Mother Pelican
A Journal of Sustainable Human Development

Vol. 8, No. 3, March 2012
Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
Home Page


Advances in Sustainable Development


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. Sustainability Games, Databases, and Knowledgebases
7. Sustainable Development Measures and Indicators
8. Sustainable Development Modeling and Simulation
9. Fostering Sustainability in the International Community
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



"I sing the mighty power of God
That made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad
And built the lofty skies.

"I sing the wisdom that ordained
The sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at his command
And all the stars obey."

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
"What though the mountains
By plate-tectonic shift,
And Oceans lie within the cup
Made by the landmass drift.

"The skies are but earth's airy skin
Rotation makes the day;
Sun. moon, and planets are akin
And Kepler's Laws obey.

Kenneth Boulding (1910-1993)


Open Source Textbook Initiative

Sustainability: A Comprehensive Foundation
Tom Theis and Jonathan Tomkin, Editors
Open Source Textbook, November 2011

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.

A Dignity Economy: Creating an Economy
that Serves Human Dignity and Preserves Our Planet

Evelin Lindner, Dignity Press, 2012

Resilient People, Resilient Planet:
A Future Worth Choosing

United Nations, 31 January 2012


Become a Global Citizen

Check this out:

Global Citizens Blog

at the Donella Meadows Institute
Meet 15 Extraordinary People Transforming the Way We Live
The YES! Breakthrough 15, YES! Magazine Issue 60 Winter 2012

2. News, Publications, Tools, and Conferences



Environmental News Network

Planet Ark
World Environmental News

World News Network

Mother Earth News

Climate Action News

World Technology News

Sustainable Development Media

World Pulse


Environmental Science & Technology



WiserEarth News

New Internationalist

The Global Journal

Trade & Environment Nexus

Yes! Magazine

Human Development News

Science Daily
Earth & Climate News
Sustainability News
Science & Society News

International Institute for
Sustainable Development (IISD)
Reporting Services

Policy-Strategy Coverage

Sustainable Development Policy & Practice
Sustainable Development - Small Islands
Biodiversity Policy & Practice
Climate Change Policy & Practice
Energy Policy Issues
Multilateral Environmental Agreements
Earth Negotiations Bulletin

Theme Coverage

Sustainable Development
Biodiveristy & Wildlife
Chemicals Management
Climate & Atmosphere
Forests - Deserts - Land
Human Development
Intergovernmental Organizations
Trade & Investment
Water - Oceand - Wetlands

Regional Coverage

Lating America & Caribbean
Near East
North America
South West Pacific

Rio+20 Coverage

Sustainable Development Conference
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
4-6 June 2012

United Nations News Service
Rio+20: Making it Happen
UN Sustainable Development News
UN Gender Equality News

Value News Network

Catholic News Service

Anglican Communion News Service

Ekklesia Christian News Bulletin

Religion News Service

LiveScience News

Inter Press Service (PSI)

Triple Bottom Line
CSR News

The Progress Report

Global Health News

Kosmos Journal


Eldis Development Newsfeeds

General - all subjects

Newsfeeds by Subject

Ageing populations
Aid and debt
Children and young people
Climate Change
Climate adaptation
Corporate responsibility
Finance policy
Food security
Health systems
ICT for development
Influencing policy
Jobs, Events and Announcements
Manuals and toolkits
Trade policy

Newsfeeds by Region

East Asia and Pacific
Latin America and Caribbean
Middle East and North Africa
South Asia



State of the World’s Children 2012:
Children in an Urban World

UNICEF, 27 February 2012

Greening Development:
Enhancing Capacity for Environmental
Management and Governance
OECD, 10 February 2012

World Development Report 2012:
Gender Equality and Development
The World Bank, 2012

Development without Carbon as Climate Policy,
Elizabeth A. Stanton, Stockholm Environment Institute, January 2012

Sustainable Energy for All:
A Framework for Action
The Secretary-General’s High-level Group on Sustainable Energy for All, January 2012

Green Energy for a Billion Poor,
Nancy Wimmer, World Council of Renewable Energy, 2012

(Responses to Environmental & Societal
Challenges for our Unstable Earth)
Synthesis Report
European Science Foundation,
Brussels, 16 February 2012

Research and Education:
Drivers of Transformation
German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), Berlin, February 2012

Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5),
Summary for Policy Makers,
UNEP, 20 February 2012

The State of Renewable Energies in Europe,
Adrian Janes, EurObserv'ER, 20 February 2012

21 Issues for the 21st Century:
UNEP Foresight Report
Peggy Garvin, United Nations, 20 February 2012

2012 Environmental Performance Index
EPI, Yale University, 26 January 2012

Resolving the Food Crisis:
Assessing Global Policy Reforms
Since 2007

ITAP, 25 January 2012

Human Rights Watch World Report 2012
HRW, 24 January 2012

Global Employment Trends 2012:
Preventing a deeper jobs crisis

ILO, 24 January 2012

ASEAN in the Global Economy:
An Enhanced Economic and Political Role

ERIA, 23 January 2012

Global Go-To Think Tanks Report 2011
TTCSP, 19 January 2011

Global Economic Prospects 2012
World Bank, 18 January 2012

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2012
United Nations, 18 January 2012

Ecumenical Women Advocacy Guide
Ecumenical Women, 10 January 2012

Global Risks 2012
World Economic Forum, January 2012

Poor People's Energy Outlook 2012:
Energy for earning a living

Practical Action, January 2012

Climate Change and Development Strategy
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), January 2012
One Pager ~ Full Report

Global Energy Assessment (GEA)
IIASA, 23 December 2011

Keeping Track of Our Changing Environment:
From Rio to Rio+20 (1992-2012)
Fifth Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5)
UNEP, October 2011



2012 Environmental Performance Index
Interactive Map & Database

EPI, Yale University, January 2012

Environmental Data Explorer

Clean Energy Information Portal

Mapping the Impacts of Climate Change

Eye on Earth
Global Mapping

EEA, December 2011

Database of Actions on Adaptation
to Climate Change

UNFCCC, December 2011

Climate Scoreboard
Climate Interactive, 2011

REN21 Renewables Interactive Map
REN21, 2011

Calculator of the
Carbon Footprint of Nations

NTNU, 2011

Geospatial Toolkit (GsT) for
Integrated Resource Assessment

NREL, November 2011

Climate Impact Equity Lens (CIEL)
Stockholm Environment Institute
November 2011

Global Adaptation Index
Global Adaptation Institute
Fall 2011

Gridded Population of the World
CIESIN, Columbia University, 2011

The New eAtlas of Gender
World Bank, 2011

Statistics and Tools
for Gender Analysis

World Bank, 2011

Gender Statistics Database
World Bank, 2011

Live World Data
The Venus Project, 2011

Clean Energy Analysis Software

RETScreen International, 2011

IGES CDM Methodology Parameter Data
IGES, 2011

IGES Emission Reductions Calculation Sheet
IGES, 2011

OECD Sustainable Manufacturing Toolkit
OECD, 2011

OECD Family Database

OECD Social Expenditure Database

Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services
and Tradeoffs (InVEST)

Version 2.1, Natural Capital Project, 2011

Interactive Map and Rankings for the 2011 Failed States Index
Foreign Policy and Fund for Peace, August 2011

Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC)
NASA & Columbia University

IGES GHG Database

Emission Factors Database

Renewables Interactive Map

Forestry Industry Carbon Assessment Tool
Green Resources, Tanzania

Agent-based Computational Economics
of the Global Energy System

Climate Hot Map
Union of Concerned Scientists

Solar Thermal Barometer


Forest Monitoring for Action

Water Evaluation And Planning System

Long range Energy Alternatives Planning System
Energy Community

Global Land Tool Network

UN-Energy Knowledge Network
Multi-dimensional Energy Poverty Index (MEPI)
and Energy Development Index (EDI)

Measuring Energy Poverty
Visualization Platform


United Nations Data
UN Statistics Database
UN MDG Indicators
UN Human Development Index (HDI)

Humanity's Footprint Data
Ecological Footprint
Footprint for Nations
Footprint for Cities
Footprint for Business
Carbon Footprint
Personal Footprint
Footprint & Biodiversity
Footprint & Human Development

Earth Policy Institute Data Sets
Population, Health, and Society
Natural Systems
Climate Change
Energy Resources
Transportation Systems
Food and Agriculture
Economics & Development

World Bank
World Development Indicators (WDI)

Data for the Social Sciences

STAR Database Beta-Test Now in Process
Invitation to Participate

Links Government Investment,
Science, Technology,
Firms, and Employment

Sustainable Society Index
Interactive Map

Interactive Mapping of
Population and Climate Change

Population Action International

Global Advocates Toolbox
Population Action International

Teaching and Learning
for a Sustainable Future:
Dissemination and Training Toolbox

UNESCO Education for
Sustainable Development

Economic Input-Output
Life Cycle Assessment (EIO-LCA)

Green Design Institute
Carnegie Mellon University



Conference Alerts
Find Conferences Worldwide
by Topic, Country, or Keywords.

Calls for Papers
Find Calls for Papers Worldwide
by Specialization, Country, or Keywords.

Journal Articles
The latest Tables of Contents
from thousands of scholarly journals
Search by journal title, ISNN, or keywords


Degrowth in the Americas
Montreal, Canada 13-19 March 2012

GLOBE Conference 2010
Trade Fair on
Business and the Environment
Vancouver, Canada
14-16 March 2012

Planet Under Pressure
In anticipation of UNCSD - Rio+20
London, 26-29 March 2012

Religion and (In)Equalities
University of Chester, UK
28-30 March 2012

Knowledge Gaps
in Climate Change Research –
How are you tackling it?

Tyndall Centre for Climate Change
University of East Anglia, UK
11-13 April 2012

Energy Future:
The Role of Impact Assessment

IAIA, Porto, Portugal
27 May - 1 June 2012

UNCSD - Rio+20
UN Conference on
Sustainable Development
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
20-22 June 2012

18th Annual International
Sustainable Development
Research Conference

University of Hull, UK
24-26 June 2012

7th Conference on Sustainable Development
of Energy, Water and Environment Systems

UNESCO, Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia
1-6 July 2012

Water Resource Management
in Times of Gobal Change

32nd International Geographical Congress
Cologne, Germany, 26-30 August 2012

Metadata for Meeting Global Challenges
DCMI International Conference
Kuching, Malaysia, 3-7 September 2012

International Conference on
Culture, Politics, & Climate Change

Boulder, Colorado, USA
13-15 September 2012

Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) Congress
Munich, Germany
14-16 September 2012

World Clean Technology Summit (WCTS)
Kampala, Uganda
26-28 September 2012

Evidence for Sustainable Development
Berlin, Germany, 5-6 October 2012

CLIMATE 2012 / KLIMA 2012
The World's CO2-friendly Scientific
On-line Climate Conference
"Climate Change, Island States
and Sustainable Technologies"
ICCIP, 5-9 November 2012

Earth System Governance Tokyo Conference
UNU, Tokyo, Japan
28-31 January 2013

3. Advances in Sustainable Development


  • MPs fear global economic crisis will hamper Rio+20 progress, David Thorpe, Energy & Environmental Management, 29 February 2012
  • UNEP Clarifies Position as Rio+20 Draws Nearer, ICTSD, 24 February 2012
  • Preparation for the People's Summit at Rio+20, Women on the Road to Rio20, 22 February 2012
  • Rethinking Growth and Sustainable Development, PolicyShop, 22 February 2012
  • Road To Rio+20: Ambitious Goals For Sustainable Development? – Analysis, Ong Suan Ee, RSIS, 20 February 2012
  • Ban calls for global economic model that promotes greater social justice, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, United Nations, 20 February 2012
  • Special issue on institutions for sustainable development, David Le Blanc, Natural Resources Forum, 20 February 2012
  • Business leaders on sustainable growth and Rio+20, Alana Chloe Esposito, MediaGlobal News, 16 February 2012
  • Can we live inside the doughnut? Why the world needs planetary and social boundaries, Kate Raworth, Oxfam, 13 February 2012
  • A safe and just space for humanity, Kate Raworth, Oxfam, 13 February 2012
  • The Public Trust Doctrine and Rio+20, Mary Turnipseed et al., NCEAS, UCSB, February 2012
  • 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

  • 4. Advances in Integral Human Development

    Human Development Report 2011
    Sustainability and Equity:
    A Better Future for All
    UNDP, November 2011

    "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."

    For an insightful essay on human development and social change, see the following:

    The Life and Death of Social Change
    John Stubley, Centre for Social Poetry, 24 February 2012

    5. Advances in Integrated Sustainable Development

    Rio+20 Needs to Address the Downsides of Growth
    by Herman Daly, Natural Resources Forum & CASSE, 26 December 2011

    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."

    Recent Updates on "Limits to Growth" by the Club of Rome
    40 Years After the "Limits to Growth" Report
    The Count-Up to 2052: An Overarching Framework for Action
    The Limits to Growth Revisited, Ugo Bardi, Springer, June 2011

    What was the real message of "Limits to Growth"?

    Source: Club of Rome Videos and YouTube

    See the webcast of the symposium on
    Limits to Growth: Challenges to Building a Sustainable Planet
    Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, 1 March 2012

    2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years
    A Report to the Club of Rome
    Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of The Limits to Growth
    by Jorgen Randers, Chelsea Green, forthcoming July 2012

    6. Sustainability Games, Databases, and Knowledgebases

    The Earth Charter Game is now available in two languages (English and Portuguese):

    Earth Charter Game from Instituto Harmonia na Terra on Vimeo.

    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


    The Summary for Policymakers provides a quick look at the EPI framework and methodology,
    and summarizes the overall EPI and Pilot Trend EPI rankings, results, and conclusions.

    8. Sustainable Development Modeling and Simulation

    The graph below is a simple simulation of
    world population, gross production/consumption, and energy availability trends:

    As of EOY 2011, World Population = 7 Billion, World GDP = 61 Trillion PPP Dollars,
    World Energy Use = 0.5 Zeta Joules (or approx 82 billion barrels of oil), and
    Average Consumption per Capita = 9000 Dollars

    The simulation tipping points would seem to approximate current trends. If the supply of usable energy from fossil fuels peaks and declines as shown by the green curve, how much energy would have to be generated from other sources to support the current GDP output? Even for the sake of social solidarity and ecological sustainability, would most people in the "developed" nations be able/willing to "survive" with $9000/year?

    The past cannot be changed, and the future is unknown, but there is empirical evidence to the effect that:

    1. Fossil fuel resources are high in energy content but are not infinite.
    2. Fossil fuel emissions are environmentally detrimental and/or potentially unsafe.
    3. Currently known clean energy alternatives offer relatively low energy content.
    Given that fossil fuels are being depleted, pollution levels are damaging the environment, and clean energy alternatives may not provide enough energy to sustain industrial economies, is it wise to just continue doing "business as usual" and trusting that some earthshaking technological breakthrough will come to pass soon enough? Is it fair for people in the "developed" nations to keep indulging in energy consumption and waste while approx. one billion people must subsist on $2 per day or less?

    9. Fostering Sustainability in the International Community

    Click on the image to visit the web site
    Keeping Track of Our Changing Environment: From Rio to Rio+20 (1992-2012), UNEP, November 2011
    UN Conference on Sustainable Development
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 4-6 June 2012

    Objectives & Themes of the Conference
    History of Sustainable Development
    UN System, IGOs, and NGOs
    Links to Documents, Publications, and Databases
    Earth Summit 2012 Stakeholder Forum
    Towards the Rio+20 Conference

    Sustainable Energy for All

    Three broad objectives to be achieved by 2030:

  • Ensuring universal access to modern energy services
  • Doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency
  • Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix

  • UNSEFA2030
    Sustainable Energy for All

    Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5)
    Summary for Policy Makers
    UNEP, 20 February 2012

    Three highest priorities:

  • Aligning governance to the challenges of global sustainability
  • Transforming human capabilities for the 21st century
  • Ensuring food safety and food security for 9 billion people

  • GEO5UNEP2012SMP.jpg
    Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5)


    'The Doughnut'
    of Social and Planetary Boundaries for Development

    "A Safe and Just Space for Humanity: can we live within the doughnut?"
    Kate Raworth, Senior Researcher, Oxfam UK, 13 February 2012

    In the run-up to Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, this discussion paper is an exploration of what such a model of prosperity might look like. It presents a visual framework -- shaped like a doughnut -- which brings the concept of planetary boundaries together with the complementary concept of social boundaries, creating a safe and just space between the two, in which humanity can thrive.

    Source: Oxfam UK
    Download the paper here          Watch the video here
    Join the discussion with Kate Raworth here

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