Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this discussion.
I am submitting comments on the subject of what kind of human habitats deserve the most attention, as we focus more and more attention on creating habitats with long term resilience. As my questions and comments will illustrate, I believe that long term resilience--in terms of both systems and habitats--will be, and must be, closely related to what we arrive at as the best models for carbon neutral economies, and what we arrive at as the best models for ecologically sustainable habitats.
I am agreement with Mr. Mwasaa, in his introduction to this “resilience” topic, that “the rigor in identifying, understanding, analysing and addressing the multifaceted determinants of resilience is often the driver of success”.
Specifically, my questions, comments, and observations (detailed in the attached file) are centered by the following three very-much-related questions--
Of the two following descriptions of habitats which could be our primary focus for global warming/climate change mitigation with the hope of holding global warming to 1.5oC--
--megacities with more than one million people, and with sometimes over 15 million people
--medium to small sized cities (with populations of 100,000 people, or less) and towns--
which of the above two habitat descriptions have the strongest likelihood of leading us quickly, and most decisively, to holding global warming below 2oC?
which of the above two habitat descriptions have the best chance of being our foundation and support for ecological sustainability on into the future? and
which of the two habitats descriptions above would represent more resilience (and less vulnerabilities) if we only manage to hold warming to 2.5oC or 3oC?
The attached file (titled “Questions for CCLS17 Panel Discussion--Diminishing Returns re Megacities?”)(8 pages) is a question and comment statement I submitted to the Cambridge Climate Lecture Series (23 February-16 March 2017; University of Cambridge, UK; hashtag #CCLS17). Then I was directing my question and comment statement specifically to the Panel Discussion, which was livestreamed on Thursday 16 March 2017, from 18:30-20:00 GMT.
Although my questions and comments (it is the same document in the above link, and in the attached file) were directed specifically to the Cambridge Climate Lecture Series, I believe those same questions and comments are highly relevant to the topic of this discussion... and that long term resilience, as a feature of human habitats--and what human habitats will be both most useful and practical in holding global warming below 2oC, and our best foundation for ecological sustainability long into the future)--are three subjects which are very, very closely related.
And I believe that megacities with more than one million people, and with sometimes over 15 million people, are very seriously over-rated as a primary focus for carbon neutral economies, as a foundation for ecologically sustainable habitats, as a base for solution-oriented activity on many other critical challenges (especially those challenges related to solving social issues, but also challenges related to water conservation and food security)--and thus very seriously over-rated as a primary focus for long term resilience. We would do much better to focus as much as possible on medium to small sized cities (with populations of 100,000 people, or less) and towns--if we want to build long term resilience into human habitats.
I hope my contribution is helpful to the discussion.
For a Peaceful and Sustainable Future,
Thank you for the opportunity to contribute comments.
While I am far from having a comprehensive understanding of what actions are already in place, or will be initiated, I understand that a comprehensive response like this is needed, and could make unprecedented progress, under any conditions and circumstances.
What I would offer, from my point of view, is that there doesn’t seem to be anything upfront in this document accounting for the unprecedented cultural transformation (which will take decades) necessary to mitigate global warming/climate change. The following--“Address the increasing number of emergencies (including natural disasters, conflicts and chronic emergencies) affecting the nutritional status of vast populations” (top of p. 4)—is a “close relative” to what I’m suggesting, but… there still seems to be an assumption of some kind of “status quo”. It seems to me that “in unprecedented flux” rather than “status quo” would better characterize the next three decades.
Also, we live in very complex cultural landscapes, and there are many different kinds of moral compasses attempting to navigate such landscapes. As a consequence, people who are not sufficiently informed about critical issues are everywhere, and they are investing their time, energy, and money—voting—all the time. Even a most comprehensive approach like the one outlined in this draft will not help people who perceive that their rights and freedoms to act as they see fit—even if irresponsibly—are established and sovereign rights.
Further, besides the unprecedented challenge of mitigating global warming/climate change, I believe that what we have now is a convergence of critical challenges (here is a two page description of the ten most critical challenges identified by this writer) [all documents referred to in this comment accessible on homepage of The Community Peacebuilding and Cultural Sustainability (CPCS) Initiative at www.cpcsi.org .]
I understand there may not be many who agree with my own personal assessment. Even so, a valid argument can still be made that a “Recalibrating Our Moral Compasses Survey”--
--a very careful and conscientious approach to identifying critical challenges and solution-oriented activity--and to comparing that input with working definitions for “right livelihood” and “moral compasses” (to increase consensus on such definitions)--
--which sought responses from carefully selected people from around the world (possibly 300) who are who are well known in fields of activity associated with creating a peaceful and sustainable world--
--could be a catalyst for collaborative problem solving a the local community level (such as Community Visioning Initiatives, Neighborhood Learning Centers, and Neighbor to Neighbor Community Education Projects in local newspaper)(and such a survey could be undertaken by a coalition of universities and colleges).
Summary Point: if more people discovered for themselves how unprecedented the challenges ahead are (from international “Recalibrating… Surveys”, and subsequent local collaborative problem solving), and how much we need to be learning and working together to manage the profound cultural transformation needed to respond to such challenges, better decisions would be made locally, by many more people, and across a much wider spectrum of challenges and positive tipping points.
More in depth discussion along these lines can be found in:
1) "Unprecedented Challenges Ahead--February 2017" (2 pages; Feb. 2017)
2) “Convergence of Critical Challenges Alert to Peacebuilders, Chaplains--from cpcsi.org” (10 pages; Feb., 2017)(accessible on homepage of www.cpcsi.org)