For Lefties too Stubborn to Quit
More on brain scans and the differences, or not, between men and women? 03:46 Thu Dec 05, 2013 | guestposter
As for the unions? 13:44 Wed Dec 04, 2013 | WorldbyStorm
Official Republican Movement ? Speech at Edentubber Commemoration 2013 10:43 Wed Dec 04, 2013 | WorldbyStorm
What you want to say? Open Thread, of 4th December 2013 07:42 Wed Dec 04, 2013 | WorldbyStorm
Brain scans and ?good? mothers? 19:02 Tue Dec 03, 2013 | WorldbyStorm
Cedar Lounge >>
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting
5 Harbourmaster Place - Dublin Tardis 22:18 Wed Dec 04, 2013
Wilt thou not chase the white whale! art not game for Moby Dick? 12:01 Wed Dec 04, 2013
Solidarity Books Launch: Sins of the Father 2nd Ed. by Dr Conor McCabe 09:24 Fri Nov 29, 2013
Using ?Legal Obstacles? like Barricades in the Class War 11:23 Mon Nov 25, 2013
EVEN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL IS TALKING ABOUT INEQUALITY? 10:38 Mon Nov 25, 2013
Dublin Opinion >>
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left
New LookLeft in shops now! Wed Dec 04, 2013 09:38 | Irish Left Review
We?re Starving Public Services and Social Protection But All We Get is Demands f... Tue Dec 03, 2013 17:39 | Michael Taft
and yet /we must live/ in these times Tue Dec 03, 2013 15:18 | Sarah Clancy
A Progressive Tax System? The Poor Pay as Much Tax as High Income Groups? Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:28 | Michael Taft
The Bombing War Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:10 | Seán Sheehan
Irish Left Review >>
Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake
Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake
Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake
NAMA Wine Lake >>
A shot at bias in the media
Separating the News from the Noise Thu Apr 04, 2013 21:14
Blessed with nothing but good intentions Fri Feb 22, 2013 18:04
The Household Charge - How They Failed to Shape Our Perspectives Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:48
The web's political rainbow Wed Dec 07, 2011 09:47
The Forgotten Constituency: The Majority and The Irish Economic Crisis Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:49
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