On July 28, 2022, the General Assembly of the United Nations took a bold step in the ongoing process of caring for the creation we have inherited. By an overwhelming vote of 161 – 0, with eight member nations abstaining, the General Assembly approved a resolution which establishes a sustainable and healthy environment as a basic, universal right of all people. Over one hundred nations co-sponsored this resolution. The large co-sponsorship (unfortunately, the United States was not a co-sponsor) testifies to the strong support for this resolution among the UN delegates and their national governments.
Because a livable human context is absolutely central to the continuing viability of creational life on our planet the United Nations’ vote placed this right at the core of our understanding of the longstanding human rights tradition, which includes social/political values such as freedom. This newly affirmed right is seen as standing at the very heart of that tradition. Its recognition and enhancement are not marginal but integral to the maintenance of the entirety of humanity and the universe with which we are intertwined.
Continue reading UN Declares the Right to a Healthy Environment – by the Rev. Dr. John Pawlikowski
Editor’s note: Written 8 years ago but timely as ever.
Environmentalists may not be happy with some of the solutions to climate change. In a recent article in Wired Magazine, “Inconvenient Truths: Get Ready to Rethink What It Means to Be Green”, the top 10 ways to save the planet are likely to drive environmentalists crazy. Calling for Greens to unite around the issue of greenhouse gasses, the article makes the case for public policies that favor nuclear energy and urban density. The outcry from readers was memorable as they criticized the single mindedness of the article, its lack of supporting data, its in-your-face sensationalism, and overall creepiness. Yet, the discussion of climate change and public policy does and should raise these most difficult issues as new reports show irreversible damage.
Continue reading Going Green is Tough Public Policy — by Deborah Levine
Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press
The GOP is determined not to be upended by Sharpie Gate. Presidential primaries in several states have disappeared and the party wants us to know “…The contrast between Mr. Trump and the Democratic field is a demonstration of just how much Mr. Trump understands the American psyche and just how much most Democrats do not.” They know that in this week’s contest for weird news, “Sharpie Gate” might outdo the Taliban-Camp David story, the firing/resignation of John Bolton, the U.S. military’s spending related to Trump’s Ireland golf course, and maybe all the other 12,019 false or misleading presidential statements documented by Fact Checker.
Continue reading It’s the Environment, Stupid – by Deborah Levine
The Chicago Council of Global Affairs brought 51 mayors & staff to Chicago to develop a flexible mayoral covenant on climate change within North America. The session in which I was a participant was led by the mayors of Chicago, Vancouver,Montreal, Washington and a modest size city of 150,000 in Mexico. NY TIMES writer Thomas Friedman chaired this session.
Allow me now to share some of the important points that arose from the discussion.
Continue reading Climate Change and Global Cities – by the Rev. Dr. John Pawlikowski
Islands at Risk
Refugee International reported a few years ago that a Kiribatian man tried to convince a New Zealand court to make him the world’s first climate change refugee. Kiribati is an impoverished group of Pacific islands vulnerable to rising sea levels. He didn’t succeed, but many experts predict a growing number of displaced people seeking asylum because of global warming. The planet has limited drinkable water, fertile land, clean air, and food. The planet’s current supplies are steadily shrinking.
Continue reading Refugees: Are We Eating our Young? – by Deborah Levine
A Study by The Centre for Environmental Research and Policy Analysis (CERPA)
The Ghana Environmental Concern Meter (GECM) is a scientific and objective assessment of public concerns on various environmental issues and challenges affecting the lives of the Ghanaian people. It is also a detective and reporting tool for environmental problems in communities in Ghana. Further, the GECM seeks to bring these environmental problems to the knowledge of the public to encourage self-help, responsibility, and environmental ownership among the Ghanaian people.
We live in rapidly evolving societies, so why doesn’t our environmental sensitization adapt/conform to these changes?’’
Williams S. Anarfi explains – environmental education is becoming increasingly important as our lives, cities and priorities change. As our cities become more congested and busy, knowledge of the impact we each have on our surroundings becomes more and more crucial. Equally important however, is our understanding of how we can contribute to protecting the environment around us.
Continue reading Environmental Education Is Key to Solving Our Waste Problem – by Olumide IDOWU
I nearly cried for the lives of people I came across living in affected areas. But I just have to say we have a lot to do when it comes to climate change adaptation after my journey to one of Africa’s slums called MAKOKO. Located in Lagos, Makoko and its three neighboring communities are connected by a bridge over a canal of murky black water.
Continue reading Adapting to Climate Change: The Venice of Africa – by Olumide IDOWU
The Paris Climate Agreement sets crucial goals: to limit global temperature increase, and specific goals in three areas – mitigation, adaptation and finance. The long-term goal for mitigation is 2 °C strengthening to 1.5 °C which guides the Agreement. There is a global goal adaptation which includes increasing adaptive capacity and resilience; and a finance goal to increase post 2020 from $100 billion per year. Finance flows will have to balance adaptation and mitigation.
Continue reading TRANSPARENCY in The PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT – by Olumide Idowu
Nigeria is a great country with lot of resources that can keep the country in a very high standard of economy. Many Nigerians look at these resources and think that they can misuse rather than make use of their potential and make our community a better environment for all citizens. Waste management, the treatment and reuse of solid wastes, is vital. There are various types of solid waste including municipal (residential, institutional, commercial), agricultural, and special (health care, household hazardous wastes, sewage sludge).”
Continue reading Waste Management for Sustainable Living – by Olumide Climate IDOWU