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.

UN: global poor will suffer worst of the climate crisis

If our global climate change catastrophe continues unchecked, vast swaths of the world will likely become harsher and far less hospitable for humanity. When that happens, an even greater rift will appear between the global haves and have-nots, as many people will be left without the means to escape the worst effects of the climate crisis, according to a new report published Tuesday by the U.N.’s Human Rights Council that…

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Eat green to save the environment, says IPCC – how to tell if that really means you

Eat green to save the environment, says IPCC – how to tell if that really means you Arthimedes / shutterstock In its new special report on climate change and land, the IPCC calls for more effective and sustainable land management, and more sustainable food consumption. But who is the onus on to go vegetarian, or look after land better? You, me, the “global elite”? The world’s poorest people, or perhaps…

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Feeding the world: archaeology can help us learn from history to build a sustainable future for food

Feeding the world: archaeology can help us learn from history to build a sustainable future for food HoangTuan_photography/Pixabay, CC BY-SA What we eat can harm not only our health, but the planet itself. About a quarter of all the greenhouse gas emissions that humans generate each year come from how we feed the world. Most of them are methane released by cattle, nitrogen oxides from chemical fertilisers and carbon dioxide…

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Fight the Climate Crisis – Offset Your Internet

Fight the Climate Crisis – Offset Your Internet Comparison site BroadbandDeals.co.uk chooses carbon offsetting over cuddly toys: With dire warnings of climate catastrophe on the increase, the future of the planet looks bleak. Fixing the problem can seem overwhelming, but environmentalists agree that we need everyone to take small steps to help keep global temperature rises below the crucial 1.5C target. Some are more obvious than others – we know…

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IPCC’s land report shows the problem with farming based around oil, not soil

IPCC’s land report shows the problem with farming based around oil, not soil Sepp photography / shutterstock The word “climate” makes most of us look up to the sky – however, the IPCC’s new special report on climate change and land should make us all look under our feet. Land, the report shows, is intimately linked to the climate. Changes in land use result in changes to the climate, and vice versa. In other words, what we do to our soils, we do to our climate – and ourselves. The first part of the report makes for difficult reading. Humans, it says, now exploit more than 70% of the Earth’s ice-free surface, and more than a quarter of land globally is suffering degradation as a result of human activities. Soil…

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Groundwater reserves in Africa may be more resilient to climate change than first thought

Groundwater reserves in Africa may be more resilient to climate change than first thought A woman draws water from a well in Wereta, Ethiopia. Milosk50/Shutterstock Groundwater reserves in Africa are estimated to be 20 times larger than the water stored in lakes and reservoirs above ground. These are the freshwater stores that flow in rocks and sediment beneath the Earth’s surface. They are a vital source of drinking water in sub-Saharan Africa, where groundwater is often the only year-round supply of fresh water in rural areas. Increasingly it is being used in towns and cities as well. Accessed through wells, boreholes and springs, groundwater is so valuable because it can be found almost anywhere and is generally high quality. It’s often a more reliable source during drought than other water…

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Why your reusable coffee cup may be no better than a disposable

Why your reusable coffee cup may be no better than a disposable yenphoto24 / shutterstock Is any item more symbolic of our modern, disposable culture than the single-use coffee cup? In March 2016, they were vilified in celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s “War on Waste” campaign, when he drove a bus through London covered in 10,000 coffee cups: the number the UK allegedly uses every two minutes. Thanks to a thin plastic lining that makes them waterproof, most paper recycling mills can’t efficiently process these coffee cups, and the majority are incinerated or sent to landfill. Even worse, they are typically made using virgin tree fibre rather than recycled paper, due to hygiene and food-contact requirements. Although Fearnley-Whittingstall’s campaign got many people outraged, our drinking habits haven’t slowed since –: the…

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Climate-driven extreme weather is threatening old bridges with collapse

Climate-driven extreme weather is threatening old bridges with collapse The recent collapse of a bridge in Grinton, North Yorkshire, raises lots of questions about how prepared we are for these sorts of risks. The bridge, which was due to be on the route of the cycling world championships in September, collapsed after a month’s worth of rain fell in just four hours, causing flash flooding. Grinton is the latest in a series of such collapses. In 2015, first Storm Eva and then Storm Frank caused flooding which collapsed the 18th century Tadcaster bridge, also in North Yorkshire, and badly damaged the medieval-era Eamont bridge in nearby Cumbria. Floods in 2009 collapsed or severely damaged 29 bridges in Cumbria alone. With climate change making this sort of intense rainfall more common…

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Mass starvation of reindeer linked to climate change and habitat loss

Mass starvation of reindeer linked to climate change and habitat loss An old male reindeer weathers a heavy snow storm. Kerfu/Shutterstock Reindeer are incredibly hardy creatures – they survived the last Ice Age and today live in some of the world’s most inhospitable landscapes. Despite their fine-tuned adaptations to life in the Arctic and after over 600,000 years of living there, reindeer are struggling to survive the rapid changes happening all around them. In the winter of 2013-14, 61,000 reindeer starved to death in the Yamal peninsula of Russia. The population crashed, devastating the Yamal Nenets – an indigenous people who herd the reindeer for food. A more recent census found that 200 reindeer in Svalbard, Norway didn’t survive the winter of 2018-19. Reindeer relaxing on the tundra in northern…

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Defending the environment now more lethal than soldiering in some war zones – and indigenous peoples are suffering most

Defending the environment now more lethal than soldiering in some war zones – and indigenous peoples are suffering most Environmentalists and activists with posters "peace in the forest and an end to indigenous genocide" in protest of the rights of indigenous people, in São Paulo, Brazil, January, 2019. PARALAXIS /Shutterstock Despite centuries of persecution, indigenous groups still manage or have tenure rights over at least a quarter of the world’s land surface. Often inhabiting these lands as far back as memory extends, they share a deep and unique connection to their environment. Recently released figures show that indigenous groups are continuing to pay a heavy price for standing up for their ancestral lands. In 2018 alone, at least 164 indigenous people were killed defending the environment, adding to hundreds more…

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