Pirates love the high seas and so do illegal fishers and poachers; heck cruise ship companies love the high seas as a place to dump sewage. All in, we don’t respect the ecosystems in the oceans because there’s only a few laws that can be broken and enforcement is weak. That’s about to change. 193 nations at the United Nations have agreed to a new way to protect the high seas, a big boon for aquatic species.
Covering almost two-thirds of the ocean that lies outside national boundaries, the treaty will provide a legal framework for establishing vast marine protected areas (MPAs) to protect against the loss of wildlife and share out the genetic resources of the high seas. It will establish a conference of the parties (Cop) that will meet periodically and enable member states to be held to account on issues such as governance and biodiversity.
Ocean ecosystems produce half the oxygen we breathe, represent 95% of the planet’s biosphere and soak up carbon dioxide, as the world’s largest carbon sink. Yet until now, fragmented and loosely enforced rules governing the high seas have rendered this area more susceptible than coastal waters to exploitation.
Like the rest of the world, the United Nations is looking forward to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and they’re projecting what our future may hold. The UN sees a consistent theme of ecological thinking as a way for cities to succeed in all the sustainable development goals. Most people live in cities, and in those urban settings people can see the clear interaction between societal forces like governments, commerce, the built environment, and so on. As a result, if we focus on making our cities sustainable and a wonderful place to live then the whole world can benefit.
Theâ€¯report explores how well-planned cities combining residential and commercial with public spaces, along with affordable housing, can improve public health, the local economy and the environment.
Itâ€¯calls for cities to be at the forefront of moves towards a Social Contract between governments, the public, civil society and private sector.
Theâ€¯new social contractâ€¯shouldâ€¯â€œexplore the role of theâ€¯state and cities to finance universal basic income, universal health insurance, universal housingâ€,â€¯said Sharif.
For one real-world example, Claudia Lopez Hernandez, Mayor of Bogota, explained how in the Colombian capital, their new social contract prioritises women and children.
It is aâ€¯â€œsocial contract that includes women, that provides them with time, with time to take care of themselves, with time to educate themselves, and with time and education skills to come back to the labour marketâ€.
â€œTo have self-sustainable women is to have self-sustainable societiesâ€,â€¯Hernandez explained.
The old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is really all about having a healthy diet to stay healthy, and this is the year to increase your apple consumption. 2021 is International Year of Fruits and Vegetables as celebrated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Use this as inspiration to try some fruit and veggies which you’re curious about and find a new way to cook with them.
Maybe this is the year you plant your own “victory garden” and grow a small amount of produce on your own.
Previously we celebrated the best FAO year: pulses.
Objectives of the IYFV 2021
Raising awareness of and directing policy attention to the nutrition and health benefits of fruits and vegetables consumption;
Promoting diversified, balanced, and healthy diets and lifestyles through fruits and vegetables consumption;
Reducing losses and waste in fruits and vegetables food systems;
Sharing best practices on:
Promotion of consumption and sustainable production of fruits and vegetables that contributes to sustainable food systems;
Improved sustainability of storage, transport, trade, processing, transformation, retail, waste reduction and recycling, as well as interactions among these processes;
Integration of smallholders including family farmers into local, regional, and global production, value/supply chains for sustainable production and consumption of fruits and vegetables, recognizing the contributions of fruits and vegetables, including farmersâ€™ varieties/landraces, to their food security, nutrition, livelihoods and incomes;
Strengthening the capacity of all countries, specially developing countries, to adopt innovative approaches and technology in combating loss and waste of fruits and vegetables.
Read more. What you can do: eat more fruits and veggies! Maybe even start growing some in your garden
Here’s something you probably didn’t expect to hear this week form Finland: they’ve added Demoscene to the UNESCO list of intangible cultural artifacts. According the Finnish Heritage Agency Demoscene is “an international community focused on making demos, real-time audiovisual performances that creatively combine programming, graphics and sound.” Finland beat everyone else to the punch to get demoscenes listed under their purview – good for them!
This is a fun reminder of the nifty cultural practices that exist all around the world.
Jukka O. Kauppinen, Finnish Journalist and demoscene veteran since the 1980s, is happy: â€œDemoskene inspires to create, express and to do. While it revolves around digital devices, at its core demoscene is communal, connecting people and groups across borders. The inclusion of demoskene on the Finnish listing of intangible cultural heritage is an important indication that it is still possible to birth and grow completely new cultures and content, even in the digital realm. And demoscene is one that still rapidly evolves, changes and creates new stories to remember.â€
The fact that the Finnish application was created by the Finnish demoscene culture in support by a wide range of institutions and partners shows, how connected and relevant the demoscene is in Finnish digital culture until today. A big thank you from us go to the communities and drivers behind the Finnish submission, namely Satu Haapakoski, Heikki Jungman, Jukka O. Kauppinen and Markku Reunanen, supported by many more.
If you are a creative individual or work at a company that produces creative content then the United Nations wants your help. The UN has put out a call for creatives to produce engaging content to educate people about how to be safe during this pandemic. They are looking for anything from posters, marketing campaigns, songs, films, anything! This might be your opportunity to pick up painting again or whatever artistic hobby you’ve been neglecting. Submissions are open now and now’s your chance to help the UN help all of us.
Check out my Twitter bot Jam This Game if you’re in need of some creative inspiration.
The United Nations (UN) needs your help in translating critical public health messages, into work that will engage and inform people across different cultures, languages, communities and platforms. The shortlisted work will reach everyone, everywhere.
We need your submissions from day 1. The UN will continually review the submissions, and shortlist the most suitable work to become visible on a microsite, and accessible to everyone – supporting media, brands, influencers etc – around the world, who can download and use the work across their platforms in support of this cause.
It is not too late. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. Together, we can save lives, protect resources and care for each other.