The Virtual Island Summit Report

THE VIRTUAL ISLAND SUMMIT REPORT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY – September 7-13th 2020
                   
The 2020 edition of the Virtual Island Summit focused on the theme, ‘Sharing knowledge for resilient, sustainable and prosperous islands worldwide’. The free and entirely online event connected global islands to share their common experiences, ideas, solutions and good practices through a digital platform.
With over 10,000 registrations and over 100,000 sessions views across all platforms, the Virtual Island Summit is one of, if not the biggest online event for sustainable development in the world. Representatives from over 500 islands participated from places as diverse as the Caribbean, Pacific, Arctic, Patagonia, Europe, Asia, the Indian Ocean and beyond. Attendees were from a broad range of backgrounds representing entrepreneurs, public sector, NGOs and academia.
This makes the Virtual Island Summit a unique opportunity to build “digital bridges” between some of the world’s most remote locations and break down some of the silos that can impede change. The Virtual Island Summit is a catalyst for action.
– James Ellsmoor, Director of Island Innovation

Reforestation Hubs: This initiative can give city trees a second life

Reforestation Hubs: This initiative can give city trees a second life
If, as the article states, city life is not healthy for trees, what effect does city life have on Homo Sapiens and other animal species?
Rather than repurposing dead city trees into furniture and other useful city infrastructure we should be looking for ways and means to make our cities more conducive to life of all species.
As the article states the city is a difficult place for a tree to survive. Compared to their counterparts in the countryside, urban trees generally get less water, suffer more intense heat, compete for space with unyielding infrastructure and frequently become riddled with disease and pests.
Recently, a theoretical construct called *One Health* has emerged from discussions within public health circles. We know that human health is not just the absence of sickness but the presence of wellness in its many dimensions. *Sonia Shah*, an investigative journalist and the author of *The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move*, says that our health is connected to the health of livestock, wildlife, and ecosystems. And so, if we think of human health that way, then it’s not just an issue for biomedical experts. It’s not just an issue for drug companies to come up with new medicines and new vaccines for us. What we have to do to create good health is to make sure that our livestock are healthy, to make sure that our wildlife and ecosystems are healthy. Every act we take to support a healthy outlook builds both healthier bodies for ourselves and a healthier planet. Hopefully, we will be able to tell our grandchildren of a time when many thought the pandemic was an enormous problem, but others knew there was a bigger one that our generation decided to solve, and did. We solved our problem of separation. https://bit.ly/35KMfNH

Capitalism Will Ruin the Earth By 2050, Scientists Say

 A spate of new scientific research starkly lays out the choice humankind faces in coming decades: 

By 2050, we could retain high levels of GDP, at the price of a world wracked by minerals and materials shortages, catastrophic climate change, and a stuttering clean energy transition —paving the way for a slowly crumbling civilization. 

Or, we could ditch the GDP fetish and enter a world of abundance, with energy consumption safely contained within planetary boundaries, and high-tech economies that support jobs, health and education for everyone without costing the earth.

Capitalism is on track to lead the world into mineral shortages and supply bottlenecks that could cut short efforts to decarbonize transport systems, guaranteeing dangerous climate change. 

Letting go of growth 

On the other hand, the authors find that the only scenario in which the world is able to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent in the transportation sector by 2050 involves “a radical shift towards light electric vehicles, shift of road freight to electric train, ambitious recycling mineral levels, drastic reductions in the demand for transportation (especially for those more polluting such as aviation) and a significant decrease in overall economic activity.”  

All this will require what the authors describe as “a profound change in the dominant economic paradigm”—namely, capitalism.  Read More

Plague history shows how a pandemic’s course can be shaped

David Earn, a professor in the department of mathematics and statistics at McMaster and lead author of the research, told CNN that while plague cases in London doubled every six weeks in the 14th century, by the 17th century, they were doubling every week and a half. 
“That’s an enormous difference,” he said. 
But this was not simply a case of the disease becoming more virulent — evolutionary geneticist Hendrik Poinar told CNN that while the spread of the disease accelerated, genetic analysis to date tentatively suggests that it may have become less infectious.
             But he also cautioned that pandemics will continue to threaten humans so long as people encroach 
            on the natural world, something scientists and environmental organizations have repeatedly warned.

“When there are shifts in the epidemiology of the disease, most of the shifts that occur can be translated to human intervention or things that go on outside of the actual genetics of the bug,” Poinar, a professor in the department of anthropology at McMaster and a co-author of the study, said. Read More

Are climate scientists being too cautious when linking extreme weather to climate change?

In this year of extreme weather events—from devastating West Coast wildfires to tropical Atlantic storms that have exhausted the alphabet—scientists and members of the public are asking when these extreme events can be scientifically linked to climate change.
Dale Durran, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, argues that climate science need to approach this question in a way similar to how weather forecasters issue warnings for hazardous weather.
In a new paper, published in the October issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, he draws on the weather forecasting community’s experience in predicting extreme weather events such as tornadoes, flash floods, high winds and winter storms. If forecasters send out a mistaken alert too often, people will start to ignore them. If they don’t alert for severe events, people will get hurt. How can the atmospheric sciences community find the right balance? 

Read More

Canada’s ‘beautifully surprising’ basic income study shows how business needs to reconsider human nature

Poverty isn’t a lack of character; it’s a lack of cash
Dutch historian Rutger Bregman introduced a version of that phrase in his 2017 Ted Talk, and it’s become a go-to mantra for advocates of basic income.
The core idea is that people who have fallen on hard times aren’t in those circumstances because they’ve somehow failed at life, and are therefore undeserving of basic necessities. Often, “falling on hard times” simply means being born into a life of poverty, as is the case for nearly 10% of the world’s population, or 770 million people, who are currently living on less than $1.90 a day.
Even in the US, one in seven children are born poor, and millions of Americans are just one paycheck or one unexpected hospital bill away from poverty. As Williams wrote in the new study’s impact statement, “While the economic impact of homelessness costs everyone, ultimately it is the human cost that is so devastating.”
As Bregman and other proponents argue, any solution to poverty ought to begin by addressing the circumstances in which poverty flourishes — not correcting the character of those experiencing it.  Read More

Pull investments from companies not committed to environment, pope says

Pull investments from companies not committed to environment, pope says | Reuters
 VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Saturday urged people to pull investments from companies that are not committed to protecting the environment, adding his voice to calls for the economic model that emerges from the coronavirus pandemic to be a sustainable one.
Francis spoke in a video message for an online event called “Countdown Global Launch, A Call to Action on Climate Change”.
“Science tells us, every day with more precision, that we need to act urgently … if we are to have any hope of avoiding radical and catastrophic climate change,” he said.
The pope listed three action points: better education about the environment, sustainable agriculture and access to clean water, and a transition away from fossil fuels.
“One way to encourage this change is to lead companies towards the urgent need to commit to the integral care of our common home, excluding from investments companies that do not meet (these) parameters … and rewarding those that (do),” he said.  Read More

USCG Patrol Deters Illegal Fishing in the North Pacific

USCG Patrol Deters Illegal Fishing in the North Pacific

 The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro has completed a two-month patrol covering 12,500 miles throughout the North Pacific on an annual mission to detect and deter illegal,  unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.  
Supported by shoreside intelligence efforts to detect suspicious vessels, the Douglas Munro’s crew conducted at-sea inspections aboard 11 fishing vessels from four different nations and found 14 potential violations, including potentially serious violations aboard three Chinese-flagged squid fishing vessels. Following these boardings, nearly the entire fleet of 31 vessels stopped fishing and fled hundreds of nautical miles west across the Pacific Ocean, avoiding further inspection. 
IUU fishing is a pervasive, far-reaching security threat that undermines international agreements and fisheries conservation measures, jeopardizes global food security and produces destabilizing effects on vulnerable coastal states.  More

5 Things To Know About Hurricanes And Climate Change After The Vice Presidential Debate

5 Things To Know About Hurricanes And Climate Change After The Vice Presidential Debate

Hurricanes are only part of the story. I co-authored a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report on attribution of contemporary weather events to climate change. The subject of hurricanes and climate change was a key component of the report. Before I deal with the “frequency” and “intensity” question, it is important to remind readers that hurricanes (Atlantic basin and eastern Pacific) represent only a subset of global tropical cyclones. Climate change impacts are equally relevant to typhoons (western Pacific) and cyclones (Indian Ocean, Australia). I often see people utilize statistics about Atlantic hurricanes (or landfalling U.S. storms) to make broad statements about climate change and tropical cyclones. Such geographically-biased assessments are unfortunate because scientific studies have shown that activity varies as a function of the basin.