Category: #climate crisis

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States across American west see hottest summer on record as climate crisis rages

By Bambam

California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Utah faced historic heatwaves, which were made possible by human-caused global heating, a study found

California experienced its hottest summer on record this year as the climate crisis caused deadly heatwaves and intense wildfires in the state and across the American west.

Related: ‘Fire weather’: dangerous days now far more common in US west, study finds

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UK planning last-ditch China climate talks to break impasse before Cop26

By Bambam

Exclusive: Crunch meeting of world leaders tabled for this month, with Xi key to success of climate summit

Boris Johnson is planning to convene last-ditch climate talks with the president of China, Xi Jinping, at a crunch meeting of world leaders later this month, in hopes of breaking the global impasse on climate action before the Cop26 climate summit being hosted in Glasgow this November.

Xi will be invited, along with the leaders of about 30 other countries, to a high-level meeting on the sidelines of the UN general assembly in New York on 20 September, the Guardian has learned.

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Massive Attack cancel Liverpool gig to boycott arms fair at venue

By Bambam

Bristol band “disappointed” by move, but said showing solidarity with people of Liverpool supersedes live show

Massive Attack said it is “really disappointing” to cancel a Liverpool gig in order to boycott a venue where a major weapons fair is due to be held next month.

Robert “3D” Del Naja, one of the Bristol band’s founding members, said the move was to show solidarity with the people of Liverpool, where campaigners have launched a legal challenge in an attempt to stop the controversial electronic arms fair taking place.

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News Corp Australia won’t muzzle commentators as it ramps up climate coverage

By Bambam

Newspapers to cover ‘all views’ and ‘not just the popular ones’, indicating the Murdoch empire may continue its pattern of climate science denial

News Corp Australia has confirmed it will ramp up its company-wide coverage of climate change next month but says its stable of commentators won’t be “muzzled”.

The executive chairman of News Corp Australasia, Michael Miller, says the mastheads will cover “all views” and “not just the popular ones”, indicating the Murdoch empire may continue its pattern of climate science denial and ridicule towards climate action.

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Labor contender in blue-ribbon Liberal seat of Higgins courts voters concerned about climate

By Bambam

Michelle Ananda-Rajah says climate change and Covid will be front and centre in a ‘watershed election’

Labor’s candidate for the Melbourne seat of Higgins, Michelle Ananda-Rajah, says the government’s lack of action on climate change will be a decisive issue for voters at the next election, as she eyes winning the seat off the Coalition for the first time in more than 70 years.

Ananda-Rajah, who will take on the sitting Liberal MP, Katie Allen, says climate change is the “number one” issue raised with her by voters, and will be a key part of Labor’s campaign as it targets progressive voters in the affluent inner-city seat.

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Disastrous season means UK shoppers could pay 50% more for pasta

By Bambam

Price of durum wheat up by 90% after drought devastates harvest in Canada, one of the biggest producers

Shoppers can expect to pay more for their pasta in coming months amid shortages of its key ingredient following a disastrous growing season.

A scramble for durum wheat has pushed the price up nearly 90% this summer after drought and soaring temperatures hit farms in Canada, one of the biggest producers.

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Lightning threatens California as fires continue to burn across the state

By Bambam

A hot, dry landscape combined with strong winds and no rain increase the risk of new ignitions in a region already battling flames

Ominous weather is again threatening areas of California as dozens of fires continue to burn, with hot, dry conditions and forecasted thunderstorms prompting officials to issue warnings through parts of the state’s north-west.

Higher risks of new ignitions remain through Friday, with the possibility of dry lighting and gusty winds further complicating the containment efforts of thousands of firefighters who have battled large blazes for weeks.

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Big oil’s ‘wokewashing’ is the new climate science denialism

By Bambam

Academic researchers say the fossil fuel industry has a new tool to delay efforts to curb emissions – a social justice strategy

ExxonMobil has been touting its commitment to “reducing carbon emissions with innovative energy solutions”. Chevron would like to remind you it is keeping the lights on during this dark time. BP is going #NetZero, but is also very proud of the “digital innovations” on its new, enormous oil drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile Shell insists it really supports women in traditionally male-dominated jobs.

A casual social media user might get the impression the fossil fuel industry views itself as a social justice warrior, fighting on behalf of the poor, the marginalized, and women – at least based on its marketing material in recent years.

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Scottish campaigners condemn Cop26 as ‘the most exclusionary ever’

By Bambam

Activists say almost 2,000 people on waiting list for place to stay owing to lack of affordable accommodation

Scotland-based climate campaigners have condemned “the most exclusionary Cop ever”, as they reveal a waiting list of nearly 2,000 delegates and activists who were still seeking affordable accommodation for November’s summit in Glasgow.

The Cop26 Homestay Network, which was launched in May, and is described by organisers as a “non-corporate Airbnb”, aims to match local hosts from across the central belt of Scotland with visiting climate change campaigners, scientists and non-governmental organisations.

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Netherlands proposes radical plans to cut livestock numbers by almost a third

By Bambam

Dutch farmers could be forced to sell land and reduce the amount of animals they keep to help lower ammonia pollution

Dutch politicians are considering plans to force hundreds of farmers to sell up and cut livestock numbers, to reduce damaging ammonia pollution.

After the highest Dutch administrative court found in 2019 that the government was breaking EU law by not doing enough to reduce excess nitrogen in vulnerable natural areas, the country has been battling what it is calling a “nitrogen crisis”.

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Criticism of animal farming in the west risks health of world’s poorest | Emma Naluyima Mugerwa and Lora Iannotti

By Bambam

In the developing world most people are not factory farming and livestock is essential to preventing poverty and malnutrition

The pandemic has pushed poverty and malnutrition to rates not seen in more than a decade, wiping out years of progress. In 2020, the number of people in extreme poverty rose by 97 million and the number of malnourished people by between 118 million and 161 million.

Recent data from the World Bank and the UN shows how poverty is heavily concentrated in rural communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America where people are surviving by smallholder farming. This autumn there will be two key events that could rally support for them.

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The Australia deal shows the UK is happy to compromise climate goals for trade | Gwen Buck

By Bambam

Leaked documents that reveal the removal of references to temperature targets set a worrying precedent

When the prime minister, Boris Johnson, launched trade negotiations with Australia in June last year, he lauded the opportunities of trading with a like-minded country, a land that could ply the UK with reasonably priced chocolate biscuits and cheap wine.

Except, of course, when it came down to it, there would always be more to this deal than swapping Penguins for Tim Tams. For the environment, current Australian rules do not match up to ours. On animal welfare, pesticide standards and climate change, the approach of the current Australian government isn’t the same at all.

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How much of the world’s oil needs to stay in the ground?

By Bambam

Analysis shows future is bleak for fossil fuel industry with trillions of dollars of assets at stake

The vast majority of fossil fuel reserves owned today by countries and companies must remain in the ground if the climate crisis is to be ended, an analysis has found.

The research found 90% of coal and 60% of oil and gas reserves could not be extracted if there was to be even a 50% chance of keeping global heating below 1.5C, the temperature beyond which the worst climate impacts hit.

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Earth’s tipping points could be closer than we think. Our current plans won’t work | George Monbiot

By Bambam

Climate policies commit us to a calamitous 2.9C of global heating, but catastrophic changes can occur at even 1.5C or 2C

If there’s one thing we know about climate breakdown, it’s that it will not be linear, smooth or gradual. Just as one continental plate might push beneath another in sudden fits and starts, causing periodic earthquakes and tsunamis, our atmospheric systems will absorb the stress for a while, then suddenly shift. Yet, everywhere, the programmes designed to avert it are linear, smooth and gradual.

Current plans to avoid catastrophe would work in a simple system like a washbasin, in which you can close the tap until the inflow is less than the outflow. But they are less likely to work in complex systems, such as the atmosphere, oceans and biosphere. Complex systems seek equilibrium. When they are pushed too far out of one equilibrium state, they can flip suddenly into another. A common property of complex systems is that it’s much easier to push them past a tipping point than to push them back. Once a transition has happened, it cannot realistically be reversed.

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Hurricane Ida drowned 11 New Yorkers in their own homes. The climate crisis is here | Ross Barkan

By Bambam

New York and other major cities will need to spend billions of dollars fortifying themselves for extreme weather. Even neighborhoods above sea level aren’t safe

In New York City last week, more than three inches of rain fell in one hour, shattering all previous records. Busy streets and highways turned into rivers. The subway was inundated, temporarily shutting down. At least 13 people died, most of them drowning in basement apartments. The devastation brought back chilling memories of Superstorm Sandy, which flooded large swaths of the city 11 years ago.

The death and destruction that Hurricane Ida just inflicted on New York is a reminder that the climate crisis isn’t coming. It’s here. There will be more fierce hurricanes and flooding, the kind of weather events that can destabilize a society.

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The Guardian view on fossil fuels: a very long way to go | Editorial

By Bambam

New carbon capture technology should be welcomed. But weaning the world off coal, oil and gas is what matters most

The switching on of the world’s largest carbon capture and storage plant, in Iceland, is a glimmer of hope in a bleak climate landscape. The amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere by this new machine will be tiny: 4,000 tonnes a year, which is equivalent to that produced by 870 cars. Still, the project brings a step closer the possibility that significant amounts of carbon dioxide could, one day, be removed from the atmosphere.

The significant risks that such technological developments carry must be addressed head-on. The danger is that they are a displacement activity from the massive and necessary task of reducing and then eliminating emissions (with any residual emissions offset or, if carbon capture technologies are scaled up, removed). This distraction need not be deliberate, although fossil fuel producers have consistently undermined climate action by promoting the idea that technological solutions will eventually make calls to decarbonise obsolete.

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Anxiety and biscuits: the climate cafes popping up around the world

By Bambam

Organisers say showing people they are not alone in their fears is key to instigating climate action

Kathy Kilmer tried bringing up the climate crisis twice at a recent dinner party, but it didn’t go well. Guests quickly turned the conversation to other topics.

“I just feel awful bringing it up,” said Kilmer, a retired conservation group communications director from Denver, Colorado. “And yet, I feel like talking about it is absolutely key to getting people to understand it.”

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‘People try to stop us speaking up’: Angelina Jolie’s lessons from young activists

By Bambam

The actor’s latest project is a book to teach teenagers their rights. Here, she sits down with four young people to hear what they’re fighting for

Read an interview with Jolie here

Angelina Jolie How do you feel the older generation are handling things?

Christina Adane, 17, a British anti-poverty campaigner, originally from Ethiopia If you’d asked me a year ago, I’d have said they had failed us and left us with a bunch of problems. I still feel that way at times, but I think cross-generational communication is crucial when fighting issues like racial and climate justice. It’s easy to fall into the mentality of us v them, youth v old people in power. But loads of older people want to help us. So it’s about connecting with decision-makers and ensuring they are listening, so they can represent us where we are not represented – in government, at meetings at the top of companies. We need to work with the older generation.

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Morrison government urged to set sector-specific emissions reduction targets

By Bambam

Infrastructure Australia calls for policy certainty to kickstart investment and prevent taxpayers being saddled with stranded assets

Australia needs new vehicle and fuel emissions standards, and sector-specific emissions reduction plans, according to the country’s peak infrastructure advisory body.

In its 2021 plan, Infrastructure Australia has called on the Morrison government to provide policy certainty to kickstart investment in low-emissions technology and prevent saddling taxpayers with the cost of stranded high-emissions assets.

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‘A duty of care’: medics stage XR die-in outside JP Morgan in London – video

By Bambam

Sixty doctors, nurses and other health professionals have staged a die-in protest outside JP Morgan’s Canary Wharf headquarters in London to highlight the bank’s investment in fossil fuels.

The demonstration on Friday was organised by Doctors for Extinction Rebellion and was part of a two-week series of XR protests against organisations supporting fossil fuels

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UK’s top climate adviser says criticism of net zero goal is ‘defeatist’

By Bambam

Chris Stark urges Treasury to speed up pace of decarbonisation strategy ahead of Cop26 summit

The UK’s top climate adviser has pushed back strongly against “defeatist” criticism that the country’s net zero target is expensive, and urged the Treasury to pick up the currently “incremental” pace of decarbonisation.

Chris Stark, the chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), urged the debate over net zero to be framed in a more positive light: “It can be done,” he said. “It is worth it … I hope we can move away from thinking about the cost and see it as a mission to modernise the economy.”

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‘We left it in God’s hands’: floods wreck Spanish seaside town

By Bambam

Residents in Alcanar say they feel fortunate no lives were lost after intense rain caused heavy flooding

People in the town of Alcanar in north-east Spain have been assessing the damage caused to homes and businesses by flooding produced by intense rain that fell over large areas of the country.

Residents said they were fortunate no lives had been lost when more than 250 litres of water per sq metre was dumped on the town between 12am and 6pm on Wednesday.

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Extinction Rebellion protesters break bail terms for City protest

By Bambam

Environmental demonstrators disobey orders to stay away from London financial district

Dozens of Extinction Rebellion activists have carried out a mass act of non-violent civil disobedience by breaking bail conditions ordering them to stay away from the City of London financial district.

The activists joined with hundreds of supporters in a low-key rally outside the Bank of England on Thursday afternoon, listening to speeches from a mobile sound system.

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Climate crisis likely creating extreme winter weather events, says report

By Bambam

Arctic change increased chances of tightly spinning winds above North Pole, authors say, boosting chances of extreme weather

The climate crisis has not only been leaving deadly heatwaves and more destructive hurricanes in its wake, but also probably creating extreme winter weather events, according to a new report released on Thursday by the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s journal Science.

Related: ‘Fire weather’: dangerous days now far more common in US west, study finds

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WWF office sit-in enters second day as XR keeps up London protests

By Bambam

Extinction Rebellion members march through Westminster and target offices of JP Morgan

An occupation of the offices of the environmental group WWF by a protest in solidarity with indigenous people in Africa has continued into its second day, as Extinction Rebellion’s actions continued in London on a smaller scale.

About a dozen activists organised under the banner WTF WWF occupied the WWF offices in Woking, Surrey, on Tuesday morning. They stayed overnight, refusing to leave until it begins a dialogue with indigenous communities in Tanzania, Kenya and Cameroon who say they are being displaced by conservation efforts.

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‘Get on with it’: Australia already has low-carbon technology and Coalition should embrace it, scientists say

By Bambam

Technology and engineering academy tells government not to wait for a ‘miracle’ and aim for net zero emissions now

Australia’s leading scientists and engineers have told the Morrison government the technologies needed to make significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions already exist – and the Coalition should immediately implement a national net zero policy.

In an explicit response to the government’s “technology, not taxes” approach to reducing emissions, the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering has released a position statement calling on the government to “prioritise the immediate deployment of existing mature, low-carbon technologies which can make deep cuts to high-emitting sectors before 2030”.

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Hurricane Ida flash floods: water rushes into New York subway – video report

By Bambam

Hurricane Ida has hit New York city as the remnants of the storm brought heavy rain that flooded subway lines and streets in Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey.

The National Weather Service has issued its first ever flash-flood warning for New York city and video showed parts of Newark Liberty airport flooded after all flights were suspended and parking lots were closed because of the severe flooding

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Every one of us should care about the climate crisis. Together we can make a big difference | Bronte Campbell, Pat Cummins and Daisy Pearce

By Bambam

Three of Australia’s biggest sports stars have joined more than 350 other athletes in a new climate campaign. Here’s why they are calling for urgent action

Sport was the first thing that helped me feel Australian. As a shy girl from Malawi who didn’t like wearing shoes and had second-hand clothes, sport brought me forward and told me I belonged. Twenty years later, sport has given me everything I dreamed of and more. And it’s given me a platform. A chance to join my voice with others and advocate for change.

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We can’t build our way out of the environmental crisis | George Monbiot

By Bambam

New infrastructure projects are all the rage, post-pandemic. But who benefits from a rising tide of concrete?

Dig for victory: this, repurposed from the second world war, could be the slogan of our times. All over the world, governments are using the pandemic and the environmental crisis to justify a new splurge of infrastructure spending. In the US, Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure framework “will make our economy more sustainable, resilient, and just”. In the UK, Boris Johnson’s build back better programme will “unite and level up the country”, under the banner of “green growth”. China’s belt and road project will bring the world together in hyper-connected harmony and prosperity.

Sure, we need some new infrastructure. If people are to drive less, we need new public transport links and safe cycling routes. We need better water treatment plants and recycling centres, new wind and solar plants, and the power lines required to connect them to the grid. But we can no more build our way out of the environmental crisis than we can consume our way out of it. Why? Because new building is subject to the eight golden rules of infrastructure procurement.

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When the US requires a deputy sheriff Australia reports for duty – but not when it comes to climate action | Katharine Murphy

By Bambam

Scott Morrison hoped to focus on the positives of the US alliance on the 70th anniversary of the Anzus treaty but Labor focused on climate ambition differences

On the 70th anniversary of the Anzus treaty, Scott Morrison would have hoped he’d be in the United States, marking the occasion on the south lawn at the White House, or that Joe Biden would have been in Australia on his first presidential visit, concealing jet lag behind his signature Ray-Bans.

Instead, the milestone was Covid-safe. Biden’s anniversary reflections travelled to Australia on the social media accounts of the state department, and the prime minister found himself behind perspex in the parliament on the first day of spring, reading his carefully turned anniversary reflections into the Hansard, while his wing man, the deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, advised the Speaker he wasn’t that smart and opined that “your heart is where your legs are”.

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The Observer view on the pros and cons of deep-sea mining | Observer editorial

By Bambam

There may be merits to mining the seabed, but investing in alternative green technologies on land should be the priority

Deep-sea mining has become one of our planet’s most divisive problems. By stripping the ocean floor of its vast mineral wealth, proponents say we can obtain the cobalt, manganese, nickel and copper we urgently need for the green technologies – the electric vehicles, batteries and wind turbines – that must replace our carbon-emitting cars, power plants and factories. The only alternative to these deep-sea sources lies on land, where a huge expansion of mines would trigger environmental havoc: more sinkholes, devastated wildlife and polluted soil and groundwater. It is therefore time to plunder the riches of the deep to save our planet’s smouldering landscapes, it is argued.

These proposals are rejected outright by many scientists and green activists who say the colossal deep-sea dredging that would be involved in raising these minerals would trash swaths of ocean floor and wipe out precious, slow-growing animals and plants, while clouds of toxic sediments would be sent spiralling up from the deep, destroying marine food chains in the process. Deep-sea mining will only worsen our ecological woes, they maintain.

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Greece’s deadly wildfires were sparked by 30 years of political failure | Yanis Varoufakis

By Bambam

The climate emergency and state neglect caused this disaster

After the second world war, Greece’s countryside experienced two debilitating human surges – an exodus of villagers, then a most peculiar human invasion of its fringes. These two surges, aided by a weak state and abetted by the climate crisis, have turned the low-level drama of naturally redemptive forest fires into this summer’s heart-wrenching catastrophe.

After heatwaves of unprecedented longevity, wildfires across the summer months have so far destroyed more than 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres) of ancient pine forests. They have blackened swathes of Attica, scorched parts of ancient Olympia and obliterated north Evia’s magnificent forests – whose rural communities lost their homes, not to mention their livelihoods and landscapes.

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‘I’ve never said we should plant a trillion trees’: what ecopreneur Thomas Crowther did next

By Bambam

The ecologist admits ‘messing up’ in the past, but says his Restor project will be ‘a Google Maps of biodiversity’, showing the impact of restoration – from a forest to your own back garden

Listen to our podcast: Can we really solve the climate crisis by planting trees? – part one

Thomas Crowther understands more than most the danger of simple, optimistic messages about combating the climate crisis. In July 2019, the British ecologist co-authored a study estimating that Earth had space for an extra trillion trees on land not used for agriculture or settlement. Its implications were intoxicatingly hopeful. By restoring forests in an area roughly the size of China, the press release accompanying the paper suggested two-thirds of all emissions from human activities still present in the atmosphere could be removed.

The study, led by Jean-François Bastin, a postdoctoral researcher at Crowther’s lab in ETH Zürich, Switzerland, was the second most featured climate paper in the media in 2019, according to one analysis. It inspired the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) One Trillion Trees Initiative, launched last year after Salesforce billionaire Marc Benioff read the paper on the recommendation of Al Gore, the former US vice-president. The Time magazine owner told everyone he could about the research: chief executives, friends and world leaders, even convincing climate sceptic Donald Trump to back the WEF initiative with a multibillion tree commitment.

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Atlas of the Invisible: using data to map the climate crisis

By Bambam

Graphics from a new book show causes and consequences that are hard to detect with the naked eye

In a new book, Atlas of the Invisible, the geographer James Cheshire and designer Oliver Uberti redefine what an atlas can be. The following eight graphics reveal some of the causes and consequences of the climate crisis that are hard to detect with the naked eye but become clear when the data is collected and visualised.

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‘Everything is changing’: the struggle for food as Malawi’s Lake Chilwa shrinks

By Bambam

The livelihoods of 1.5 million people are at risk as the lake’s occasional dry spells occur ever more frequently

• All photographs by Dennis Lupenga/WaterAid

There was a time when the vast Lake Chilwa almost disappeared. In 2012 it had been extremely hot in southern Malawi, with little rain to fill the rivers that ran into the lake.

“Many fishermen were forced to scramble for land near the lake banks, while others had to migrate to the city,” says Alfred Samuel. “We could barely feed our children because the lake could not provide enough fish, or water for rice growing.”

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Can we really solve the climate crisis by planting trees? (part one) – podcast

By Bambam

In an era of divisions over the climate breakdown, tree planting seems to bring everyone together. But are there situations where tree planting can cause more harm than good? And how much can it help us counteract global heating? Patrick Greenfield leads you through the science and controversy behind the decisions we’re making and how those decisions could shape our future environment. He and Phoebe Weston from The age of extinction are back with two new episodes

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