What is the Sustainable Development News?
A Life of Contradictions’ Sustainable Development News covers a wide range issues relating to sustainability as our world comes to grips with overpopulation, climate change and depletion of resources. These issues are diverse and complex, affecting every corner of our lives and our planet.
I trawl through news from around the world to bring you a summary of (what I think are) the best articles on sustainable development to keep you informed and inspired. You can receive a copy every other weekday, for free, by signing up on the right. Absolutely no strings attached.
I started this newsletter as part of my quest to know more about the current the state of play of sustainable development in the world. Now I find I’m across most of the current affairs concerning sustainability. I hope you will find it useful too.
To make the most of the news, I recommend skimming the stories and if you want to know more, click the links in the article headings to read the full story. The news will generally contain seven sections outlined below.
Climate change is the biggest immediate threat to life as we know it. 97% of climate scientists agree that man-made emissions are fuelling climate change.
The World Resources Institute has a couple of good infographics explaining what’s going on. If you’re part of the ever dwindling minority that don’t believe we are facing a dangerous and unstable world, there is always the argument that it’s in our best interests to take action. In this section you will find news on:
Environment and Biodiversity
The world is currently in its sixth mass extinction event. This section encourages you to appreciate the importance of having a healthy planet and intact ecosystems.
Absolutely everything you see around you, everything you consume is from our environment. The environment is part of you too. This section focuses on:
Economy and Business
Ever increasing growth is the main driver of the planet’s economic model. This is clearly unsustainable on a planet of finite size and with a massive and growing human population.
In this section stories are about a new economic system moving away from endless consumption:
- The concept of Natural Capital accounting: valuing services the environment provides
- The concept of Social Capital accounting: valuing a society that treats each other fairly and with respect
- Sustainable development practices in companies
- Leadership in sustainability
- Highlighting unsustainable and unethical practices in supply chains
Waste and the Circular Economy
Waste is any by-product of the production of goods and services that is not considered to have any direct use for humans. Waste includes food, obsolete electronics, pollution, emissions, or wastes from animals. When it can’t be incorporated back into the environment or reused it becomes pollution.
There are two main points to this section:
- There is no place called “away” when you throw something away. “Away” is into our environment and has to be incorporated into the ecosystem or, if it can’t be dealt with quickly enough through ecosystem services (breaking waste down), it end up as what we call pollution.
- The vast majority of all resources are used to make things in a linear fashion. Not only does this pollute our ecosystems, that we should be valuing, but depletes valuable non-renewable resources. We need to think carefully about what and how we use resources to make things. The circular economy is a model in which materials are reused indefinitely, in much the same way as nature.
So here we bring you stories on:
- Waste minimisation – reducing waste
- Making waste into new products – reusing waste
- Treating waste so it can be used in new products – recycling waste
- But most importantly, news on circular economy initiatives, where there is no such thing as waste.
Politics and Society
A good society trusts and cares for its constituents creating a safer, fairer, more equitable community.
This reduces the amount of money required for rectification of dysfunctional symptoms such as crime, violence, poverty, poor health, and lack of education. Political will and policies are an incredibly important enabler for a good society and sustainable development. This section focusses on:
- Ethical question and issues
- Community initiatives advancing social capital
- Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
- Societal trends towards sustainable development
- Pressures arising from overpopulation
- The societal cost of crime and disasters
- Current affairs in politics and the role of governance towards sustainable development
Mankind has modified the planet beyond any species before it, so much so that many scientists are calling for this time to be called the Anthropocene in acknowledgement of the extent humans have influenced every area of the planet.
In 2014 more than 50% of people live in urban areas and it is expected this will surpass 70% by 2025. High density living exacerbates problems with energy use, transport, and waste. Here you will find stories on:
- Making cities more people friendly
- Public transportation solutions
- Sustainable buildings
- Latest green urban planning ideas and trends
Large economies are buying land in developing countries to provide crops to feed livestock. We need to figure out how to feed 9 billion people by 2050. We are running out of land, we’re polluting through over fertilisation and are overusing herbicides and pesticides. Food systems need to be less wasteful, more local, more efficient and supportive of the environment.Food stories include:
- Complexity of food chains and impacts of eating locally
- Better health through wholesome food and better choices
- Land use and soil
- Enabling developing countries to become more efficient and self sufficient
Visit my page on making decisions at the supermarket if you need some inspiration in what you can do to make a difference.