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The Future of Apropriate Technology

appropriate technoloy aid programs developing countries poverty sustainable development

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#1
caltrek

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http://phys.org/news...technology.html

 

Being one the older members of this forum, I remember when the concept of "appropriate technology" was something of a fad. It seems to me in recent years that fad has faded and there is little discussion of the topic in comparison with its peak in popularity.  So I googled the topic and came upon the article the link to which I have provided above.  Although I have cited extracts below, I encourage the reader to read the entire article.  It is not that long and I am am hopeful that it will help to introduce the topic to this forum.

 

 

 

 

E.F. Schumacher published Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, and the emphasis changed to what was dubbed "appropriate technology"...The appropriate technology movement died peacefully in its sleep ten years ago...it inspired politicians as different as Pat Brown in California and Jawarhal Nehru in India...The appropriate technology movement died because it was led by well-intentional tinkerers instead of hard-nosed entrepreneurs designing the market. In her book Dead Aid, ...Dambesa Moyo...notes that aid is counterproductive. She quotes a World Bank study that found 85% of aid is misused.  She argues that large aid inflows tend to reduce a government's accountability to its citizens.                                                                                                                                                                                      So there appears to be two opposing views: the bottom-up approach, in which one only responds to what people want, and the top-down approach, where you give people what you think they need. But there is an intermediate approach, in which there are some things that should be given because they are basic human needs, while other things the recipients should be allowed to choose for themselves...So it would seem that the old style appropriate technology project has essentially died, but a new kind of project with better market orientation, but still very much appropriate, has emerged from the ashes.

 

Edit:

 

Here is a link to the Wikipedia write-up on the subject.  It is a bit longer than the original article I cited, but may be helpful in understanding the concept. 

 

https://en.wikipedia...iate_technology


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#2
caltrek

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According to Dr. J. Harger, an outspoken program specialist in the UNESCO Jakarta Office of Science and Technology for Southeast Asia, there is a new generation of ecologists in Indonesian government who were trained outside the country and understand quire thoroughly what needs to be done.  But they are too few...to engender anything like a national consciousness.  In the late 1960s, while at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Harger, a New Zealander, was one of the initiators of the Greenpeace concept.  For him, the saving of Indonesia is the most important ecological battle to be fought anywhere on the planet...."Most ecological monies in the country come with donor assistance," he told me impassionedly one morning. 'The Indonesians need help, they are begging for help, they are prepared to make adjustments, but they need help.  The onus of arriving at a solution must cut just as deeply in developed, as developing countries.  Until that happens, nothing will change.  For years now the U.S. policy has stated, 'Not open to negotiation." OK, says the South, we'll all go down together if that's how you want to play it. Vice President Gore's statements are good'...but it's easy to write this stuff. Has he paid his dues?" 

 Source: World War III, Michael Tobias, 1994.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#3
caltrek

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To address this structural inequity sufficiently to persuade fast-growing countries, like China and India not to destabilize the global climate system, early emitters, like North America and Europe, will have to take a greater share of the burden at first.  And there will obviously need to be substantial transfers of resources and technology to help battle poverty using low carbon tools.  This is what Bolivia's climate negotiator Angelica Navarro Llanos meant when she called for a Marshall Plan for the Earth.

 Source: This Changes Everything, Capitalism vs The Climate, Naomi Klein


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#4
caltrek

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Here is another citation from Klein's book that reminded me of this thread:

 

 

----"agroecology", a less understood practice in which small-scale farmers use sustainable methods based on a combination of modern science and local knowledge.

 

Based on the principle that farming should maximize species diversity and enhance natural systems of soil protection and pest control, agroecology looks different wherever its holistic techniques are practiced.  But a report in National Geographic  provides a helpful overview of how these principles translate in a few different contexts: the integration of "trees and shrubs into crop and livestock fields; solar-powered drip irrigation, which delivers water directly to plant roots; intercropping, which involves planting two or more crops near each other to maximize the use of light, water, and nutrients, and the use of green manures, which are quick-growing plants that help prevent erosion and replace nutrients in the soil."

 

These methods and many others maintain healthy soil while producing nutritious food - more than industrial agriculture does, per unit area - and limit the need for farmers to buy expensive products like chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and patented seeds.  But many farmers who have long used these methods have realized that they also have a triple climate benefit: they sequester carbon in the soil, avoid fossil fuel-based fertilizers, and often us less carbon for transportation to market, in addition to better withstanding extreme weather and other climate impacts.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#5
caltrek

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Ok, this article is way too long to try and make appropriate extracts from it.  Still, it has some nice insights that fit well into the theme of this thread.  Wendell Berry is awesome.

 

https://www.organicc...ndell062404.php


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#6
caltrek

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For some reason, I thought of this thread when I read the article I have linked below.

 

The Rights of Nature

 

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/39105-the-rights-of-nature-indigenous-philosophies-reframing-law

 

Introduction:

 

Indigenous battles to defend nature have taken to the streets, leading to powerful mobilizations like the gathering at Standing Rock. They have also taken to the courts, through the development of innovative legal ways of protecting nature. In Ecuador, Bolivia and New Zealand, indigenous activism has helped spur the creation of a novel legal phenomenon -- the idea that nature itself can have rights.

 

The 2008 constitution of Ecuador was the first national constitution to establish rights of nature. In this legal paradigm shift, nature changed from being held as property to a rights-bearing entity.

 

Rights are typically given to actors who can claim them -- humans -- but they have expanded especially in recent years to non-human entities such as corporations, animals and the natural environment.

 

The notion that nature has rights is a huge conceptual advance in protecting the Earth. Prior to this framework, an environmental lawsuit could only be filed if a personal human injury was proven in connection to the environment. This can be quite difficult. Under Ecuadorian law, people can now sue on the ecosystem's behalf, without it being connected to a direct human injury.

 

The Kichwa notion of "Sumak Kawsay" or "buen vivir" in Spanish translates roughly to good living in English. It expresses the idea of harmonious, balanced living among people and nature. The idea centers on living "well" rather than "better" and thus rejects the capitalist logic of increasing accumulation and material improvement. In that sense, this model provides an alternative to the model of development, by instead prioritizing living sustainably with Pachamama, the Andean goddess of mother earth. Nature is conceived as part of the social fabric of life, rather than a resource to be exploited or as a tool of production.

 

2017_0115in_.jpg

 

Cofan Indigenous leader Emergildo Criollo looks over an oil contaminated river near his home in northern Ecuador.

(Photo: Caroline Bennett / Rainforest Action Network (flickr))


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#7
caltrek

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13962559_1307873152557574_34410517174599

 

Edit: Here is more on William:

 

https://en.wikipedia...lliam_Kamkwamba


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#8
caltrek

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Grow Ahead: Crowdfunding Climate Resilience

 

http://fairworldproj...-Resilience.pdf

 

Introduction:

 

Industrial agriculture and food production is a major contributor to climate change, and the small-scale farmers whose regenerative practices our future relies on are bearing the brunt of the impacts. In recent years, these farmers have experienced increasing pest pressure, decreasing yields and a quicklychanging landscape — all of which are threatening their livelihoods. Considering that small-scale farmers feed the majority of the developing world, the implications are serious. Agroecological strategies for combating climate change and feeding hungry communities, such as using covercrops and compost to boost soil organic matter and fertility, must be a global priority, scaling up and out in coming years.

 

Despite the serious threat that climate change poses to humanity in general, and to small-scale farmers in particular, proven solutions like small-scale regenerative agriculture receive little government or market support and safeguards. Supporting and developing small-scale regenerative farming, however, will require significant resources, research and funding.

 

 Experience has shown that farmers around the world learn best from their peers. Emerging from Central America in the 1970s, the “Farmer-to-Farmer” movement has fueled the training of thousands of peasant farmers by facilitating the exchange of practical experiences and best practices. This movement is based upon community empowerment, traditional knowledge, and local innovation and cooperation.

 

In 2015, Fair World Project (FWP) collaborated with the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fair Trade Small Producers (CLAC) in a contest soliciting small-scale farmer groups to share their experiences and best practices in confronting climate change in their communities. Experience has shown that small-scale farmers are the most cost-effective vehicle for scaling out agroecological practices. Small-scale farmer organizations have the potential to quickly and effectively implement cost-effective climate-resilient tactics, while simultaneously multiplying their experience and organizational impact. Farmer submissions demonstrated impressive steps taken by these organizations to adjust to the growing challenge of climate change, by diversifying farms, promoting on-farm innovation, and improving soil fertility, among other practices. 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#9
caltrek

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Although the article cited below does not discuss appropriate technology directly, it does address the whole notion of sustainable development which lies at the core of the support for appropriate technology.

 

Some Community Foundations Take Strong Lead in Sustainable Development

 

https://nonprofitqua...le-development/

 

Introduction:

 

(Nonprofit Quarterly) Increasingly, community foundations are being viewed as “essential partners in achieving the United Nations [UN] Sustainable Development Goals,” writes Catherine Cheney for Devex. One reason for this shift is the expansion of the community foundation idea: while US community foundations still have far greater assets, the majority of community foundations (about 1,050 of 1,800) now operate outside the US. An added factor is that unlike the UN’s 1990–2015 Millennium Development Goals, which largely focused on developing countries, the 2015–2030 Sustainable Development Goals apply more broadly to both the Global South and Global North.

 

The Sustainable Development Goals are both broader and also more ambitious in scope than the UN’s Millennium Goals were. Notably, the UN’s millennium goals did not promise to end poverty, but rather sought to cut extreme poverty in half between 1990 and 2015. That goal was achieved five years early, in 2010. Even so, 800 million people worldwide still live in what the UN defines as extreme poverty, earning less than $1.25 a day. The very first two Sustainable Development Goals, by contrast, aim to “end poverty and hunger everywhere by 2030.”

 

In addition to being more ambitious, the Sustainable Development Goals are broader, with the number of overall goals increased from eight to 17. Some of the new goals arguably just provide greater specificity in the area of environmental sustainability. Six of the goals— clean energy, clean water, sustainable cities, responsible consumption and production, protection of life on land, and protection of sea life on water—could fit within that category. But others—such as reduced inequality, decent work, infrastructure, and strong institutions—are entirely new.

 

The bottom line is that the UN framework introduces a much broader agenda that could conceivably touch nearly every community. As Diana Campoamor wrote for NPQ in 2016,

 

Many of us hear “sustainable development goals” and picture a poor rural village in Sierra Leone, or a hungry child in Bolivia. But the 17 goals that all 193 countries that are members of the United Nations (UN) adopted at a summit in 2015 aren’t just a framework for faraway international issues. In fact, many of the issues addressed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are all too real in the US: gender inequality, poverty, hunger, quality education, environmental sustainability…the list goes on.

UN-SD-goals.jpg


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#10
Jakob

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The term sounds petty Orwellian to be honest.



#11
caltrek

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^^^ I really don't see how you arrive at that conclusion.  

 

Perhaps you just don't like the implications for possibly introducing the idea of government planning?


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#12
caltrek

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OPINION: WHY TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE — NOT EXTERNAL TECH — IS THE KEY TO TRULY SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
 

 

https://ensia.com/vo...genous-farmers/

 

Introduction:

(Ensia) July 10, 2019 — The idea that our current agricultural and food system needs adjusting isn’t exactly revolutionary these days. In fact, many scientists and others believe that it could use an entire overhaul. After decades of technological advances focused on grain production and the development of synthetic inputs, there is finally recognition that the benefits — higher crop yields and increased food supply — also come with side effects. These include widespread soil and water contamination, human displacement from the expansion of large-scale monoculture farm operations, health impacts including diabetes, and heavy reliance on fossil fuels, among others.

 

The solution to these problems, as suggested by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, is to transition to sustainable agriculture. Hardly a novel concept, sustainable agriculture is something indigenous groups have been developing and practicing for eons. Yet it wasn’t until the early 20th century, at the advent of industrialized agriculture, that visionaries such as Eve Balfour and Lord Northbourne began to popularize the term through their work confirming the importance of diversity, ecological knowledge and a strong human/nature connection, as well as the value of small-scale family farming, which, despite the popular misconception that industrial systems are necessary to feed growing populations, continues to produce most of our food with fewer resources and less harmful impacts than the industrial model.

 

While it’s encouraging to see the latest wave of interest to transform the way we farm and eat — thanks in part to growing awareness of climate change (agriculture currently produces roughly 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions, rising to as high as 29% taking into account the entire food system) — the increasingly simplified version of sustainable agriculture currently being sold to the public and to farmers is concerning. Specifically, we fear the growing trend of “input substitution” — that is, the mere swapping of chemical products, usually fertilizers and pesticides, for those that are organic and therefore considered less harmful and more “sustainable.”

 

Don’t get us wrong: We support action that motivates farmers and consumers to make the switch from conventional to organic. Still, it is high time to distinguish what is truly sustainable from what is just another spin on the one-size-fits-all, technology-focused solutions that got us into this mess in the first place.

Voice_Einbinder_main-920x458.jpg

Illustration by Sean Quin


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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls






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