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The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope.
~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)
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Humanity has been innovative since the discovery of fire. But does curiosity and discovery embrace responsibility and avoid mishaps or catastrophes? Are there many of you who remember the triple calamity in Japan on March 11, 2011? A large earthquake triggered a major tsunami. Both of these major forces, earthquake and tsunami, were devastating to several seaside prefectures. Each prefecture had established neighborhoods that were several hundreds of years old. Thousands of its citizens died in this event. Nature’s forces hit those communities like never before. Wreckage and debris washed away from Japan that ended up on the western coast of the United States. This was clearly a devastating global event.

But the natural forces were compounded by the meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. This single event shut down a major facility and drastically restricted electric usage across Japan for the first time in 42 years. Japan is facing a scenario that modern societies have been wary to confront. What impact does the nuclear industry have on the economy of a nation? What are the risks when you have so much dependency on nuclear generated energy? What are safer or better choices for an energy policy and how can current policies be modified and implemented?

The Fukushima Dai-ichi plant is in a high seismic zone, and more vulnerable to natural disasters like earthquakes or tsunamis. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had expressed concern about the ability of Japan’s nuclear plants to withstand seismic activity. What lessons could be extracted from this calamity? Are they universal lessons that should be applied in other countries, as well?

Read what the Japanese scientists and engineers are attempting to create to resolve radioactive emissions in their water supply. As Albert Einstein once said; “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

The future is our’s to create. The consequences of this disaster did not end with by rebuilding. Generations will be affected by radiation and others will die from its impact. We have other energy choices, depending on local resources. Sustainability is the holistic business model for the 21st century. So one major lesson is: we must be smarter to resolve issues when high technology meets Nature.
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Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC
Contact Information
Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Blog: http://horizons.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/corporatesocialresponsibility/

Lead Smart, Endless Opportunities when Sustainability is driven by Lean Six Sigma
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A polar bear swimming

Climate change, by itself, is probably the most important megaforce that could directly impact all other environmental issues. According to KPMG; “Predictions of annual output losses from climate change range between 1 percent per year, if strong and early action is taken, to as much as 5 percent a year–if policymakers fail to act.”

Consider taking the test below to gage your awareness and understanding of global climate change:

Think you know the odd effects of global climate change? Take our quiz.

Climate change conjures images of long, hot summers, melting ice caps and stranded polar bears. But as the weather gets stranger, so too does its effects on the environment, sometimes in the oddest of ways. How well do you know the signs of change?

, Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor

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What do we need? The wisdom to recognize our changing world, the understanding of the actions we need to make, and knowledge that hesitation will only prolong the consequences of a poorly appreciated and abused resource, Our Earth.

We have reached a point where the value we do add to our economy is now being outweighed by the value we are removing, not only from future generations in terms of diminished resources, but from ourselves in terms of unlivable cities, deadening jobs, deteriorating health, and rising crime. In biological terms, we have become a parasite and are devouring our host.
~Paul Hawken, The Ecology of Commerce, 1994

The future is our’s to create. Sustainability is the 21st century’s holistic business model. From a business perspective, it is a long-term strategy that eliminates waste, both externally and internally, while supporting the survivability and transformation of the enterpris

 

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Norman Borlaug

Norman Borlaug (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No other time in history will mankind see the probable future of the planet  and be judged by his action to preserve it.

Man can and must prevent the tragedy of famine in the future instead of merely trying with pious regret to salvage the human wreckage of the famine, as he has so often done in the past.
~ Norman Borlaug, Father of modern agriculture and 1970 Noble Peace Prize recipient[1]

We know what are the most critical megaforces facing humanity for the next two decades. What we do, how we do it and when we do it will determine the course of our planet and humanity for the rest of the 21st century.


[1] Norman Ernest Borlaug (25 March 1914 – 12 September 2009) was an American agricultural scientist, and humanitarian. He is considered by some to be the “father of modern agriculture” and the father of the green revolution. He won the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his life’s work.

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This was a published press release by KPMG, and outlines the ten megaforces which will shape the commercial landscape for the next 20 years. Articles, reposts and videos, in this category, will relate to current and possible future impact of these ten megaforces.

The KPMG study, Expect the Unexpected: Building Business Value in a Changing World, explores issues such as climate change, energy and fuel volatility, water availability and cost and resource availability, as well as population growth spawning new urban centers. The analysis examines how these global forces may impact business and industry, calculates the environmental costs to business, and calls for business and policymakers to work more closely to mitigate future business risk and act on opportunities.
Michael Andrew, Chairman of KPMG International, said: “We are living in a resource-constrained world. The rapid growth of developing markets, climate change, and issues of energy and water security are among the forces that will exert tremendous pressure on both business and society.”
“We know that governments alone cannot address these challenges. Business must take a leadership role in the development of solutions that will help to create a more sustainable future. By leveraging its ability to enhance processes, create efficiencies, manage risk, and drive innovation, business will contribute to society and long-term economic growth.”
The KPMG research finds that the external environmental costs, which today are often not shown on financial statements**, of 11 key industry sectors jumped 50 percent from US$566 to US$846 billion in 8 years (2002 to 2010), averaging a doubling of these costs every 14 years.

The 10 global sustainability megaforces that may impact business over the next two decades are:

  1. Climate Change: This may be the one global megaforce that directly impacts all others. Predictions of annual output losses from climate change range between 1 percent per year, if strong and early action is taken, to as much as 5 percent a year–if policymakers fail to act.
  2. Energy & Fuel: fossil fuel markets are likely to become more volatile and unpredictable because of higher global energy demand; changes in the geographical pattern of consumption; supply and production uncertainties and increasing regulatory interventions related to climate change.
  3. Material Resource Scarcity: as developing countries industrialize rapidly, global demand for material resources is predicted to increase dramatically. Business is likely to face increasing trade restrictions and intense global competition for a wide range of material resources that become less easily available. Scarcity also creates opportunities to develop substitute materials or to recover materials from waste.
  4. Water Scarcity: it is predicted that by 2030, the global demand for freshwater will exceed supply by 40 percent. Businesses may be vulnerable to water shortages, declines in water quality, water price volatility, and to reputational challenges.
  5. Population Growth: The world population is expected to grow to 8.4 billion by 2032. This will place intense pressures on ecosystems and the supply of natural resources such as food, water, energy and materials. While this is a threat for business, there are also opportunities to grow commerce and create jobs, and to innovate to address the needs of growing populations for agriculture, sanitation, education, technology, finance, and healthcare.
  6. Wealth: the global middle class (defined by the OECD as individuals with disposable income of between US$10 and US$100 per capita per day) is predicted to grow 172 percent between 2010 and 2030. The challenge for businesses is to serve this new middle class market at a time when resources are likely to be scarcer and more price volatile. The advantages many companies experienced in the last two decades from “cheap labor” in developing nations are likely to be eroded by the growth and power of the global middle class.
  7. Urbanization: in 2009, for the first time ever, more people lived in cities than in the countryside. By 2030 all developing regions including Asia and Africa are expected to have the majority of their inhabitants living in urban areas; virtually all Population Growth over the next 30 years will be in cities. These cities will require extensive improvements in infrastructure including construction, water and sanitation, electricity, waste, transport, health, public safety and internet and cell phone connectivity.
  8. Food Security: in the next two decades the global food production system will come under increasing pressure from megaforces including Population Growth, Water Scarcity and Deforestation. Global food prices are predicted to rise 70 to 90 percent by 2030. In water-scarce regions, agricultural producers are likely to have to compete for supplies with other water-intensive industries such as electric utilities and mining, and with consumers. Intervention will be required to reverse growing localized food shortages (the number of chronically under-nourished people rose from 842 million during the late 1990s to over one billion in 2009).
  9. Ecosystem Decline: historically, the main business risk of declining biodiversity and ecosystem services has been to corporate reputations. However, as global ecosystems show increasing signs of breakdown and stress, more companies are realizing how dependent their operations are on the critical services these ecosystems provide. The decline in ecosystems is making natural resources scarcer, more expensive and less diverse; increasing the costs of water and escalating the damage caused by invasive species to sectors including agriculture, fishing, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals and tourism.
  10. Deforestation: Forests are big business – wood products contributed $100 billion per year to the global economy from 2003 to 2007 and the value of non-wood forest products, mostly food, was estimated at about US$18.5 billion in 2005. Yet the OECD projects that forest areas will decline globally by 13 percent from 2005 to 2030, mostly in South Asia and Africa. The timber industry and downstream industries such as pulp and paper are vulnerable to potential regulation to slow or reverse deforestation. Companies may also find themselves under increasing pressure from customers to prove that their products are sustainable through the use of certification standards. Business opportunities may arise through the development of market mechanisms and economic incentives to reduce the rate of deforestation.

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Press Release, KPMG, Sustainability “Megaforces” Impact on Business Will Accelerate, Finds KPMG, 14 Feb 2012; Retrieved: 14 Feb 2012

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Southern Hemisphere of Earth (Lambert azimutha...

Written by Matt McGrath, Science reporter for BBC World Service, published November 1, 2012. The commission was considering proposals for marine reserves in two critical areas of the Ross Sea.

Governments meeting in Australia have failed to reach agreement on new marine protected areas for the Antarctic ocean. They have deferred a decision until July 2013 when all the relevant science will be considered. Environmental groups have expressed deep concern about the lack of consensus on how to develop a network of protected zones.

“This responsibility, and this failure, rests with all the members.” ~ Jim Barnes, Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition

They blame Russia, China and Ukraine for blocking agreement. For the past two weeks the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) has been meeting in Tasmania.

What has the CCAMLR accomplished previously?

  • CCAMLR has established just one Marine Protected Area in the Antarctic so far.
  • They have designated 11 priority areas in the Southern Ocean from which most MPAs will be created.
  • Governments have set a goal of extending protected areas to ten percent of the world’s oceans

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Environmental concerns are flat since 2010, but down over past decade
March 28, 2011, Gallup, Retrieved: 31 Jan 2012
by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ–At least three in four Americans surveyed in Gallup’s 2011 Environment poll say they worry a great deal or a fair amount about contamination of soil and water by toxic waste, pollution of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, pollution of drinking water, and the maintenance of the nation’s supply of fresh water for household needs.

Air pollution is nearly as high a concern for Americans, with 72% worried a great deal or a fair amount about it.

A little more than 6 in 10 worry about the related problems of extinction of plant and animal species and the loss of tropical rain forests. Slightly fewer worry about urban sprawl and loss of open spaces, while barely half, 51%, worry about global warming.

The poll was conducted March 3-6, prior to the emergence of an earthquake- and tsunami-generated nuclear crisis in Japan that has raised Americans’ own concerns about nuclear power.

The current levels of public concern about various environmental problems are essentially unchanged from 2010. However, Americans are less worried today than they were 10 years ago about all eight issues Gallup measured in 2001. The decline over the past decade spans a period when the public often expressed surging concern about terrorism, the Iraq war, gas prices, and the economy.

Bottom Line
Although the United States has experienced nothing like the mass drinking-water scare that is gripping Japan during its current nuclear crisis, Americans largely recognize the importance of clean water to their lives. All four environmental issues referring to “water” in this year’s Gallup Environment poll rank in the upper tier of environmental concerns, with air pollution a close fifth. Perhaps not surprisingly, there is a slightly steeper drop-off in concern about several issues that aren’t directly related to daily survival, such as the loss of tropical rain forests and urban sprawl. What may surprise some, given the broad exposure the issue has received in recent years, is that global warming ranks lowest — consistent with other Gallup polling — with barely half of Americans concerned and 48% only a little or not at all concerned.

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Forty-seven percent prioritize energy production; 44%, environmental protection
by Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup, Americans Split on Energy vs. Environment Trade-Off, March 23, 2012, Retrieved: March 23, 2012

PRINCETON, NJ — Americans are about as likely to say production of energy supplies (47%) should be prioritized as to say environmental protection (44%) should be, a closer division than last year, when energy led by 50% to 41%. These views mark a shift compared with the early 2000s, when Americans consistently assigned a higher priority to environmental protection.

The greater preference for energy production over environmental protection in recent years likely results from the economic downturn, given that Americans have made economic matters their highest priority. There was a brief exception in the spring of 2010, however, after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill brought environmental issues back to the forefront.

Although Americans still view the economy as their No. 1 concern, they perceive the economy to be improving. In this context, the public is now about evenly divided on whether energy development or the environment should be given priority.

These results are based on Gallup’s annual Environment poll, conducted March 8-11. Rising gas prices, debate over government approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, and President Obama’s current energy policy tour highlight the importance of the energy issue. The Keystone issue in particular has reminded Americans about the trade-offs between increased energy production and risks to the environment.

Democrats and Republicans take opposing sides on the issue, with Republicans favoring energy development by 68% to 24% and Democrats preferring environmental protection by 56% to 34%. Independents’ views are closer to those of Democrats, with 49% prioritizing the environment and 41% energy production.

Compared with 10 years ago, when Americans overall favored environmental protection by 12 percentage points (52% to 40%), all groups have moved in the direction of energy prioritization, though Republicans have shifted much more so than either independents or Democrats.

Public Assigns Higher Priority to Alternative Energy, Conservation Than Production
Americans favor more environmentally friendly energy solutions when they are presented with various choices for addressing the nation’s energy problems.

First, Americans are nearly twice as likely to say the United States should put greater emphasis on the development of alternative energy supplies such as wind and solar power (59%) as to say the U.S. should emphasize production of more oil, gas, and coal supplies (34%). This is the case even though Republicans are more likely to favor production of traditional energy sources over alternative energy.

Gallup found a 66% to 26% margin in favor of alternative energy among all Americans last year, the first time the question was asked.

Also, Americans continue to say the U.S. should emphasize energy conservation by consumers over increased production of oil, gas, and coal to address the nation’s energy problems. However, the 11-point gap in favor of conservation this year (51% to 40%) is much smaller than it was from 2001-2008, when it averaged just under 30 points.

The reduced gap in favor of conservation is due mostly to Republicans’ changing preferences. Republicans currently prefer energy production by 63% to 29%. In 2002, Republicans said conservation should be emphasized over production, by 53% to 35%.

Independents have shifted slightly away from conservation, while Democrats’ preferences are essentially the same as they were 10 years ago.

Implications
Americans now split about evenly when asked to choose between an emphasis on increased energy production and environmental protection. These preferences have varied in the past 11 years in response to changes in the health of the economy and to dramatic events such as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Politics have also played a part in Americans’ shifting preferences over the past decade, with Republicans increasingly coming down on the side of increased production of oil, gas, and coal. This likely reflects party leaders’ preference for increased oil exploration in U.S. coastal areas and on U.S. land, which was a key focus at the 2008 Republican National Convention and more recently in calls by Republican presidential candidates and congressional leaders for the government to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

But Americans as a whole show a proclivity for more environmentally friendly approaches to dealing with the energy situation, including a greater focus on energy conservation or developing alternative energy supplies, even though Republicans take the opposing view.

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March 29, 2012
But eight-percentage-point gap in favor of economic growth is smaller than last year’s gap
by Dennis Jacobe, Chief Economist

For most of the last three decades, Americans have prioritized “the environment, even at the risk of curbing economic growth” over “economic growth … even if the environment suffers to some extent.” Prior to 2001, about two-thirds of Americans routinely favored protecting the environment. Even as the recession and financial crisis were getting underway in early 2008, more Americans favored the environment than economic growth, by a seven-point margin.
This trend changed as the recession deepened in 2009, with economic growth taking priority over the environment and continuing to do so through this year. Gallup found half of Americans choosing the environment after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in May 2010, but the data suggest that this major environmental event had only a temporary effect on the trend.
The modest improvement in the U.S. economy in early 2012 may have led some Americans to be somewhat less concerned about unemployment and economic growth, perhaps explaining this year’s slight shift in favor of the environment.
Gallup finds a similar trend this year in Americans’ preferences for the trade-off between environmental protection and energy production.
Young People, Democrats, and Liberals Prioritize Environment
Most subgroups of Americans favor economic growth over the environment. In fact, at least half of Americans 30 or older, conservatives, and Republicans prioritize economic growth. However, half or more of younger people aged 18 to 29, Democrats, and liberals instead prioritize the environment, as they have in past years.
It is not surprising that Republicans and Democrats have different priorities. But the fact that independents are evenly split on this issue is a change from a year ago, when half favored economic growth.

Americans’ Priorities Have Shifted Dramatically Since 2007
Prior to the recession and financial crisis, in 2007, most Americans across subgroups prioritized the environment (55%) over economic growth (37%). Today’s eight-point margin in favor of economic growth reflects a 26-point shift toward growth compared with 2007.
Similar shifts have taken place across political parties. Republicans’ views have shifted 32 points and Democrats’ views have shifted 30 points toward prioritizing economic growth since 2007, while independents’ views have shifted 25 points.

Implications
In an economic context, the environment is a public good that to a certain extent is paid for by limits placed on businesses and, therefore, economic growth, by way of government regulations. During good economic times, when the economy is growing at a good pace and unemployment is close to its historical norms, Gallup’s annual environmental survey data have found Americans tending to favor the environment over economic growth. Like many a public good, the cost seems more affordable when the overall economy is doing well.
However, the U.S. has not experienced good economic times since 2007, prior to the recession and financial crisis. Not surprisingly, Gallup data also suggest that Americans’ views of the trade-off between the environment and economic growth have changed over the past several years. This has been the case across political parties and demographic subgroups. The relative cost of the public good of the environment has increased in the minds of many Americans and, thus, their support for it at the expense of the economy has diminished.
Slow economic growth, surging gas prices, and political battles over energy and environmental policy could become a big part of this year’s presidential election campaign. The long-term trend in Americans’ views of the trade-offs between the environment and economic growth suggest that this is more likely to become a major issue in the presidential race if the U.S. economy continues to struggle than if the economy picks up significant positive momentum

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A median of 66% say water is getting harder to find
by Magali Rheault and Bob Tortora, Gallup, March 21, 2012; Retrieved: March 21, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C.Africans who have enough clean water to drink are more likely to also have enough food to eat, according to Gallup surveys conducted in 17 sub-Saharan African countries in 2010. A median of 67% of those who had enough clean drinking water say they never went without enough food to eat or went without it once or twice in the past year, compared with 46% of those who did not have enough potable water.

Media coverage of basic needs in sub-Saharan Africa usually focuses on the lack or scarcity of food. Further, water programs tend to emphasize Africans’ needs in terms of agriculture. But the Gallup findings underscore the important connections that exist between the two. As leaders and communities worldwide mark U.N. World Water Day this week, Gallup’s results can help them understand the strong relationship between water and food in a region where many experience droughts, floods, and famine.

Clean Drinking Water Is Relatively Abundant, Still Many Don’t Have Enough
Access to potable water is one of the key issues outlined in the U.N. Millennium Goals agenda for 2015.

Although a median of about two-thirds overall say they have enough clean drinking water, it still leaves significant proportions of individuals in many countries without enough potable water. Residents of Botswana are the most likely to report having enough clean drinking water, while those in Burkina Faso and Chad are the least likely.

This is particularly true in rural areas, where a median of 63% of residents report having enough clean water vs. 77% in urban areas. However, in Cameroon and Ghana, there is no difference between urban and rural residents. In Zimbabwe, rural residents are more likely than their urban counterparts to report having enough clean drinking water.

In general, the likelihood of having enough clean drinking water relates to household income. However, in Ghana, Mali, and Zimbabwe, there is no difference in reports of having enough potable water across income groups.

While geography plays an important role in the availability of water, the results show that similar proportions of residents in countries with different freshwater resources and climatic conditions report having enough potable water. For example, while Botswana experiences low levels of rainfall and rains in Ghana are more abundant, residents in both countries are equally likely to say they have enough clean drinking water.

In addition, the timing of the survey may shed some light on the results in some countries. The ongoing severe drought in eastern Africa may partly explain the relatively large proportions of Kenyans and Tanzanians who say they did not have enough potable water in 2010.

Africans View Water as an Increasingly Scarce Commodity
Majorities in all countries surveyed say water, in general, is getting harder to find. Nearly all residents (90%) say this in Burkina Faso, a Sahelian country whose northern region sits at the edge of the Sahara desert. Scientific evidence has shown desertification is increasing in many parts of the Sahel. This suggests that Burkinabes’ views may be indicative of potential water stress for countries farther south in the future. At the other end of the spectrum, slightly more than half residents of Senegal (52%) say water is getting harder to find.

Overall, Africans in a wide range of countries — not just those in arid and semi-arid areas — think water is getting more difficult to find. As such, the Gallup results underscore the multifaceted nature of the water issue in sub-Saharan Africa, encompassing not only climate change and deforestation, but also population growth, household income, and water resource management policies.

Implications
The Gallup findings underscore the close association between potable water and having enough food to eat for African families. It then becomes important to consider water issues when tackling the complex challenge of food security in the region. Circumstances are unique in each country, but water is a transnational issue in sub-Saharan Africa, and a potential source of conflict as it becomes scarcer. In addition, the findings suggest that climate alone does not explain whether residents’ potable water needs are met. However, as in Kenya and Tanzania, bouts of extreme weather will likely exacerbate the dearth of clean drinking water.

As agriculture represents a significant share of the subcontinent’s economies, it will become crucial to develop farming techniques that manage water resources efficiently. In addition, current views as to the scarcity of water call for deeper analysis to determine future water needs based on population growth in cities and rural areas.

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