index, a tool devised in 1993 by Wackernagel and William Rees, his PhD supervisor at the University of British Columbia, Canada. EF quantifies the area of land required to provide the infrastructure used by a person or a nation, the food and goods they consume, and to reabsorb the waste they produce, using available technology. This value can then be compared with the resources that are actually available to people on a regional or global scale. EF has become a popular index, and was used recently, for example, by conservation group WWF to calculate that two more planets would be needed to support everyone in the world in the manner of the average UK citizen.
However, rather than just measure consumption, Wackernagel and his colleagues wanted to measure how close countries are to developing in a sustainable way. The problem is that “sustainability” is an elusive concept. “Nobody dares to say what it actually means,” Wackernagel told New Scientist. “We believe we provided a robust measurement.”
For each nation with reliable data, they calculated how many planets would be needed to support the global population if everybody adopted that nation’s lifestyle as it was in 1978, and in 2003. They then expressed each figure as an Earth-equivalent ratio (EER) and plotted each value against the nation’s corresponding UN Human Development Index. The index is a score of between 0 and 1, and is a function of a country’s average life expectancy, adult literacy, level of schooling and per capita GDP.
To develop sustainably, the researchers assume a country must have an HDI of at least 0.8 and a maximum EER of 1 (see Diagram). A lower HDI would mean a nation is not developing adequately, while a higher EER means it is gobbling up too many resources.
By looking at each country’s historical trajectory, a clear pattern emerges. People everywhere have a better lifestyle, but their footprint is growing at a rate proportional to their wealth. Developed countries in particular have done very little to reduce their impact. Only one nation, Cuba, is developing sustainably, and probably not for long (Ecological Economics, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2007.08.017). “Cubans have high life expectancy and literacy, and were forced into a smaller footprint because of the oil embargo,” says Wackernagel. “But they are now economically more successful, and will tend to use more resources.”
Critics point out that EF calculations do not take into account issues such as pollution from certain toxic chemicals, and place too much reliance on others, such as carbon footprints, which may be alleviated by the invention of new technologies. Even so, “it’s a broad indicator of the direction things are moving, and it’s an excellent tool for communicating to the public and decision makers,” says Jan Vernon, who reviewed the validity of EF for the UK government.
The study, therefore, carries a credible message: we have all moved away from sustainability, and the world has entered ecological overshoot. “We have not taken sustainable development seriously,” Wackernagel concludes.
New Scientist link
Measuring sustainable development — Nation by nation (sciencedirect)
and for more on this theme check out the fascinating documentary below,
The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil