• The Future We Want Might Not Be The Future We Get   1 year 22 weeks ago

    interesting article on Rio+20. This is very compact and comprehensive.
    Great expectations vs. the outcome, strategy adopted by the host country,
    ''implementation. It is about concrete action'' of the voluntary commitments,
    SDGs in place to compliment MDGs...this gives a bird's eye view of the total
    scenario. all said and done the two parts ''THINKING'' and ''ACTION'' are highly
    disproportionate. hope Rio+25 will lead to innovative solutions for binding and monitor-able ways and means.
    looking for a small clarification:
    Aichi Biodiversity targets of CBD for awareness states:
    Target 1
    By 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.
    would like to know the comparable targets for other UN conventions related
    to Environment and Sustainable Development.

  • Rio+20: Take science seriously and change the process   1 year 42 weeks ago

    Rather than trying to get "authorities" to "do something", why don't we just form a global political party and attempt to gain political power ourselves?  www.facebook.com/GPSTG

  • We do not need more global sustainability conferences   1 year 44 weeks ago
    • If we agree to “think globally” about climate destabilization and at least one of its consensually validated principal agencies, it becomes evident that riveting attention on more and more seemingly perpetual GROWTH could be a grave mistake because we are denying how economic and population growth in the communities in which we live cannot continue as it has until now. Each village’s resources are being dissipated, each town’s environment degraded and every city’s fitness as place for our children to inhabit is being threatened. To proclaim something like, ‘the meat of any community plan for the future is, of course, growth’ fails to acknowledge that many villages, towns and cities are already ‘built out’, and also ‘filled in’ with people and pollutants. If the quality of life we enjoy now is to be maintained for the children, then limits on economic and population growth will have to be set. By so doing, we choose to “act locally” and sustainably.
      More economic and population growth are soon to become no longer sustainable in many too many places on the surface of Earth because biological constraints and physical limitations are immutably imposed upon ever increasing human consumption, production and population activities of people in many communities where most of us reside. Inasmuch as the Earth is finite with frangible environs, there comes a point at which GROWTH is unsustainable. There is much work to done locally. But that effort cannot reasonably begin without sensibly limiting economic and population growth.
      Problems worldwide that are derived from conspicuous overconsumption and rapacious plundering of limited resources, rampant overproduction of unnecessary stuff, and rapid human overpopulation of the Earth can be solved by human thought, judgment and action. After all, the things we have done can be undone. Think of it as ‘the great unwinding of human folly’. Like deconstructing the Tower of Babel. Any species that gives itself the moniker, Homo sapiens sapiens, can do that much, can it not?
      “We face a wide-open opportunity to break with the old ways of doing the town’s business…..” That is a true statement. But the necessary “break with the old ways” of continuous economic and population growth is not what is occurring. There is a call for a break with the old ways, but the required changes in behavior are not what is being proposed as we plan for the future. What is being proposed and continues to occur is more of the same, old business-as-usual overconsumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities, the very activities that appear to be growing unsustainably. More business-as-usual could soon become patently unsustainable, both locally and globally. A finite planet with the size, composition and environs of the Earth and a community with the boundaries, limited resources and wondrous climate of villages, towns and cities where we live may not be able to sustain much longer the economic and population growth that is occurring on our watch. Perhaps necessary changes away from UNSUSTAINABLE GROWTH and toward sustainable lifestyles and right-sized corporate enterprises are in the offing.
      Think globally while there is still time and act locally before it is too late for human action to make any difference in the clear and presently dangerous course of unfolding human-induced ecological events, both in our planetary home and in our villages, towns and cities. If we choose to review the perspective of a ‘marketwatcher’ who can see what is actually before our eyes, perhaps all of us can get a little more reality-oriented to the world we inhabit and a less deceived by an attractive, flawed ideology that is highly touted and widely shared but evidently illusory and patently unsustainable.
      This situation is no longer deniable. Opportunities like the one offered at RIO+20 cannot be missed. During my lifetime, many have understood the Global Predicament we are facing now, but only a few ‘voices in the wilderness’ were willing to speak out loudly and clearly about what everyone can see. It is not a pretty sight. The human community has precipitated a planetary emergency that only humankind is capable of undoing. The present ‘Unsustainable Path’ has to be abandoned in favor of a “road less travelled by”. It is late; there is no time left to waste. Perhaps now we will gather our remarkably abundant, distinctly human resources and respond ably to the daunting, human-induced, global challenges before us, the ones that threaten life as we know it and the integrity of Earth as a fit place for human habitation. Many voices, many more voices are needed for making necessary changes.
  • Prospects for Rio Plus 20?   1 year 48 weeks ago



  • Our Common Values   2 years 2 weeks ago

    Thank you for your comment and sorry for very late reply !

    I am working on the implications of this way of thinking for the economic domain. Uptill now I only have Dutch language texts. The general idea is that the apparently required balance in value orientations within the rather time independent integral worldview, legitimates a more balnced distinction between common pool resources and private goods as well. What we know as economic goods, common pool resources, public goods, private goods (material and immaterial) are nothing else but the functions to ' realise' the value orientations. So the economic process should reflect the ' integral worldview. Herein Nature is converted finally into Culture, via human individual physical and mental labor.
    This then has consequenses for the financial system also, as this system is expected to support the thus defined economic process. Values only should be created within the domain of the integral worldview ( given an expected reasonable degree of consensus on that underlying, typically human value orientation). The current financial systems generates values outside that domain ( making money with money, speculation, etc.) and thus cannot be justified.

    Succes with yourwork

    Best regards

    Klaas van Egmond

  • Navigating the Anthropocene: Improving Earth System Governance   2 years 4 weeks ago

    "Science" costs money - you keep these things secret from the poor, like me.  Oddly, amonst the great unwashed public it's the right-wing inclined - who are more likely to argue against the idea of global governance - who can most easily join in the conversation.  Here I'd been excited to find that serious research had been undertaken along the lines I'd envisioned ..

  • Panel on A Global Parliament: A means to strengthen accountability, legitimacy and democracy?   2 years 6 weeks ago
  • Research gaps in the institutional design of global democracy   2 years 6 weeks ago
  • International Environmental Governance as paradigm governance   2 years 6 weeks ago

    well it's 2012 now and we see where we are...and we're moving faster than light. the "bottom" grassroots are ready to run with what the "top" policy makers feed to the pipe. The "top" has to be informed by the "bottom" to know what to feed through the pipe...it's a tubular/circular system rather than linear. we need circular thinkng. so, as one who can't narrow my focus to the details of systems change, i will keep my gaze on the whole and say all we need is to be reminded of our own genius and worth in this world...to be convinced that we are each one aong many geniuses and to harm any one of us is an ultimate mistake. that we have been told this before and not quite gotten it, is no matter. Let there be this great purpose to the extent of suffering we now witness, that man once and for all faces up to his own sentience.

  • Frank Biermann on the Earth System Governance’s Initiative on International Environmental Governance   2 years 8 weeks ago

    With the perspective of looking ahead for 2012, what specific global sustainability factors are you looking to go after with such a fragmented UN on environmental issues?  What can you hope to achieve?  As a small business in America, I've seen first hand what sustainability efforts can do.  From my business doing CPR training in Dallas, I'm witnessing the country's drive toward conservationism and lessening its carbon footprint.  I guess my question is - why can't we focus on leadership countries individually first before trying to push through universal law?  My my view, leadership countries have the power to innovate and streamline the technology.  Eventually it gets outsourced and adopted by smaller, poorer countries.  Thoughts?

  • Frank Biermann on the Earth System Governance’s Initiative on International Environmental Governance   2 years 10 weeks ago

    An interesting perspective on the earth system governance's initiative on International environmental governance. A good read. 

  • We Don’t See the Forest for the Trees: The Sustainability of Global Forest Certification is Unknown   2 years 11 weeks ago

    This question is intended for those who are interested in following up on the Obama literature rather than those who are offering analysis or opinion on the topic. Laverne Luick

  • Reforming Global Environmental Governance: The Case for a United Nations Environment Organisation (UNEO)   2 years 14 weeks ago

    Most of the references for this paper are from the book A World Environment Organization. Solution or Threat for Effective International Environmental Governance?  I've wanted to read this book for some time now, and I tried to get my local library to buy a copy of but it was, alas, too expensive for even them to buy! (over $200 new!!!). If anyone has a spare used copy they would consider selling 2nd hand , please let me know: dhstrongheart@gmail.com

  • Reforming Global Environmental Governance: The Case for a United Nations Environment Organisation (UNEO)   2 years 14 weeks ago

    Thank you Frank, for this paper. It seems to be  an update from your 2000 article in "Global Environmental Politics, though this new version includes an examination of an important question that, as far as I can see, is yet to receive enough attention: namely, whether the creation of a WEO / UNEO might weaken the already meager momentum behind Sustainable Development, and whether, instead, a recreation / expansion of UNDP to reflect sustainable / environmental development, would not be preferable. While I too am a supporter of the creation of a WEO / UNEO, I'd like to make a few brief comments:

    First, we should know that the integrated understanding inherent in the "movement" (dare I say) of Sustainable Development is still very fringe and slow to percolate into the mainstream. I would suggest that we could still make a lot more noise about the irreducible and interconnected concerns of environment and development, in order to truly "get it on the map" and build more broad-based support for it at the grassroots level. If we over-regulate ALL things "environmental" to a WEO / UNEO, isn't there a danger of over-simplifying the issue? Or, as my father says, "Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater".

    In my mind, we should differentiate between (at least) two themes (which correspond closely to the 2 themes of the Rio+20 conference). The first is of addressing the omnipresent critique of "fragmented" GEG. This, it seems, is the over-riding proposal in the current paper. Indeed, creating a coherent, centralized and efficient hub for MEAs, treaties, etc. of global importance would undoubtedly improve the ability of GEG to be a truly fruitful project.

    The second theme is that of ADVANCING sustainable development and GEG. Here, I think we should think twice before about giving up on a reformed and expanded UNDP project. By advancing "environmental" objectives from an isolated organizational corner, the WEO / UNEO might be weakening its hand, so to speak. Immense progress has been made in communicating the human (coupled) dimensions of GEC. This is reflected in the carefully crafted reports by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the renewed focus of the IPCC to include more socio-economically relevant information in their reports. In short, many communicators have been making great strides in communicating the coupled dimensions of human well-being and environmental health. At the end of the day I think that environmental advocacy efforts will be most successful if they are ALWAYS included in this coupled format, rather than being (re)stigmatized as purely "environmental" concerns.

    Because true "environmental" progress will never be achieved without corresponding advances in "green" technology and cultural / social systems, and because most people generally consider the latter more relevant than purely "environmental" considerations, I think that environmental advocates should reconcile themselves to having "development" considerations on-board as a constant companion. Hence, the second theme at the Rio+20 meeting--"green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication"--presents an ideal format within which to advance a more pro-active GEG agenda.

    These are, I know complicated questions. It seems to me, though, that if we're overly ambitious about what a WEO / UNEO will become, we just might dream ourselves out of effectiveness, and in the process we may partly undermine the integrated, irreducible and, yes, highly complex and frustrating understanding of coupled human and natural systems that we have come to know as "sustainable development".

  • Earth System Governance appointments to United Nations Environment Programme bodies   2 years 17 weeks ago

    Dear May,

    Governance has been identified in this foresight process as top issue for the years to come. The report will be published by UNEP in February 2011. We will report on this website in detail, including interviews with panel members and background documentation.

  • Earth System Governance appointments to United Nations Environment Programme bodies   2 years 17 weeks ago

    United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has made a foresight process that informed the system of UN about the environmental issues we are facing right now. This was one of the great moves made by the organization.


  • Nobel Laureates call for strengthened Earth System Governance   2 years 18 weeks ago

    Earth System Governance Working paper No. 18 addresses the links between the concept of Planetary Boundaries and Earth System Governance. The working paper is available at: http://www.earthsystemgovernance.org/publication/biermann-frank-planetary-boundaries-and-earth-system-governance


    This working paper discusses the concept of planetary boundaries that has been advanced by a group of leading experts around Johan Rockström. It places the concept of planetary boundaries in the larger framework of the emerging research paradigm of earth system governance, welcoming it as a crucial contribution that defines the overall goals of governance. Yet the working paper also elaborates on the political conflicts that surround the identification of planetary boundaries, which are, in the end, a social construct. The paper then explores the policy and governance responses that may follow from the planetary boundary approach. In the conclusion, it points to several research challenges that flow from the current state of knowledge on planetary boundaries.

  • Governing a Complex Earth System   2 years 18 weeks ago
  • Governing a Complex Earth System   2 years 19 weeks ago

    Second order cybernetic assumptions obscure understanding.  You can get a grasp on what these are by considering all proper nouns, words that are capitalized in the midst of a sentence, as being proclaimed sets of beliefs rather than resulting from first-hand observation.  If a system does not sustain its components the word has no utility.  We've been brought up with seeing things as existing on the basis of their having been forced on us rather than the result of non-coerced first-hand consideration.  

    One surprise that we are approaching quickly due to decades if not more than a hundred years of corruption, is that increase of greenhouse gases appear to be the main driver of the collapse of interglacials.  John Hamaker came up with a theory of how and why ice ages come and go(mid 1980s http://www.archive.org/details/AV_385-PREVENTING_THE_COMING_ICE_AGE ) that does not serve the fossil fuel robber barons that believe they rule the world, murder many and suppress information and spread propaganda every day to avoid our understanding.  Hamaker noticed that plants growing in his fields did better near gravel roads.  His theory is that during the interglacial plants use up essential trace elements in soil then die and release their carbon dioxide and that this somehow leads to collapse of the interglacial into the longest lasting and more stable climate condtions for the planet, ice ages.  The glaciers grind rock and after about 100,000 years this rock dust gets spread by wind around the planet and the plant life comes back to secure the interglacial for its brief and precarious existence.  The Devil's Hole studies of 1989 were designed to give the best and most accurate dating of past ice age cycles and it found that ice ages start at peak concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  For many years a web page on the US NOAA web site had speculation that ocean sediment samples were dated using the Milankovitch theory of how ice ages come and go and then used to support that theory which with its inclusion of gravity influence by stars seems tantamount to astrology.  That web page dissapeared during the last Bush administration.  The Milankovitch theory is the accepted explanation of why ice ages have come and gone quite regularly over the last million years or so.  It totally absolves greenhouse gases as having any complicity in the cycle, favorable to these highly vicious and strong fossil fuel vested interests that murder many every day to sustain mass dependency and keep the tokens flowing in the same direction.  2008 studies of coral deposits found that the end of the last two interglacial periods was when the polar caps melted.  Their melting is apparently part of the process that brings on the ice age conditions.  What appears to be a key factor that Hamaker was unaware of are noctilucent clouds, first seen at the start of the industrial revolution and basically increasing in their incidence and persistence since then.  At the top of the ocean of air, at the top of the mesosphere, these ice crystals become coated with sodium and iron ions from meteorite dust and become first surface mirrors, said to possibly block as much as one percent of incoming solar radiation, ten times more than the observed variation of the sun's output.  Though the ice of noctilucents is thought to come from moisture driven up that high by more violent storms, they are thought to result from methane which is thought to mainly come from earthquakes and volcanos.  Maybe the changes of stress on the crust due to the changes in water and air cycles, temperatures, etc, as the 2008 earthquake in China is thought to have resulted from a recent large reservoir, is the cause for the data presented of an increase in earthquake activity as noted here: http://research.dlindquist.com/quake/historical/?freq=year .  Increasing greenhouse gases appear to collapse interglacials and it happens fast.  There are things we can do as experiments by John Hamaker found, seeing that remineralizing soils leads to greater biomass growth and sequestering of carbon dioxide but there is a point where the cold will come on faster than humans ability to cope especially with the proclivity to wage war for resources when stressed.  Jared Diamond investigated why human social experiments fail and found that unforeseen climate change appears to be the main reason.  Hard to see though that we have a collection of failing social experiments when we call them systems.

  • Invitation to contribute and share comments and texts   2 years 20 weeks ago

    well i must  appreciate this is indeed an epic initiative to create a web site on international Environmental Governance and the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Developmen.

  • Global vision for Rio+20 and beyond: Need to focus on the social dimension   2 years 22 weeks ago
  • Invitation to contribute and share comments and texts   2 years 24 weeks ago

    it is seriously a great platform .

    a great effort have been done as its not easy task to do 

    thanks for the invite .

    we should contribute as much v can.


  • International Environmental Governance as paradigm governance   2 years 25 weeks ago

    Yes this is the reason for choosing an acronym that embraces our collective mistakes as a framework for a more reflective dialogue about correcting them. If any international body takes up OOPS! as an initiative then I'd hope to see your methods incorporated into the process. 

  • International Environmental Governance as paradigm governance   2 years 25 weeks ago

    Next opportunity Amsterdam 14-15 November...

  • International Environmental Governance as paradigm governance   2 years 25 weeks ago

    One of the cornerstones of our 'Learning for Change' method/approach is that we follow the Essene principle of 'joy of discovering mistakes'. When I discover something that I or we or someone could have done better, I'm on a learning path. This goes for governements too - after all, politicians are also people... How do we transmit this age-old principle in modern terms?

    It's not a matter of exonerating fraud or folly, but of generating insights that lead to doing things differently. Am I makiing sense?