Online Learning » biodiversity Just another WordPress weblog Tue, 03 Mar 2009 20:42:51 +0000 EN hourly 1 The Satoyama Initiative Thu, 28 Jan 2010 01:40:39 +0000 brendan Satoyama landscape is a traditional Japanese multi-functional land use system in which agricultural practices and natural resource management techniques are used to optimize the benefits derived from local ecosystems. The products obtained (including food and fuel) help safeguard the community against poverty, but without degrading the land, water or other resources.

Similar landscapes have sustained millions of people around the globe for thousands of years. Yet, with the various forces of modernization and urbanization, these ways have been increasingly undermined or abandoned, and many ecosystems have been harmed and the corresponding communities weakened.

The Satoyama Initiative, a global effort led by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan and the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies, aims to help evaluate such landscapes and promote the revival and amelioration of the mechanisms for their sustainable management.  The Initiative can help achieve the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), being officially proposed at the CBD’s Tenth Conference of the Parties and incorporated into Convention-related activities.

Authors / Target audience

The Initiative’s portal serves as a mechanism for networking, communication and information-sharing among the Satoyama International Partnership, which is to be comprised of participating national governments, local governments, civil societies, local communities, private sector entities, NPOs/NGOs, educational and research institutes and international organizations — all of whom have stakes and interests in advancing such landscapes where human-nature relationships are more sustainable.

The educational materials produced by these partners — such as videos conveying information about the Initiative, case studies and lessons learnt — serve not just in achieving the goals of the Initiative, but as an important reference for academics and students in related fields. Additionally, the video content acts as awareness-raising material for the general public at a time when such knowledge needs to be more widely disseminated and considered.

Design and technology

The portal has been developed using Wordpress. The video content showcased is produced by the Media Studio and hosted in Vimeo. Compatibility has been tested with Explorer, Firefox and Safari.

Copyright License

Except where otherwise specified, the contents (text, video, graphics, photography) of the Satoyama Initiative portal are licensed by the United Nations University under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license.

Project Title

Satoyama Initiative

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Saving the Ayuquila River Tue, 22 May 2007 22:38:39 +0000 butuzov A Question of Environmental Justice
Within the Ayuquila River basin, there is a fertile valley where the main economic activity is intensive production of sugar cane. A sugar mill began operations in this valley in 1972.

In the watershed, the economic benefits from development are not evenly spread. Some upstream communities have profited from the intensive, export agriculture including sugar cane, watermelon and tomatoes.

The downstream communities have fared less well and rely on subsistence farming, livestock, and fisheries. At the same time, water pollution from the sugar mill and untreated sewage from the upstream communities have had negative impacts on the quality of life downstream.

A Model for Other Communities
Saving the Ayuquila River tells of the struggle to improve the environmental quality of this important river system. It shows how government officials and university researchers worked with the local communities to help resolve the environmental disputes and promote widespread cooperation.

You can get an overview of the main issues through an engaging short documentary film. Or you can learn more by exploring the geography and history of the river, and by listening to the conflicting perspectives of local people. Uncover the links between local and global events. For those who want to look deeper, there is an online archive of research papers with detailed scientific data.

Using this e-Case Study
This learning resource can be used in classroom as well as in online learning programmes within the fields of environmental studies, political science and sociology.

By grounding learning in a real-life case, learners can appreciate the relevance of scientific knowledge in solving current environmental problems, thus significantly increasing their capacity to apply in their careers the skills acquired in the classroom.

Designed to serve the needs of a diverse audience ranging from the general public to graduate students.

Design and Technology
An interactive timeline and detailed map of the region are used to display movies, images and background information. The combined use of html and Flash technologies allows a rich user experience and the ability to explore detailed content on specific topics.

The innovative use of Flash video ensures that both the documentary and video excerpts can be seamlessly integrated with other types of content. This learning resource has been designed to run on any learning management system.

Eduardo Santana, Salvador Garcia Ruvalcaba and Luis Manuel Martinez from the University of Guadalajara, and Sergio Graf, former Director of the Sierra de Manantlan Biosphere Reserve.

Copyright License
Copyright United Nations University and the University of Guadalajara. Some Rights Reserved.

Project Title
e-Library of Case Studies and Documentaries

Award of Excellence

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Voices of the Chichinautzin Tue, 22 May 2007 10:40:59 +0000 butuzov Background
The Chichinautzin Biological Corridor, created in 1988, connects the Lagunas de Zempoala and El Tepozteco National Parks in the Sierra Norte of Mexico. Covering 37,000 hectares the corridor forms a natural green lung between two major cities: Mexico City and Cuernavaca. The rich biodiversity and endemism in the corridor includes a number of endangered species.

The biological corridor currently faces a number of threats from forest fires, illegal logging and development projects.

This documentary tells the story of the on-going struggles in different parts of the corridor to balance the needs for development with the conservation of the natural environment and traditional culture. This story is told by local people who have been involved with contests around the need for development projects like golf courses, railways and highways, as well as with the very recent challenge posed by illegal logging.

As the site of the 1910 Zapata revolutionary movement, this region of Mexico has a rich tradition of local activism and a very strong sense of community identity.

Can this sense of identity and tradition be preserved in the face of development pressures and modernization?

The documentary is designed to serve the needs of a diverse audience from the general public to graduate students.

Design and Technology
Filmed in high definition.

Copyright License
Copyright United Nations University. Some Rights Reserved.

Project Title
Library of e-Case Studies and Documentaries

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Our World 2.0 Sun, 20 May 2007 06:43:40 +0000 brendan Our World 2.0 is a webzine and video brief series that explores the interactions between our daily lives and complex issues like climate change, oil dependency, food security and biodiversity. It informs and shares understanding on these topics and explores the changes that are taking place now in order to make the transition to a post-oil, low carbon society of the future, were there is sufficient food for all.

Why Now?

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change continued emissions at today’s levels will lead to further warming of 1.8?C to 4?C over the 21st Century, depending on different scenarios. Time is running out as we try to meet the Kyoto Protocol targets in 2012 and many countries are already proposing drastic CO2 reductions that must be met by 2050. We want to track the changes as they happen and learn from them. The price of oil has been increasing rapidly from 2003 onwards and is predicted to rise to nearer US$200.

This has a major impact on economies that have a heavy dependency on oil. Moreover, developed and developing countries rely on the cheap export and import of food. Rising oil prices, the switch to bio-fuels, and climate-induced weather disasters are affecting the availability and cost of food. The advent of industrial agriculture and also deforestation has impacted severely on biodiversity. All of these issues will continue to be a concern for decades to come. The mitigate the worst effects, we need to start making changes across the board, from now. We need to re-invent Our World.

Target Audience

Our World 2.0 provides information for policy-makers, change-makers and the general public. It has an educational role for mainly students in the tertiary education (graduate and post-graduate) and for professionals and practitioners.

Design and Technology

The web magazine has been developed using Wordpress. The video content showcased in the web-magazine is hosted in Vimeo. Compatibility has been tested with Explorer, Firefox and Safari.


The web-magazine articles are authored by UNU experts, by guest contributors and invited expert opinions pieces.

Copyright License

Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 3.0

Project Title

Our World 2.0

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