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Global Economy Facing Environment, Sustainability Skills Deficit

environmentalleader.com - October 16th, 2014

By 2020 the world economy could be facing a skills deficit driven by mega-trends such as population growth, increasing demand for natural resources, and soaring costs of energy, coupled with the impacts of climate change and ecosystem degradation, according to a report by the Institute of Environmental Management & Awareness.

Although the transition to a sustainable economy presents significant opportunities for business, according to an IEMA survey of over 900 organizations, only 13 percent of companies are fully confident that they have the skills to successfully compete in the sustainable economy.

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Structural Adaptivity Facilitation Examples - Part III

Here are my last three Facilitation Examples, proposed activities by planners and others to influence the development of the built environment toward structural adaptivity and resilience as we progress into an ever more uncertain and unpredictable future. 

 

Rethinking Homeownership.  Conventional owner-occupied land and buildings in the US many times tie the owners into long-term tenures.  It makes moves, to other locations, overly cumbersome even when such moves are in the occupants’ best interests.  Adaptivity requires the ability to make quicker changes than in the past, including the self-initiated movement of people and businesses to other locations when beneficial.  Alternative types of ownership or tenure must be facilitated, types which are more adaptable to quick change.

 

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Ban Ki-moon: 'World living in an era of unprecedented level of crises'

United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon with actor Leonardo DiCaprio during his designation ceremony as the UN Messenger of Peace. Photograph: EPA

United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon with actor Leonardo DiCaprio during his designation ceremony as the UN Messenger of Peace. Photograph: EPA

Julian Borger - New York The Guardian
21 Sep 2014 16.55 BST

More than 140 heads of state and government fly in to New York this week for the United Nations general assembly amid apprehension that international order is unraveling at an accelerating pace, while the world's leaders seem ever less willing or able to deal with the proliferating threats.

The UN's humanitarian agencies are in danger of being completely overwhelmed by the multiple crises. Ebola is spreading rapidly across West Africa, swamping rickety national health systems and a thus-far underfunded UN effort to stop its advance. The spread of Islamic State (Isis) extremists in the Middle East, feeding on the destruction of the Syrian civil war and exposing the weakness of the Iraqi state, has similarly outpaced patchy international efforts at containment.

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Get Smarter on Agriculture and Climate

David Cleary Director of Agriculture Nature ConservancyBy David Cleary - Sep 22, 2014 - environmentalleader.com

In a somber scene-setter for the upcoming climate summit in New York, the UN’s meteorological office, The World Meteorological Organization, released a report showing that world carbon emissions in 2013 reached a record high, and atmospheric carbon is increasing at the fastest rate seen in over thirty years. Some hard questions are facing the international order, which has spent much of that period in an interminable round of meetings meant to combat climate change. Against this backdrop, the pertinent question the UN report raises is: why bother? If we appear to be losing the battle, what difference does yet another meeting and round of press conferences make, other than to traffic conditions in lower Manhattan?

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Global Rise Reported in 2013 Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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Some Examples of Structural Adaptivity - Part III

 

Here are 4 more examples of structural adaptivity for resilience.  As with the other examples presented previously, they only are intended to illustrate the concept of structural adaptivity for resilience.  They are intended to focus on the structure or structural elements of cities and/or regions.  Moreover, they are intended to demonstrate how such structural elements can be located, organized, or otherwise developed to have capacity to adapt to the continuing needs of the citizens - as the unknown and rapidly changing future unfolds.

 

Polycentric Urban Development.  Urban development need no longer be monocentric (having only one center).  In fact, such a pattern is not adaptive to meet the future.

 

Central business districts have traditionally been the home of government, financial institutions, offices, civic plazas and the like, as well as many commercial retail and services.  They have also often contained many churches, health care facilities, educational institutions, libraries, museums, convention centers, theatres, etc.

 

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Fracking Waste Disposal Fuels Opposition in U.S. and Abroad

In England, the government approved the injection of a million and a half gallons of potentially radioactive water under the North Moors National Park. Photo credit: SpinwatchAnastasia Pantsios | August 14, 2014 11:50 am

Spinwatch’s Andy Rowell reports:

The commercial success of the Ebberston Moor field depends on Third Energy being allowed to re-inject the potentially radioactive water that is produced with the gas back into what is known as the Sherwood Sandstone formation, which overlies the limestone where the gas will be extracted from. The sandstone lies 1400 metres below the ground. Notes of a meeting between Third Energy and the regulator involved, the Environment Agency, disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), reveals that “the success of the Ebberston Moor Field is dependent on the disposal of [produced] water to the Sherman Sandstone.”

http://ecowatch.com/2014/08/14/fracking-waste-disposal-opposition/2/

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Risk and Risk Underwriting

In writing about the importance of promoting private enterprise, as well as in many other sections of my work, I suggested an almost near certainty that the risk management industry eventually will facilitate resilience and structural adaptivity in our built environment.  In my larger draft, I included a short section about this, which I am posting below (somewhat revised).  I believe it is beneficial to share this section now in order to explain my optimism for resilience. (I also wrote short sections on Time, Rapid Change, Optimism, A Futurist Perspective, and The Human Factor but do not necessarily intend to post them here.)

 

The future will be all about risk and trying to find protection from the rapidly increasing threats to our world as we advance in population size, social/cultural/economic complexity, and cutting-edge science and technology.  Risk underwriting will play a big role in how well or how poorly we adapt to accelerating change. 

 

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Structural Adaptivity Thinking

Here, I would like to explain more extensively my thinking about structural adaptivity as a critical aspect of resilience.  (In researching this subject, I was surprised by the lack of information/ideas conveniently available about the characteristics of adaptivity or adaptability. The following are my own preliminary conceptions.  I hope others will improve upon them.)

 

The world is changing so fast that our government, think tanks, universities and research institutions, business leaders, builders and developers, and “planners” have no hope of being able to keep up with it.  Many thinkers describe our world as actually undergoing rapidly accelerating change.  To be able to plan for the change, or even to be able to react to such transformation while it is happening, we need to do more than just keep up with it.  We need to jump out in front of it.

 

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Structural Adaptivity Facilitation Examples - Part II

Here are some more Facilitation Examples.  By Facilitation I am meaning general activities by planners, and others that cause or guide development, to influence the development of the built environment toward structural adaptivity as we progress into an ever more uncertain and unpredictable future.  Some might call them implementation strategies or “calls to action.”

 

These examples have not been identified or studied by teams of experts; they are only my personal ideas intended to illustrate possibilities.  Hopefully, however, they will convey a sense of the real prospects for structural adaptivity to be achieved.  I believe that structural adaptivity is critical to resilience over the long term.

 

Promote the Futurist Perspective.  With more attention in our society to the “futurist perspective,” sooner rather than later, such attention will also come to focus on the need for all forms of adaptivity, including structural adaptivity in our urban areas and regions.  Structural adaptivity is the most, if not only, logical approach to facing a future that now is uncertain, unpredictable and rapidly changing.

 

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