Apps for Sustainability

Technology to serve sustainability

Technology aims to serve and ease human beings’ daily activity. This blog has the goal to show how technology, in particular through some “apps”, support the monitoring, control, recommending and/or fostering sustainable habits in the citizens. Some of these apps are:


joulebugEach time you do something that shows you made an effort toward sustainability, the app rewards you with badges, points and pins. For instance, if you remember to use a reusable coffee mug versus paper cup, points for you! It works in a community, so that you can compare your performance with that of your friends. Also the bonus feature of JouleBug is the option to sync up to utility bills to see just how much is saved each month.

Available: Android, iOS.

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Education and sustainability

the sdg an their commitment in education

According to the UNDP – United Nations Development Programme until 2015, deadline date from the Millennium Development Goals MDG:

  • The total enrollment rate in developing regions reached 91% but 57 million of children had still no access to education
  • More than half the non-enrolled children live in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Approximately 50% from the children not attending to school live in conflict-affected areas
  • Worldwide 103 million young people have a minimum level of literacy, and more than 60% are women

Education-for-Sustainable-DevelopmentAccording to Rachel Outhred, Education Metrics Lead and Senior Consultant at Oxford Policy Management (interview at JP-IK magazine January 2016), talking about Education, the MDG differ from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as the latter focus more on quality, scope and equality, while not only in the enrollment and completion of studies. They also include an increased on the involvement of target countries and a focus on sustainability.

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International commitment for sustainability

The Sustainable Development Goals SDG

As many know, it was in year 2000 when de Millennium Development Goals (MDG) were enacted with the commitment of achievement by 2015. The MDG had the purpose of improvement of the conditions in eight specific topics: 1. Poverty; 2. Primary education; 3. Gender equality; 4. Child mortality; 5. Maternal health; 6. Special diseases; 7. Environmental sustainability; and 8. Partnership.

In order to give continuity to the commitments established by the MDG, on 25 September 2015, the UN  enacted the Official Agenda for Sustainable Development outlining the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and its associated 169 valid until 2030. The SDG are:


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Competences for sustainability

sustainable people

Sustainable development encompasses uncertainty, complexity and challenge. It can only be achieved through the action of people who share the vision of sustainability and has developed some specific competences that provide them with the interest and commitment to act towards sustainability. Which are these important competences? As Wiek et al, 2011 indicated, the key competences for sustainability are:

Systems thinking competence

“ability to collectively analyze complex systems across different domains (society, environment, economy, etc.) and across different scales (local to global), thereby considering cascading effects, inertia, feedback loops and other systemic features.”

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Ecodesign Award 2015


In October, it was celebrated the Catalonia Ecodesign Award 2015. Among the projects of interest in the area digital and sustainability, the following can be mentioned:

It’s a compact luminary with LED technology that offers cool downlighthigh lighting efficiency and visual comfort on an elegant and compact design. It stands out because of integrating concepts of the circular economy like lengthen the useful lifecycle of the product and its design for dismantle.

  • Fliwer

It’s a technological system aimed to the optimisation of irrigation at the agricultural and gardening sector. It’s monitors and controls take into account meteorology and therefore provides the necessary water to the plants. It can be used by remote control from a computer, smartphone or tablet.

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Beyond PARIS 2015 

Strategies to tackle Climate Change

The Climate Summit is over and it has produced what was called a successful agreement among almost all countries in the world. 186 from the 195 participant countries in the summit have already committed to make and implement national plans -and to review them every 5 years- to fight against climate change. The main points treated on the agreement are:

  • The global temperature increase must remain below 2°C by the end of the century
  • By the mid-century it should be reached an “equilibrium” among emissions and the capability to absorb them, mainly CO2
  • It is a legal binding agreement. However the national emission reduction goals will not be binding.
  • A finance of around USD 100.000 million for developing countries as of 2020
  • It will be reviewed every 5 years
  • Every country should made a national inventory of emissions to allow measurement, control and improvement.

According to the national plan strategies set on the table the result of their implementation will be still an increase of 3°C in the global temperature. Therefore the importance of stricter strategies which involve bigger commitment from all stakeholders, including business and civil society; the use of new technologies; and the national 5-year plan reviews. Some strategies from national plans will include some of following elements:

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CO2 emission to attend the climate change conference

How much CO2 is emitted to attend the UN climate change conference?

I know I may be a little bit skeptical and hard demanding, but I always wonder the real co2 airplanepositive outcome from the yearly negotiations in the UN climate change conferences (COPs). For me, it always sounds like the same, Europe committing
reduce CO2 by substituting the use of oil with renewable energies; US, India and China trying to refuse to a boundary commitment; the developing countries demanding more “flexibility” and support to allow their development …

But I do not want to discuss about the outcomes from these conferences, but just wonder, if more than 150 State representatives (presidents, ministers…) travel to the conference -of course on an airplane-,  how much CO2 does the attendance to the climate change conference produce then? which is its footprint?

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