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1987 Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED)

Sustainable Globalization – A Contradiction or a Target ?

2009-05-19:  Globalization is not just an economic concept … it is a social reality in the 21st Century …

In discussions about Sustainable Human & Social Development … it is the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) and its 1987 (Brundtland) Report: Our Common Future which tends to attract most attention … that is, if people have gone to the trouble of actually reading the report!

However, fast forward to November 2001 … the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization (WCSDG) was created by a decision of the Governing Body of the International Labour Office (ILO), in Geneva, Switzerland.  Its brief was to prepare an authoritative report on the social dimension of globalization, including the interaction between the global economy and the world of work.

Later, in February 2002 … Ms. Tarja Halonen, President of Finland, and Mr. Benjamin Mkapa, President of Tanzania, accepted the ILO Director-General’s invitation to act as Co-Chairs of the Commission.  Nineteen other members were appointed from across the world’s regions, with a diversity of backgrounds and expertise.

The WCSDG’s Report: A Fair Globalization – Creating Opportunities for All was published in February 2004.

Before the current dark days of global economic crisis, financial meltdown, consumer spending collapse and spiralling unemployment … the WCSDG’s Recommendations might have appeared somewhat radical.  Now, however, they are too tame by far …

” We seek a process of globalization with a strong social dimension based on universally shared values, and respect for human rights and individual dignity; one that is fair, inclusive, democratically governed and provides opportunities and tangible benefits for all countries and people.

To this end we call for:

–         A Focus on People

The cornerstone of a fairer globalization lies in meeting the demands of all people for: respect for their rights, cultural identity and autonomy; decent work; and the empowerment of the local communities they live in.  Gender equality is essential.

–         A Democratic & Effective State

The State must have the capability to manage integration into the global economy, and provide social and economic opportunity and security.

–         Sustainable Development

The quest for a fair globalization must be underpinned by the interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars of economic development, social development and environmental protection at the local, national, regional and global levels.

–         Productive & Equitable Markets

This requires sound institutions to promote opportunity and enterprise in a well-functioning market economy.

–         Fair Rules

The rules of the global economy must offer equitable opportunity and access for all countries and recognize the diversity in national capacities and developmental needs.

–         Globalization with Solidarity

There is a shared responsibility to assist countries and people excluded from or disadvantaged by globalization.  Globalization must help to overcome inequality both within and between countries and contribute to the elimination of poverty.

–         Greater Accountability to People

Public and private actors at all levels with power to influence the outcomes of globalization must be democratically accountable for the policies they pursue and the actions they take.  They must deliver on their commitments and use their power with respect for others.

–         Deeper Partnerships

Many actors are engaged in the realization of global social and economic goals – international organizations, governments and parliaments, business, labour, civil society and many others.  Dialogue and partnership among them is an essential democratic instrument to create a better world.

–         An Effective United Nations

A stronger and more efficient multilateral system is the key instrument to create a democratic, legitimate and coherent framework for globalization.”

Sustainable Economic Development means … Economic Development which is compatible with Sustainable Human & Social Development !

That was the easy part … but try explaining it to economists ?!?!

Sustainable Globalization … much more than an economic concept, but a social reality in our time … means Globalization which is also compatible with Sustainable Human & Social Development … each co-existing with the other in harmony and dynamic balance … and – together – providing a high level of Social Wellbeing for All.

Unfortunately … while economists can readily understand Individual Welfare …

a person’s general feeling of health, happiness and fulfilment

… they are not familiar with the concept of Social Wellbeing …a general condition – in a community, society or culture – of health, happiness, creativity, responsible fulfilment, and sustainable development.

Assassination attempt

Brundtland (nee Harlem) led three Labour Party governments in the 1980s and 1990s and is often called “mother of the nation”, narrowly escaped assassination by Anders Behring Breivik on 22 July 2011. She had been on the island of Utøya hours before the massacre there to give a speech to the AUF camp; Breivik stated that he originally intended for Brundtland to be the main target of the attack, but he had been delayed while travelling from Oslo.[8] Breivik arrived on Utøya at 17:18 that day; Brundtland had left the island about two hours earlier.

During his trial in 2012, Breivik revealed detailed assassination plans for Brundtland.[9] He told the court that he had planned to handcuff her, and then record himself reading out a prepared text detailing her “crimes”, before decapitating her on camera using a bayonet and uploading the footage to the internet. Breivik said that while Brundtland had been his main target, he had still planned to massacre everyone else on the island. orway-shooting-killer-confirms-Gro-Harlem-Brundtland-was-main-target


Nested Envelope Design Could Slash Heating Costs

by    (Original article;

With winter is just two weeks away, researchers in Toronto, Canada, will soon begin testing how a simple design change in home construction can significantly reduce heating bills during the coldest months. Called the Gemini Nested Thermal Envelope Design, the strategy merges three key green building concepts: efficient insulation, the use of a heat pump and a reduction of unused living space.

The project is the brainchild of Russell Richman, a professor in the Department of Engineering and Architectural Science at Toronto’s Ryerson University. He theorizes that if a home is divided into a core interior zone and a lightly used perimeter zone, only a small heat pump would be needed to maintain a comfortable temperature in the main living areas at a cost savings of about 80 percent, compared to using a conventional furnace.

Nested Thermal Envelope 1Image via St. Bernard Project/Flickr

According to Richman and his team, about 60 percent of energy usage in a typical house is used on space heating, most of which is channeled inefficiently to rooms that don’t need heating or slowly escapes through small gaps in the outer insulation envelope. The Ryerson group is trying to solve this problem with the zonal system, consisting of a heavy layer of insulation around the core interior—usually containing high-traffic areas such as the kitchen, living room, bathrooms and bedrooms—and another thinner layer of insulation around the outer rooms of the home. These areas would include formal dining rooms, sunrooms, enclosed porches and guest rooms that are not occupied every day.

The heat pump in this arrangement would not only send heat into the interior core, it would also be programmed to capture heat seeping to the exterior rooms and recycle it back into the core before it has a chance to escape through the outside walls. The interior rooms would be maintained a comfortable 21 degrees C (roughly 70 degrees F) while the outer unoccupied rooms would be kept at 5 degrees C (about 40 degrees F). In warmer months, the process could be reversed, with the heat pump allowing the exterior zone to heat up while it maintains a comfortably cool temperature in the core.

Nested Thermal Envelope 2The Toronto house that will test the Gemini nested envelope system (left), and a diagram showing the two-zone configuration. Image via the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“In the winter, you could get savings by living in a smaller space, period,” Richman was quoted as saying to “But you can’t just heat one room, because there is no insulation between one room and the outside or other rooms. To do it really well, you need to insulate the room and then insulate the whole house. As we explain it, zonal heating is just a house within a house, or a box within a box.”

With grants from the Ontario Power Authority’s Technology and Development Fund and the University of Toronto, totalling about C$300,000, the Gemini design will soon be retrofitted into an 1870s-era Victorian-style masonry home in down-town Toronto. The team will choose volunteer subjects to live in the house over a five-year period and monitor their behaviour to see if the zonal theory works in the real world.


Here’s a simple efficiency hack.  Bubble wrap insulation for windows.


Here’s how to do it:

  1. Cut the bubble wrap to the size of the window pane with scissors.
  2. Spray a film of water on the window using a spray bottle.
  3. Apply the bubble wrap while the window is still wet and press it into place. The bubble side goes toward the glass.

It can cut the heat loss from a window in half while letting ambient light in…


Unexpectedly Cool Alternative Natural Fuels

influenza virus microscopeDon’t look now, but there are some seriously unique ways scientists are discovering to power our gadgets, appliances, homes and cars. Good thing they aren’t contagious.

Virus of Power

If you have ever had nightmares of a super virus wiping out mankind, this news of a positive use of viruses may offer some solace.

Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been making news since at least 2008 for their efforts related to using viruses to create a battery.

In 2012, nanotech scientist Angela Belcher continues to spearhead the effort which utilizes genetically modified viruses to create batteries smaller than 1/10 the width of a human hair (1). Using the genetic code of viruses, scientists can manipulate them to create various shapes, attract metals, and build such things as the anodes and cathodes needed to create batteries (2).

So far, Angela Belcher has created three variations of virus power: a lithium battery, a virus nano-tube solar cell, and water-splitting virus fuel cells.

Piezoelectricity picture of animated GIFOther researchers have found another way to use certain organisms to create electricity.

This type of virus is capable of creating electricity when it is bent, poked, or squeezed, a trait known as piezoelectricity. This technology has been harnessed into powering an LCD screen by placing the viruses into a wafer between electrodes. If more strides are made in the field of viruses in the creation of power, the next time you speak of viruses, it may be in a positive way rather than related to illness. After all, Angela Belcher’s dream is to drive a virus-powered car (3). Here she is in a 10 minute, very fascinating lecture on virus and nano technology.

VIDEO; Uning nature to grow batteries.

Fuel on the Rocks

With the abundance of methane gas available due to hydraulic fracturing methods used in fields such as the Bakken Formation in North Dakota, some would see little need of looking for additional sources. However, as one technology expert points out, waiting until you need something is not the best time to search for it (4). That is why the U.S. Department of Energy and its partners have been looking for methane gas in some rather strange places, namely ice. Not all ice is simply a frozen form of H2O. Certain ice is made of methane hydrate.  Eliminate the water, and you have methane gas!

Research is being conducted to replace the methane particles with carbon dioxide, recovering the methane without displacing the ice.

methane gas trapped in ice

Roll, Tide, Roll

Constant and ceaseless: two adjectives that describe the come and go of the tides give good reason for research into harnessing that constant motion for powering the contraptions of modern man. According to researchers, the world’s tides are capable of producing 800 Terawatt hours of electricity per year, in a precise and predictable fashion far different than the variations of wind power.

The world’s first tidal current power plant was designed and developed by Marine Current TurbinesLtd. off the Irish coast (5). U.S. companies such as Siemens Energy see great potential in this clean new source of power. The first North American turbine kicked into duty off the coast of Maine in December 2012.

power created by tides

Importing Trash

While most countries are battling waste management issues to include overflowing landfills and an abundance of garbage, Sweden is begging for garbage from surrounding countries, currently importing from Norway, and hoping to bring it in from countries such as Bulgaria, Italy, and Romania. And what is the purpose of all this trash? To create energy for the homes of Swedish residents.

In a case of one person’s waste being another person’s treasure, Sweden has been incredibly successful in its production of clean fuel and has seen a dramatic decrease of greenhouse gas emissions (6). Perhaps other countries should follow suit.


About pfiddle

Fiddle teacher - mostly Irish trad. Fiddle, mandolin and concertina. Eco-warrior, won E.U. Green Flower Award for Eco Accommodation. Also Irish (Gold) GHA. Green Hospitality Award. Mad keen on self-build - especially straw-bale and cob. 55 with a full head of (slightly) graying hair. No tattoos or piercings. Fond of animals - but legally so. Fond of food - I eat nothing else. Vegetarian by choice, Irish by the grace of birth, Munster by force of (rugby) arms.

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