1. Suggestions for Prayer, Study, and Action
Celebrating Our Diversity
May today not be another day of empty promises Beloved God,|
Creator of the just and the unjust,
Lover of all humankind
share your eyes of love so that we will see beauty in all creation.
Let us, God, as we pass this way make it a way that sings
the glory of all your creation and celebrates the infinite variety
of your divinity in all and through all.
Help us, O God, to understand that the violence of "isms" --
whether racism or sexism or antisemitism,
heterosexism or militarism,
is a violation of your creative will.
Help us to understand, God, that we have neither
knowledge nor power to know the infinite designs of worlds
where by your grace we may inhabit.
Help us explore the heights and depths
of our need to love and be loved,
to understand that what we hate
is often our sense of incompletion.
We shout against creations that we cannot love
because we fear and do not understand.
We need to understand because we need to bow before them
as being godly as we too are godly.
Help us, God, and in the spirit of Mary, Mother of the afflicted,
let us stand by the cross of our own humanity
loving it and knowing that dying to hatred
is the only path to salvation
in the name of our loving Brother, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Cyprian Rowe, Pax Christi
Toxification of Human Ecology
Phenomenology of Biocatastrophe|
Volume 1: Essays on Biocatastrophe
Volume 2: Biocatastrophe Lexicon
Volume 3: The Legacy of Human Ecology
Volume 4: Collapse of Consumer Society
Volume 5: Environmental Contamination
The essays in the first volume of the Phenomenology of Biocatastrophe publication series explore the impact of complex western market economies on the biodiversity and productivity of natural ecosystems, with emphasis on the evolution of industrial society and the resulting contamination of the atmospheric water cycle with anthropogenic ecotoxins.
Note ~ Volumes 4 and 5 are currently in preparation
Integral Human Development
2. News, Publications, Tools, and Conferences
TOOLS & DATABASES
CONFERENCES & JOURNALS
3. Advances in Sustainable Development
MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
This report examines the latest progress towards achieving the MDGs. It reaffirms that the MDGs have made a profound difference in people’s lives. Global poverty has been halved five years ahead of the 2015 timeframe. Ninety per cent of children in developing regions now enjoy primary education, and disparities between boys and girls in enrolment have narrowed. Remarkable gains have also been made in the fight against malaria and tuberculosis, along with improvements in all health indicators. The likelihood of a child dying before age five has been nearly cut in half over the last two decades. That means that about 17,000 children are saved every day. The target of halving the proportion of people who lack access to improved sources of water was also met.
The concerted efforts of national governments, the international community, civil society and the private sector have helped expand hope and opportunity for people around the world. But more needs to be done to accelerate progress. We need bolder and focused action where significant gaps and disparities exist.
Member States are now fully engaged in discussions to define Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will serve as the core of a universal post-2015 development agenda. Our efforts to achieve the MDGs are a critical building block towards establishing a stable foundation for our development efforts beyond 2015.
Source: United Nations Development Program (UNDP), 7 July 2014
- The MDG-1 target has been met, poverty rates have been halved between 1990 and 2010, but 1.2 billion people still live in extreme poverty.
- Despite impressive strides forward at the start of the decade, progress in reducing the number of children out of school has slackened considerably.
- Women are assuming more power in the world’s parliaments, boosted by quota systems.
- Despite substantial progress, the world is still falling short of the MDG child mortality target.
- Much more still needs to be done to reduce maternal mortality. Poverty and lack of education perpetuate high adolescent birth rates.
- There are still too many new cases of HIV infection.
- Millions of hectares of forest are lost every year, threatening this valuable asset. Global greenhouse gas emissions continue their upward trend.
- Official development assistance is now at its highest level, reversing the decline of the previous two years.
4. Advances in Integral Human Development
2014 Human Development Report
The 2014 Human Development Report - "Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience" provides a fresh perspective on vulnerability and proposes ways to strengthen resilience.
"Persistent vulnerability threatens human development, and unless it is systematically tackled by policies and social norms, progress will be neither equitable nor sustainable.
"According to income-based measures of poverty, 1.2 billion people live with $1.25 or less a day. However, the latest estimates of the UNDP Multidimensional Poverty Index reveal that almost 1.5 billion people in 91 developing countries are living in poverty with overlapping deprivations in health, education and living standards. And although poverty is declining overall, almost 800 million people are at risk of falling back into poverty if setbacks occur.
"By addressing vulnerabilities, all people may share in development progress, and human development will become increasingly equitable and sustainable," stated UNDP Administrator Helen Clark today.
"The 2014 Human Development Report comes at a critical time, as attention turns to the creation of a new development agenda following the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
"Zeroing in on what holds back progress, the report holds that as crises spread ever faster and further, it is critical to understand vulnerability in order to secure gains and sustain progress.
"It points to a slowdown in human development growth across all regions, as measured by the Human Development Index (HDI). It notes that threats such as financial crises, fluctuations in food prices, natural disasters and violent conflict significantly impede progress.
"Reducing both poverty and people's vulnerability to falling into poverty must be a central objective of the post-2015 agenda," the Report states. "Eliminating extreme poverty is not just about 'getting to zero'; it is also about staying there."
"A human development lens on who is vulnerable and why. "Reducing vulnerability is a key ingredient in any agenda for improving human development," writes Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, in a contribution to the Report. "[We] need to approach it from a broad systemic perspective."
"The 2014 Report takes such an approach, using a human development lens to take a fresh look at vulnerability as an overlapping and mutually reinforcing set of risks. It explores structural vulnerabilities - those that have persisted and compounded over time as a result of discrimination and institutional failings, hurting groups such as the poor, women, migrants, people living with disabilities, indigenous groups and older people. For instance, 80 percent of the world's elderly lack social protection, with large numbers of older people also poor and disabled.
"The Report also introduces the idea of life cycle vulnerabilities, the sensitive points in life where shocks can have greater impact. They include the first 1,000 days of life, and the transitions from school to work, and from work to retirement.
"Capabilities accumulate over an individual's lifetime and have to be nurtured and maintained; otherwise they can stagnate and even decline," it warns. "Life capabilities are affected by investments made in preceding stages of life, and there can be long-term consequences of exposure to short-term shocks."
"For example, in one study cited by the Report, poor children in Ecuador were shown to be already at a vocabulary disadvantage by the age of six. Timely interventions-such as investments in early childhood development-are therefore critical, the Report states.
5. Advances in Integrated Sustainable Development
For over a decade, the Great Transition Initiative has advanced a visionary scenario of a future rooted in human solidarity, well-being for all, and ecological sustainability. It now enters a new phase with renewed energy and heightened sense of urgency. Its reimagined website — www.greattransition.org — serves as a platform for exploring bold visions and change strategies.
The new site features:
- An open-access journal of ideas publishing new essays, book reviews, and interviews.
- A MacroScope highlighting current developments that carry long-term global significance.
- Educational material such as videos, an overview of critical ideas, and archival literature.
- A GT Network Space for those seeking more intensive engagement.
GTI offers a unique and valuable resource for understanding our present moment and shaping our collective future.
6. Sustainability Games, Databases, and Knowledgebases
Trend Charts, Statistics, and Databases
IEA World Energy Outlook Facts & Graphs
Corporate Sustainability Research, Analysis, and Tools
McKinsey Resources & Urban World
OECD Country Statistics & Outlooks
UNDP Human Development Database
UNEP Issues for the 21st Century
UNEP Global Environmental Outlook
UNEP Environmental Data Explorer
World Bank Country Statistics
WRI: Aqueduct Water Resource Maps
WRI: Corporate Ecosystem Services
WRI: Greenhouse Gas Protocol
WRI: Stories to Watch
WRI: Profits & Sustainability Alignment
BCG & MIT Sustainability Tipping Points
Sustainable Business Modeling Tool
KPMG: Expect the Unexpected
Oxfam, CERES, and Calvert Investments
Physical Risks from Climate Change
WBCSD Vision 2050
7. Sustainable Development Measures and Indicators
8. Sustainable Development Modeling and Simulation
"C-ROADS is an award-winning computer simulation that helps people understand the long-term climate impacts of policy scenarios to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It allows for the rapid summation of national greenhouse gas reduction pledges in order to show the long-term impact on our climate." For more information, click
Click here to view a larger version of the video.
Visit Climate Interactive for updates and announcements.
9. Fostering Sustainability in the International Community
The scale of the global sustainable development challenge is unprecedented. The fight against extreme poverty has made great progress under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but more than 1 billion people continue to live in extreme poverty. Inequality and social exclusion are widening within most countries. With the world at 7 billion people and current annual GDP of US$70 trillion, human impacts on the environment have already reached dangerous levels. As the world population is estimated to rise to 9 billion by 2050
and global GDP to more than US$200 trillion, the world urgently needs a framework for sustainable development that addresses the challenges of ending poverty, increasing social inclusion, and sustaining the planet.
Under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General, and in line with the recently launched High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) was announced on August 9, 2012 and will provide global, open and inclusive support to sustainable-development problem solving at local, national, and global scales. The SDSN will work together with United Nations agencies, other international organizations, and the multilateral funding institutions including the World Bank and regional development banks, to mobilize scientific and technical expertise to scale up the magnitude and quality of local, national and global problem solving, helping to identify solutions and highlighting best practices in the design of long-term development pathways.
Indicators for Sustainable Development Goals
SDSN, 14 February 2014
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
Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5)
"A new report issued today by a top-level United Nations knowledge network under the auspices of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon lays out an action agenda to support global efforts to achieve sustainable development during the period 2015-2030.
"The post-2015 process is a chance for the global community to work towards a new era in sustainable development," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "The latest report from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the result of a collaboration between top scientists, technologists, businesses, and development specialists, is a critical input to the work we are doing to shape an ambitious and achievable post-2015 agenda." To download the report, click here.
Promotion of the Post-2015 Development Agenda
How the United Nations Should Promote the Post-2015 Development Agenda
Kara Alaimo, Center for Governance and Sustainability, University of Massachusetts - Boston