Online Learning » Sustainability http://onlinelearning.unu.edu Just another WordPress weblog Tue, 03 Mar 2009 20:42:51 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.8.4 EN hourly 1 The Satoyama Initiative http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/the-satoyama-initiative/ http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/the-satoyama-initiative/#comments Thu, 28 Jan 2010 01:40:39 +0000 brendan http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/?page_id=26 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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Sustaining our Forests http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/foper/ http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/foper/#comments Thu, 24 May 2007 10:53:47 +0000 butuzov http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/foper/ Importance of Forests
Forests cover 30% of the global land area or about 4 billion hectares. This equates to around 0.6 hectare per person. However, forests are not evenly distributed and five countries (the Russian Federation, Brazil, Canada, the United States and China) account for more than half the total forest area.

Deforestation
Throughout history, the competition between forested and agricultural land has been intense. Deforestation is a major problem today as we lose around 13 million hectares of forested land each year. This includes the loss of just over 8 million hectares per year in South America and Africa collectively.

Conserving our Forests
Over the past three decades, we have witnessed the emergence of sustainable forest management promoting stewardship of forest lands in order to maintain their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential, now and in the future.

Highlights
This interactive and open educational resource explores the multiple uses of forests for wood production, as hunting grounds, as recreational areas and as the protection of biodiversity.

We can understand how the forest scientist views forests as a natural resource to be managed. How the forest economist understands the forest as an economic resource or a property. Forests are part of the natural capital of nations.

A policy-maker, on the other hand, emphasizes the relationship between society and forests, and seeks to manage the conflicting interests between different stakeholders (private industry, public agencies, non-governmental bodies and the general population.

This open educational resource has been designed as to improve your understanding of forestry, market economics and forest economics including concepts related to forest policy. On completion, you should be able to better understand the interconnections between forest economics and policies (past and present).

Using this Open Educational Resource
This learning resource has been designed for students enrolled in an MSc Course on Forestry Policy through a network of universities in the Western Balkans.

It is available for use in similar programmes across the globe and provides an overview of some of the key theoretical concepts and practice in the area of forestry, economics and policy-making.

Level
Designed for students in the tertiary education (graduate and post-graduate) and for professionals and practitioners.

Design and Technology
Developed using Wordpress with a customized plug-in support for the creation of multi-choice quizzes, footnotes as well as image captions. Contains narrated animations using Flash Video. Compatibility tested with Explorer, Firefox and Safari.

Authors
Olli Saastamoinen and Jukka Matero from the University of Joensuu.

Copyright License
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0

Project Title
Contribution to the Forest Policy and Economics Education and Research (FOPER) project

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Sustainability in Asia Pacific http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/api/ http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/api/#comments Wed, 23 May 2007 10:55:33 +0000 butuzov http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/api/ Background
Asia and the Pacific is the home to 65% of the world’s population. It is also one of the fastest growing regions in the world in terms of industrial production and economic development. Yet, we find that 670 million people in the region live on less that US$1 per day. Nearly 2 billion people have no access to improved sanitation and over 650 million are without access to drinking water.

In the Pacific, the island communities face a unique set of problems in terms of energy security, waste management and the conservation of natural resources and marine ecosystems.

Countries on mainland Asia need to deal with dramatic population growth and rapid urbanization.

How the Asia Pacific region responds to the sustainability challenge will affect the future of the global environment.

Highlights
This semester-based Advanced Seminar on International Environmental Studies is implemented by a network of universities in the Asia Pacific region. The topics covered include:

Coral Reef Management and Marine Biodiversity
Small Island Ecosystems and Sustainable Development
Forest Resource Management
Coastal Zone Management
Air Pollution Control in Asia
Land, Air and Marine Based Chemical Pollution
Solid Waste Management
Sustainable Agriculture
International Environmental Policies
Kyoto Protocol and Climate Change
Innovative Environmental Policy Tools
Earth Observing Technologies

Each partner university integrates the course into their existing teaching programmes and in many instances offers credits to the students taking the course. A certificate is awarded to students who complete all of the course assignments.

Level
The course offers advanced professionals and students interested in environmental studies, planning, and resource conservation and management an opportunity to learn from a diverse faculty from each of the participating institutions as well as distinguished guest lecturers from regional and international organizations.

Design and Technology
The course is implemented real-time over video-conferencing with 15 sessions, each lasting 2.5 hours. Hosted on the Moodle Learning Management System maintained by the University of Hawai’i.

Course Coordinator
Keio University

Copyright License
Copyright is owned the individual lecturers. Some Rights Reserved.

Project Title
Asia Pacific Initiative

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Environmental Impact Assessment http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/eia/ http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/eia/#comments Wed, 23 May 2007 01:24:35 +0000 butuzov http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/sea/ Global phenomena
Environmental Impact Assessment is a global concern. A formal process for Environmental Impact Assessment now exists in over 100 countries around the world.

Purpose of Environmental Impact Assessment
The design of development projects like highways, airports and power stations is greatly enhanced through the use of environmental impact assessment. It is a systematic process to identify, predict and evaluate the environmental effects of proposed actions and projects.

Preventing damage to the environment
This process is applied before major decisions and development commitments are made. The main objective is to prevent, reduce and off-set significant negative impacts on the environment. Through the application of Environmental Impact Assessment it is possible to provide better information to the decision-maker on the environmental consequences of proposed actions.

Highlights
This open educational resource includes three parts: a course module, a wiki and an instructional guide. Through the course module you will learn:

Why do we need Environmental Impact Assessment?
Who is responsible?
How to undertake such an assessment?
What are the costs and benefits of completing an assessment?

An online encyclopedia
The wiki provides you with access to an encyclopedia on Environmental Impact Assessment. It includes information on the relevant legislation in each country as well as case studies of the implementation of this form of assessment in different sectors and in different countries. This encyclopedia is constantly being updated by you – the community of learners and educators.

Instructional Guide
This learning resource was initially developed for international students enrolled in the Masters of Science Degree in Global Environment and Development Studies at Agder University College in Norway. It is available for use in similar programmes across the globe. You can adapt and use these materials in your own teaching programmes. There are sample assignments that you may build on and change.

Level
Designed for students in the tertiary education (graduate and post-graduate) and for professionals and practitioners.

Design and Technology
The course module was developed using Wordpress with a custom built plug-in to support the creation of multi-choice quizzes. It contains video interviews with the subject matter expert as well as narrated animations using Flash Video. The online encyclopedia was developed using Mediawiki. Compatibility has been tested with Explorer, Firefox and Safari.

Authors
Barry Sadler and Mary McCabe edited the original UNEP training manual. Ralph Horne and Ian Thomas from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University edited the course module.

Copyright License
Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 3.0

Project Title
Contribution to the UNU-Global Virtual University

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Strategic Env. Assessment http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/sea/ http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/sea/#comments Wed, 23 May 2007 01:18:20 +0000 butuzov http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/?page_id=5 Mainstreaming environmental sustainability into development planning

Through this open educational resource on Strategic Environmental Assessment, you will examine how to construct predictions on the likely environmental impacts of major policy decisions, how to look at alternative policy scenarios and how to involve the public in the decision-making.

A new approach

Strategic environmental assessment is a new approach to environmental issues. It plays a key role in enabling nations and communities meet a whole range of objectives including tackling global warming and protecting biodiversity. By ensuring that decision-makers consider the environmental consequences of actions at the earliest possible stage, it helps find the best possible option in environmental, social and economic terms.

Open, rational decisions

The emphasis is on preventing environmental damage. It requires that each decision is made in a rational and open manner, and as such Strategic Environmental Assessment is a powerful tool that reinforces the principles of democracy and equity.

Highlights

This open educational resource includes three components: a course module, a wiki and an instructional guide. The course module covers the following topics:

Why we need Strategic Environmental Assessment? What kinds of decisions (strategic actions) require an assessment? How do you undertake this assessment?

An online encyclopedia

The wiki provides you with access to an encyclopedia on Strategic Environmental Assessment. It includes information on the relevant legislation in each country as well as case studies of the implementation of this form of assessment in different sectors and in different countries. This encyclopedia is constantly being updated by you – the community of learners and the educators.

Instructional Guide

This learning resource was initially developed for students enrolled at Oxford Brookes University in the UK and international students enrolled in the Masters of Science Degree in Global Environment and Development Studies at Agder University College in Norway. It is possible for you to adapt and use in your own teaching programmes. This open educational resource contains sample assignments that you may build on and adapt.

Level

Designed for students in the tertiary education (graduate and post-graduate) and for professionals and practitioners.

Design and Technology

The course module was developed using Wordpress and contains Flash video animations and interviews with the subject matter expert. The online encyclopedia was developed using Mediawiki. Compatibility has been tested with Explorer, Firefox and Safari.

Author

Riki Therivel from Oxford Brookes University is one of the leading international experts in Strategic Environmental Assessment.

Copyright License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0

Project Title

Contribution to the UNU-Global Virtual University

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Saving the Ayuquila River http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/ayuquila/ http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/ayuquila/#comments Tue, 22 May 2007 22:38:39 +0000 butuzov http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/ayuquila/ 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.

Highlights
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.

Level
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.

Authors
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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Our World 2.0 http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/our-world-20-climate-oil-and-food/ http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/our-world-20-climate-oil-and-food/#comments Sun, 20 May 2007 06:43:40 +0000 brendan http://onlinelearning.unu.edu/en/?page_id=17&language=en 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.

Authors

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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