Showing posts with label UN General Assembly. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UN General Assembly. Show all posts

Mar 18, 2016

International Day of Happiness

It is typical for politicians to take such a subject as happiness and make it serious. In 2012 the first ever UN conference on happiness took place and the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which decreed that the International Day of Happiness would be observed every year on 20 March. It was celebrated for the first time in 2013.

The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which recognized happiness as a “fundamental human goal” and called for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples.” “We need a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic, and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness,” the Secretary-General told the meeting’s participants.

Denmark and Switzerland were closely followed by Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland, for the top five happiest countries, according to the World Happiness Report Update 2016, released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations. The US came in thirteenth.

March 20 is the day to share videos, happy photos, and thoughts celebrating International Day of Happiness. For me, I will be passing out free smiles and hugs - all welcome.

Jan 23, 2015

International Year of Light

On 20 December 2013, The United Nations General Assembly 68th Session proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies. "An International Year of Light is a tremendous opportunity to ensure that international policymakers and stakeholders are made aware of the problem-solving potential of light technology. We now have a unique opportunity to raise global awareness of this." John Dudley, Chairman of the IYL 2015 Steering Committee

2015 is also the Einstein Centenary. In 1915, the theory of General Relativity developed by Einstein showed how light was at the center of the structure of space and time.

Thought I would toss in a few facts about light.
Lighting represents almost 20% of global electricity consumption.

The first commercially viable incandescent light bulb, patented by Thomas Edison in 1880, used a filament made from burned bamboo.

Other animals can see parts of the spectrum that humans can not, for example, a large number of insects can see ultraviolet light.

The giant squid, Taningia danae, has the largest light-producing organs of any living creature. The lemon-yellow light organs are called photophores and are found at the tip of the two of the squid’s feeding arms and they flash blinding light.

The speed of light in a vacuum is about 186,000 miles per second (300,000 kilometers per second).

Light takes 1.255 seconds to get from the Earth to the Moon.

More than half of the visible sunlight spectrum is absorbed within three feet of the ocean's surface; at a depth of 10 meters, less than 20% of the light that entered at the surface is still visible; by 100 meters, this percentage drops to 0.5%.

Refraction can make things look closer than they really are. The difference in speed between light traveling through water and through air means that, from the surface, a 13ft (4m) pool appears to be just 10ft (3m) deep.

Between 18% and 35% of the human population is estimated to be affected by a so-called "photic sneeze reflex," a heritable condition that results in sneezing when the person is exposed to bright light.

Here is a link to "Light my Fire" by the Doors, just because.

Nov 14, 2014

World Toilet Day

Not a joke. United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon, along with a coalition from Singapore, introduced a resolution to declare November 19th the first 'World Toilet Day'. The resolution was co-sponsored and adopted by 122 countries at the 67th session of the UN General Assembly in New York. On July 24, 2013, World Toilet Day became an official UN day.

Since its inception in 2001, World Toilet Day is celebrated globally by NGOs, UN agencies, the private sector, civil society organizations and the international community.

19 November is a special day for the World Toilet Organization. It was founded on 19 November 2001. World Toilet Day was established with the aim to draw global attention to the sanitation crisis. The organization’s approach of mixing humor with serious facts resonated with people around the world.

A clean and safe toilet ensures health, dignity and well-being, yet 40% of the world’s population does not have access to toilets. Over two billion people do not have access to proper sanitation, including toilets or latrines, with dramatic consequences on human health, dignity and security, the environment, and social and economic development.

Nov 8, 2013

World Toilet Day

The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to mark "World Toilet Day." The day will be celebrated November 19. "The amusement and laughter likely to follow the designation of 19 November as 'World Toilet Day' would all be worthwhile if people’s attention was drawn to the fact that 2.5 billion people lacked proper sanitation and 1.1 billion were forced to defecate in the open, the General Assembly heard today," a U.N. press release reads.

“Ending open defecation will lead to a 35 per cent reduction in diarrhea, which results in over 750,000 deaths of children under five years of age every year,” Singapore’s representative said. Apart from establishing World Toilet Day, the text also urged Member States and the United Nations system to encourage behavioral change, to introduce policies that would increase sanitation among the poor.

India's novel approach is to encourage families not to let their daughters  marry if the potential husband does not have a toilet. The initiative from the government is called "No toilet, no bride". There are more temples than toilets in India, said Union Minister Jairam Ramesh.

The Indian state of Madhya Pradesh pays for a wedding and provides qualifying couples with housewarming gifts totaling 15,000 rupees (about $270) if they can prove the husband-to-be's house has a toilet.

Over 75 per cent of the 1.2 billion Indian population currently have a mobile phone subscription, but only 50 per cent of households have a toilet and only 11 per cent have one connected to the sewerage system, according to the 2011 Indian census. I love the headline from the Washington Post, "In India, New Seat of Power for Women".