Sharing economy gets boost with new ISO international committee

ISO has recently established a technical committee to support this new business model in reaching its full potential.

Standardization can reduce these woes and exploit the benefits that such a business model can bring, by providing internationally-agreed ways of working that take into account everyone’s need
In 2017 ISO stepped in, bringing together some of the world’s leading experts on the subject to develop high-level international guidance and a foundation for future standards in the form of IWA 27, Guiding principles and framework for the sharing economy.

A lot has changed in the sharing economy in the ten or so years since the likes of Airbnb and Uber were launched. Then, there were just a handful of platforms, now there are literally thousands, some doing better than others. A few are going bankrupt, while others are worth a fortune, such as Uber, which was recently valued at USD 120 billion).

The sharing economy was born, at least in part, with the spirit of creating communities and reducing over-consumption. While some of that remains, there has also been a sharp shift of focus towards price and convenience, bringing with it as many opportunities as challenges. Consumers may pay less and get new forms of goods, services or experiences, but questions are sometimes raised over privacy, reliability or trustworthiness. There are also issues related to working conditions, providing convenience for some, precarity for others. Some believe that issues such as these are preventing the sharing economy from reaching its full potential.)

Read entire post Sharing economy gets boost with new ISO international committee | Clare Naden |

Ships and Maritime technology (TC 8)

Over the past few years, the tides of the maritime industry have been changing. There’s a push for safer, smarter, more environment-friendly and energy-efficient sea transport. Discover how ISO standards are redefining how the industry works.

Calgary forges ahead with ‘resilience’ plan despite folding of 100 Resilient Cities program

City staff say they will forge ahead with plans to implement a “resilience strategy” this spring despite the news earlier this month that the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program will end funding and wrap up operations by this summer.

“(Despite) the announcement from 100RC, we continue with the development of our strategy. We’re just kind of ready to cross the finish line here,” deputy city manager Brad Stevens said following the announcement from the Rockefeller Foundation. “We’ll be releasing our strategy in the next couple of months.”

Calgary was first selected in 2016 to join the network of global cities — including New York, Toronto and Mexico City — to tackle problems facing urban centres, including high unemployment, economic diversification and extreme weather events.

Read entire post City forges ahead with ‘resilience’ plan despite folding of 100 Resilient Cities program  |  Meghan Potkins  |  Calgary Herald

Smart cities hold the key to sustainable development

Asia and the Pacific’s phenomenal development has been a story of rapid urbanization. As centres of innovation, entrepreneurship and opportunity, cities have drawn talent from across our region and driven economic growth which has transformed our societies. In southeast Asia alone, cities generate 65 % of the region’s GDP. Yet the ongoing scale of urbanization is a considerable challenge, one which puts huge pressure on essential public services, housing availability and the environment.

How we respond to this pressure is likely to decide whether recent development gains can be made sustainable.

How we respond to this pressure, how we manage our urban centres and plan for their future expansion in Asia and the Pacific, is likely to decide whether recent development gains can be made sustainable.

It is of primordial importance to Malaysia as its economy powers towards high income status. In ASEAN countries, 90 million more persons are expected to move to cities by 2030. Accommodating this influx sustainably will determine whether the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can be achieved, and the climate targets of the Paris Climate Agreement can be met.

Mysterious Orcas confirmed alive in new video

They were first documented in 1955 when more than a dozen unidentified animals were found beached on the coast of New Zealand. Compared with other types of orcas, these killer whales have a more rounded head, a narrower and more pointed dorsal fin, and a small white eyepatch.

The orcas were seen off the tip of southern Chile in January 2019. Type D killer whales live in the subantarctic, home to some of the world’s stormiest waters. This inhospitable environment, and the fact that they aren’t usually found near shore, makes them nearly impossible to study. The scientists expect lab results to show that the Type D killer whale is a new species, and the largest undescribed animal left on the planet.

Watch more by National Geographic:

Resilient Animals – Sea Turtles

Find out about the ancient mariners’ oldest known ancestor, how certain adaptations may have helped the reptiles survive, and the conservation efforts being made to save these creatures.

What Sperm Whales can teach us about humanity

Sperm whales are only at the surface for about 15 or 20 minutes at a time, yet photographer Brian Skerry is able to capture beautiful moments of these giant undersea predators.

He experienced the rare opportunity to photograph a social gathering of six sperm whales near the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica. He witnessed fascinating behavior such as whales playfully biting each other, rolling around, and babysitting. This assignment made Skerry realize that sperm whales are complex animals that have identity and personality, and exhibit traits similar to human beings.

Tiger population sees hopeful rise in Nepal

Scientists estimate there are now 235 wild bengal tigers in Nepal, a huge leap from 2009, when there were only about 120 of the endangered animals.

In just the last four years, the population jumped nearly 20 percent, up from 198 of the animals, according to analysis performed by Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, along with conservation groups including Panthera and the Zoological Society of London.

The groups used images from camera traps and employed statistical models for the estimate of animals in five of the country’s national parks. Scientists hope success with Nepal’s tiger conservation ‘recipe’ might inspire other countries within wild tiger ranges to increase their efforts to protect and study the iconic and beloved big cats.

> Read entire article Nepal’s Tiger Population Nearly Doubles in Last Decade | National Geographic


Fur Seals overcome extinction on ‘Resurrection Island’

It’s a life of extremes for Antarctic fur seals. Bulls fight to the death for breeding rights, while seal moms work to raise their adorable pups. And National Geographic wildlife filmmaker Bertie Gregory was there to capture it all.

National Geographic wildlife filmmaker Bertie Gregory takes audiences on an adventure to iconic South Georgia Island. Sailing through the roughest ocean on the planet in a 50-foot boat, his team’s target is the sub-Antarctic island, known for its breathtaking scenery and high concentration of wildlife.

Rescuers release 20 Javan slow lorises back into the wild

International Animal Rescue recently released 20 Javan slow lorises in Bandung, West Java. Javan slow lorises (Nycticebus javanicus) are protected primates and yet are heavily trafficked in the wildlife trade.

They are widely kept as exotic pets. The 20 animals were surrendered by their owners between 2015 and 2018. After passing a series of medical exams and a rehabilitation process, they were then transferred to Masigit-Kareumbi Conservation Forest Area and kept in enclosures to adapt to their natural habitat. The forest is a protected area with an appropriate ecosystem for their recovery. Conservationists will observe the animals for up to four weeks to see if they are ready to be released into the wild.

Hurricanes 101 | National Geographic

Hurricanes are the most powerful storms known to us.

Find out when hurricane season peaks, how the storms form, and the surprising role they play in the larger global ecosystem.

How a new generation is saving Zambia’s lions

National Geographic Explorer Thandiwe Mweetwa and Fulbright Scholar Henry Mwape are conservationists working with the Zambian Carnivore Program to ensure these big cats will be around for generations to come.