Comprehensive encyclopedia of
sustainable development information developed under a UNESCO initiative.
This appears to be an excellent resource for researching the vast array of
sustainable development topics and issues. However use of this service
requires a significant subscription price. Disadvantaged individuals
worldwide registered through charitable organizations will be given free
access for one year. Universities from developing countries will also
receive an appropriate discount.
following information was submitted by EOLSS...
OF LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEMS (EOLSS)
integrated knowledge base dedicated to the health, maintenance, and future
of the web of life on planet Earth, focusing on sustainable development in
all its myriad aspects from ecological issues to human security!
World’s largest source of knowledge on the subject of sustainable
development was officially released by the UNESCO Director General on the 3rd
September 2002 during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in
Johannesburg, South Africa. With contributions from more than 6000 scholars,
this Internet-based archive will be regularly updated and made available
free of charge to universities in the least developed countries and
disadvantaged individuals worldwide. The EOLSS is a knowledge base that
addresses all the myriad aspects of sustainable development from ecological
issues to human security.
EOLSS is the result of an unprecedented global effort and a decade of
planning. Never before has a publication of this kind gone beyond ecological
sciences to cover all aspects of sustainable development. EOLSS is unique in
that it comprehensively examines from their origins, the threats facing all
the systems that support life on Earth—from the climate, the world’s
oceans, forests, water cycle, and atmosphere to social systems. It is
becoming increasingly apparent that our complex industrial systems, both
organizational and technological, are the main driving force of global
environmental destruction, and thus the main threat to the long-term
survival of humanity. To build a sustainable society for our children and
future generations—the great challenge of our time—we need to
fundamentally redesign many of our technologies and social institutions so
as to bridge the wide gap between human design and the ecologically
sustainable systems of nature. This means that organizations need to undergo
fundamental changes, both in order to adapt to the new business environment
and to become ecologically sustainable.
contributions offer step-by-step explanations on how to apply the abstract
or the pure sciences such as mathematics, to assess environmental pollution
or to predict food consumption patterns. However, technical solutions alone
won’t resolve the current ecological crisis. EOLSS therefore covers a
diverse range of social issues—from human rights and poverty to psychology
leading experts who have contributed to this state-of-the-art publication
come from diverse fields such as: the natural sciences (like chemistry and
biology); social sciences (such as history, economics, law, psychology,
etc.); humanities; engineering, and technology. EOLSS also deals with
interdisciplinary subjects, like earth and atmospheric sciences,
environmental economics as well as the most effective approaches for
managing natural resources like renewable and non-renewable energy,
biodiversity, and agriculture.
approach is critical for managing life on Earth. The global water crisis,
for example, cannot be resolved by a single discipline. The most experienced
civil engineer responsible for constructing dams and mapping the flows of
rivers may have little knowledge on tapping groundwater sources, which offer
tremendous potential provided that proper safeguards are taken. EOLSS
provides not only the technical information required but also critical
analysis on the economics and politics involved in managing such a resource.
Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems is different from traditional
encyclopedias. It is the result of an unprecedented world-wide effort that
has attempted to forge pathways between disciplines in order to address
contemporary problems" said UNESCO Director General Koïchiro Matsuura.
"A source-book of knowledge that links together our concern for peace,
progress, and sustainable development, the EOLSS draws sustenance from the
ethics, science and culture of peace. At the same time, it is a
forward-looking publication, designed as a global guide to professional
practice, education, and heightened social awareness of critical life
support issues. In particular, the EOLSS presents perspectives from regions
and cultures around the world, and seeks to avoid geographic, racial,
cultural, political, gender, age, or religious bias."
has the goal to provide a firm knowledge base for future activities to
prolong the lifetime of the human race in a hospitable environment",
according to Richard R. Ernst, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry.
M. Lederman, Nobel Laureate in Physics remarked: "The EOLSS is not only
appropriate, but it is imaginative and, to my knowledge, unique. Much of
what we can write about science, about energy, about our far-ranging
knowledge base, can indeed be found in major encyclopedias, but as I
understand your vision, never as a central theme; the theme of humanity,
embedded in nature and constrained to find ways of maintaining a
relationship with nature based upon understanding and respect."
the words of M.S. Swaminathan, First World Food Prize Winner, "Ecotechnology
involving appropriate blends of traditional technologies and the ecological
prudence of the past with frontier technologies such as biotechnology,
information technology, space technology, new materials, renewable energy
technology and management technology, can help us to promote global
sustainable development involving harmony between humankind and nature on
the one hand and tolerance and love of diversity and pluralism in human
societies on the other. We need shifts in technology and public policy. This
is a challenging task to which the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems
should address itself."
to Jean-Marie Lehn, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry : "Pursuit of knowledge
and truth supersedes present considerations of what nature, life or the
world are or should be, for our own vision can only be a narrow one. Ethical
evaluation and rules of justice have changed and will change over time and
will have to adapt. Law is made for man, not man for law. If it does not fit
any more, change it…. Some think that it is being arrogant to try to
modify nature; arrogance is to claim that we are perfect as we are! With all
the caution that must be exercised and despite the risks that will be
encountered, carefully pondering each step, mankind must and will continue
along its path, for we have no right to switch off the lights of the future….
We have to walk the path from the tree of knowledge to the control of
Lions, Japan Prize winner in Applied Mathematics said: "EOLSS is
concerned with the Life Support Systems…. Each of these systems is a very
complex one. …we have to think of all these "systems" as closely
related "subsystems" of the Planet Earth System. The situation is
extremely different in most of life support systems modeling…. There is
not one model, but a hierarchy of models. Examples of these situations will
be given throughout the Encyclopedia. … More delicate are the global
problems, involving several goals, with possible conflicts of interest. …Rational
decisions will be more and more possible to envision if one will be able to
couple the physical modeling to economic and financial models and to human
factors…. These delicate and fundamental questions will deserve a lot of
attention in the Encyclopedia."
Kapitza, UNESCO Kalinga Prize Winner said: "The population of our
planet and its development over the ages sets the scene for considering all
global problems and it is reasonable to begin their discussion with
population growth. … Thus we are dealing with an interdisciplinary problem
in an attempt to describe the total human experience, right from its very
beginning. But without this perspective of time it is not possible to
objectively assess what is happening today and provide an objective view of
the present state of development, the challenge now facing humanity."
is dynamic. It grows and evolves according to the needs of human society. In
the past, different civilizations categorized knowledge to suit the cultural
paradigm of their times.
focus of the present time, and an area demanding much further investigation,
is the relationship between humans and nature. Sciences must be our guide in
this endeavor, but history too can teach us important lessons of
co-existence with our environment. To date, education and the media have
only succeeded in fostering a culture characterized by narrow vested
interests, intolerance and violence. While we meddle with the natural
environment at our peril, and have failed to improve on the best that nature
provides, human culture is the fountain of our progress and creativity.
There must be a fundamental change in education, creating the desire for
environmental protection and respect for human dignity and rights, as the
two are mutually empowering. We must build on the best of our culture to
engender a new attitude towards the quality and sustainability of life on
view of the above the EOLSS body of knowledge is inspired by a vision that
includes the following paradigm: the sciences should be at the service of
humanity as a whole, and should contribute to providing everyone with a
deeper understanding of nature and society, a better quality of life and a
sustainable and healthy environment for present and future generations.
Encyclopedia is designed to be a guide and reference for a wide range of
users: from natural and social scientists to engineers, economists,
educators, university students and professors, conservationists,
entrepreneurs, law and policy-makers. The aim is not merely to provide raw
information but to serve as a kind of expert advisor. The various chapters
are divided into different levels of specialization to cater to a diverse
readership. General readers might turn to the EOLSS for summaries on energy,
for example, while university students may focus more on the explanations of
the theoretical principles of energy, and policy makers turn to the future
perspectives and related recommendations.
best hopes for future peace and global security rely upon strengthened
international cooperation to protect the web of life support systems that we
destroy, so ridiculously, day in and day out. We share only one planet. We—and
future generations—have nowhere else to go," according to Mostafa K.
Tolba, formerly Executive Director of the United Nations Environment
Programme and the editor of ‘Our Fragile World: Challenges and
Opportunities for Sustainable Development’ a two volume publication in
about 2300 pages published in 2001 as forerunner to the Encyclopedia.
"It is hoped that the encyclopedia will provide the necessary impetus
and knowledge support to enable humanity to choose the right direction to
move towards sustainable development."
EOLSS project is coordinated by the UNESCO-EOLSS Joint Committee and
sponsored by Eolss Publishers, which is based in Oxford (United
Kingdom).Through the many and diverse consultation exercises around the
world, the EOLSS has benefited immensely from the academic, intellectual,
and scholarly advice of each and every member of the 1000-strong
International Editorial Council, which includes Nobel and UN Kalinga
Laureates, World Food Prize Laureates and several fellows of academies of
science and engineering of countries throughout the world.
of experts will regularly update the various sections of the web-based
encyclopedia, making EOLSS a "living library and a site for action
rather than just a publication," according to Mustafa El Tayeb,
Secretary of the UNESCO-EOLSS Joint Committee. The Inaugural Edition that
was released during the World Summit already contains about 25 million
words, equivalent to about 50,000 standard pages, and several thousand
tables, graphics, boxes, and photographs. Within the next two years, it will
mature to its full size of about 70 million words (equivalent to about 150
volumes) through new editions and regular updates as often as every three
United Nations projects of this size begin by consulting government
representatives. But EOLSS went straight to the scientific communities
involved," said Andreas Szollosi-Nagy, a member of the UNESCO-EOLSS
Joint Committee and Director of UNESCO’s International Hydrological
Programme. In 1996 thousands of scientists, engineers and policy-makers
began meeting just to define the scope of the project, before discussing the
details of the contributions. Regional workshops were held in Washington DC,
Tokyo, Moscow, Mexico City, Beijing, Panama, Abu sultan (Egypt), and Kuala
Lumpur to develop a list of possible subjects and debate analytical
approaches for treating them.
the start, we had to be absolutely certain that one school of thought did
not dominate the conceptual basis of the encyclopedia," said Szollosi-Nagy.
"This democratic process guided every step in the encyclopedia’s
development. With thousands of authors from more than 100 countries the
editors have set up a self-regulating mechanism to ensure that the subjects
are considered from a variety of cultures and perspectives."
to the EOLSS is by subscription, via the website http://www.eolss.net.
Subscription rates will vary, depending upon the nature of the applicant.
Universities from the UN list of Least Developed Countries will have free
access for one year, renewable subject to the submission of annual reports
on educational and research activity. Those universities are invited to sign
an agreement on the website and submit to the UNESCO for endorsement.
Likewise, disadvantaged individuals worldwide registered through charitable
organizations will be given free access for one year. Universities from
developing countries will also receive an appropriate discount.
and public libraries will be charged US$3000 for two years while individuals
will be asked to pay US$300 for the same period. Governments and
corporations will pay slightly higher rates which will, nevertheless, be
significantly lower than those of commercial publications.
covers roughly 200 themes, each managed by an internationally recognized
expert in the field. Each theme comprises an overview chapter of about 30
pages that is addressed to the general reader. This is followed by five to
eight ‘topic level chapters’, of about 20 pages, intended for university
students specializing in the field. Every topic includes another five to
eight articles on the latest advances and findings in the subject, as well
as indications of future trends.\
themes are organized under the following major subject categories:
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Biological and Medical Sciences
Social Sciences and Humanities
Physical Sciences, Engineering and Technology Resources
Water Science and Resources
Water Engineering Resources
Energy Science and Resources
Energy Engineering Resources
Environmental and Ecological Sciences and Resources
Environmental Engineering Resources
Agricultural Sciences and Resources
Food and Agricultural Engineering Resource
Human Resources Policy and Management
Natural Resources Policy and Management
Development and Economic Resources
Institutional and Infrastructural Resources
Technology, Information, and Systems Management Resources
for Sustainable Development: An Insight into the Encyclopedia of Life
Support Systems, reviews the themes of EOLSS for the general reader, and is
a three-volume printed publication of about 3300 pages. This major
publication by more than 150 world experts in their fields was also released
by the UNESCO Director General on the 3rd September 2002 during
the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.
further information: http://www.eolss.net