Blogging pause – I’ll be back!

If you happen to read this blog, you may notice that it has been a long time since I’ve blogged. Well, I just have too many other things to do. But, I’ll be back. I don’t know exactly when, but I’m looking forward to that day! 🙂

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Population, part 4: We’re all getting older!

I found two more thought-provoking links, when I surfed around the other day. Both of them are based on 2010  data from the United Nations, so they are not updated after the latest forecast, but still… You fill in basic data like your birth date, gender and country and get some interesting statistics to bring perspective to your life.

http://www.7billionandme.org/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-15391515

To me it was a shocker to find out that I’m older than 75,6 % of the population in the world (I was born in the early sixties). But what hit me the most was that the lowest life expectancy was only 45,9 years (Central African Republic), according to the BBC site. If I had been born there, statistically speaking I’d be dead by now!

Since this is old data, I give you some 2013 estimates from the World Factbook of CIA. The top countries in the ”life expectancy at birth” list:

1.Monaco          89,63 years
2.Macau           84,46 years
3.Japan            84,19 years
4.Singapore     84,07 years
5.San Marino  83,12 years

 

…and the ones in the bottom of the list:

219.Afghanistan      50,11 years
220.Swaziland          50,01 years
221.Guinea-Bissau  49,50 years
222.South Africa     49,48 years
223.Chad                   49, 07 years

 

Sweden is in place 17 with a life expectancy of 81,28 years.

I think these numbers reflect a tragic reality. Depending on where you happen to be born the difference in your average lifespan can be as much as 35-40 years.

But this is hopefully changing in the future. Once again I refer to the report ”World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision, Key Findings and Advance Tables” from the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations.

The report says that “Globally, life expectancy at birth is projected to rise from 69 years in 2005-2010 to 76 years in 2045-2050 and to 82 years in 2095-2100. In the more developed regions, the projected increase is from 77 years in 2005-2010 to 83 years in 2045-2050 and to 89 years in 2095-2100…”.  “Life expectancy remains low in the least developed countries, at just 58 years in 2005-2010. Although it is projected to reach 70 years in 2045-2050 and 78 years in 2095-2100, realizing such an increase is contingent on reducing the spread of HIV and combating successfully other infectious diseases as well as non-communicable diseases.”

This means that there is much work left to do to increase the life expectancy in the least developed and developing countries! There will probably still be a difference in how long you will live, depending on where you happen to be born, but on average that difference is estimated to decrease to ten years from today’s 35-40 years.small_7013663759

I feel that there is more to say about how to handle the fact that the population is getting older, but I’ll save that for another day. Until then, live long and prosper!

photo credit: ~ Ashwin ~ via photopin cc

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Population, part 3: New forecast from the UN – 10,9 billion people by 2100!

Today, in my local newspaper Göteborgs-Posten, I saw a small article  that the United Nations had produced a new forecast of the world population. Internet to the rescue: I found what I think is the source, a dispatch from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), June 13, which you can read here. The dispatch refers to a short report (only 7 pages) called ”World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision, Key Findings and Advance Tables” from the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations.

Some highlights from the report, such as the new likely forecast:

  • 2025: 8,1 billion
  • 2050: 9,6 billion
  • 2100: 10,9 billion

This can still vary quite a lot depending on how the fertility rates will turn out. The new UN high projection suggests that we could be 16,6 billion and the low projection says that we could be 6,8 billion by 2100. One should also bear in mind that the forecast relies on the fact that family planning will be used more throughout the world in the future, thus decreasing the fertility rates. If we should have the same fertility rates as during 2005 – 2010, we could have a total population near 30 billion in 2100. Something to think about…

This forecast estimates a higher total population than the previous one (almost a billion more in 2100 than earlier thought). Three main reasons are given for this:

  1. Fertility levels have been adjusted upward in a number of countries on the basis of recently available information. In some cases, the actual level of fertility appears to have risen in recent years; in other cases, the previous estimate was too low.
  2. Slight modifications in the projected fertility rates of some very populous countries have yielded important differences in long-run forecasts.
  3. Future levels of life expectancy at birth are slightly higher in several countries in this latest projection.

According to this report, the growth will mainly be in developing countries. Growth is expected to be particularly dramatic in the least developed countries of the world, which are projected to double in size from 898 million inhabitants in 2013 to 1.8 billion in 2050 and to 2.9 billion in 2100.
The population of  developed countries will be  changed minimally and would decline if not for the migration from developing countries  to developed countries.

I will update my Population page at once!

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Music to listen to when you save the world, part 4

I have no idea what the lyrics of this song mean. Is it about somebody coming out of a depression? Is it about evolution? I don’t know. What I do know is that I only need to hear the intro of this song and it immediately fills me with joy. “Good Thing” is sung by the Swedish artist Rebecka Törnqvist and is written by her and Pål Svenre. Enjoy!

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Renewable energy – one step at a time!

This post has also been inspired by a TED blog post, but rather than to reblog their post, I wanted to shorten it a bit and tweak it in my own way. (Although I will give you the link to their blog below, so you can read it all if you want to).

The TED blog post mentions two companies which have the idea to harvest energy created by persons walking. They both have a special tile that is pressed down when a person steps on it and the kinetic energy is then transformed into electricity by whatever technology they use. One company is based in Netherlands and is called Energy Floors. The other, called Pavegen Systems, is based in the United Kingdom. I googled a bit and found information about a Japanese company called Soundpower corporation, which also have been working on similar ideas for some years.

This sounds like a completely brilliant idea, but all companies seem to operate on a rather small scale so far. I don’t know why, but I can guess that it’s too hard to get a good pay-off  (at least yet). The amount of energy harvested from every person is very small, but without actually knowing, I still think that this technology ought to be perfect in some environments, such as malls, train stations and other areas with a lot of pedestrians.

Below you can see a six-minute TED Talks lecture from Laurence Kemball-Cook, founder and CEO of Pavegen Systems, talking about the idea.

http://blog.ted.com/2013/06/03/energy-from-your-feet-when-sidewalks-and-dance-floors-become-energy-sources/

http://www.sustainabledanceclub.com/

http://www.pavegen.com/

http://web-japan.org/trends/09_sci-tech/sci100107.html

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How to change behaviour in order to save energy

I saw this lecture on Ted Talks, which I recommend. It takes roughly eight minutes to watch. It is a man called Alex Laskey, co-founder and president of a company called Opower (which I admittedly have never heard of before) that in an inspiring way talks about what he thinks is the most effective method for us to change behaviour when it comes to saving energy. Spoiler alert: Peer pressure is important.
In his speech he focuses on household savings, but I think this method must also be effective for the industry as well (as they often use benchmarking as a tool).

Anyway, I think that Alex absolutely has a point. To be able to change it is important to get feedback on your behaviour and to be able to relate that to a target in a good way.

E.ON, a Swedish company that sells electricity to households and companies, made an experiment starting in February 2012. They gave 10 000 Swedish households a measurement tool and also access to a mobile app, so they were able to follow their electricity consumption in real-time during a year. According to their website 40 % of the households saved 8 % of their electricity consumption during the year, which is amazing.  (I would love to read more about the results from the E.ON experiment, but that’s all what it says. For all I know the rest of the households may have spent more electricity than before…) Anyway, feedback is important!

(Link in Swedish: http://www.eon.se/experimentet )

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Which Countries Use the Most Renewable Energy? By Percentage

Message from Hildur: You may wonder why I haven’t blogged much lately. Partly it is because I have had other things to to, but partly also because I have found so much fascinating material to read. Here I reblog a post which I found interesting. Actually, I have found the whole blog very interesting, but I will not reblog every post from it. I’m sure you’re welcome to explore it on your own! 🙂

rethink. renew. revive.

Last week I posted a list of the 5 Countries that produce the most renewable energy.  Not suprisingly, the countries on the list tended to be large countries that also consumed the highest amounts of electricity.  In fact, three of the countries on the list were also in the top 5 Coal consumers.

While it is definately worth recognizing those countries for increasing the amount of renewable electricity generation in their country and worldwide, I thought (and readers agreed) that we should take a look at which countries produce the largest portion of their electricity from renewable sources.  In this way, we can see which countries have invested the most in setting up a sustainable energy future, regardless of size.  So, with that I give you the Top 5 Renewable Energy Producer’s by Percentage:

note:  This ranking was tough to determine, based on several different sources, with different classifications…

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