The PelicanWeb's Journal of Sustainable Development

Research Digest on Integral Human Development,
Solidarity, Sustainability, and Related Global Issues

Vol. 6, No. 4, April 2010
Luis T. Gutierrez, Editor

Home Page


Advances in Sustainable Development
April 2010 Update


This supplement attempts to be a radar screen for recent/emerging/forthcoming advances in sustainable development. In selecting items for this supplementary page, priority is given to information about publications and tools with an educational and human-centric focus. This update includes the following reminders that sustainable development has a human face:

1. Suggestions for Prayer, Study, and Action
2. News, Publications, Tools, and Conferences
3. Advances in Sustainable Development
4. Advances in Integral Human Development
5. Advances in Integrated Sustainable Development
6. Recently Launched Games and Simulation Tools
7. Visualizations of the Sustainable Development Process
8. WCC International Ecumenical Peace Convocation 2011
9. Sustainable Development and the "Second Wave" of System Dynamics
Note: Items in this page are updated as information is received and as time permits. If the reader knows about new pubs/tools that should be announced in this page, please write to the Editor.

1. Suggestions for Prayer, Study, and Action


A Prayer for Humanity

And now, father/mother of us all,
I ask you to bless all of humanity.
We need your wisdom, your guidance.
You see, for so long,
humans have worked to destroy each other,
and many people only feel comfortable
when given power over others.
Bless them, show them the peace I understand;
teach them humility.
For I fear they will someday destroy themselves
and their children
as they have done so to Mother Earth
I plead, I cry.
After all, they are my sisters and brothers...

Dorothy M. Neddermeyer


Global Project on Measuring the Progress of Societies
Wikiprogress, 2008-2010

A Framework to Measure the Progress of Societies
OECD, 2009


Apply the
Framework to Measure the Progress of Societies
to your sustainable social development project

2. News, Publications, Tools, and Conferences



Thinking inside the box

New research: synthetic nitrogen destroys soil carbon, undermines soil health

UN Chief Urges Gender Equality on International Women's Day

Archeological Dig Reshaping Human History

World view: Curing climate backlash

RIGHTS: Saudi Arabia Faulted for Feudal Justice

ENVIRONMENT-LEBANON: Coastal Pollution Threatens Fisherfolk

MIDEAST: Picking Pebbles to Live Somehow

MIDEAST: Palestinians Excluded From Bulk of West Bank

TERRAVIVA Beijing +15

MDG News Update

U.N. Women’s Agency Remains Politically Paralysed

GUATEMALA: Off Track for Millennium Development Goals

Businesses want more guidelines on green issues

Palm oil: environmental curse or a blessing?

30+ carbon footprint guidelines baffle companies

Oil industry's increasing focus on CSR

China, India adding to e-waste timebomb: UN

Study says businesses cause $2.2 trillion in environmental damage

Gap between firms' reputations and performance

Sustainability toolkit launched for forest financing

Per capita CO2 emissions to rise 3-fold by 2030

Muslim scholar demolishes religious justifications for terror and violence

Renewable Energy Growth Modest When Compared with Massive Potential

India joins UNEP's Billion Tree Campaign

A Greek Tragedy Haunts the World - Part I

A Greek Tragedy Haunts the World – Part II

Gendercide: The World Wide War on Baby Girls

Electronic waste threatens connecting the world in unhealthy ways

The Currency Albatross

New study says fuel cell cars and trucks will surpass 2.8 million vehicles globally by 2020

Iranian Women Launch Campaign for Gender Equality

Third of India's MPs to be women as equality gap closes

Gender gaps in Asia-Pacific large

Reformed theologians draft manifesto for economic and ecological justice

Rich must accept climate change equality, says eco-theologian

Time for next stage of sustainable business

Sustainability Is a Growing Theme

Toyota Is a Symptom of Japan's Decline

Can Iran’s Accelerating Nuclear Program Be Stopped?

Europe's Green Diplomacy

WTO Has Obstacles to Trade In Retreat

Push to close gender gaps 'slow'

Indigenization & gender equality on agenda

Global Climate Battle Plays Out In World Bank

Time For Next Stage Of Sustainable Business

Consumers Reject Lower Energy Use As The Answer to Reducing Reliance on Fossil Fuels and Energy Imports

Breakthrough polymers promise versatile, immortal plastics—a good thing

Losing Life’s Variety

MIDEAST: Israeli Raids Target Children

MIDEAST: 'Day of Rage' Engulfs Palestine

MIDEAST: An Unlikely Collision Takes Place

EGYPT: Population Growth Overtakes Literacy Rise

Companies That Aggressively Pursue Sustainability Are Reaping Benefits

Green Chemistry Becomes a Core Element of Industry

Road map to sustainability rests on corporate governance

Study raises question of emission 'imports'

Economic value of nature 'still invisible', says UN

UNEP Report Describes Urgent Need to Address E-Waste

POLITICS-RWANDA: Woman Vies for Top Job

EDUCATION-SIERRA LEONE: Government Ignores Demands for Additional Teachers

AFRICA: Corruption Carries High Cost, World Bank Says

Website to serve as global hub for ending gender based violence

Xinjiang – Where China’s Worry Intersects the World

Adieu, Atlantic Blue Fin Tuna?

Pakistan and the Afghanistan End Game

Stimulating green energy in the US is creating more jobs in China than in the US – an inevitable corollary

China Uses Rules on Global Trade to Its Advantage

Why is Brazil blocking sanctions on Iran?

As Glaciers Melt, Bolivia Fights for the Good Life

More deaths from unsafe water than from war: UN

Coming soon: "oil-less" economic growth

Bloomberg Predicts Renewable Energy Boom But Warns Investment Must Rise Faster to Avoid Worst Climate Change Effects:

Sustainable communities coalition welcomes new government help

Environmentalists call for green budget that boosts jobs

Grist Environmental News

Making Connections: Engaging Students in Language, Literacy, and Global Issues

Friends of the Earth welcome budget's Green Investment Bank plan

Nigeria: NEPAD Promotes Sustainable Development of The Country's Cities

Reducing impacts of climate change for sustainable development

Indonesia Walks a 'Tricky' Path Toward Growth and Sustainability

Association for Progressive Communications - Internet for social justice and sustainable development

Peru's farmers lack information: Why are telecentres being underused?

Broadband in Bolivia: Good intentions and a long way to go

DEVELOPMENT: Political Will the Missing Link for MDGs

URUGUAY: Agro-Export Boom May Have Lethal Consequences

DEVELOPMENT: Sanitation Goals Falter Amid Official Apathy

PARAGUAY: New Police Units for Domestic Violence Victims

BRAZIL: Fewer Slum Dwellers Thanks to Upgrading

LAOS: Doubts Hound World Bank-backed Dam as Its Turbines Start Up

KENYA: Construction of Dam Will Devastate Local Communities

Traditional methods cited in mitigating climate change impact

New Online Database & Portal: AidData (Beta), Comprehensive Source of Global Development & Emergency Aid Info

Power, Voice and Rights - A Turning Point for Gender Equality in Asia and the Pacific

Fortescue Returns CFortescue Returns Crushing Rio Tinto Where China Finds Its Orerushing Rio Tinto Where China Finds Its Ore - Bloomberg.com

Relative Costs to Eliminate CO2

Venezuela polishes proposals for Earth Summit in April in Bolivia

Messing with Disaster: International Conference on Climate Intervention Technologies

Shipping Industry Could Slow Down to Cut Emissions 33%

China Overtakes U.S. in Green Investment

Women of Faith Called to Invest in Women, Girls

AMAROUT Fellowships

Globalization Marches On - Growing popular outrage has not challenged corporate power

U.S. Pressures Oil Companies to Leave Iran

Borneo Can Say "No" to Coal Power

Where There Is No Ambulance There's Text

MIDEAST: Israel Recognising Obama Means Business

MIDEAST: Religion Sways Policy, Now in Israel

Arab woman to head UN's new gender programme?

MDG Summit 2010 - High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly

Lovelock: 'We can't save the planet'



Keeping the promise: a forward-looking review to promote an agreed action agenda to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015

What Every CEO Needs to Know About Nonmarket Strategy

What are your best ideas for saving energy at home?

The attack on climate science is the O.J. moment of the 21st century

Data Highlights on China’s Changing Energy Economy

History of the UN Commission on the Status of Women

Millennium Development Goals Info Kit

America, the fragile empire

Green: The Next Great Driver of Global Growth

Report on the World Social Situation 2010: "Rethinking Poverty"

ClimateWire -- The Politics and Business of Climate Change

The New Sustainable Frontier

Best Practices For Carbon Management

Networking the Green Economy: How Broadband and Related Technologies Can Build a Green Economic Future

Arctic Melt To Cost Up To $24 Trillion By 2050

Gender Violence Blocks Development Targets: Report

On Rooftops Worldwide, a Solar Water Heating Revolution

GDAE, Partners Launch Triple Crisis Blog

Nine Trends & Inventions that will shape the face of the 21st Century

Global Food Reserves: A Key Step Towards Ending Hunger

World Health and International Economic Sharing

Sharing in the Global Economy: An Introduction

Mobilising 'World Opinion' - The Movement of all Movements

How to Share the World's Resources: A Proposal

Neoliberalism and Economic Globalization

The UN and the Principle of Sharing

International Aid & Development: Creating a More Effective System

Decommissioning The IMF, World Bank and WTO

Digital designer shows what future towns could look like

The N of an era: America’s nitrogen dilemma—and what we can do about it

Why are women being left out of climate decision-making?

Using behavioral science to make smarter energy policy

Water and the War on Terror

Climate-Resilient Industrial Development Paths: Design Principles and Alternative Models

Is reasoned public debate on climate still possible?

Climate of fear

Data Highlights on Solar Energy

Directory of Earth Policy Institute Datasets

Living in Borrowed Times

Council of Europe's White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue, 2008

Fostering Sustainable Behavior | Community-Based Social Marketing Digest for 2010-03-13

International Delphi Survey about the Future of Latin America

How the cap-and-trade controversy could lead to good clean energy policy

Family planning and the environment: Connected through human and community well-being

Capitalism Is Dying a Natural Death

Science fails to face the shortcomings of statistics

Big Or Small, Financial Bubbles Burst Alike

The case for behavioral strategy

Zero-Carbon Buildings

Life cycle assessment

The Business of Sustainbility

Vision 2050: The new agenda for business

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)

International Year of Biodiversity

Recycling: From E-Waste to Resources

The Global Commonwealth of Citizens: Toward Cosmopolitan Democracy

Introduction to Global Democracy

The End of an Era in Finance

Climate Ethics and the Copenhagen Accord

Global Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls

The Future Oneness of the Human Family

Global Project on Measuring the Progress of Societies

Flexible Global Governance: Competition between great powers will give way to collective management of global problems

World Leaders Can Galvanize Action: The G-20 won’t replace the United Nations, but it can help global institutions do their job better

Avatar: The Prequel (or Avatar: Earth’s Last Stand)

A personal commitment to social justice is a gift from God, says Sister Prejean

Watershed Revolution Film

Putting the Science in Management Science?

A Dream Captured

A Voice for the Girls

What it Takes to be a Role Model

The Power of Feelings

Aviation and Climate Change

Earth Out of Sync – Rising Temperatures Throwing off Seasonal Timing

Science and Technology for Sustainability Program (STS)

Verifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Methods to Support International Climate Agreements

Understanding the Changing Planet: Strategic Directions for the Geographical Sciences

Consciousness, Values, Science, and Nature

Malady of a crippling nation

Power, Voice and Rights - A Turning Point for Gender Equality in Asia and the Pacific

Earth Charter Anual Report 2009

Fundraising & Grants Directory

Roots of Copenhagen Failure: Nature Does Not Recognize Nations - The current world order is incapable of solving global problems

The World Needs Rebalancing, Not China Alone - Rather than pointing fingers at each other, the US and China should seek accommodation

How the Internet will change the world — even more

Prioritising research and innovation – a comparison of six small-medium-sized economies

Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Financial Market Cycles

New report on Creative and Cultural Industries from the European Cluster Observatory

The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of The American Dream (Video)

Strategic decisions: When can you trust your gut?

Obama's "New" Trade Policy: What Happened to Multilateralism?

The Diffusion of Policy Innovations

The National Commission on Children and Disasters: Overview and Issues

The European Union: Leadership Changes Resulting from the Lisbon Treaty

Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians

Iraq Casualties: U.S. Military Forces and Iraqi Civilians, Police, and Security Forces

American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics

Wind Power Soared Past 150,000 Megawatts in 2009

The Story of Bottled Water

Life, Liberty, Water



Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol - Tools for Calculation of Emissions

Survey on improving research methods and data for an integrated response to global change

Viviane Prototype: A learning tool that uses multi-media technologies to improve awareness of citizens of environmental management and risks.

Experience the New IEEE Xplore Digital Library

FISDev - Framework for Integrated Sustainable Development

LOGICITY - Climate Change Game

British Gas - Generation Green Games

Planet Green - Global Warming Game

Chevron Energyville - Power for 5.9M People City

EnerCities - Sustainable Urbanization Game

EnCon City - Energy Conservation Game

Third World Farmer - Sustainable Rural Development Game

ASU GameBot - Human & Robots Games

Minimonos - Sustainability & Generosity Virtual World

BBC Science & Nature - European Climate Change Game

ABC Australia - River Catchment Detox Game

Games for Change (G4C) - Social & Environmental Issues

Columbia Earth Institute - Millennium Village Simulation (MV Sim)

Urgent Evoke - A crash course in changing the world

Online sustainable development games

TUSC (Tool for Urban Sustainability: Code-of-Practice)

InVEST, a.k.a. Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs

Threshold 21 (T21) - A simulation model for integrated national sustainable development planning

Green Chemistry Index V2.0

AidData - Database for Tracking Development Finance

Google Public Data Explorer



5th Annual Green Economics Conference Greening the Economy Green Jobs 29 – 31 July 2010 Mansfield College and the Oxford University Club, Oxford University

Heterodox Economics Conference Announcements 2010-2011

Modeling and Simulation of Ultra-Large-Scale Systems (MSULSS) 11 - 14 July 2010 Ottawa, Canada

6th Global International Internship Congress: "Working for Global Understanding through International Internships" April 13-16, 2010 ITESM, Monterrey, Mexico

Teaching Toward Eco-Justice: Where Sustainability and Social Justice Meet in Theological Education July 26-28, 2010, Seattle University

ECCS'10 European Conference on Complex Systems September 13-17, 2010, Lisbon, Portugal

IPSA (International Political Science Association) Conference, Luxembourg, March 18- 20, 2010

The International Polar Year Oslo Science Conference - 8-12 June 2010

International Conference on Human Capital for Sustainable Economies, May 27-28, Karlsruhe, Germany

International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB), 3-7 July 2010, Edmonton, Canada

WCSS2010 - "Modelling Societal Transitions – Methods and Applications." The 3rd World Congress on Social Simulation. Theme: Scientific Advances in Understanding Societal Processes and Dynamics. September, 6-9, 2010 In Kassel, Germany hosted by the Center for Environmental System Research (CESR).

Euromed2010 Conference - ICT in Cultural Heritage 8th-13th of November 2010 Lemesos, Cyprus

2010 Global Youth Enterprise and Livelihoods Development Conference: September 15-16, 2010, Washington DC

The Responsibility to Protect: From Principle to Practice 8-12 June 2010 Scandic Linköping Vast, Linköping, Sweden

"Rethink. Rebuild. Report." The Amsterdam Global Conference on Sustainability and Transparency, 26-28 May 2010 at the Amsterdam RAI Elicium

New Zealand Society for Sustainability Engineering and Science - 4th International Conference - Transitions to Sustainability 30 November - 3 December University of Auckland

Berlin Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change, 8-9 October 2010, Berlin, Germany

The 9th Conference of the ISORECEA (International Study of Religion in Central and Eastern Europe Association) will be held in Brno, Czech Republic from 16 to 19 December 2010.

Launch of Earth Charter+10 celebrations in Mexico

The 2010 International Conference on Innovation and Management (IAM 2010), Penang, Malaysia, 7-10 July 2010

Sustainable Innovation 15th International Conference - Creating Breakthroughs: Green growth, Eco-innovation, Entrepreneurship and Jobs Part of the 'Towards Sustainable Product Design' series of conferences, 8th-9th November 2010, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

2010 Conference on Self-Determination Theory (SDT)

      3. Advances in Sustainable Development

Tracing Connections
Edited by Joy Richmond, Lees Stuntz, Kathy Richmond, Joanne Egner
Jointly published by ISEE Systems and The Creative Learning Exchange, 2010

From the book's announcement:

"Tracing Connections is for anyone who’s ever wondered how Systems Thinking can be effectively used to significantly and successfully transform education, business, public policy, and research. "In ten chapters, teachers, World Bank Executives, corporate consultants, researchers and college professors lead the reader through an amazing spectrum of applied System Thinking that leads to unexpected realizations and critical understanding.

"Inspired by Barry Richmond, Systems Thinking pioneer, ISEE Systems founder, and creator of STELLA and iThink, Tracing Connections reveals how a new way of thinking can radically improve your ability to work through complex issues and uncover elegant solutions. All proceeds from the book will be used to fund The Creative Learning Exchange’s Tracing Connections Scholarship.


Sensing Changes:
Technologies, Environments, and the Everyday, 1953-2003

By Joy Parr, University of Western Ontario UBC Press, 2010
From the book's annoucement:

"Our bodies are archives of sensory knowledge and laboratories in which to retool our senses and practices in response to changing circumstances. If global environmental changes continue at an unsettling pace, how will we make sense of the cascade of new normals, where the air, land, and water around us are no longer familiar?

"The book tackles this question by exploring situations in the recent past when state-driven megaprojects and regulatory and environmental changes forced people to cope with radical transformations in their work and home environments. The construction of dams, chemical plants, nuclear reactors, and military training grounds; new patterns in seasonal rains; and developments in animal husbandry altered the daily lives of ordinary people and essentially disrupted their embodied understandings of the world.

"This study offers a timely and prescient perspective on how humans make sense of the world in the face of rapid environmental, technological, and social change.

Report on the World Social Situation 2010:
"Rethinking Poverty"

Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), United Nations, 2010

From the report release statement:

"Rethinking Poverty, the 2010 issue of the Report on the World Social Situation (RWSS2010) seeks to contribute to rethinking poverty and its eradication. It affirms the urgent need for a strategic shift away from the market fundamentalist thinking, policies and practices of recent decades towards more sustainable development- and equity-oriented policies appropriate to national conditions and circumstances. Responsible development and counter-cyclical macroeconomic policies to foster productive investments and generate decent employment must be at the core of this effort.

"The Report makes a compelling case for rethinking poverty and poverty-reduction efforts, saying that over-reliance on market forces and economic liberalization have led to neglect of nationally designed and developmentally-oriented strategies, to the detriment of the world’s poor. The most important lesson is that governments need to play a developmental role, integrating economic and social policies that support inclusive output and employment growth, while attacking inequality and promoting justice."


A personal journey to a built sustainable community ... and an amazing picture of what life will soon be like

By Stuart W. Rose, BookSurge Publishing, 5 January 2010
From the book cover:

"Sustainability, by Stuart W. Rose, describes the massive changes happening in the world, an example of a sustainable housing project, and a vision of what sustainable living will be. An architect and developer of what many consider the most sustainable housing development in the U.S., Rose introduces the exciting, ever-changing world of sustainability, a way of life that includes creating homes and communities with materials that do no harm to, and take nothing away from, the earth's resources. He reveals how sustainable living goes beyond being ecologically and financially friendly, while saving on utility bills, and leads to a different, yet more joyful quality of life. Also fascinating is the author's recounting of architectural developments leading to his innovations, such as Garden Atriums evolving from a design created 2,500 years ago. Rose has created a book that is as much an adventure as it is encouragement for everyone desiring to live a sustainable and more fulfilling life. In this comprehensive book, readers will learn about:

  • A detailed picture of the global transformation that's happening;
  • Architectural designs from ancient China adapted for use today;
  • The role of currencies and governance in sustainable living;
  • Living sustainably in a way that's more satisfying that today's lifestyle;
  • Debunking the myths around alleged difficulties of sustainable living."
  • Hatched: The Capacity for Sustainable Development
    Edited by Bob Frame, Richard Gordon and Claire Mortimer
    Landcare Research New Zealand Ltd. Lincoln, NZ, January 2010

    From the book's introduction:

    "The aim of this book is to provide a representation of research findings in an accessible form for practitioners within the public, business and the wider community sectors. We hope readers will delve deeper into the academic papers listed at the end of each chapter. There is much more available on our website and we invite readers to contact our lead authors for our most recent work. General comments can be directed to buildingcapacity@landcareresearch.co.nz.

    "This book does not pretend to cover all aspects of sustainability. It leaves out many great ideas, experiments and successes. It does not address biophysical science, for example in climate change, biodiversity, soils, land and urban ecosystems; that is a feature of the work of New Zealand’s Crown Research Institutes. Instead our research has focused on supporting New Zealand’s and international capacity for sustainable development. We believe that capacity has now, in C.S. Lewis’s words, begun to hatch. We hope the insights within this book will continue to help individuals, organisations and communities to transition from the potential of the egg to the flight of the bird."


    State of the World 2010:
    Transforming Cultures from Consumerism to Sustainability

    By Erik Assadourian & Staff, Worldwatch Institute, 2010
    From the book cover:

    "Worldwatch's flagship publication, State of the World, has educated a broad audience of students, journalists, policymakers, and concerned citizens about trends in sustainable development for a quarter century. The book has been published in 36 languages, and over the years it has authoritatively assessed issues ranging from population, energy, and agriculture to materials use, health, and trade policy. Topics are covered from a global perspective, with an emphasis on innovation and problem-solving. State of the World is recognized as a classic of environmental literature, having attracted luminaries from Kofi Annan to Mikhail Gorbachev to write forewords for the book. News media, policymakers, and NGOs worldwide cite the book for its cutting-edge analysis, reliability, and careful documentation of its arguments, all marshaled to speed the global transition to a sustainable world."

    For the PelicanWeb's book review of State of the World 2010, click here.

    The Three Ds: Democracy, Divinity, and Drama
    By Bruce A. Burton, Castleton State College, Vermont
    Published by Synerg Ebooks, 2010

    From the book's Forward:

    "When we account for the thousands of years of written and institutional woman-hating right up to Democracy’s current struggle with religious despotisms, it is historically evident that where the genders shared equally, such as in the production of food, as in Neolithic societies in the Near East and America-where women domesticated and cultivated and men watered crops- Democracies flourished and Universal Peace prevailed. THE 3 DS was written, therefore, in response to the historical and to today’s continuing religious violence against women, and as an answer to Aristotle’s Iron Age negative view of women which continues to influence so many of our University and College graduates in religion, literature, drama, and philosophy today – and as a statement of confidence that Democracy based on Gender Balance will prevail against the current challenge of international terrorism in the name of religion and pave the way, for what can only be after these many thousands of years, a more humane future for the human family."


    Visit the Open Source Framework for Sustainability

    What is open-sustainability? "Open-sustainability is an approach that applies information-centric techniques to solve challenges related to sustainable development. It leverages an integrated solution approach, combining the Framework for Integrated Sustainable Development (FISDev) tool with a five phase sustainability governance framework, both of which are open-source tools freely accessible and collaboratively developed. They work in concert to enable commercial business models for sustainability and Social media business models around online advertising and e-learning. A corporate organization for open-sustainability.com exists to provide these service, but works in coordination with other organizations providing the same services."

          4. Advances in Integral Human Development

    Victoire Ingabire
    Victoria Ingabire Umohoza, Candidate for President, Rwanda

    "Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza born 3 October 1968 is a Rwandan politician. She is the Chairperson of the Unified Democratic Forces (UDF) a coalition of Rwandan opposition parties with a large base of active members in Rwanda, Europe,United States of America and in Canada. She has been elected by the political council of her party as the official candidate for the next presidential election in Rwanda in August 2010.

    "Since 1997, Victoire is involved in the struggle of the Rwandan political opposition in exile. Her objective is to introduce to her country, Rwanda, the rule of law and a constitutional state where international democratic standards are respected, where nationalism will at last be the cornerstone for all public institutions and as well as in all aspect of life in Rwanda. Her political activities are centered around the idea of a state of justice where individuals choose their associations based on their shared political aspirations rather than their ethnic or regional background."

    Source: Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Wikipedia.
    See also Woman Vies for Top Job and Victoire 2010.

    15-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995) and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly (2000)

    For the more information about Beijing+15 and CSW54, click here.

    Point of contact: UN Division for the Advancement of Women, daw@un.org.

    The World Survey on the Role of Women in Development is the flagship publication of the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women. The theme for the World Survey in 2009 is "Women’s control over economic resources and access to financial resources, including microfinance."

    To download the final report, click here.

    Point of contact: UN Division for the Advancement of Women, daw@un.org.

    Millennial assessments of the environmental problems confronting people of all nations have shown that the problems are severe and, in large part, the product of human activities.

  • Climate change,
  • Decline of food security
  • Loss of biological diversity
  • Depletion of water and other vital resources with consequent conflict
  • Use of unsustainable and environmentally malign energy technologies
  • Deleterious changes in patterns of land use, and
  • Toxification of the planet with unregulated pollutants that may be dangerous even in traces

    All threaten the human future. Yet society stubbornly refuses to take comprehensive steps to deal with them and their drivers,

  • Population growth
  • Overconsumption by the rich, and
  • The deployment of environmentally malign technologies.

    For the complete mission statement, click here.

    Point of contact: Douglass Carmichael, doug@dougcarmichael.com.

  • Human Development Report 2010
    "Rethinking Human Development"

    From the UNDP HDR 2010 web page:

    "Human development is about putting people at the centre of development. It is about people realizing their potential, increasing their choices and enjoying the freedom to lead lives they value. Since 1990, annual Human Development Reports have explored challenges including poverty, gender, democracy, human rights, cultural liberty, globalization, water scarcity, climate change, and mobility.

    "The 2010 report will seek to articulate an agenda for change to underpin a New Human Development Deal that can significantly advance development thinking and policies. It will incorporate thinking from academia and the policy world as well as new research to be commissioned or undertaken by the Human Development Report Office. It will place significant emphasis on the knowledge that comes from developing countries and regions, in particular that garnered through the national and regional human development reports. This emphasis reflects the belief that placing people at the center of development also implies putting people at the center of the generation of knowledge about development, and that this is best achieved by understanding how communities and local actors understand the practice of development."
    1990 - 2010

    For more information
    on the HDR 2010,
    click here.

          5. Advances in Integrated Sustainable Development

    It is time for the human propensity to avoid responsibility, and the common practice of finger pointing, to give way to collaborative efforts driven by human solidarity and a willingness to assume responsibility for individual and institutional actions. This is an area in which ICT can be helpful if properly used. A good example is the analysis of large interdependency matrices. This kind of analysis is useful in understanding both sequential and closed-loop interactions in complex systems. Let us consider the system of all the ESD activities and all the MDG activities, a total of 16 activities as follows:

    ESD1-Education on Gender Equality
    ESD2-Education on Human Health
    ESD3-Education on Environmental Management
    ESD4-Education on Rural Development
    ESD5-Education on Cultural Diversity
    ESD6-Education on Human Security
    ESD7-Education on Sustainable Urbanization
    ESD8-Education on Sustainable Consumption
    MDG1-Eradication of Poverty and Hunger
    MDG2-Universal Education for all Children
    MDG3-Promotion of Gender Equality
    MDG4-Reduction of Infant Mortality
    MDG5-Improvement of Maternal Health
    MDG6-Mitigation of the HIV Epidemic
    MDG7-Assurance of Environmental Sustainability
    MDG8-Global Partnership for Development

    The PSM32 matrix analysis software, developed by Donald Steward and associates at Problematics, provides a convenient way to enter data on interdependencies between activities of any kind. When the tool is launched, the analyst must first list the activities in any order. Then the software builds a blank NxN square matrix that enables the analyst to enter data on interdependencies between activities. Basically, in the blank matrix shown below, a mark is entered in cells such that a mark in cell (row i, column j) represents a dependency of row activity i on input to be supplied by column activity j.

    16x16 blank matrix built by PSM32 showing the ESDs and MDGs and rows and columns.
    Courtesy of Problematics

    The marks can be entered directly in the matrix. As a preliminary step, it is often a good practice to prepare a block and arrow diagram showing the input and output information flows that connect all the activities. Then, after all the stakeholders have validated the web of interdependencies, each arrow going into an acitivity can be captured in the matrix by entering a mark in cell (row i, column j) where the column j activity is the supplier of information to the row i activity. In other words, the marks are entered at the points where an arrow from activity j delivers information to activity i. The following figure shows 4 steps of analysis that are possible after the diagram of dependencies is converted to matrix format:

    16X16PSM32PROCESS Steps 1 to 4 in the analysis of ESD activities and all the MDG activities interdependencies using PSM32

    Step (1) is building a diagram of dependencies between the 16 activities. Step (2) is the translation to a 16X16 matrix format. Each column entry shows what row activities are fed by the column activities. Numbers and/or colors can be used to indicate how sensitive the row activities are to inputs from the column activities. Plus and minus signs can be used to depict positive (reinforcing) or negative (stabilizing) feedback loops. For instance, the plus signs in the MDG8 column indicate that progress in MDG8 has a reinforcing effect on all the ESDs. Step (3) shows the rows and columns reordered so that the matrix becomes block-triangular, i.e., all activities are shown in square blocks around the diagonal. Activities within blocks are usually tightly coupled together and may have to be iterated several times before proceeding to the next block. Step (4) is a sanity check on all the dependencies and feedbacks.

    This block-triangular matrix was derived (using Don Steward's PSM32 software tool) by setting up a 16x16 square matrix -- with the rows and columns being the eight ESDs and the eight MDGs -- and entering marks in those cells for which the column item provides input to the row item. Then the matrix is partitioned via row and column operations so as to identify the blocks of that should be worked out together. The arrows are added to show that there is a feedback loop between ESDs and MDGs as the sustainable development process unfolds.

    Once the basic structure of activity interdependencies is understood, additional critical factors can be inserted for further analysis. The next figure shows the insertion of integral human development (IHD) as the the result of activities in the preceding blocks; and IHD is the ingredient that actually fuels the reinforcing feedback from the MDGs back to the ESDs.

    Matrix expanded to show IHD as the critical axis of the ESD-MDG system

    This 17x17 matrix is a concise representation of all the interdependencies between the ESDs, between the MDGs, and between the ESDs and MDGs. The yellow block includes all the ESD themes, which should be integrated together such that every theme includes dependencies on all the other themes; otherwise, the order in which they are listed is not essential. The next block around the diagonal (red) includes MDGs 1, 8, 2, 7, and 3; and includes nested blocks for MDGs 1, 8, 2, and 7 (blue) and MDGs 1 and 8 (green). The lowest block down the diagonal (orange) includes MDGs 4, 5, and 6, which improve in response to 1-8-2-7-3 block and in turn have a reinforcing effect on the same block.

    This is an illustration of the kind of integration needed in education and planning for sustainable development. Managing the sustainable development process requires interdisciplinary knowledge integration. It requires integration of projects at the local, national, and global levels. For instance, at the global level, issues of population growth, ecological economics, and climate change need to be integrated so as to avoid costly failures and delays. Computers, and software such as PSM32, make this kind of integration possible. There is much to be gained in terms of the common good of humanity and the conservation of the human habitat. Indeed, integration requires some collaborative effort, but it is much better than pointing fingers and looking for scapegoats to avoid responsibility as global citizens.

          6. Recently Launched Games and Simulation Tools

    Web-based gaming and simulation tools can be very supportive of education for sustainable development. The following is a list of links to some of the best games/simulations that are freely available: The Millennium Village Simulation (MV Sim), developed by the Columbia University's Center for New Media Teaching & Learning (CCNMTL) and the Columbia Earth Institute, is very appealing because it supports learning about pursuing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) under conditions of extreme poverty in Africa.

    According to the MV Sim web site, "the MV Sim (short for Millennium Village Simulation) was created as a teaching tool to help students appreciate the complexity of meeting the MDGs in a rural African setting, and to experience the interdisciplinary nature of sustainable development. The MV Sim does not strive to be a perfect replica of a real village; indeed, many of Africa's challenges (such as HIV/AIDS) are not present in the simulation. Instead, the MV Sim purposefully incorporates only a select set of issues to make it a manageable educational tool that models challenges cutting across the disciplines of agronomy, public health, environmental science, and economics."

    The tool is freely accessible on the web, and an excellent tutorial is available and embedded below. Just click on the arrow to get started. While taking the tutorial, clicking on the four outgoing arrows (next to last in the bottom tool bar) switches to full screen mode.

    Click here to register and give it a try. The simulation entails making periodic decisions about work and consumption of basic necessities by a poor familiy. After the family succeeds in sustainable living, the simulation allows for participation in sustainability decisions for the entire village. During a given simulation run, the user is given periodic reports on sustainability status for the family and village based on previous decisions, including graphs of the decisions made over time. Help text is available at each step. In addition, links are provided to access maps and other online sources of sustainable development information.

          7. Visualizations of the Sustainable Development Process

    One of the best online visualization resources on sustainable development is the UNEP/GRID-Arendal web site. This resource is a collaborative product of the Norwegian GRIP Foundation and the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP). The mission of the UNEP/GRID-Arendal web site is "to communicate environmental information to policy-makers and facilitate environmental decision-making for change." The content includes e-books, maps, and graphics, as well as links to other web sites with similar content.

    Links to recently published e-books (free downlads) include the following:

    In the Maps and Graphics Library, there is (as of 5 March 2010) an amazing collection of 1841 graphics, a collection of interactive maps, and a collection of graphs from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. These are global collections, but there are options to search by region, country, and themes (Freshwater Systems, Climate Change, Waste, Pollution, Biodiversity & Conservation, Environment & Poverty, Environment & Security, and Urban issues). All these maps and graphics can be downloaded and used for free albeit subject to the disclaimer, copyright and usage conditions. Links are provided to other collections of maps and graphics such as DatabasiN, Globalis, the Arctic Environmental Atlas, the Marine Geophisical Data Maps (UNEP), the Baltic Environmental Atlas, and the University of the Arctic Atlas.

    The following is a sample of images accessible via UNEP/GRID-Arendal:

    Click on the image to view a larger image
    Percent Annual Population Growth - Africa & World
    Source: UNEP DEWA/GENEVA GEO-3 and
    UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics
    Cartographer: H. Ahlenius
    Click on the image to view a larger image
    Global Footprint: A Planet in Ecological Debt as of 2008
    Source: Global Footprint Network and
    UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics
    Cartographer: R. Pravettoni

    Samples from the
    Collection of Maps & Graphs,
    UNEP/GRID-Arenda Web Site

    Click on the image to view a larger image
    Millions of undernourished children projected in 2050
    Source: 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and
    UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics
    Cartographers: P. Rekacewicz & E. Bournay
    Click on the image to view a larger image
    Actual and Projected Energy Demand 1980-2030
    Source: International Energy Agency WEO 2008 and
    UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics
    Cartographer: R. Pravettoni

          8. WCC International Ecumenical Peace Convocation 2011

    Visit the World Council of Churches

    Kingston, Jamaica, will be the host city for the World Council of Churches' International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in 2011. The convocation will meet under the theme "Glory to God and peace on earth". It will be the culmination of the WCC's Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV), which has sought to network and bring attention to the peacemaking initiatives of its various member churches.

          9. Sustainable Development and the "Second Wave" of System Dynamics

    System Dynamics is a method for analyzing the "behavior over time" of complex systems to the extent that it is generated by the system's endogenous feedback loop structure. The origins of System Dymanics can be traced back to Norbert Wiener, who in 1948 published his famous book, Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. Others followed, including Jay W. Forrester and his group (especially Willard R. Fey) at the MIT Sloan School of Management. It was Forrester who - in the late 1950s and early 1960s - coined the term System Dynamics and formulated the recursive mathematics needed to simulate the dynamic behavior of nonlinear feedback-driven systems in digital computers.

    This "first wave" of System Dynamics was a significant breakthrough that led to many new insights, such as the counterintuitive behavior of social systems, an enhanced awareness about the global limits to growth, and many other applications in practically all disciplines. However, as it is often the case with "first waves," the enthusiasm created by the new modeling and simulation method also led to naive claims about System Dynamics having a "prescriptive capability" to improve real-world system behavior by changing information flows and feedback loops in accordance with the results of simulation experiments. These presumptious claims were wisely challenged by many in both academic institutions and other private/public policy-making groups. For some additional material on "first wave" System Dynamics applied to sustainable development, click here.

    A "second wave" of System Dynamics has been incubating since the 1980s in which the method is proposed more for collaborative learning and communication and less for policy-making prescriptions. This "second wave" was triggered by "first wavers" such as Donella Meadows' (see her self-critique of the Limits to Growth project and her insistence on balancing systems thinking with global citizenship), Barry Richmond (who wrote a novel guide to systems thinking and developed the user-friendly STELLA software), and Peter Senge (author of The Fifth Discipline and other books about organizational learning).

    The following are suggested as basic references about the "second wave" of System Dynamics:

    According to Barry Richmond, there are eight critical skills in systems thinking:
    1. high altitude thinking, to gain a view of the interdisciplinary "big picture" rather than intradisciplinary minutiae
    2. system-as-cause thinking, to include only the factors that interact to generate the behavior of interest
    3. dynamic thinking, to visualize behavior patterns over time, i.e., behavior modes rather than specific events
    4. operational thinking, to capture how the system parts interact to generate the behavior patterns of interest
    5. closed-loop thinking, to identify the web of feedback loops that link together all the interacting parts
    6. scientific thinking, to use math models/simulation experiments as hypotheses linking behavior to feedback webs
    7. emphatic thinking, to communicate working hypotheses effectively for individual/organizational learning
    8. generic thinking, to understand how certain feedback structures generate the same behavior across disciplines
    These critical skills apply to "systems thinking" in general, and in particular to System Dynamics. Let us consider the global human civilization-human habitat system in a "limits to growth" context. Keeping in mind that any system analysis is but a simplified abstraction from the real-world system, application of the eight skills, and in particular the "closed-loop thinking" and "scientific thinking" skills, lead to something like the following:

    Closed-loop diagram and simulation experiment for the human civilization-human habitat system
    Colors: blue=population, red=resources, pink=financial capital, green=pollution, yellow=human capital

    The "high altitude thinking" and "system-as-cause" skills lead to the causal-look diagram on the left. The causal-loop diagram is a hypothesis based on "dynamic thinking" about system behavior (see examples in Section 6 of this page) and "operational thinking" about how the subsystems interact. The simulation plot on the right is the behavioral counterpart of the causal-loop diagram. Both together constitute a working hypothesis about why the real-world system behaves as it does. It is noted that the simulation plot does not show a dark-yellow pattern for human capital (or integral human development, IHD). This indicates that the hypothesis does not yet include the operational effect of intanglible, but highly influential, cultural factors.

    Then, "emphatic thinking" is required to communicate this hypothesis to all the stakeholders and see how it bounces, in order to learn and explore options for improved system management. In this scenario, the learning and exploring probably should include further elucidation of how the blue, red, pink, and green sectors interact with culture and human development. It is good System Dynamics practice to make visible both what is included and what is not included in the hypothesis. The "generic thinking" process is not shown, as it comes into play when formulating the stock and flow equations required to generate the simulation. To provide further visibility, it would be shown in diagrams at a lower level of decomposition. The entire System Dynamics method is then one of collaborative learning and communication. It may support decision-making and policy-making as confidence increases on the validity of the working hypothesis; but this is beyond the System Dynamics method per se.

    For applications of System Dynamics to the sustainable development process, see chapters 8 and 10 of Tracing Connections. For additional references, including Learning Environment: Limits to Growth - The 30-Year Update, click here. The next challenge for System Dynamics is to take into account the intangible (cultural) factors that really matter for resisting/fostering the transition from consumerism to sustainability. The STELLA "graph functions" provide the required software functionality, but these ceteris paribus nonlinearities are yet to be identified and quantified. This is the splendid challenge awaiting the "third wavers."

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