VGG Articles

International Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development ("IIPSD")

The International Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development or IIPSD is a graduate research institute that has two projects being planned in Latin America (Costa Rica) and Southeast Asia (Malaysia).

Set in Janda Baik a small village Pahang, Malaysia, the Institute will become the ASEAN headquarters and will focus on graduate degrees in Regenerative Development, The Blue Economy, Sustainable Project Management, and Peace Studies and more.

It will be the first graduate University of its kind as it will be carbon negative by design and use project-based learning based on the UN PRME six principles as its principle foundation. Through the content of the programs offered by the Institute, students will be educated in sustainability with a focus on subjects such as gender equality, peace, human rights and regenerative development.It is the first of its kind and will be a catalyst for capacity building around climate change and sustainable management. It will be developed partly in conjunction with current educational leader University for international cooperation ("UCI").

The consortium team of Green Project Management (GPM), Village Green Global Inc. (VGG) and Lance Capital plan to build an institute that is a leader in the region for training in sustainable development. The project expects to educate up to 34,000 students per year within 10 years of commencement and has a first phase budgeted cost of USD $150 million.

GPM has been an active voice in the United Nations Global Compact since 2013, a voluntary initiative based on CEO commitments to implement

Entities that are involved in impact investment, clean energy production, CSR, SRI and education will be best suited to this opportunity. 

Seed investment has already been raised for these projects and the long-term investment has also been pledged. This opportunity is for short term (6-12 month) investment, carrying above market returns.

For more information, contact me directly on doug@villagegreenglobal.com

city scape

city scape

Sustainable Practice for Community Rebuilding

 

Disclaimer

Due to the evolving threat to loss of human life, loss of animals, property destruction and community displacement caused by the 2019-2020 bushfires in Australia, numbers reported in this discussion paper may become understated. 


This document is set to American English


Definition

Bushfire - a fire in scrub or a forest, especially one that spreads rapidly.

Wildfire- a fire that starts, usually by itself, in a wild area such as a forest, and spreads rapidly, causing great damage. 


Overview 

Two months before Summer commenced in Australia in 2019, the country began seeing bushfires (wildfires) in multiple locations around Australia. Australia has a history of bushfires and the management thereof every summer, but never so early in the summer season. 

As of writing, fires are nationwide in all six states of Australia, 25 lives have been lost, over 1 billion animals have died[1], 26 million acres of land have been burned and over 2,200 properties have been lost.

This discussion paper is not going to enter the debate over the causal effects of the fires or the real or perceived inactions Government.  It is to start a conversation on solutions and how to avoid a situation like this ever occurring in the future, a future that is Sustainable in Practice, not just in thought. 

Our goal is to foster a collective discussion around our community and how we can take advantage of Australian innovation, global technology advancements and a love of our wildlife to rebuild this wonderful and unique country of ours. 


Background

Bushfires in Australia have impacted extensive areas and caused property damage, accounting for the deaths of 800 people in Australia since 1851, along with countless domesticated animals and wildlife. A small amount of Australia's native flora have evolved to rely on bushfires as a means of reproduction – for example, grass trees following fire duress will send up large flower spikes to assist in procreation of the species; however the mother plants usually die off the following season – and fire events were in the past an interwoven part of the ecology of the continent. For thousands of years, indigenous Australians have used fire to clear grasslands for hunting and to clear tracks through dense vegetation; however, this was only in periods of high rainfall and in very small grassland zones bordering desert. The food thus gained provided much-needed protein to nomadic tribes[2].


Recent History – Royal Commission, Black Saturday 2009

Victoria endured one of its most severe and prolonged heatwaves during the final week of January 2009. The temperature in Melbourne was above 43°C for three consecutive days for the first time since records had been kept. Saturday 7 February was forecast to reach temperatures in the low 40s, accompanied by strong winds. In the lead-up to the day the Premier of Victoria, the Hon. John Brumby MP, described the state as ‘tinder dry’. The Country Fire Authority and the Department of Sustainability and Environment, the State’s primary bushfire agencies, warned that forests and grasslands were the driest they had been since the Ash Wednesday fires in 1983.

The most serious consequence of the fires was the death of 173 people. Left behind are families, friends and communities still trying to come to terms with their loss. Accompanying this loss of life is the fires’ impact on property and the infrastructure that supports communities, as well as the substantial environmental impact, which will take years to fully reveal itself - let alone be ameliorated. It is extremely difficult to quantify the cost of a disaster like this, but the Commission estimates it to be more than $4 billion.

The focus of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC reflects the impact of natural hazards on the Australian community and the need for emergency services, land managers, all levels of government and the private sector to understand a range of hazards more thoroughly.

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC is undertaking research that supports the development of cohesive, evidence-based policies, strategies, programs and tools to build a more disaster resilient Australia. The funding enables the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC to provide a long-term research base that directly supports our emergency services and other government and non-government agencies as they work to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from natural disasters.

Australia is now coming to terms that past actions have not been sufficient in preventing the horrific conditions we have today. Australian’s are hardy and community minded recognizing that the future requires a different mindset to prevent the horrific situation that is currently occurring. 


History of Australian Innovation

This paper is written with the intent to open dialogue and focus on innovative solutions that will give regional Australian communities the tools for greater prosperity and protection of the land and wildlife in the quiet times and times of disaster. Australians have a long history for being innovators and motivators of getting things done. If it’s not invented Australian will invent it. Australian inventions include but not limited to: -

· Black box flight recorder 

· Spray-on skin

· Electronic pacemaker

· Google Maps

· Medical application of penicillin

· Polymer bank notes

· Electric drill

· Permaculture

· Wi-Fi technology

· Ultrasound scanner

· Gardasil and Cervix cancer vaccines

· Frazier lens

· Tank-bred tuna system


Holistic thinking 

Many are aware that there is a nexus between Water and Energy that shows if we improve water management, we improve energy efficiency. But for regional communities we should be adding waste to energy management into the same equation. Typically Waste to Energy (“WTE”) projects require Municipal Solid Waste (“MSW”). A masterplan that incorporates holistic thinking for Energy, Water and Waste infrastructure may cost more in the initial funding phase but will be a cost saving to the community and our environment once the system is operating. 

The next level of installation is to include battery storage and backup, wireless mesh technologies to enable Internet of Everything (“IoE”) and technology to be utilized to maximize equipment and device performance to minimize operational costs and reduce Greenhouse Gas outputs. This can range from critical infrastructure such as street lighting, traffic lights, hybrid energy plants to buildings and rural neighborhoods. 


Job creation and education

Innovation requires education so again another opportunity for local communities to take leadership in sustainable practice. Innovation in technology for waste, water and energy and construction solutions can be assembled locally and, in some cases, manufactured with local workforces to prevent further capital leakage from the region[3]

For many of these communities, agriculture is the current form of income. Unfortunately, the extent of damage created by the bushfires will leave these industries without revenues for many years to come. Innovation can lead to re skilling an existing workforce into an area that will produce revenue immediately and sustain a community during the rebuilding of the agricultural industry. Then once that industry recovers, additional employment will be available. 

Education is integral in the re skilling of a community. Technology partners and education facilities can be tailored to suit the needs of the local community. For example, if solar energy generation is being installed, then the opportunity is to train in solar installation, research, operations and maintenance. The same can be said for all other components in the waste, water end energy nexus. 


Discussion for Sustainable Practice in Community Rebuilding

To create a Smart Town within regional Australia whilst focusing on Smart City principles from urban developments. A Smart Town is dramatically diverse in its planning and design when compared to a Smart City. A Smart Town is normally horizontal in its plan, over many miles, not vertical in design and compact and includes a large proportion of land and wildlife management within the masterplan.

In addition, the United Nations have developed 17 Sustainable Design Goals[4](SDG’s) that would assist in developing the design for any rebuilding programs that communities may enlist.

The main goals that would apply to this paper include but are not limited to;

Goal 3 – Good Health and Well Being

Goal 6 – Clean water and Sanitation

Goal 7 – Affordable and clean energy

Goal 8 – Decent work and economic growth

Goal 9 – Industry Innovation and Infrastructure

Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities

Goal 13 – Climate Action

Goal 15 – Life on Land

Goal 17 – Partnerships for the goals

 

A unique feature of a Smart Town may include;

Remotely Controlled Automated Collapsible Perimeter Fencing with sensor and monitoring (internet of things - IoT) through wireless mesh technologies. To be used for local weather and environmental concerns that could collapse in sections in times for emergency access, wildlife exits and disaster relief, creating an entrance/exit in the same manner as a building in our urban cities. The fencing would be part of a community emergency response strategy with full emergency response connectivity for 1st responders to access collapsible fencing to save travel time by utilizing shortcuts and avoiding any roadblocks. Fencing might be a single use product with low CO2 release at end of life. Once it is deployed, it will probably get destroyed by whatever caused the fence to collapse in the first place.  

Each of the SDG’s would need further exploration through stakeholder engagement when developing the rebuilding plans. Rebuilding in the same manner as before should not be of consideration and respect to loss of life and wildlife should be remembered. 


Sustainable Funding Model – Private, Public, Partnerships (PPP/P3/3P)

Out of the destruction comes an opportunity for the nation to start to think differently about how to live within the natural environment. From how to generate and use energy, source drinking water, protect property and wildlife and respond to disasters. Everything comes at a cost. The process to rebuild can be overwhelming at times. In the short term, there is an inspiring level of contribution from individuals and organizations world-wide. The challenge will be in the long term and how these communities can once again prosper. The model for a sustainable city creates new revenues models, the use of IoT, modern design principles and community inclusion. Australians are inherently innovative and generally adopting of change. 

A PPP is a co-operative arrangement between two or more publicand private sectors, typically of a long-term nature. It involves an arrangement between a unit of government and a business that brings better services or improves the town/city/ countries’ capacity to operate effectively. PPP’s are primarily used for infrastructure provision, such as the building and equipping of schools, hospitals, transport systems, and water and sewerage systems. PPP’s have been highly controversial as funding tools, largely over concerns that public return on investment is lower than returns for the private funder[5]. When the co-op of partners is developed, a fair and transparent process eliminates any residue concerns of a PPP. 

 

Stakeholder Engagement

After a PPP has been formed, the importance of full, fair and transparent stakeholder engagement is vital to the ongoing planning, development and execution of the PPP. There are many models for stakeholder engagement, however the focus on wildlife management within the regional environment, makes this model somewhat unique. The matrix below is an example only but one that can be used as a guide to the establishment of effective stakeholder engagement within the Regional PPP. 

 

 

Conclusion

The idea of rebuilding to a status quo will lead back to the same issues, if not worse in the future. The opportunity to learn from past experiences, take advantage of leading research, Australian propensity to innovate and to utilize best in breed technologies to measure and monitor activities in our regional communities is compelling. Aligning to the United Nations will demonstrate leadership through sustainable design principles and allow for greater economic success for all stakeholders. Funding a re-building through joint government, private and public participation will enable local though leaders to rise and for local innovation to flourish. The voice is collective in nature as it hits the soul of every human being living in Australia; one voice collective in nature.

Our thoughts go out to all families, communities and the lost animals affected by the recent bushfires.


Expat History of VGG

Doug Smith –M. Sus. Prac. (Master of Sustainable Practice) – Founder / CEO of Village Green Global Inc. is based in California, USA. Mr. Smith who is originally from Melbourne, Australia, is an environmental entrepreneur, with over 25 years’ experience in the business sector. He has taken VGG into international markets for over 20 years beginning with the creation energy-related software measurement and verification for GHG reporting in urban environments. He was introduced to the North American market through an Australian Federal Government trade mission on energy, water, and sustainability in 2008. In 2009, Global headquarters were established in California. VGG is proud of its history and Australian heritage, having conducted over 3,000 Sustainability Audits, Energy and consulting activities in 25 countries around the world. Doug has lectured Environmental Pollution Management at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT Victoria, Australia), Chapman University (Orange, California), UCI (Irvine, California) and East L.A. Community College (Los Angeles, California). In addition, Doug has conducted Strategic Carbon and Energy sessions in over 80 cities globally with notable events for climate researchers at JPL-NASA. 

Helen Hannah – Exec VP, also from Melbourne Australia, has been with VGG since U.S. inception and works closely with VGG agents and other stakeholders globally to define and strategize their sustainable developments for inclusion in the VGG Sustainable Development model. 

VGG - designs, implements and in some cases, arranges funding for the most technologically advanced energy efficiency projects in the marketplace. Additionally, VGG has designed and implemented proprietary software for natural resource management in our urban environments. To complement core business, VGG has developed workplace training courses and lectures with curriculum for elementary, high school, college and university campuses worldwide. (www.villagegreenglobal.com). 

For more information contact doug@villagegreenglobal.com 

    

[1] https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1225680/Australia-fires-how-many-animals-died-Australia-bushfires-NWS-fires-news-latest


[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushfires_in_Australia 


[3] https://www.investopedia.com/terms/l/leakage.asp 


[4] https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/ 


[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public–private_partnership 

image9

Convergence of Sustainable Development and Natural Disaster Rehabilitation

Overview 

Island communities and island nations in the Atlantic Ocean have faced unprecedented storms of recent times. These storms have, in many areas, decimated infrastructure, buildings, communications, and roads. Communities on these islands have literally been cut off from the outside world. Relief from Government is slowly appearing to support food, water, and fuel shortages but the real issues after short-term government support will be borne by the local communities. Electricity, Water, Waste and Transport sectors will all need to be rebuilt. Without a comprehensive plan, products will be implemented over holistic solutions, money will be disparate in its spending, solutions for each sector will not be considerate to other sectors and the time to rebuild will be onerous. The current thinking is to rebuild and replace with existing and outdated methodologies and technology.

We have an opportunity to have a different conversation. One about how we move an island community from having outdated and expensive to operate technology and infrastructure to a place where world-leading sustainable development thrives through education, innovation, and local job creation.

Background

The scope of this paper addresses the region from Barbados up through Dominica, Puerto Rica, Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. The focus is on these regions as determined by the devastating damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017.

Hurricane overview

Source: CNN

(CNN)[1] Hurricane Irma ravaged the Caribbean with sustained winds of 185 mph and cut a swath of devastation across lush islands that are home to an estimated 1.2 million people.

Hurricane Maria followed a similar path, unleashing its fury on Puerto Rico after killing seven people and causing "widespread devastation" on the island of Dominica.

Irma left at least 44 people dead in its wake: 11 in the French territories, 10 in Cuba, five in the British Virgin Islands, five in the US Virgin Islands, four in Anguilla, four in St. Maarten, three in Puerto Rico, one in Haiti, and one in Barbuda.

Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, St. Martin/St. Maarten, the US Virgin Islands, and the Turks and Caicos were hardest hit.

Barbuda: The eye of the storm passed directly over the small island, leaving it barely habitable. The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (UNOCHA) said 99% of all buildings were destroyed. Virtually the entire population of the island was evacuated to nearby Antigua.

Puerto Rico: The island's northeast corner was hit the hardest as Irma roared by to the north. Officials said 56,680 customers were left without water and hundreds of thousands were left without power.

Cuba: Irma grazed the island's northern shore, affecting 13 of the country's 15 provinces. Widespread flooding was reported and key agricultural crops like plantains, rice and sugarcane were damaged. Food storage areas were left isolated or destroyed by flooding. Some 132 schools suffered severe damage and nearly two-thirds of the country was still without electricity late last week, according to the state-run news.

Anguilla: On the tiny island that is among several British territories in the Caribbean, 90% of all government buildings were severely affected and 80-90% of schools were damaged, the UNOCHA said. Electricity and phone lines were disrupted, hospitals were left with limited capabilities and there was no running water.

St. Martin/St. Maarten: Irma hammered this 87-square kilometer island, split into territories administered by France and the Netherlands, leaving many residents without shelter, fuel, and electricity. Some resorted to looting and fighting over dwindling food supplies before order was restored. Authorities on the French side estimated 60% of homes are uninhabitable.

British Virgin Islands: Ninety percent of the houses on the North Sound of Virgin Gorda had structural or total damage. In nearby Spanish Town, 75% of the homes were damaged. The island's water systems were significantly damaged and electricity was scarce.

Turks and Caicos: Infrastructure was severely damaged on this British overseas territory, home to about 52,000 people after Irma barreled through. There was no electricity, bottled water was limited and damage to a water treatment plant halted distribution of drinkable water. On South Caicos, 80-90% of homes were damaged and schools, government buildings, and hospitals were badly hit.

While Maria ultimately veered northeast of Irma's path, it took a roughly parallel journey through the Caribbean. The two storms' paths intersected northeast of Puerto Rico.

Dominica: Maria killed seven people on the island nation of Dominica. Maria is now the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in Dominica, a former French and British colony whose economy relies heavily on tourism and agriculture. The storm pounded the island with 160 mph (257 kph) winds and caused widespread devastation.

Guadeloupe: Maria killed one man in Guadeloupe. The government said about 80,000 people, or 40% of the households on the island, are without power.

Puerto Rico: The hurricane churned across northern Puerto Rico after making landfall on the island's southeast coast. "This is total devastation," said Carlos Mercader, a spokesman for Puerto Rico's governor. "Puerto Rico, in terms of the infrastructure, will not be the same. ... This is something of historic proportions."

Residents in low-lying, flood-prone areas were evacuated, while more than 10,000 Puerto Ricans heeded calls to go to emergency shelters. Calls for rescue were pouring in Wednesday morning, but conditions were too dangerous for emergency responders to act.

Energy Generation distribution status quo

Island nations historically rely on diesel to power their electricity generation and rely on transmission systems that use 100+-year-old technologies. These systems are expensive to operate and a cost burden for local communities. Today, these systems, for the most part, are destroyed or severely damaged on these island communities. The cost to rebuild is unknown as the region is only beginning to assess the damage, however before the hurricanes occurred an estimate of USD $4 billion[2] was suggested by the local utility to upgrade the existing infrastructure in Puerto Rico alone. Puerto Rico does have another issue in that the local utility recently declared bankruptcy having a USD $9 billion debt outstanding. This debt would have to factor into any future of energy generation and distribution in Puerto Rico. A method of repair and replace will keep these island nations to the same reliance on mainland communities as before.

Change the conversation

Out of the destruction of the hurricanes comes an opportunity for the region to start to think differently about how we generate and use energy. Using reliable and proven technologies that are in the marketplace today, these island communities can become self-sufficient through innovation, education and job creation. For example; instead of thinking to replace existing transmission lines, investigate Micro and Nano grid technologies that create, store and utilize electricity in the neighborhood directly. As roads need to be replaced and repaired, take the opportunity to build underground transmission, communication and distribution systems to futureproof the regions from more natural disasters causing devastation to these regions again. These technologies require local workforces to implement and maintain, therefore education and job creation opportunities exist for these island communities.

Holistic thinking 

Many are aware that there is a nexus between Water and Energy that shows if we improve water management, we improve energy efficiency. But for these island nations we should we adding waste management into the same equation. Typically Waste to Energy (“WTE”) projects require Municipal Solid Waste (“MSW”) or what is commonly known as feedstock. These island nations have, by the cause of the hurricanes, developed millions of tons of feedstock in the form of heavily contaminated organic (vegetation) and solid waste materials. Sea water, oils and chemicals are just a few of the contaminates.

Today’s technologies allow for ultra-high heat processes to burn this type of feedstock to create products such as synthetic gas to power generators, electricity to power residential neighborhoods and commercial buildings and electricity or synthetic gas power to support desalinated water systems. Everything being “on island”, self-sufficient and self-reliant.

A masterplan that incorporates holistic thinking for Energy, Water and Waste infrastructure may cost more in the initial funding phase but will be a cost saving to the community once the system is operating.

The next level of installation is to include battery storage and backup, wireless mesh technologies to enable Internet of Everything (“IOT”) and technology to be utilized to maximize equipment and device performance to minimize operational costs and reduce Greenhouse Gas outputs. This can range from critical infrastructure such as street lighting, traffic lights, hybrid energy plants to buildings and residential neighborhoods.

A byproduct of these types of installations is improved public safety, improved energy reliability and lower costs to the consumer.

Job creation and education

Innovation requires education so again another opportunity for island communities to take leadership in sustainable development. Innovation in technology for waste, water and energy solutions can be assembled on-island and in some cases manufactured with local workforces.

For many of these communities, agriculture is the current form of income. Unfortunately, the extent of damage created by the hurricanes will leave these industries without revenues for many years to come. Innovation can lead to re skilling an existing workforce into an area that will produce revenue immediately and sustain a community during the rebuilding of the agricultural industry. Then once that industry recovers, additional employment will be available.

Education is integral in the re skilling of a community. Technology partners and education facilities can be tailored to suit the needs of the local community. For example, if solar energy generation is being installed, then the opportunity is to train in solar installation, research, operations and maintenance. The same can be said for all other components in the waste, water end energy nexus. 

Funding through Private Equity Bond Markets 

Providing the money to fund this approach is challenging. In times of relief from a natural disaster, typically we look to Government to provide the solutions and money. This in turn creates downward pressure on our Governments already stretched budgets, greater emphasis on tax payers to fund and less ownership of the opportunities by the local community.

Using Puerto Rico as the example of an island community, the following can be assessed.

It is common knowledge that the territory is circa USD $54 billion in debt and the power utility recently announced bankruptcy being a further USD $9 billion in debt. The institutional investment community previously has given this region a wide berth due to the high debt and perceived Government mismanagement.

However, this also presents an opportunity. Phase one of a sustainable development budget could be, for this example, USD $11 billion. If the sustainable development budget was added to the utility debt you would have an overall budget of USD $20 billion. This amount with the right level of risk mitigation and US Government support could be amortized over a 25-year period, allowing for revenue through energy, waste and water generation to fund the repayment of the overall budget with interest.

The benefit to Governments involved is that money is not from tax payers who have had to battle with unprecedented natural disasters and loss of quality of life but from an industry that has over USD $30 Trillion in assets under management[3] willing to invest in sound energy and Socially Responsible opportunities.  

Conclusion

The extent of the damage created through hurricanes Irma and Maria is unprecedented to a region that is remote from mainland communities. The opportunity is to change the conversation from repairing and replacing existing outdated infrastructure through traditional funding methods to a sustainable development that is focused on best of breed technology over a distributed micro grid platform using private equity funding to service innovation, education and job creation for self-reliant island communities.

wind energy

wind energy