The social factor of sustainability

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Ray Ingwersen from Geelong Sustainability is guest in the 58th Sustainable Hour on 4 February 2015. He explains why social factors such as loneliness, isolation and inequality must be taken into account if we wish to create a broader engagement in climate action and sustainable living in the community.

With a background in business and marketing, Ingwersen delivers important knowledge and inspirational food for thought for campaigners in the field of sustainability and climate action.



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More information

More about the the topics we talked about in The Sustainable Hour


“Reducing inequalities within our societies is not only important in improving wellbeing in a whole range of different ways, it is also a precondition for moving towards sustainability.”
Richard Wilkinson

 

Richard Wilkinson interview

In this video interview, Richard Wilkinson puts his finger on why there is a connection between inequality in society, unsustainable consumerism and ignoring the carbon emissions and climate change issue. Which also tells us, asuming Wilkinson is right, that ‘climate campaigning’ in itself will never do the trick and engage the broader public. The work which needs to be done is something which will have to go deeper in the way our society is governed and designed.



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Depression and anxiety in Australia

Three million Australians are living with depression or anxiety. It is a heartbreaking figure.

“Of the 4.5 million Australian men aged between 30 and 65, just four in 10 are satisfied with how much they feel like a member of the community and less than two-thirds are satisfied with the quality of their relationships. Similarly, one in four, or 1.1 million men, have few or no social connections.”

“Other findings of the report, which was based on a survey of 4,100 men, include that men aged between 35 and 54 are at greatest risk of isolation and one-quarter of men in their middle years had no-one who lived nearby, apart from family, upon whom they could depend.”
Quote from a press release from Beyond Blue which is entitled ‘Loneliness a major mental health risk for Australian men’

Beyond Blue is working to reduce the impact of these figures. Anyone experiencing loneliness or mental health issues can contact the beyondblue Support Service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on 1300 22 4636, or via the online chat service from 3pm to midnight seven days a week at www.beyondblue.org.au or via email from the same site.

» The full report is available on: www.beyondblue.org.au/resources



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Report: ‘Sustainable Happiness’

Click on image to download reportWe hear more and more about that we need to think about the environment and that it is a good idea to sort our waste. But did you know that your waste – and sorting it – could possibly make you happier?

This is what new research from Denmark suggests.

The Happiness Research Institute is a Danish think tank that studies well-being and quality of life. Together with researchers in other countries are trying to find explanations as to why some countries and some people are more satisfied with their lives – happier – than others.

In collaboration with the Danish Ministry for the Environment the institute last week published a 54-page report entitled ‘Sustainable Happiness – Why waste prevention can lead to an increase in quality of life’.

It is in English language, because it is particularly written in the hope that it might be read in the UN system, which has called for gaining better understanding of the relationship between well-being and sustainability.

Chapter by chapter, the Danish happiness researchers show that there is a connection between what you do with your waste, and how happy you are. Those who sort their waste appear to be happier than those who do not.

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Meik Wiking

Meik Wiking is director of the The Happiness Research Institute. In this skype interview he explains what it is that they have concluded in the report, and what it was that led them to produce it in the first place.

» Right-click here to download the audio file

» Download the 54-page report (PDF): www.lykkeforskning.dk



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Electric Vehicles reduce costs to a third

“Strikingly, the new paper estimates that for a household that buys an electric vehicle and also owns a solar panel system generating enough power for both the home and the electric car, the monthly cost might be just $89 per month — compared with $255 per month for a household driving a regular car without any solar panels.”
The Washington Post: How solar power and electric cars could make suburban living awesome again

Researchers from the University of California in Los Angeles has calculated that a household which purchase both an electric car – a Tesla – and installs photovoltaic solar panels on the roof, enough to cover both the car and the home consumption, not only can save the atmosphere for a lot CO2, but also reduce the monthly cost to a third compared to a household with a petrol car and no solar panels.

» Read more on www.washingtonpost.com


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Action 2015

Celebrities including Matt Damon, Bono, Desmond Tutu, and Malala Yousafzai have joined forces with 1,000 advocacy groups to launch an international campaign to make 2015 the defining year in the fight against poverty and climate change.

‘Action/2015’ focuses on two pivotal UN summits: one in September on remodelled millennium development goals, and the other in December in Paris on a new international agreement on climate change, writes Patrick Wintour in The Guardian.

Celebrities push to make 2015 year of action on poverty and climate change

» Home page: www.action2015.org

» Twitter: www.twitter.com/action2015

 

15-year-olds in action
Many of the campaign events are symbolically spearheaded by 15 year olds — a constituency that will be among the most affected by the agreements.

The campaign calls on local and world leaders to harness growing momentum to contain global warming and alleviate poverty worldwide. The broad coalition, which is backed by such notable voices as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Youdafzai, singer Bono, and entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim, is urging leaders to take action at two crucial summits this year: the UN Special Summit on Sustainable Development in September and the UN climate talks in December. If leaders take their cues from the millions of people worldwide calling for climate action and the eradication of extreme poverty, they can usher in an accelerated transition to 100% renewable energy and ensure a safe climate as well as a sustainable global economy.

The alternative would be almost a billion extra people facing a life of extreme poverty, according to new research by the University of Denver which was published as part of the launch.

The action/2015 campaign will highlight the calls of people worldwide to halt global warming, decrease inequality, and end extreme poverty as part of their launch, which includes activities taking place in more than 50 countries around the world.

The action/2015 launch will include activities taking place in more than 50 countries around the world. Many of these are spearheaded by 15 year olds—a constituency that will be among the most affected by the agreements. Below is a sampling of some of the events:

  • In Bolivia, three coordinated rallies in Laz Paz will bring together younger and older people, each one representing one of the core issues of the campaign—climate change, inequality and poverty.
  • In Costa Rica, young people will take to their bicycles to raise the profile of the campaign in a cycle rally which will deliver the message of the campaign to leaders and the public.
  • In India, young people are meeting their leaders in 15 states and over 150 districts to deliver their messages of hope for 2015.
  • In New York, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon will meet a group of 15 year olds to discuss why we need global action in 2015.
  • In Nigeria, 15 year olds will present their hopes for the future to Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at a live concert;
  • In Norway, a delegation of 15 year old campaigners from across the country will meet with Prime Minister Erna Solberg to challenge her to play her part in the summits and secure a safer future for people and planet in 2015;
  • In Tanzania, 15 year olds will meet Vice President Mohamed Gharib Bilal to discuss their aspirations for the future and the action they want from political leaders in 2015;
  • In Uganda young people will challenge the Speaker of Parliament to listen to their demands when they hand over a petition signed by over 10,000 young people;
  • In the UK, some of Britain’s leading youth activists will meet Prime Minister David Cameron and Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Opposition, to urge them to seize the opportunities of 2015.

 

Resources

» Events: action/2015 events listing (action/2015)

» Letter: Open letter to world leaders (action/2015)

» Letter: Make 2015 a year of action (Malala Yousafzai)

» Instagram Account: action/2015 (action/2015)

» Toolkit: Social media assets (PDF, action/2015)

» Resource: Youth activism hub (action/2015)

» Blog: Action/2015: New year, new action (HelpAge International)

Source of the above: The Tree



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City Limits: Why Australia’s cities are broken and how we can fix them

‘City Limits: Why Australia’s cities are broken and how we can fix them’ by Jane-Frances Kelly and Paul Donegan, Grattan Institute.

“Our bush heritage helped to define our identity, but today Australia is a nation of cities. A higher proportion of Australians live in cities than almost any other country, and most of our national wealth is generated in them.

For most of the twentieth century, our cities gave us some of the highest living standards in the world. But they are no longer keeping up with changes in how we live and how our economy works.

The distance between where people live and where they work is growing fast. The housing market isn’t working, locking many Australians out of where and how they’d like to live. The daily commute is getting longer, putting pressure on social and family life and driving up living costs.

Instead of bringing us together, Australia’s cities are dividing Australians—between young and old, rich and poor, the outer suburbs and the inner city. Neglecting our cities has real consequences for our lives now, and for our future prosperity.

City Limits synthesises insights from Grattan’s Cities Program reports with new analysis and real-life case studies of how individuals, families and businesses experience life in cities today. It provides an accessible account of why Australia’s cities are broken, and how we can fix them.”

» ‘City Limits’ is available at bookstores and through Melbourne University Publishing

» Read the reports and other publications from Grattan Institute’s Cities Program



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“Participation – that’s what’s gonna save the human race.”
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