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
SUGGESTION FOR PRAYER
A paraphrase of
"Sing we a song of high revolt"
by Frederik Kaan (1929-2009)
Sing we a song of high revolt;
Make great the Lady, her name exalt:
Sing we the song that Mary sang
Of God at war with human wrong.
Sing we of her who deeply cares
And still with us our burden bears;
She, who with strength the proud disowns,
Brings down the mighty from their thrones.
By her the poor are lifted up:
She satisfies with bread and cup
The hungry folk of many lands;
The rich are left with empty hands.
She calls us to revolt and fight
With her for what is just and right
To sing and live Magnificat
In crowded street and council flat.
Marking the start of a new century—and a new chapter in human history—United Nations
Member States agreed in 2000 on eight Millennium Development Goals. The vision propelling
the initiative, set out in the Millennium Declaration, is a world with less poverty, hunger and disease
and greater access to health care and education; a world in which women and men have equal
opportunities and natural resources are conserved for future generations. The MDGs also call for a
global partnership for development involving the private sector and civil society that includes sharing
the benefits of new technologies with countries worldwide.
At two thirds of the way, how much progress so far?
Progress towards the MDGs is monitored through a set of 21 measurable and time-bound targets and
60 indicators. Most of the targets are to be achieved by 2015 and start from a 1990 baseline. This
chart presents an assessment of progress so far for selected indicators and regions, on the basis of
information available as of June 2010. While some indicators reflect data as recent as 2010, others rely
on older statistics, dating as far back as 2005.
The Millennium Declaration in 2000 was a milestone
in international cooperation, inspiring development
efforts that have improved the lives of hundreds of
millions of people around the world. Ten years later,
world leaders will gather again at the United Nations
in New York to review progress, assess obstacles
and gaps, and agree on concrete strategies and
actions to meet the eight Millennium Development
Goals by 2015.
The Goals represent human needs and basic rights
that every individual around the world should be
able to enjoy—freedom from extreme poverty and
hunger; quality education, productive and decent
employment, good health and shelter; the right of
women to give birth without risking their lives; and a
world where environmental sustainability is a priority,
and women and men live in equality. Leaders also
pledged to forge a wide-ranging global partnership
for development to achieve these universal
This report shows how much progress has been
made. Perhaps most important, it shows that
the Goals are achievable when nationally owned
development strategies, policies and programmes
are supported by international development partners.
At the same time, it is clear that improvements in
the lives of the poor have been unacceptably slow,
and some hard-won gains are being eroded by the
climate, food and economic crises.
The world possesses the resources and knowledge
to ensure that even the poorest countries, and others
held back by disease, geographic isolation or civil
strife, can be empowered to achieve the MDGs.
Meeting the goals is everyone’s business. Falling
short would multiply the dangers of our world – from
instability to epidemic diseases to environmental
degradation. But achieving the goals will put us on
a fast track to a world that is more stable, more just,
and more secure. Billions of people are looking to the international
community to realize the great vision embodied in the
Millennium Declaration. Let us keep that promise.
Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia
Emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have ushered in a new epoch where human activities will largely determine the evolution of Earth's climate. Because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is long lived, it can effectively lock the Earth and future generations into a range of impacts, some of which could become very severe. Emissions reductions decisions made today matter in determining impacts experienced not just over the next few decades, but in the coming centuries and millennia.
According to Climate Stabilization Targets; Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts Over Decades to Millennia, important policy decisions can be informed by recent advances in climate science that quantify the relationships between increases in carbon dioxide and global warming, related climate changes, and resulting impacts, such as changes in stream flow, wildfires, crop productivity, extreme hot summers, and sea level rise. One way to inform these choices is to consider the projected climate changes and impacts that would occur if greenhouse gases in the atmosphere were stabilized at a particular concentration level. The book quantifies the outcomes of different stabilization targets for greenhouse gas concentrations using analyses and information drawn from the scientific literature. Although it does not recommend or justify any particular stabilization target, it does provide important scientific insights about the relationships among emissions, greenhouse gas concentrations, temperatures, and impacts.
Climate Stabilization Targets emphasizes the importance of 21st century choices regarding long-term climate stabilization.
The film begins in the year 2055 in a world ravaged by catastrophic climate change; London is flooded, Sydney is burning, Las Vegas has been swallowed up by desert, the Amazon rainforest has burnt up, snow has vanished from the Alps and nuclear war has laid waste to India.
An unnamed archivist (Pete Postlethwaite) is entrusted with the safekeeping of humanity's surviving store of art and knowledge. Alone in his vast repository off the coast of the largely ice-free Arctic, he reviews archive footage from back "when we could have saved ourselves", trying to discern where it all went wrong. Amid news reports of the gathering effects of climate change and global civilisation teetering towards destruction, he alights on six stories of individuals whose lives in the early years of the 21st century seem to illustrate aspects of the impending catastrophe. These six stories take the form of interweaving documentary segments that report on the lives of real people in the present, and switch the film's narrative form from fiction to fact.
"Poor people of all colors are getting poorer and our communities are getting more toxic. There is a misconception that to grow our economy we will have to do business as usual, because cleaning up the environment, mitigating climate change is just too costly. Well, I say the business of poverty is just too expensive a bill for humanity to pay any longer." Majora Carter
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."
Point of contact: UN Division for the Advancement of Women, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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."
Population Study by the Royal Society of the United Kingdom
People and the planet: the role of global population in sustainable development
Population is a global issue which is moving back up the agenda. In the run-up to the December 2009 Copenhagen conference on climate change, a number of academics and NGOs called for a fresh look at the factors affecting and affected by changing population. Yet debates remain polarised: some people still see population as a distraction from the more urgent imperative of reducing resource consumption in the wealthiest countries. Others argue it is an issue that will solve itself, as global population size is projected to peak and then fall from the middle of the 21st century.
For more information on the UK Royal Society study, click HERE
The PERN eLibrary is an important and unique reference tool for classic population-environment literature; journal articles; conference and working papers; relevant data sets; and educational resources. The eLibrary database is annotated and includes bibliographic citation information, Internet links to the materials, and keywords.
The Great Transition Initiative, by the Tellus Institute, may offer the most comprehensive/integrated scenarios of the sustainable development process at the regional and global levels. The reader is invited to explore these links:
Colors: Though not in order, these rainbow colors blend naturally without any conflict with humans. The five figures symbolize the human race. Single eyes symbolize the need for the human race to refocus on the need for each other.
Hands: Two hands are better than one; fingers work together without conflicting.
The seed and plant: The human race has one origin and source.
The lines from the plant: The entire human race has the same red blood.
Feet with the ball: This symbolizes the world cup.
The road and horizon: This achieves unity in purpose and is a journey to the horizon that will not be achieved in a day, but will be a gradual process.
7. Visualizations of the Sustainable Development Process
An interactive world atlas with country statistics related to sustainable development. Globalis aims to create an understanding for similarities and differences in human societies, as well as how we influence life on the planet. Click on the map to visit the Globalis interactive map: