Our Strength Lies in Our Humanity

Environment & Energy

The overwhelming consensus amongst scientists is that climate change and global warming is caused by humans; that it’s having a damaging affect on weather patters, accelerating extinction of wildlife, negatively impacting on agriculture, water supply, sea level, air quality. If we don’t radically change our diets, our fuel supply, the way capitalism recklessly plunders the world’s dwindling resources, we will enter a period of global food shortages, mass migration and conflict.

What George Bush and the neocons can teach us about fighting climate change

What George Bush and the neocons can teach us about fighting climate change Be under no illusion, the world is losing the fight against climate change. The amount of CO₂ in the atmosphere continues to increase, meaning humanity is forcing the Earth closer to cataclysmic alterations that will reshape the entire biosphere. But the UK could capitalise on the momentum gained through its recent net zero emissions pledge to take…

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Mexico puts US to shame on climate action, but new president’s pledge on oil industry is worrying

Mexico puts US to shame on climate action, but new president’s pledge on oil industry is worrying Shutterstock As if there was any doubt, the UN’s latest report on climate change makes clear this is one of the most pressing issues of our times. And as we witness Extinction Rebellion stirring the pot of protest in the UK, that movement is connected to the geopolitical experience of other countries in…

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A vegan meat revolution is coming to global fast food chains – and it could help save the planet

A vegan meat revolution is coming to global fast food chains – and it could help save the planet frantic00/Shutterstock A few years ago, convincing meat-free “meat” was nothing more than a distant dream for most consumers. Meat substitutes in supermarkets lacked variety and quality. Plant-based burgers were few and far between in major fast food outlets – and meaty they were not. But realistic alternatives to environmentally damaging meat…

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Spending two hours a week in nature is linked to better health and well-being

Spending two hours a week in nature is linked to better health and well-being graycat via Shutterstock The idea that spending recreational time in natural settings is good for our health and wellbeing is hardly new. Parents have been telling their kids to “go play outside, it’s good for you” for generations. Now, colleagues and I have published a study in the journal Scientific Reports which suggests that a dose…

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Does the sky protect the Earth and if yes, then how? Curious Kids

Does the sky protect the Earth and if yes, then how? Curious Kids Very beautiful, and useful too. Shutterstock. Does the sky protect the Earth and if yes, then how? – Saskia, aged eight, Estonia. Thanks for the question, Saskia. The “sky” actually means everything above the Earth’s surface, including space. That’s why so many stars – like our own sun, but much further away – light up the night sky. But in between our planet’s surface and outer space, there’s the atmosphere. The atmosphere is made up of gases, which do most of the hard work protecting the Earth as it goes around the sun. Curious Kids is a series by The Conversation, which gives children the chance to have their questions about the world answered by experts. All…

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Net zero emissions by 2050, says UK government – now what?

Net zero emissions by 2050, says UK government – now what? Albert Pego / shutterstock What a difference a year makes. This time in 2018 the long hot summer was weeks away. Saddleworth Moor was not yet on fire. Greta Thunberg’s climate strike had not begun, let alone brought millions onto the streets. The IPCC’s 1.5 degree report had not been released (and most thought it would sink without trace). Extinction Rebellion was unheard of outside a tiny group of committed environmentalists. And now look where we are. Local authorities across the UK are declaring climate emergencies (the latest is Birmingham). The UK parliament declared a climate emergency in April, and now, prime minister Theresa May, in legacy mode, has declared that the country will have net zero greenhouse gas…

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Britain is in the middle of a drought – so how come there’s flooding?

Britain is in the middle of a drought – so how come there’s flooding? A commuter train passes the swollen River Taff, near Cardiff. Ceri Breeze/Shutterstock Parts of the UK had more than a month’s rain in one day on Monday June 10. More rain on the following Tuesday, particularly in the north of England and Midlands, created localised flooding. Sinkholes appearing on the M25 – one of Europe’s busiest motorways – and closed train lines have created expensive travel chaos. The flooding of hospitals and other essential services has even put lives at risk. In the middle of all this, groundwater levels across the country are much lower than normal. There’s been little rain between 2018 and 2019 – the winter was drier than normal and it wasn’t so…

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Vegan is the new vegetarian – why supermarkets need to go ‘plant-based’ to help save the planet

Vegan is the new vegetarian – why supermarkets need to go ‘plant-based’ to help save the planet Shutterstock Veganism is arguably the biggest food trend of the moment. This has led to a massive expansion of meat-free brands and own-label offerings. In fact, the UK is now the nation with the highest number of vegan food products launched. And with major news outlets such as The Economist and Forbes declaring 2019 the “year of the vegan”, the trend promises to continue – a third of people in the UK have already stopped or reduced eating meat. Long-established brands tend to receive great publicity for reformulating their products to be vegan and newly launched meat-free products prove to be incredibly popular and fast selling. This is great news, considering that a…

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Are retailers ‘bagging’ the 5p plastic carrier bag charge?

Are retailers ‘bagging’ the 5p plastic carrier bag charge? GLRL/Shutterstock If you’ve ever forgotten your bag for life at the shop till and had to buy a plastic bag, you may have wondered where that money goes. The carrier bag levy of five pence (5p) was rolled out on October 5 2015 in England. Retailers are expected to donate the proceeds to good causes that would benefit society and the environment, and to report that information to the government. We looked at how the scheme has been implemented since then. The regulation was intended to limit the number of people using single-use plastic carrier bags, so that fewer end up as litter around the UK. These bags can also ensnare and choke wildlife and some species mistake them for food.…

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Farmed salmon is now a staple in diets – but what they eat matters too

Farmed salmon is now a staple in diets – but what they eat matters too We're fish fanatics, with salmon in our sights. Marian Weyo/Shutterstock Salmon is not only tasty but is prized for being low fat and high in rich omega-3 oils. In recent times, salmon has been a staple of the national diet, so much so that wild salmon has given way to a huge global farmed industry, worth US$15.4 billion. Salmon are farmed in net pens suspended from floating collars in the sea. Like other types of farming, quality varies and the industry has sometimes come in for criticism over the health and welfare of fish. Given the size of the market, criticisms have included the amount of wild fish it takes to rear one salmon –…

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