1. Suggestions for Prayer, Study, and Action
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
2. News, Publications, Tools, and Conferences
TOOLS & DATABASES
CONFERENCES & JOURNALS
3. Advances in Sustainable Development
A New Assessment of Global Warming
Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project, 20 October 2011
Excerpt: "The most important indicator of global warming, by far, is the land and sea surface temperature record. This has been criticized in several ways, including the choice of stations and the methods for correcting systematic errors. The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study sets out to to do a new analysis of the surface temperature record in a rigorous manner that addresses this criticism. We are using over 39,000 unique stations, which is more than five times the 7,280 stations found in the Global Historical Climatology Network Monthly data set (GHCN-M) that has served as the focus of many climate studies. Our aim is to resolve current criticism of the former temperature analyses, and to prepare an open record that will allow rapid response to further criticism or suggestions. Our results include not only our best estimate for the global temperature change, but estimates of the uncertainties in the record." Source: BERKELEY EARTH
World Development Report 2010:|
Gender Equality and Development
World Bank - 10 October 2011
WDR Co-Director Ana Revenga on "Why does Gender Equality Matter?"
"The lives of women around the world have improved dramatically, at a pace and scope difficult to imagine even 25 years ago. Women have made unprecedented gains in rights, education, health, and access to jobs and livelihoods.
"Despite the progress, gaps remain in many areas. The worst disparity is the rate at which girls and women die relative to men in developing countries. Excess female deaths account for an estimated 3.9 million women each year in low- and middle-income countries. About two-fifths are never born due to a preference for sons, a sixth die in early childhood, and over a third die in their reproductive years.
"The World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development argues that closing these gaps is a core development objective in its own right. It is also smart economics. Greater gender equality can enhance productivity, improve development outcomes for the next generation, and make institutions more representative.
"The analytical core of the Report constitutes a conceptual framework that examines the factors that have fostered change and the constraints that have slowed progress. The analysis focuses on the roles of economic growth, households, markets, and institutions in determining gender differences in education and health, agency, and access to economic opportunities.
"The analysis leads to the identification of four priority areas for domestic policy action:
- Reducing excess female mortality and closing education gaps where they remain
- Improving access to economic opportunities for women
- Increasing women's voice and agency in the household and in society
- Limiting the reproduction of gender inequality across generations
"While domestic policy action is crucial, the Report calls on the international community to complement efforts in the four priority areas and also support evidence-based public action through better data, impact evaluation and learning."
Source: WDR 2012
Policy Brief on the
Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development
International Environmental Governance, 27 September 2011.
Excerpt from the press release: "The Policy Brief offers a concise, cutting-edge assessment of the state of knowledge on the institutional framework for sustainable development and on possible reform options. It brings together various strands of research and schools of thought and will serve as key input of the scientific community in this field to the current preparations for the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)."
4. Advances in Integral Human Development
Shaping the Future: A Proposal to Hasten a Global Paradigm Shift for the Security and Well-being of All Children Everywhere, Judith L. Hand, August 2011.
About the FACE (For All Children Everywhere) paradigm: "To shift the current paradigm from domination by force to one that abhors violence, FACE's underlying esprit de corps must spring from the female side of our biology because that is the side that most strongly favors nonviolence. It is also the side most consistently concerned with community, family, and children's wellbeing. Ideally the movement would be officially constructed to ensure that through the years, the majority of the top leadership remains slightly female. Failing that, the historical record indicates, and our biology dictates, that the movement will ultimately slip back under the sway of urges for domination and control coming from the male side of our biology, and concern for family, community, and children will eventually take second place. Over time, ignoring this fact of our nature will erode any progress we make now." For more, click here.
Sustainable Human Development in the Twenty-First Century: An Evolutionary Perspective, Ismail Sirageldin. Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. EOLSS, June 2011.
Why should men and women be involved as allies in peacebuilding?, New Tactics in Human Rights, 7 February 2011.
5. Advances in Integrated Sustainable Development
BASIC CAPABILITIES INDEX (BCI) 2011
"Social Watch developed the BCI as an instrument to monitor the evolution of basic indicators and make comparisons between and within countries. This is a summary-index that compares and classifies countries according to their progress in social development by evaluating their situation in terms of minimum basic capabilities – structural dimensions that represent the indispensable starting conditions to guarantee an adequate quality of life."
Source: Basic Capabilities Index 2011, Social Watch, October 2011
"World trade and per capita income grew faster in the first decade of the XXI century than the decade before, but progress against poverty slowed down. A gap widened, due to the unequal distribution of the benefits of prosperity. Now the boom years seem to give way to a bust. The vulnerable did not benefit from the accelerated growth in the economy, but they will undoubtedly suffer the most with a new contraction.
"The Basic Capabilities Index computed by social watch looks at basic social indicators. The 2011 figures show that economic performance and well being of the people do not go hand in hand. Progress on education, health and nutrition was already too slow when gross income was growing fast. While using the latest available figures, the Index does not capture yet the whole impact of the global financial and economic crisis that started in 2008, because social indicators are gathered and published much slower than the economic numbers.
"Yet, Social Watch is receiving evidence from its members on how the crisis is burdening the most those already vulnerable and that situation can only become worse if the big industrialized countries enter into prolonged stagnation or recession."
Source: Social Watch
6. Sustainability Games, Databases, and Knowledgebases
Gridded Population of the World, CIESIN, Earth Institute, Columbia University, 2011
Interactive Map and Rankings for the 2011 Failed States Index, Foreign Policy and Fund for Peace, 2011
The World Top Incomes Database, Paris School of Economics, 2011
Sustainable Development Policy & Practice Knowledgebase, UNCSD/IISD, 2011
Environmental Knowledge, Maps, and Graphics Library, UNEP/GRID-Arendal, 2011
7. Visualizations of the Sustainable Development Process
Protecting Our Commons
By Sarah van Gelder and Doug Pibel,
Yes! Magazine, 29 July 2007
Water, forests, and other natural "commons" provide the necessities of life. Shared stories, music, and knowledge enliven our cultures. Today, corporations are trying to enclose these and other commons—or externalize their costs onto them. But a movement is gaining momentum to protect our commons for generations to come.
For an animated chart where you can hover over the symbols to learn more about our commons, click
There are links in the same web page to download 8.5x11 and 11x17 posters.
Courtesy of Yes! Magazine.
8. Sustainable Development Modeling and Simulation
The Food Crises: A quantitative model of food prices including speculators and ethanol conversion, New England Complex Systems Institute, 29 September 2011
Simulating Energy Transitions, Emile Chappin, Delft University, 16 June 2011
Energy infrastructures as socio-technical systems
Simulating Energy Transitions, Emile Chappin, Delft University, 16 June 2011, Figure 1.2, page 3
Electricity and CO2 prices and CO2 emission levels for three carbon policies
Simulating Energy Transitions, Emile Chappin, Delft University, 16 June 2011, Figures 4.13a and 4.13b, page 110
9. Sustainable Development and the International Community
Millennium Development Goals for 2015, Gateway to the UN System's Work on the MDGs.
Education for Sustainable Development, United Nations "Decade of Education for Sustainable Development" (2005-2014), UNESCO.
Are We Learning to Change?
Mapping Global Progress in Education for Sustainable Development, Daniella Tilbury, UNESCO/IRIS, 2011.
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 17)
Durban, South Africa, 28 November to 9 December 2011
South Africa plays host to the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that will be held in Durban from November 28 to December 9, 2011. With slow progress having been achieved at previous meetings, expectations are high for the talks to usher in a just, equitable and binding international agreement to deal, decisively, with the threat of global climate change. Consider the ethical dimensions in climate change debate. See Negotiators should resolve political issues ahead of Durban climate talks, by Christy van der Merwe, Engineering News, 19 July 2011. Visit the conference website.
Ocean Earth: How Rio+20 Can and Must Turn the Tide
An analysis of gaps in the implementation of the ocean-related outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development -
Susan Lieberman, Director of International Policy, Pew Environment Group, September 2011
Excerpt: "The world is once again on the road to Rio, 20 years after the landmark 1992 Earth Summit, in many ways
the bedrock of sustainable development in the 21st century. At the 1992 meeting, however, issues relating
to the world's oceans took a back seat. The past two decades have brought a heightened awareness of
the importance of oceans for human well-being and livelihoods, and of threats to ocean conservation,
coupled with ever-increasing industrial-scale overfishing. Two opposing forces have been at play --a
recognition that the need for sustainable global fisheries has never been more apparent, countered by
the stark reality that global fish stocks, the world's largest wild protein resource, have never been more
threatened or more overexploited."
VATICAN CALLS FOR REFORM OF GLOBAL FINANCE
VATICAN CITY, 24 OCTOBER 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office,
a press conference was held to present a note from the Pontifical Council
for Justice and Peace entitled: "Towards reforming the international
financial and monetary systems in the context of a global public authority".
The document was presented by Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson and Bishop
Mario Toso S.D.B., respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical
Council for Justice and Peace, and by Leonardo Becchetti, professor of
political economy at the Roman University of "Tor Vergata".
Cardinal Turkson mentioned the sixth summit meeting of heads of government
of the G-20 nations, due to take place in Cannes, France, on 3 and 4
November to discuss issues related to finance and the global economy. "The
Holy Father and the Holy See", he said, "are following these matters with
particular concern, constantly calling not just for 'joint action', but for
'examination of every facet of the problem: social, economic, cultural and
spiritual'. It is in this spirit of discernment that the Holy See, with the
note of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, wishes to make a
contribution which might be useful to the deliberations of the G-20
Bishop Toso explained that the aim of the note is "suggest possible paths
to follow, in line with the most recent social Magisterium, for the
implementation of financial and monetary policies ... that are effective and
representative at a global level, and which seek the authentic human
development of all individuals and peoples".
The Church does not wish to enter into the technical issues behind the
current economic crisis, but remains within the ambit of her religious and
ethical functions. Thus she highlights not just the moral causes of the
crisis but, more specifically, the ideological causes. Old ideologies have
been replaced by new ones, "neo-liberalist, neo-utilitarian, and
technocratic which, by reducing the common good to economic, financial and
technical questions, place the future of democratic institutions themselves
Bishop Toso spoke of the need to overcome these ideologies by "a new
global humanism, open to transcendence, ... an ethic of brotherhood and
solidarity, and by subordinating economy and finance to politics, which is
responsible for the common good".
The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, drawing from the social
Magisterium of recent Pontiffs particularly John XXIII and Benedict XVI,
proposes "that globalisation be regulated by a global public authority",
Bishop Toso explained. The council also suggests the reform of current
international institutions. They "must become an expression of free and
shared agreement among peoples; more representative, and with greater levels
of participation and legitimacy. ... They must be 'super partes', at the
service of the universal good, capable of offering effective guidance and,
at the same time, of allowing each country to express and pursue its own
common good, according to the principle of subsidiarity and in the context
of the global common good. Only in this way will international institutions
manage to favour effective monetary and financial systems; in other words,
free and stable markets regulated by an appropriate legal framework and
working towards sustainable development and social progress for everyone".
This global authority "must see its power to lead and to decide - and to
impose penalties on the basis of the law - as a form of service to the
various members States, a way of ensuring that they possess efficient
To this end, Bishop Toso concluded, "it is necessary to restore the
primacy of ethics and, therewith, the primacy of politics, which is
responsible for the common good".
Source: Vatican Information Service (VIS)