Book review: Enlightenment Now, by Steven Pinker

Enlightenment Now is Steven Pinker’s latest book. Pinker was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2004 and his books are regularly featured in the best-selling lists. 

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Pentagon acknowledges threat of climate change

It will become significantly harder for those who deny climate change in the United States to continue to do so after this. The US Department of Defense believes that global warming is a ” threat multiplier “

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Income inequalities : Oxfam has solutions

yacht-landscape-billion-oxfamLast week I wrote on how to both the United Nations and Oxfam, income inequalities are at an all time high and growing. If the UN shows that some trends are going in the right direction, this could end soon.

Too little people have too much money and vice versa. In the United States, the richest one percent owns 43 percent of the wealth of the country ( ! ). And this isn’t going to change unless we act.

Indeed, to the Seattle Times, ” The top 1 percent took more than one-fifth of the income earned by Americans, one of the highest levels since 1913, when the government instituted an income tax. “

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Extreme poverty is decreasing

According to Courrier International, the rate of people living under extreme poverty  – less than $1.25 a day – has been halved in the past two decades. This spectacular progress can be partly explained by the impressive economic growth in Asia. As an example, Bangladesh – which for many years had the title of world’s … Read more

Latest news of the Great green wall of Africa

With over 1,300 articles published here so far, it is sometimes hard to keep up with old topics. So for today’s post I would like to present you an update of the Great green wall of Africa

Back to 2010 I was writing that several African countries are willing to stop the Sahara desert to keep its southward expansion by planting millions of trees on almost 8,000 km (4,300 miles)

It seems the project is gaining speed as it received almost two billion dollars from the World Bank and as Senegal already planted more than 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres)

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Rio20+ is another missed opportunity

The conference that took place in Rio de Janeiro last week was due to bring a new start to sustainable development. The original event which took place at the place twenty years ago and was a fiasco.

Indeed out of the 90 goals outlined at the time, only FOUR have shown improvements. And despite we hear of climate change mitigation almost every day since then, our emissions have kept on increasing and increasing.

Sustainable development is to many an empty promise. The Rio20+ conference was due to get sustainability back on rails, but it clearly has failed in this regard.

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A green economy could create 60 million jobs

According to the United Nations Environment Program : ” The transformation to a greener economy could generate 15 to 60 million additional jobs globally over the next two decades and lift tens of millions of workers out of poverty. “

Filled with plenty of interesting facts and figures, UNEP’s latest report – Working towards sustainable development: Opportunities for decent work and social inclusion in a green economy – is simply a must read.

But to unleash this massive potential, countries all around the world have to set up the right policies as soon as possible. And this is the biggest problem.

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Renewables are the solution for 1.6 billion people

I already blogged about it : 1.6 billion people still have no access to electricity in the world today. This is a huge problem as it prevents them from getting out of their most abject poverty.

Since fossil fuels are getting more and more expensive, the solution relies in renewables as the cost of implanting huge electricity grids throughout Africa and Asia to reach small villages here and there would be huge.

Solar panels can be installed on roofs, wind turbines in nearby fields. Leapfrogging technology has already been done in poor countries as they accessed mobile phones.

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2% of global GDP can trigger greener growth

According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) : ” Investing two per cent of global GDP into ten key sectors can kick-start a transition towards a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy

” The sum, currently amounting to an average of around $1.3 trillion a year (…) would grow the global economy at around the same rate if not higher than those forecast, under current economic models. “

” But without rising risks, shocks, scarcities and crises increasingly inherent in the existing, resource-depleting, high carbon ‘brown’ economy, says the study.”

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Blog Action Day : A post on poverty

Today is Blog Action Day and this year’s subject is poverty. This is important as a sixth of Mankind is living with less than a dollar per day, like this child in Kolkata, India. (image source)

I would like to take the opportunity to remind you of the humanitarian implications of climate change which could bring a billion refugees by 2050. Meanwhile the amount of starving people is increasing.

To the United Nations, rising temperatures would also make matters even worse than they are today in many poor countries So, let us all act now !

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