Earth feels impact of middle class

first_imgOur most pressing environmental challenge is not how many people the planet can support, but rather how many cellphone-toting, satellite-TV-watching, gas-guzzler driving members of the middle class it can bear.That was the message from Sir David King, former science adviser to the British government, chancellor of the University of Liverpool, and director of research in physical chemistry at the University of Cambridge, who spoke at Harvard’s Science Center on April 17.While global population growth has been important over the last century, as the number of humans climbed from 1.5 billion in 1900 to some 7 billion today, average female fertility has declined to the replacement value of 2.1 births, King said. While a significant increase of some 2 billion people is still expected as today’s children reach childbearing age, lifestyle changes are the greater challenge, he said.The global middle class — defined as those who spend between $10 and $100 per day — has climbed rapidly, reaching 1 billion in 2000 and doubling to 2 billion just recently. The middle class is expected to reach 4.8 billion by 2050, raising the question of whether the planet has the resources to deliver the lifestyle people will expect.“Improving Human Well-Being on a Resource-Limited Planet: Can We Do It?” was sponsored by the Harvard University Center for the Environment and was part of its “Future of Energy” lecture series. King was introduced by the center’s director, Daniel Schrag, Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology and a professor of environmental science and engineering.There are already signs the growing middle class is prompting increased competition for resources in global markets for oil, food, and minerals, King said. Fresh water sources are strained, including both surface water and aquifers. Some water-poor nations have turned to desalinating seawater, an energy-intensive process, with the energy often provided by coal.King pointed to continued high commodity prices during the global economic downturn as evidence that global capacity is being strained. During the Great Depression, commodity prices collapsed as economic activity in industrialized nations declined; cheap commodity prices then helped fuel the economic recovery, King said.In the most recent recession, commodity prices have stayed high, likely as a result of increased demand from the growing global middle class, largely in Asia and the Pacific, but increasingly in Africa as well, he said.Oil prices’ response to supply and demand appears to have changed since 2005, King said. Prices spiked to $140 a barrel and have remained high despite the economic downturn, another sign of increased global demand. High oil prices have hurt the economies of Italy and Greece, he said, and are threatening Britain as its North Sea oil production declines.The direct cost of imported oil in the United States, he said, is $1 trillion a year, but there are indirect costs — like the trillions spent on the Iraq War — that can be attributed to the need to maintain oil supplies.“The impact of oil is massive,” King said. “The question is whether the economies of the world can operate at this price, $100 a barrel.”In response to increased global demand for oil and sustained high prices for natural resources, nations can search for more supplies or they can change how they do business and embrace sustainable development. King said one of the biggest impediments to shifting to sustainable development is sheer inertia, fostered by existing infrastructure, government reassurances that business as usual can continue, and a public mindset that has people doing things the way they’ve always been done.If that inertia can be overcome, a new focus on green industry could provide an economic boost to nations that have seen manufacturing jobs move overseas, King said. He gave several examples of innovative, sustainable technology, including a small, energy-efficient automobile built out of recycled plastic bottles and a blimp that can stay aloft for weeks to transport cargo and people and, if blanketed with solar panels, use little conventional fuel. He also cited the apparent success of a marine protected area off Cape Cod created as a solution to global overfishing, evidenced by the fact that 80 percent of the catch in that area is taken near the protected area’s boundary.“Overfishing is a problem that is so manageable,” he said.King held up Rwanda as a nation that is taking environmental concerns seriously. The nation, to which King is an adviser, has embraced green development and is seeking in-country ways to limit the amount of fuel it has to import, King said.There are positive developments as well in China, one of the nations where the global growth in the middle class is occurring, King said. The country has added references to the environment to its constitution, and, in 2005, embarked on a major project to re-green the enormous Loess Plateau, a once-green area larger than Belgium that was denuded in ancient times by land-use practices.“What we’re seeing is the biggest attempt at ecosystem recovery that the world has ever seen,” King said.last_img read more

Senator Donnelly touts accomplishments for veterans

first_imgBatesville, In. — Senior U.S. senator from Indiana, Democrat Joe Donnelly recently celebrated the passage of two measures to help Indiana veterans.First, the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act requires service members to receive a mental health exam every year.  The exam is a way to allow service members to talk to a counselor without the stigma normally associated with asking for help. The measure is named for Indiana National Guardsman Jacob Sexton who took his life while on leave in 2009.Senator Donnelly said, “The Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act has been implemented across our Armed Forces this year, including by the National Guard, and I am hopeful it will make a difference and help end the scourge of military suicide. Mental fitness, like physical fitness, is a critical component of military readiness. This law, for the first time, requires an annual mental health assessment for all service members, including members of the Guard and Reserves.  The goal is to better identify those struggling with mental health issues and ensure they receive the help they need before it’s too late.”Next, the VA Prescription Data Accountability Act ties the VA drug prescribing system into the Indiana prescription drug monitoring system- INSPECT. This ties the two systems together in order to detect patients attempting to access additional drugs from alternate sources.Senator Donnelly said, “Coordination between the VA and our prescription drug monitoring programs is key to addressing opioid abuse in Indiana and across the country. The VA is a major prescriber of opioids and prescription drugs and must be a full partner in our all-hands-on-deck effort to combat this epidemic. This bipartisan legislation will ensure that VA hospitals and clinics are in line with their non-VA counterparts and allow VA facilities to fully partner with Indiana’s INSPECT and similar programs across the country to monitor opioid prescribing practices.”last_img read more

Badgers ‘Boiler up’ to defeat No. 4 Purdue

first_imgDespite an early left wrist injury, junior forward Jon Leuer gave the Badgers plenty of help defensively and on the boards.[/media-credit]Hosting an undefeated conference rival and the then-No. 4 team in the country, the Wisconsin men’s basketball team proved it could beat a strong opponent with almost no offensive contribution from the Badger’s’ second leading scorer, junior forward Jon Leuer.Besides providing a big boost in the conference race and a shiny looking win to pair with the Duke victory for the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, the 73-66 victory over Purdue on Jan. 9 should provide a shot of confidence for UW as it moves forward without Leuer for an indefinite amount of time.With starters, Trevon Hughes and Keaton Nankivil limited by foul trouble (four each), and starting forward Tim Jarmusz ineffective (zero points, one rebound), it was the Badger bench that carried the day.The Wisconsin reserves poured in 33 points off the bench — including a career high of 23 from sophomore guard Jordan Taylor — but more importantly brought tenacious energy and held on to a one-point lead heading into halftime.“You can only start five, so when you say the bench, I have always thought the bench should give every bit of the same thing as the starters,” UW head coach Bo Ryan said.“If you look at that number of our bench scoring and their bench scoring it pops out as a huge differential. But if you look at successful teams, successful programs over time, you tend to struggle a little bit.”Whether Ryan wanted to put the ball in the hands of Taylor or not became a moot point when Hughes picked up his second foul — a boneheaded reaching foul after Hughes turned the ball over — and forced Ryan to sit Hughes for the remainder of the half.Stalled by the Boilermakers’ pressure defense for most of the half, Taylor took the game into his own hands, scoring all 13 of his first half points in the final 6:33 before the buzzer sounded. Able to repeatedly beat Purdue guard Chris Kramer off the dribble, Taylor was able to score from the lane on a variety of floaters, pull-ups and contested lay-ins.“As much as they pressured, it’s not that difficult to get in the lane,” Taylor said. “It’s more difficult when you get in the lane to make the right decision and when to make the right decision. I think that Pop (Hughes) and I can get around a lot of guys in the country and most guards in the country.“It’s not about getting around the first guy, it’s about getting around the second guy. I made some bad decisions in the beginning but I just try to get better throughout the game.”Though Nankivil only saw the floor for 10 minutes this game, his one contribution was a big one.With the Badgers leading 34-31, Nankivil missed a short hook under the basket and missed the following put-back before quickly gathering himself for an explosive dunk.The normally even-keeled Nankivil let out a roar of emotion as the Kohl Center exploded, causing Purdue head coach Matt Painter to take a quick timeout to try and stem the tide of emotion flowing for UW.It didn’t work.Over the next three minutes Wisconsin pushed the lead out to 13 points and Purdue would never get closer then five points again.“It was a statement,” Hughes said of Nankivil’s athletic finish. “We weren’t going to be pushed around on our home court. It definitely gave us momentum after that and got the crowd into it, and you definitely have to get the crowd into it when you are at home.”With Taylor carrying the offense for most of the first half, seniors Jason Bohannon and Hughes gave the team a lift in the second period.Getting a combined 20 points from the duo, timely baskets and clutch free throws kept the Boilermakers at bay for the second half. Even more impressive, the senior pair needed only 13 total shots to combine for 34 points.Bohannon also played 40 minutes and chipped in three blocks to go with his 20 points.“[Wisconsin’s] guards were very efficient,” Painter said. “We simply couldn’t stop them. It wasn’t that they were doing anything that surprised us, it’s just they were making smarter plays, one-on-one plays creating for themselves and creating for teammates.”Besides dominant guard play, the Boilermakers gave the Badgers some help with horrendous shooting from the charity stripe. Wisconsin went to the line 27 times and Purdue reached 24 — the difference in the game being Wisconsin connected on 81 percent of its foul shots while Purdue shot merely 54 percent.“The free throw shooting killed us in the first half,” Painter said.“If we could have made our free throws, we could have had the lead at half and had momentum. That was an important part of the game.”last_img read more

Thurles showjumper ready for Olympic action

first_imgThe first qualifying rounds get underway on Sunday next – the finals are set for Friday week.Speaking to Fran Curry on Tipp Today from Rio Greg said Going Global won’t be phased by the competition. Tipperary’s Greg Broderick is settling into the Olympic village in Rio ahead of the showjumping competition which gets underway on Sunday next.The Thurles man is our only representative as Ireland failed to qualify for the team event.Greg arrived in Brazil yesterday while his horse Going Global has been there since the weekend.last_img