01 Jan 2008
TL;DR: The Future of Drylands (FOD) conference as mentioned in this paper is an international scientific conference dedicated to science, education, culture and communication in arid and semi-arid zones.
Abstract: On behalf of Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, it is my great pleasure to welcome you all to this international scientific conference. Drylands are often considered fragile ecosystems, yet they have a remarkable resilience to stress. They are home to unique and well-adapted plant and animal species that we need to conserve. Some of the world’s greatest cultures and belief systems have originated in drylands. On the other hand, desertification and land degradation in drylands often result in poverty and cause environmental refugees to abandon their homes. These problems can only be addressed in a holistic manner, based on sound scientific research and findings. Solutions to the problems of dryland degradation need to be communicated as widely as possible through education at all levels. These are many reasons why UNESCO – within its mandate of science, education, culture and communication – took the intiative to organize this conference. And we are glad that so many partners have responded to our call. UNESCO considers this conference as its main contribution to the observance of the International Year of Deserts and Desertification in 2006. We have deliberately chosen the title ‘The Future of Drylands’ as we feel it is time to redefine our priorities for science, education and governance in the drylands based on 50 years of scientific research in arid and semi-arid zones. In fact UNESCO has one of the longest traditions, within the UN system, of addressing dryland problems from an interdisciplinary, scientific point of view. In 1955, the ‘International Arid Land Meetings’ were held in Socorro, New Mexico (USA). They were organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), sponsored by UNESCO and supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. One important output of the International Arid Land Meetings was a book entitled The Future of Drylands, edited by Gilbert F. White and published in
TL;DR: In this paper , the authors present a novel approach to solve the problem of self-diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, and propose a method to diagnose self-disease.
TL;DR: In this article , the authors argue that progress in understanding and counteracting the negative impact of chemical pollution on biodiversity requires collective efforts of scientists from different disciplines, including but not limited to ecology, ecotoxicology, and environmental chemistry.
Abstract: Climate change, biodiversity loss, and chemical pollution are planetary‐scale emergencies requiring urgent mitigation actions. As these “triple crises” are deeply interlinked, they need to be tackled in an integrative manner. However, while climate change and biodiversity are often studied together, chemical pollution as a global change factor contributing to worldwide biodiversity loss has received much less attention in biodiversity research so far. Here, we review evidence showing that the multifaceted effects of anthropogenic chemicals in the environment are posing a growing threat to biodiversity and ecosystems. Therefore, failure to account for pollution effects may significantly undermine the success of biodiversity protection efforts. We argue that progress in understanding and counteracting the negative impact of chemical pollution on biodiversity requires collective efforts of scientists from different disciplines, including but not limited to ecology, ecotoxicology, and environmental chemistry. Importantly, recent developments in these fields have now enabled comprehensive studies that could efficiently address the manifold interactions between chemicals and ecosystems. Based on their experience with intricate studies of biodiversity, ecologists are well equipped to embrace the additional challenge of chemical complexity through interdisciplinary collaborations. This offers a unique opportunity to jointly advance a seminal frontier in pollution ecology and facilitate the development of innovative solutions for environmental protection.
TL;DR: The Post-2020 Biological Diversity Framework (PBDF) as discussed by the authors proposes to regulate the release of chemicals to protect biodiversity on a global scale, which poses a threat to biodiversity.
Abstract: Chemical pollution poses a threat to biodiversity on a global scale. This has been acknowledged in the Post-2020 Biological Diversity Framework which proposes to regulate the release of chemicals to...
TL;DR: In this paper , a model comprising spheres that represent the most important world-system components documents changes in the state of our planet and may indicate the transformations needed to deal with the current geopolitical and pandemic crises.
Abstract: We need to create our sustainable future now, by transforming economies into circular systems and arresting environmental pollution, manmade global heating, and destruction of the world’s biodiversity. Of course, we must also deal with the current geopolitical and pandemic crises. A model-based approach towards the future we need builds on experience and insight into the world’s complex system of systems. A model comprising spheres that represent the most important world-system components documents changes in the state of our planet and may indicate the transformations needed. Pressing problems may be analysed in their entirety and specifically, respectively. Biodiversity illustrates how the model can be applied. The authors outline steps towards its possible extension.
TL;DR: There is room for an extra 0.9 billion hectares of canopy cover, which could store 205 gigatonnes of carbon in areas that would naturally support woodlands and forests, which highlights global tree restoration as one of the most effective carbon drawdown solutions to date.
Abstract: The restoration of trees remains among the most effective strategies for climate change mitigation. We mapped the global potential tree coverage to show that 4.4 billion hectares of canopy cover could exist under the current climate. Excluding existing trees and agricultural and urban areas, we found that there is room for an extra 0.9 billion hectares of canopy cover, which could store 205 gigatonnes of carbon in areas that would naturally support woodlands and forests. This highlights global tree restoration as our most effective climate change solution to date. However, climate change will alter this potential tree coverage. We estimate that if we cannot deviate from the current trajectory, the global potential canopy cover may shrink by ~223 million hectares by 2050, with the vast majority of losses occurring in the tropics. Our results highlight the opportunity of climate change mitigation through global tree restoration but also the urgent need for action.
TL;DR: Short-term changes in PA and SB in reaction to COVID-19 may become permanently entrenched, leading to increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in children, and programmatic and policy strategies should be geared towards promoting PA and reducing SB.
Abstract: COVID-19 restrictions such as the closure of schools and parks, and the cancellation of youth sports and activity classes around the United States may prevent children from achieving recommended levels of physical activity (PA). This study examined the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on PA and sedentary behavior (SB) in U.S. children. Parents and legal guardians of U.S. children (ages 5–13) were recruited through convenience sampling and completed an online survey between April 25–May 16, 2020. Measures included an assessment of their child’s previous day PA and SB by indicating time spent in 11 common types of PA and 12 common types of SB for children. Parents also reported perceived changes in levels of PA and SB between the pre-COVID-19 (February 2020) and early-COVID-19 (April–May 2020) periods. Additionally, parents reported locations (e.g., home/garage, parks/trails, gyms/fitness centers) where their children had performed PA and their children’s use of remote/streaming services for PA. From parent reports, children (N = 211) (53% female, 13% Hispanic, Mage = 8.73 [SD = 2.58] years) represented 35 states and the District of Columbia. The most common physical activities during the early-COVID-19 period were free play/unstructured activity (e.g., running around, tag) (90% of children) and going for a walk (55% of children). Children engaged in about 90 min of school-related sitting and over 8 h of leisure-related sitting a day. Parents of older children (ages 9–13) vs. younger children (ages 5–8) perceived greater decreases in PA and greater increases in SB from the pre- to early-COVID-19 periods. Children were more likely to perform PA at home indoors or on neighborhood streets during the early- vs. pre-COVID-19 periods. About a third of children used remote/streaming services for activity classes and lessons during the early-COVID-19 period. Short-term changes in PA and SB in reaction to COVID-19 may become permanently entrenched, leading to increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in children. Programmatic and policy strategies should be geared towards promoting PA and reducing SB over the next 12 months.
TL;DR: The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown has taken the world by storm and this study examines its impact on the anxiety level of university students in Malaysia during the peak of the crisis and the pertinent characteristics affecting their anxiety.
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown has taken the world by storm. This study examines its impact on the anxiety level of university students in Malaysia during the peak of the crisis and the pertinent characteristics affecting their anxiety. A cross-sectional online survey, using Zung’s self-rating anxiety questionnaire was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. Out of the 983 respondents, 20.4%, 6.6%, and 2.8% experienced minimal to moderate, marked to severe, and most extreme levels of anxiety. Female gender (OR = 21.456, 95% CI = 1.061, 1.998, p = 0.020), age below 18 years (OR = 4.147, 95% CI = 1.331, 12.918, p = 0.014), age 19 to 25 (OR = 3.398, 95% CI = 1.431, 8.066, p = 0.006), pre-university level of education (OR = 2.882, 95% CI = 1.212, 6.854, p = 0.017), management studies (OR = 2.278, 95% CI = 1.526, 3.399, p < 0.001), and staying alone (OR = 2.208, 95% CI = 1.127, 4.325, p = 0.021) were significantly associated with higher levels of anxiety. The main stressors include financial constraints, remote online teaching and uncertainty about the future with regard to academics and career. Stressors are predominantly financial constraints, remote online learning, and uncertainty related to their academic performance, and future career prospects.
TL;DR: In this article, the implications of the shift of environmental education (EE) towards education for sustainable development (ESD) in the context of environmental ethics are explored, and it is argued that ESD, with its focus on human welfare, equality, rights and fair distribution of resources is a radical departure from the aim of EE set out by the Belgrade Charter as well as a distinct turn towards anthropocentrically biased education.
Abstract: This article explores the implications of the shift of environmental education (EE) towards education for sustainable development (ESD) in the context of environmental ethics. While plural perspectives on ESD are encouraged both by practitioners and researchers of EE, there is also a danger that such pluralism may sustain dominant political ideologies and consolidated corporate power that obscure environmental concerns. Encouraging plural interpretations of ESD may in fact lead ecologically ill-informed teachers and students acculturated by the dominant neo-liberal ideology to underprivilege ecocentric perspective. It is argued that ESD, with its focus on human welfare, equality, rights and fair distribution of resources is a radical departure from the aim of EE set out by the Belgrade Charter as well as a distinct turn towards anthropocentrically biased education. This article has two aims: to demonstrate the importance of environmental ethics for EE in general and ESD in particular and to argue in favou...
TL;DR: It is ascertained that AI has extensively been adopted and used in education, particularly by education institutions, in different forms, and has been customized and personalized in line with students’ needs, which has fostered uptake and retention, thereby improving learners experience and overall quality of learning.
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on education. Premised on a narrative and framework for assessing AI identified from a preliminary analysis, the scope of the study was limited to the application and effects of AI in administration, instruction, and learning. A qualitative research approach, leveraging the use of literature review as a research design and approach was used and effectively facilitated the realization of the study purpose. Artificial intelligence is a field of study and the resulting innovations and developments that have culminated in computers, machines, and other artifacts having human-like intelligence characterized by cognitive abilities, learning, adaptability, and decision-making capabilities. The study ascertained that AI has extensively been adopted and used in education, particularly by education institutions, in different forms. AI initially took the form of computer and computer related technologies, transitioning to web-based and online intelligent education systems, and ultimately with the use of embedded computer systems, together with other technologies, the use of humanoid robots and web-based chatbots to perform instructors' duties and functions independently or with instructors. Using these platforms, instructors have been able to perform different administrative functions, such as reviewing and grading students' assignments more effectively and efficiently, and achieve higher quality in their teaching activities. On the other hand, because the systems leverage machine learning and adaptability, curriculum and content has been customized and personalized in line with students' needs, which has fostered uptake and retention, thereby improving learners experience and overall quality of learning.