Tag #Sustainable Cities & Landscapes
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Event (12)
News (8)
Rethinking the City
By 2050, urban areas will account for nearly two out of three people and create three-quarters of the world’s emissions. In the face of unprecedented population growth and climate change, we need to better understand and manage the interconnection between cities and their surrounding ecology.   We cannot ignore that our cities are inextricably linked and a part of nature, not separate from it. Understanding the interconnection between human activity, resource use, protecting biodiversity and the interdependence between cities themselves is essential to solve the critical sustainability issues facing the Pacific Rim societies. The APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Program hosted by the University of Oregon aims to unite policy-makers, researchers, and practitioners from across disciplines to find answers to the big social, urban, and ecological questions of our time.   In one of the world’s most rapidly urbanizing regions, interconnection is key to solving critical sustainability issues facing the Pacific Rim, including supplying adequate food, water, and energy, while preserving vulnerable populations and ecosystems. APRU seeks to make these interconnections and draw on the strengths of differences across the region, using different viewpoints to solve urban and sustainability challenges that transcend city and country boundaries in the Pacific Rim.        
https://apru-scl.uoregon.edu/
APRU Global Sustainability: Waste & The City (September 2022)
An APRU Course with a Focus on SDGs and ESG from September 2022
September 14, 2022 - November 16, 2022
The 5th APRU Sustainable Cities & Landscapes Conference 2022
September 6, 2022 - September 9, 2022
APRU Student Global Climate Change Simulation 2022
June 1, 2022 - June 29, 2022
APRU Global Sustainability: Waste & The City
February 10, 2022 - May 12, 2022
APRUxBard Information Session on the Worldwide Teach-in for Climate and Justice
November 9, 2021 -
APRU Student Global Climate Change Simulation
August 12, 2021 - September 2, 2021
APRU Sustainable Cities & Landscapes Live Webinar Series
August 16, 2021 - February 8, 2022
Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Conference 2020
December 14, 2020 - December 18, 2020
The 3rd APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Conference 2019
August 29, 2019 - September 1, 2019
Cities and Refugees Global Student Design Competition
March 1, 2019 - August 10, 2019
2018 APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Conference
September 6, 2018 - September 9, 2018
APRU Inaugural Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Design Field School
August 27, 2018 - September 9, 2018
APRU Global Sustainability: Waste & The City Seminar Course Helps Graduate Students Shape Green Leadership Concepts
APRU successfully concluded its APRU Global Sustainability: Waste & The City seminar course, providing APRU graduate students an opportunity to gain insights how industry and academic leaders from around the world work with key stakeholders in implementing sustainability in their organizations. Delivered via videoconferencing in February-May in a seminar-lecture/ student peer-to-peer session mix, the course investigated a range of topics related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG), Environmental, Social, Corporate Governance (ESG), the linear/circular economy, and urban development. The course was a collaboration between Nanyang Technological University Singapore; the APRU Sustainable Cities & Landscapes Program (led by University of Oregon); and the APRU Sustainable Waste Management Program (led by Korea University). Its format has been closely aligned with the APRU Global Health Distance Education Courses that have been running very successfully for over five years. “As shared in the class, we know that more people want businesses to take concrete actions to address climate change, with the rise of eco-awakening starting to push leaders and organizations to move rapidly toward environmentally sustainable business outcomes,” said Amit Midha, Dell Technologies’s President Asia Pacific, one of the industry expert speakers participating in the course. “Indeed, sustainability and the impact it must have for generations to come is a topic I get often asked about by my children,” he added. Other industry expert speakers were Kirsty Salmon, Vice President Advanced Bio and Physical Sciences for Low Carbon Energy at BP; Clint Navales, P&G’s VP Communications Asia Pacific; and Seung Jin Kim, Project Sourcing and Development Lead of Alliance to End Plastic Waste. “It will take a multi-stakeholder approach to address global challenges such as the circular economy,” said Salmon. She shared that “bp’s ambition is to become a net zero energy company by 2050 or sooner, and to help the world to do the same. This can only happen by working with current and future stakeholders, suppliers, consumers and policy-makers to make this happen”. Subject experts from within APRU included David Wardle, NTU Professor and Co-Chair APRU Sustainable Waste Management; Yekang Ko, University of Oregon Professor and Director of the APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Program; and Yong Sik OK, Korea University Professor and Director of the APRU Sustainable Waste Management Program. Student feedback about the course was very good specifically highlighting the valuable learning experience it offers participants. Academic lead for the development and implementation of the course was provided by Sierin Lim, Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Global Partnerships at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Lim stressed the importance of students across all disciplines gaining green knowledge through active discussions as part of their studies. “Our course aims to equip students with not only the knowledge on sustainability but also the thinking process and implementation in the industry. Offering this course within an international platform such as that on the APRU provides the students with the opportunity to hone their analytical and intercultural communication skills. We are looking forward to develop the course together with our partner universities for the next cohort to bring in new perspectives on sustainability,” Lim said. Contact the APRU Program Team ([email protected]) if you are interested to bring your students to the next iteration of the course.
May 20, 2022
APRU on SJTU News: Shanghai Jiao Tong University Successfully Held the "Resilient Urban Landscape – APRU SCL Webinar & Landscape Architects’Forum"
Original post on SJTU News   On April 8, 2022, the “Resilient Urban Landscape – APRU SCL Webinar & Landscape Architects’Forum” jointly organized by Shanghai Jiaotong University, the Alliance of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), and the Shanghai Landscape Architecture Society was successfully held online. The event is held in celebration of the 126th anniversary of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, as well as a member of APRU. It is intended to align with universities, professional associations and practices to call for global attention to environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss may bring significant influences on urban ecological civilization, and suggests to seek innovative solutions with international perspective and local characteristics through international cooperation and communication. The webinar was broadcasted simultaneously on the School of Design official Bilibili account, attracting approximately thousand viewers during peak hours. The event was chaired by Ruan Xing, Dean of the School of Design, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Bart Johnson, Professor of the University of Oregon, James Hayter, the president of International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA), Professor of the University of Adelaide, and Che Shengquan, Professor and Deputy Dean of the School of Design, Shanghai Jiao Tong University delivered academic lectures with a Q&A session afterwards. Luo Peng, Professor, Director of the International Affair Division of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, delieverd an opening speech. He mentioned that after Shanghai Jiaotong University officially joined the APRU in 2019, we participated in various international events and activities, as well as promoting students’ global engagement during covid and other scientific cooperations. Jackie Agnello Wong, director of APRU network and student programs, introduced the background of APRU. It is composed of 61 outstanding academic institutions in the North America, Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. It has a history of nearly 25 years and aims to bring together experts from multiple backgrounds such as leaders, researchers, and policy makers to efficiently solve the problems faced by sustainable development in the 21st century. Her further expressed their heartfelt thanks to Shanghai Jiao Tong University for actively organizing this activity on the theme of resilient urban landscape. ​ ​ Professor Bart Johnson focuses on “Creating and Maintaining Climate Resilient Cities”, calling for active response to the climate crisis to predict future changes and take action before it occurs, explores various strategies to adapt cities to rapid climate change within the framework.With the title of “At the Frontline of Change – 17 Ways Landscape Architects are Contributing Towards Landscape Resilience”, Professor James Hayter proposed 17 corresponding approaches to resilient landscape design, corresponding to the 17 goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and encouraged everyone use the power of design to participate in the contribution of urban resilient landscape. Professor Che Shengquan introduced the framework of sponge city theory and practice through the cases Shanghai Jiao Tong University was involved. The current situation of urban stormwater management in China proposed a stormwater management plan and formed a technical system. At the same time, it was demonstrated and promoted in some cities in China. At the end of the webinar, Zhu Xiangming, President of the Shanghai Landscape Architecture Society, delivered a concluding speech. He believes that many cities in China and the world are facing the challenge of how to deal with the various environmental problems mentioned in today’s lectures. This seminar discussed how landscape architecture planning and design can deal with important issues such as climate change, sustainable development and ecological design, and called on professionals to work towards urban environmental issues, In the future, the society will also strengthen cooperation with universities, jointly promote the integration of production, education and research in design disciplines, provide more high-quality professional resources, and jointly contribute a more resilient and attractive global city of Shanghai.
April 19, 2022
APRU on Bloomberg: APRU Launches The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim
Original post on Bloomberg  APRU (the Association of Pacific Rim Universities) is proud to announce the launch of The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim. The publication is the result of a multi-year collaboration of scholars through the APRU Sustainable Cities & Landscape (SCL) Program activities and engagement within its global network. The handbook addresses a growing list of challenges faced by regions and cities in the Pacific Rim that are fundamental to sustainable development policies and planning practices. These include the connection between cities and surrounding landscapes, the persistence of environmental and development inequities, and the growing impacts of global climate change. This handbook emphasizes the importance of place-based approaches and collaborative, context-specific policies that are specific to the areas where they are being implemented. The publication features a wealth of case studies from the Pacific Rim, enabling a comparative lens and a comprehensive scope to examine innovative policy capacity. The rich cases from the Asia Pacific region support cities in overcoming their need for research and evidence-based actions as highlighted in another report: “The Future of Asian & Pacific Cities published by UN ESCAP and UN-Habitat.” Contributions to the book were made by 128 scholars based in the USA, Philippines, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Israel, Hong Kong, Canada, Thailand, Belgium, Indonesia, India, and Singapore. “This handbook is very much needed, given that much of the scholarly output on sustainable development to date has been developed in Europe and focuses on settings external to the fastest growing areas of the world, such as the coastal regions of the Asia Pacific,” said Dr. Christopher Tremewan, Secretary General of APRU. “This book appeals to scholars, researchers, and students in such disciplines or fields as landscape architecture, architecture, planning, public policy, law, urban studies, geography, environmental science, and area studies,” he added. The APRU Sustainable Cities & Landscape (SCL) Program was established in 2016, hosted by the University of Oregon, and supported by academic experts from 17 APRU member universities. This strong interconnection allows the SCL to draw on the strengths of differences across the region, using different viewpoints to solve urban and sustainability challenges that transcend city and country boundaries in the Pacific Rim. The development of the handbook’s content was supported by the annual SCL conferences in 2018, 2019, and 2020. The SCL Sydney conference in 2019 introduced and foregrounded the significant role of indigenous communities in elevating multi-generational and deeply place-based knowledge and working to increase advocacy and representation among historically marginalized stakeholders. Edited by Yizhao Yang of the University of Oregon, and Anne Taufen of the University of Washington, the handbook targets policymakers and public professionals who require a focused, yet complex understanding of the issues involved in climate action; elected leaders and local officials who are often striving to make connections among the relevant issues and identify opportunities for strategic collaboration; and regional stakeholders who want to see their challenges and successes represented in the studies and analysis that help inform policy decisions. The handbook offers rich teaching materials for classes focusing on sustainable cities and landscapes in fields of urban planning, landscape architecture, and public administration. It bridges academic and policy communities by illustrating the potential for professional development that is scientifically based, integrated across disciplines, and practical for implementation. “The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim is a significant reference volume appealing to readers across the academic and practitioner spectrum. We are delighted to have collaborated with APRU on the publication of this important project,” said Grace Harrison, Routledge Editor for Environment, Sustainability & Product Design. “The book’s editors and section editors have meticulously curated contributions from an international range of researchers investigating key issues facing regions and cities in the Pacific Rim,” she added. The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim is available for pre-order and will ship after March 9, 2022.
April 11, 2022
APRU on AP, AFP, Yahoo! Finance, Morningstar, BusinessWire, NBC & FOX channels, NHA & 200+ pieces of coverage: APRU launches The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim
APRU (the Association of Pacific Rim Universities) is proud to announce the launch of The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim. The publication is the result of a multi-year collaboration of scholars through the APRU Sustainable Cities & Landscape (SCL) Program’s activities and engagement within its global network.     The handbook addresses a growing list of challenges faced by regions and cities in the Pacific Rim that are fundamental to sustainable development policies and planning practices. These include the connection between cities and surrounding landscapes, the persistence of environmental and development inequities, and the growing impacts of global climate change. This handbook emphasizes the importance of place-based approaches and collaborative, context-specific policies that are specific to the areas where they are being implemented.    The publication features a wealth of case studies from the Pacific Rim, enabling a comparative lens and a comprehensive scope to examine innovative policy capacity. The rich cases from the Asia Pacific region support cities in overcoming their need for research and evidence-based actions as highlighted in another report: “The Future of Asian & Pacific Cities published by UN ESCAP and UN-Habitat.”    Contributions to the book were made by 128 scholars based in the USA, Philippines, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Israel, Hong Kong, Canada, Thailand, Belgium, Indonesia, India, and Singapore.     “This handbook is very much needed, given that much of the scholarly output on sustainable development to date has been developed in Europe and focuses on settings external to the fastest growing areas of the world, such as the coastal regions of the Asia Pacific,” said Dr. Christopher Tremewan, Secretary General of APRU.    “This book appeals to scholars, researchers, and students in such disciplines or fields as landscape architecture, architecture, planning, public policy, law, urban studies, geography, environmental science, and area studies,” he added.    The APRU Sustainable Cities & Landscape (SCL) Program was established in 2016, hosted by the University of Oregon, and supported by academic experts from 17 APRU member universities. This strong interconnection allows the SCL to draw on the strengths of differences across the region, using different viewpoints to solve urban and sustainability challenges that transcend city and country boundaries in the Pacific Rim.     The development of the handbook’s content was supported by the annual SCL conferences in 2018, 2019, and 2020. The conferences facilitated collaboration among contributors and helped maintain the momentum to keep the work on track. The safeguarding of momentum has been extremely important, given that much of the book’s content-development period took place after the pandemic had started.     Multiple meetings of the SCL steering committee helped shape the handbook’s scope and supported the important activities that have ensured its quality.    Leaders of the SCL Working groups were invited and engaged to invite contributors and circulate the call. Some chapters emerged from applied local design workshops with students and some were refined by the SCL-led online workshops that prepared participants for the online conference hosted after the pandemic had started.    The SCL Sydney conference in 2019 introduced and foregrounded the significant role of indigenous communities in elevating multi-generational and deeply place-based knowledge and working to increase advocacy and representation among historically marginalized stakeholders.     Edited by Yizhao Yang of the University of Oregon, and Anne Taufen of the University of Washington, the handbook targets policymakers and public professionals who require a focused, yet complex understanding of the issues involved in climate action; elected leaders and local officials who are often striving to make connections among the relevant issues and identify opportunities for strategic collaboration; and regional stakeholders who want to see their challenges and successes represented in the studies and analysis that help inform policy decisions.     The handbook offers rich teaching materials for classes focusing on sustainable cities and landscapes in fields of urban planning, landscape architecture, and public administration.     It bridges academic and policy communities by illustrating the potential for professional development that is scientifically based, integrated across disciplines, and practical for implementation.    “The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim is a significant reference volume appealing to readers across the academic and practitioner spectrum. We are delighted to have collaborated with APRU on the publication of this important project” said Grace Harrison, Routledge Editor for Environment, Sustainability & Product Design.    “The book’s editors and section editors have meticulously curated contributions from an international range of researchers investigating key issues facing regions and cities in the Pacific Rim,” she added.    The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim is available for pre-order and will ship after March 9, 2022.     Please see details here.    Contacts  Jack Ng, Director, Communications, APRU [email protected] 
February 24, 2022
APRU on Associated Press: APRU partners with United Nations ESCAP on The Asia Pacific Mayors Academy to Empower Mayors as Regional Leaders for Sustainability with Training Tailored to Unique Urban Challenges for a More Resilient Future
Original post in Associated Press. Co-organised with UN-Habitat, UCLG ASPAC, UNU-IAS, and IGES, the Academy helps regional city mayors to lead inclusive and sustainable future cities development and navigate challenging times in light of COVID-19 Held from November 2020 through May 2021, the second cohort of The Asia Pacific Mayors Academy recently concluded with a final module that saw 16 mayors participate from Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. For this capstone sixth module, the Academy focused on exploring future pathways to financing sustainable urban projects. Organised by six collaborating partners, The Asia Pacific Mayors Academy was launched in 2019 by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and United Cities and Local Governments Asia-Pacific (UCLG ASPAC) in cooperation with the United Nations University, Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and APRU (the Association of Pacific Rim Universities). Under the expertise of a faculty including regional experts from the APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Program, the Academy engages newly elected or appointed city mayors in Asia-Pacific to increase their understanding and application of sustainable urban development tools, resources and technical solutions. Together, this multi-stakeholder network of local leaders explores scenarios with specific challenges as well as relevant case studies to facilitate plans for sustainable solutions in their communities. For example, in the sixth module, the Academy discussed leveraging urban land value, co-creating private sector innovation, and promoting polluter-pay solutions to create long-term value for citizens, businesses, and the environment. Chris Tremewan, Secretary General of APRU, “APRU university experts work with city leaders and multilateral organizations to strengthen sustainable city development and to develop concrete plans for urban solutions. We are honoured to be one of the partners of the Academy. These specialised training sessions and knowledge exchanges have been invaluable during COVID-19 as we collectively respond to the crisis. We need to do everything we can to put cities on the path to recovery.” Stefanos Fotiou, Director, Environment and Development Division, ESCAP, “By drawing on multi-disciplinary members from across the Academy’s network, this unique and inclusive initiative supports mayors and the critical role their cities can play in realising the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Paris Climate Agreement. Starting local is essential to sustainability progress across the region, and it begins by addressing urban problems with smart sustainable solutions.” The Academy offers a robust curriculum including modules on Cities 2030 – Designing, Planning and Managing Sustainable Urban Development and COVID-19 Response and Recovery in hopes to see strengthened regional cooperation and mayors applying learnings to generate positive outcomes in Asia Pacific cities. To find out more: https://www.asiapacificmayorsacademy.org/call-for-expressions-of-interest
June 24, 2021
APRU on SCMP: Banning Plastic Cutlery Is Only One Part of Hong Kong’s Sustainability Challenge
Hong Kong can look to other cities to find better ways to manage plastic and other waste, use the lull in visitors to explore more sustainable forms of tourism and invest in workforce training for a more circular economy Original post on SCMP The public consultation in Hong Kong on the scheme to regulate disposable plastic tableware has sparked debate among green groups clamouring for faster action and more stringent measures. The scheme comes as sustainability demands our attention more than ever. Everyone can see how pollution has worsened during the pandemic as plastic waste plagues Hong Kong in ever more concerning amounts. Many other places are waging similar battles, as waste management systems across Asia-Pacific cities are overwhelmed with lockdowns and quarantines, forcing people to rely on deliveries and takeaways. Our reliance on plastic may be ingrained but we all know it’s a ticking time bomb that needs defusing. While this environmental cost looms large, the immediate concerns of many have understandably been focused on rebuilding post pandemic, with key industries such as tourism, aviation, hospitality and more upended. There is hope that we can secure Hong Kong’s future if we start tackling the problems today. The plastic cutlery scheme represents an important step forward – even if it may not go far enough, we need the positive momentum to build on. We need our local leaders to fix community issues to rebuild a more resilient city after Covid-19. How do we chart the best way forward? Inspiration from our peers may help. At the Asia-Pacific Mayors Academy, organised by the Association of Pacific Rim Universities and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), among others, I saw different mayors share their best practices. While each city faces unique circumstances, sustainable development can be adapted to local challenges as common threads hold true. For example, for Ormoc city in the Philippines, collaboration between the national and local government, private partners, NGOs and the public became a key to unlocking its holistic approach to battling waste issues. From building a more integrated solid waste management system and instituting a single-use plastic products ordinance, to healthy ocean projects that reduce marine waste, Ormoc engaged different stakeholders and used smart, green technologies and different financing mechanisms. These measures feed back into Ormoc’s Resilient and Green Recovery Plan to build a circular economy to uplift citizens and reduce vulnerabilities to crises. Some might feel Hong Kong needs to do more to clarify its sustainable development plan and how all the moving parts, such as the latest scheme, feed into it. Only with clear, measurable goals and a well-thought-out, multi-stakeholder engagement strategy can the city better educate people on how to effectively take part. While plastic waste during Covid-19 has been a massive issue, there are instances where the challenge was turned into an opportunity. For Koh Tao in Thailand, the pandemic reduced the popular dive destination’s daily visitors by over 90 per cent, leaving many struggling to find work. To help, the island secured funding to pay out-of-work tour boat operators and taxi drivers to clear waste from the beaches and waters. Not only did the community benefit from a cleaner environment and a source of income during challenging times, the programme also trained participants in financial literacy, courtesy of corporate sponsors. Now, Koh Tao is working on a “smart island” sustainable tourism model that would better manage its natural resources and biodiversity, economic stability and safety. Hong Kong is experiencing a pandemic-induced tourism lull. Is there a better way for us to operate once tourists return in numbers? Can we better use this time to invest in retooling people who are struggling? There is untapped potential for businesses and the workforce to thrive in a more circular economy– we just need to relentlessly foster the right capabilities and skill sets. Every city needs a cohesive vision as well as coordination and buy-in across different levels of society. We need to be on the same page about our collective problems and be engaged in debate over ways to address them. Prevention is better than cure. We need pragmatic, forward-looking solutions. The last thing we want is to burden future generations with our half-solved (or unsolved) mess.
August 31, 2021
APRU Student Global Climate Change Simulation Tackling Climate Change Head-On
In time for the upcoming COP26 meetings, 120 dedicated APRU students from across the Asia Pacific region and close on 40 expert speakers and facilitators from within and outside the APRU network contributed to and concluded the first APRU Climate Change Simulation. The 3-session is a role-playing exercise in which students formed multi-country, multi-disciplinary teams to slip intothe roles of delegates to the UN Climate Change Negotiations. The APRU Student Global Climate Change Simulation uses materials from Climate Interactive and the EN-ROADS simulation model developed by MIT. Live sessions and breakout room-discussions were supplemented with keynote presentations by experts from the IMF, adidas, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, short lectures from key experts across the network and other materials developed and curated by the APRU expert team. On the long list of intriguing topics were indigenous knowledge, planetary health, public health, coastal habitats, deforestation, clean energy, trading and offsets, as well as diplomacy and negotiation skills. APRU envisions the event to be the first of many activities to develop a network of committed citizens who tackle climate change head-on. “The opportunity to work across different disciplines, places and perspectives as part of this negotiation simulation wasa rare chance for students to learn about the complexities of developing solutions to urgent global challenges, the largest of which is climate change,” said Kathryn Bowen, Deputy Director of Melbourne Climate Future, University of Melbourne. Kristie Ebi, Professor at the Center for Health and the Global Environment, University of Washington, also one of the sixteen participating APRU experts actively facilitating the negotiations and discussions, added that “the APRU Student Global Climate Change Simulation represented a call to taking collective action against global warming.” The APRU Student Global Climate Change Simulation was co-organized by the APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Program housed at the University of Oregon and the APRU Global Health Program housed at the University of Southern California. External partners include Adidas, Rebalance Earth, Smart Energy Connect-CLP, Tuvalu Mo Te Atua, UN Habitat and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The participating students gave their thumbs up. For instance, Annette Benger, who studies Masters of Environment at Melbourne University, shared that the event has taken her understanding to the next level. “In my lectures on Sustainability and Behaviour Change, we are discussing the role of selfishness and altruism in human nature,” Benger said. “It is so easy to see so much selfishness, until you come across something like this, and we are all planning to keep in touch in our WhatsApp group,” she added.   The APRU Student Global Climate Change Simulation also impressed its facilitators, with Tze Kwan, Research Associate, Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions, National University of Singapore, labelling the event “super”successful. “I am honoured to be part of this and to have had the opportunity to share my interests with the participants,” Kwan said. “This event was such a valuable learning opportunity, making me hope more students will get to attend and be inspired to act in face of climate change,” she added. The APRU Partner Universities involved in the Student Global Climate Change Simulation are Monash University, Nanyang Technological University, Peking University, Tecnológico de Monterrey, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, The University of Auckland, The University of Melbourne, Tohoku University, Universidad San Francisco De Quito, Universiti Malaya, and University of Washington. Find out a featured article from University of Southern California, here. Find out a post-activity report from University of Oregon here. Read students’ feedback from a CUHK article here.
September 16, 2021
APRU on The Jakarta Post: A Mounting Battle that Starts at Home
Original post on The Jakarta Post Both at home and abroad, plastic waste is a mounting problem that is not going to disappear on its own. The United Nations estimates that 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into the ocean worldwide each year, with Indonesia contributing upward of 600,000 tons of marine plastic pollution according to the Indonesian Institute of Sciences. These levels are reported to make Indonesia the second largest marine plastic polluter after China. If this continues unchecked, the problem will only continue getting worse, especially during a pandemic where we rely on single-use plastic items such as takeaway cutlery and essential personal protective equipment gear like masks and gloves. There is no doubt the pandemic places huge pressure on waste infrastructure. According to UNEP, medical waste in the form of disposed COVID-19 tests and IV bags in Jakarta has risen by a staggering 500 percent, far outstripping the capacity to incinerate or sterilize it as required by law. Other Asian cities have reported similar spikes in plastic waste. While the Indonesian government has stated goals to triple the nation’s capacity to collect plastic waste by 2030, local leaders can – and must – take initiative to battle this growing crisis on the municipal level now. As highlighted by key members of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Sustainable Waste Management Program including program director Yong Sik Ok of Korea University and Tsinghua University’s  Xiaonan Wang, closing the plastic loop rests urgently on the collaboration of governments, researchers and industries toward intelligent design. So how do we begin on the local level? Knowledge sharing is an essential way forward and there are different lessons that can be learned from our neighboring peers. Through the Asia Pacific Mayor’s Academy organized by 6 collaborators including APRU and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), leaders from different cities across the region came together to discuss urban challenges and share solutions that may be applicable to different scenarios. The stories of a plethora of cities rebounding during unprecedented times sheds light on emerging possibilities to rebuild. Looking toward the Philippines in Ormoc city, multi-stakeholder engagement from different levels of government and the private sector along with NGOs and the public was a key to alleviating the city’s significant waste management issues. The implementation of a more integrated solid waste management system and single-use plastic products regulations ordinance was supplemented with complementary measures such as projects aimed at tackling marine waste to support healthy oceans. Besides launching new programs and engaging stakeholders, Ormoc has also emphasized smart green technology while looking out for new financing mechanisms that can supply the capital needed to fund the city’s burgeoning sustainability programs. Not only is this positively impacting the plastic waste problem, the multifaceted approach is driving a holistic Resilient and Green Recovery Plan focused on realizing a circular economy. This not only creates better livelihoods and standards of living for locals today with a cleaner and more efficient city, the new green infrastructure is seen as a way to help safeguard the city moving forward and secure its longevity. With clearly articulated objectives by the Ormoc mayor’s office, different parties across a range of industries can better understand how to progress their businesses while moving cohesively toward common goals that better society. An example of how industries have been forced to innovate in the wake of COVID-19 while tackling the rising plastic issue can be found in Koh Tao, Thailand. As tourism declined drastically during the pandemic, the island’s dive boats and tour operators lost the lifeblood of their businesses. To assist people seeking work, Koh Tao was able to secure funding that put people from the tourism and transport industries cleaning up the island. In addition to cleaning up marine waste while giving people an income during the height of the pandemic, the program also provided life skills with financial literacy training from company sponsors. This temporary measure is just one solid example of how a cleverly designed initiative can fulfill a variety of needs during a time of need. But while it’s important to tackle immediate problems (such as unemployment), it is also essential to focus on not just restoring the status quo, but doing so in a forward looking manner. Koh Tao leveraged the forced absence of tourists as an overdue opportunity to explore how best to implement a “Smart Island” sustainable tourism model. By factoring environmental impact more prominently into their operations, Koh Tao is forging a path that better manages natural resources and protects biodiversity while providing economic opportunities and stability to its citizens. For an economy that heavily depends on tourism, there was tremendous wherewithal and leadership needed to evaluate how to keep families afloat while also rebooting and rebuilding the economy with a more resilient and sustainable model. With Indonesia taking strides to address plastic waste with ambitious measures, it’s clear that there must be great participation and education across all levels of society and a wave of innovative solutions. There are reasons for optimism. It’s been reported that the Environment and Forestry Ministry has recently pushed producers to upcycle and repurpose waste raw material from trash banks into useful items. Such actions can go a long way towards realizing better waste management in a greener circular economy.
October 18, 2021