1. Suggestions for Prayer, Study, and Action
A Poem for Prayerful Meditation
"All things bright and beautiful,|
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
"Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.
"The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them,high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.
"The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset,and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;
"The cold wind in the winter,|
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.
"The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day;
"He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well."
"All Things Bright and Beautiful"
Cecil Frances Alexander
PRAY IN YOUR OWN LANGUAGE ... PRAY IN YOUR OWN TRADITION ...|
PRAY DAILY ... PRAY ALWAYS!
One criterion of the grant is to create and make available, via the Internet, an open-source textbook for use in introductory college courses. A self-imposed criterion is to identify an expand ing field of knowledge, common to all three campuses, where the open-source textbook could provide a sound foundation for effective teaching and learning. To that end, the team guiding the project has selected "sustainability" as the general focus of the University's open-source textbook. It should be noted that "sustainability" was also the field of study identified by Illinois community colleges for a potential a partnership with the University of Illinois. This textbook serves a need identified by faculty teaching in the sustainability area, i.e. the lack of a single, comprehensive, introductory text.
"Sustainability: A Comprehensive Foundation" is a free, open-source textbook available for viewing online or as a download for use on e-readers or printing. First and second-year college students are introduced to this expanding new field, comprehensively exploring the essential concepts from every branch of knowldege – including engineering and the applied arts, natural and social sciences, and the humanities. As sustainability is a multi-disciplinary area of study, the text is the product of multiple authors drawn from the diverse faculty of the University of Illinois: each chapter is written by a recognized expert in the field. Designed for the new generation of e-readers, the book can also be viewed in a browser, saved as a pdf, or printed.
2. News, Publications, Tools, and Conferences
TOOLS & DATABASES
CONFERENCES & JOURNALS
3. Advances in Sustainable Development
ANALYSES AND RECOMMENDATIONS IN PREPARATION FOR
Bold action is needed to make sustainable development a reality, The Elders, 30 January 2012
Initial Discussions on the “Zero Draft” of the Outcome Document for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), IISD, 30 January 2012
Ambitious UN Sustainability Conference in Rio to Avoid Climate Talk, Alex Newman, New American, 28 January 2012
Five-Year Action Agenda: "The Future We Want",
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN, 25 January 2012
Global Compact Launches Web Platform to Mobilize Business for Rio+20, UN Global Compact, 23 January 2012
Does green growth make economic sense? Yes, but you have to do it right,
Bert Metz, European Climate Foundation, 16 January 2012
Towards Rio+20, World Democratic Governace Project Association, January 2012
Rio+20 Draft Outcome Document Released,
Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, 11 January 2012
Leaked document reveals Rio+20 sustainable development goals,
John Vidal, The Guardian, 10 January 2012
The Place of Environmental Education at Rio+20,
Christina Cotter, Human Impacts Institute, 10 January 2012
The Future We Want,
UN CSD, Zero Draft for Rio+20, 10 January 2012
Green Economy: ‘Everyone’s talking about it’ - An analysis of the UNCSD Zero Draft text submissions,
Green Economy Coalition (GEC), January 2012
Road to Rio+20 – Fresh Opportunity to Scale-Up Sustainable Development?, AfricanBrains, 5 January 2012
Rio+20: Preliminary information for participants, ZUNIA, 5 January 2012
Spiritual Dimensions of Sustainable Development, Soetendorp Institute, January 2012
Interreligious Statement Towards Rio+20, Soetendorp Institute, January 2012
Premises for a New Economy, An Agenda for Rio+20, Great Transition Initiative, January 2012
Rio+20 Participation Guide: An introduction for children and youth,
Rio+twenties, Brussels, 2011
Why Rio+20's 'Green Economy' Approach is Not Enough, Jordi Sanchez-Cuenca, Polis, 26 December 2011
Summary & Analysis of the UNCSD Second Intersessional Meeting, 15-16 December 2011, IISD Earth Negotiations Bulletin, 19 December 2011
Rio+20 Friends of the Ocean, Friends of the Ocean Forum, 19 December 2011
Could Rio+20 become a new precedent of sustainable development multilateralism?, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Japan, 16 December 2011
Rio+20: A global movement towards a sustainable economy, Global Reporting Initiative, 14 December 2011
International Policy: United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Pew Environment Group, 13 December 2011
Global Women's Submission for the Rio+20 zero-draft document, Women Rio+20 Steering Committee, 3 November 2011
Earth Charter Recommendations, ECI, 2 November 2011
ICT for a Greener Economy: Recommendations about using ICT for sustainable development, IICD, 24 October 2011
A New Assessment of Global Warming, Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project, 20 October 2011
Rio+20: An international perspective on the “green economy”, Club of Rome, 18 October 2011
Arab States Recommendations for Rio+20, ICSU-UNESCO, Cairo, Egypt, 12-14 October 2011
Policy Brief on the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development, International Environmental Governance, 27 September 2011
Rio+20 recommendations by Nigerian Major Groups , ICSU-UNESCO, Abuja, Nigeria, 6 September 2011
What Do You Want From Rio+20? - Rio+20 Three Demands by Country, WRI, 31 August 2011
Global Environmental Quality: Recommendations for Rio+20 and Beyond, Brookings Institution, 8 August 2011
A High-Impact Initiative for Rio+20: A pledge to phase out
fossil-fuel subsidies, IISD, August 2011
Recommendations: ICSU-UNESCO RIO+20 Regional Workshop for Africa, ICSU-UNESCO, 1 June 2011
Recommendations for Local Sustainability, ICLEI, in preparation
4. Advances in Integral Human Development
"This Report explores the integral links between environmental sustainability and equity and shows that these
are critical to expanding human freedoms for people today and in generations to come. The point of departure
is that the remarkable progress in human development over recent decades that the Human Development
Report has documented cannot continue without bold global steps to reduce environmental risks and
inequality. We identify pathways for people, communities, countries and the international community to
promote environmental sustainability and equity in mutually reinforcing ways.
"The cover diagram symbolizes how different policies can have different implications for sustainability and
equity. Whenever available, we should prefer solutions that are good for the environment while also promoting
equity and human development. Pursuing sustainability and equity jointly does not require that they be
mutually reinforcing. In many instances they will not be. Sometimes the most feasible alternative involves
trade-offs between sustainability and equity and requires explicit and careful consideration. No trade-off is
isolated from a society’s structural and institutional conditions, and so we must address the underlying
constraints and identify positive synergies between sustainability and equity. This Report is aimed not only at
finding positive synergies but also at identifying ways to build them."
Inclusive Sustainable Growth: Action Plan for 2012-2016
UNDP and Government of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, January 2012
5. Advances in Integrated Sustainable Development
Note from the CASSE editor: "The Natural Resources Forum (vol. 35, no. 4) asked 29 experts, including Herman Daly, “What do you think should be the two or three highest priority political outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), scheduled for Rio de Janeiro in June 2012?” His answer succinctly sums up the steady-state perspective."
Herman Daly - "The conclusion of the 1972 Limits to Growth study by the Club of Rome still stands 40 years later. Even though economies are still growing, and still put growth in first place, it is no longer economic growth, at least in wealthy countries, but has become uneconomic growth. In other words, the environmental and social costs of increased production are growing faster than the benefits, increasing “illth” faster than wealth, thereby making us poorer, not richer. We hide the uneconomic nature of growth from ourselves by faulty national accounting because growth is our panacea, indeed our idol, and we are very afraid of the idea of a steady-state economy. The increasing illth is evident in exploding financial debt, in biodiversity loss, and in destruction of natural services, most notably climate regulation. The major job of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development is to help us overcome this denial and shift the path of progress from quantitative growth to qualitative development, from bigger to better. Specifically this will mean working toward a steady-state economy at a sustainable (smaller than present) scale relative to the containing ecosystem that is finite and already overstressed. Since growth now makes us poorer, not richer, poverty reduction will require sharing in the present, not the empty promise of growth in the future."
6. Sustainability Games, Databases, and Knowledgebases
7. Sustainable Development Measures and Indicators
2012 Environmental Performance Index (EPI)
Switzerland Ranks at Top of the 2012 EPI
and Latvia Takes #1 Spot in New Trend EPI Rankings
Ysella Yoder, Yale University, 26 January 2012
Davos, Switzerland – Switzerland leads the world in addressing pollution control and natural resource
management challenges, according to the 2012 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) produced by
researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. Latvia,
Norway, Luxembourg, and Costa Rica round out the top five positions in the 2012 EPI, which ranks 132
countries based on 22 indicators across ten major policy categories including air and water pollution,
climate change, biodiversity, and forest management.
Switzerland’s top-notch performance on the overall EPI derives from its high scores on metrics related to
both ecosystem vitality and environmental health, particularly its very strong performance in biodiversity
and habitat protection and air pollution control. Occupying the bottom five positions in the EPI ranking are
South Africa, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iraq – all countries grappling with deteriorating
environmental circumstances in the context of significant economic development pressures and other
As a complement to the performance “snapshot” which the EPI offers, the Yale-Columbia research team
introduced this year a Pilot Trend Environmental Performance Index (Trend EPI) that shows which
countries are improving and by how much on an issue-by-issue basis over the period 2000-2010. Latvia
stands at the top of the new Trend EPI followed by Azerbaijan, Romania, Albania, and Egypt.
"The EPI and Trend EPI demonstrate that policy choices matter when it comes to environmental progress,”
observed Angel Hsu, the 2012 EPI Project Director. “Latvia, which ranks second in the overall EPI and
first in the Trend EPI, has launched major energy and environmental initiatives in recent years –
eliminating coal from its power generation and actively reforesting – and the results come through loud and
clear. Other countries at the top of the lists have similar strengths,” she noted.
While many countries had generally positive environmental performance trend lines, some deteriorated
over the 2000-2010 period. Estonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Russia all showed
serious fall off in their pollution control and natural resource management results. Russia, at the very
bottom of the Trend EPI ranking, has suffered a severe breakdown in environmental public health as well
as performance declines related to over-fishing and forest loss.
For countries near the top of the EPI rankings, the Trend EPI results will not be particularly meaningful as
the longtime leaders have limited room for improvement. Iceland, for example, ranks 13th in the EPI but
64th in the Trend EPI – reflecting its high ranking in the EPI over the past decade, which makes further
gains hard to achieve. But some top-tier performers on this year’s EPI have strong Trend EPI ranks as well
indicating improved performance over the past 10 years. The United Kingdom, for example, ranks 9th on
the 2012 EPI list and 20th on the Trend EPI, which demonstrates that significant progress has been made
over the last decade on a number of environmental issues.
“As leaders gather for the Rio +20 Summit in June, they need to know who is leading and who is lagging
on energy and environmental challenges,” said Daniel C. Esty, Director of the Yale Center for
Environmental Law and Policy and the Hillhouse Professor at Yale University (currently on leave serving
as Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in Connecticut). Esty further
observed: “Like so many other areas of decisionmaking, environmental policy has become more datadriven
and experience-based. The EPI provides a proven tool for assessing performance on an absolute
basis, and the new Trend EPI offers a way to track progress over time – as well as a mechanism for gauging
the efficacy of government programs and indentifying best policy practices.”
The United States places 49th in the 2012 EPI, with strong results on some issues, such as water and air
pollution management, but weak performance on others, including greenhouse gas emissions and
renewable electricity generation. This ranking puts the United States significantly behind other
industrialized nations, including France (6th), the United Kingdom (9th), Germany (11th), and Japan (23rd).
In addition, the US places 77th in the Trend EPI rankings, suggesting that little progress has been made on
environmental challenges over the last ten years.
Of the emerging economies, China and India rank 116th and 125th respectively, reflecting the strain rapid
economic growth imposes on the environment. Brazil ranks 30th, however, suggesting that a concerted
focus on sustainability as a policy priority will pay dividends – and that the level and pace of development
is just one of many factors affecting environmental performance.
Analysis of the policy drivers underlying the 2012 rankings makes it clear that income is a major
determinant of environmental success. Investments in safe drinking water and modern sanitation, in
particular, translate quickly into improved environmental health results. At every level of development,
however, some countries achieve results that exceed other countries with similar economic circumstances,
demonstrating that good governance and careful policy choices also affect performance.
“It is wonderful to see the impact that the EPI has begun to have across the policy world,” said Kim
Samuel-Johnson, Chair of the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy Board of Directors and cocreator
of the project, “many countries are realizing the value of using these indicators to benchmark
performance over time.”
The EPI and Trend EPI build on the best available global datasets from international organizations, such as
the World Bank and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, as well as research entities such as the
Battelle Memorial Institute, University of Maryland, University of Frankfurt, and the “Sea Around Us”
Project at the University of British Columbia. Serious data gaps limit the ability to measure results – and
particularly changes in performance – on a number of important issues.
"Our findings are only as solid as the underlying data, and we have a long way to go in some areas," said
John W. Emerson, Associate Professor of Statistics at Yale and Principal Investigator of the 2012 EPI.
“Particularly distressing is the lack of global, accurate, and comparative data on waste management, toxic
exposures, agricultural sustainability, and water resources.”
Marc Levy, Deputy Director of Columbia’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network
and one of the EPI project leaders, added, “Although there was an effort at the 1992 Earth Summit to
launch the world on a path toward environmental sustainability, we have witnessed the opposite –
stagnation on many critical issues. The meager data we have available clearly demonstrates this fact. It
makes no sense to enter a period of heightened pressure on the environment with such inadequate
monitoring of those pressures.”
8. Sustainable Development Modeling and Simulation
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