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30 per cent of species could be abruptly lost at 2.5 degrees celcius of warming

Image by: Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay   A report in nature ecology & evolution has found that the pace of climate change is likely to far outstrip the ability of many species to adapt whether physiologically (biological evolution just doesn’t go very fast) or geographically through migration within ideal climate bands as they shift. This is called the problem of thermal thresholds and while species impact will be less than 15% up to 1.5 degrees of change, a further one degree of heating would probably double the impact to 30% of all species. This could have catastrophic knock-on effects for food webs and ultimately jeopardize the human food supply. The study used data from over 36000 species and related impacts from climate data from the mid-19th century thus giving significant weight to their projections for 2100. . . .

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia | Comments Continue Reading

Forever plastic?

Image by: meineresterampe from Pixabay   Greenpeace has recently warned that recycling plastic can make it more toxic and can lead to the release of more microplastic into the environment. Among others, they referenced a recent report in the Journal of Hazardous Materials Advances which found between 6 to 13 percent of the plastic processed could end up being released into water or the air as microplastics. They also pointed out that much plastic sent for recycling ends up getting burned and releasing poisonous gases into the atmosphere. In addition to environmental pollution, a lot of plastic waste is moved from wealthier to poorer nations where it is dealt with by very low paid workers, thus shifting the main impact onto the most vulnerable in the world. Alongside all this as well of course is the fact that we do not fully understand the impact plastic packaging has on the foods it contains and thus how much we ingest and in what form. There are fears that recycled plastic . . .

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia | Comments Continue Reading

Real experience of wild animal life?

Image by Kurt Bouda from Pixabay   A rather good article in The Conversation by Heather Browning and Walter Veit tackles the difficult question of what the overall experience of life might be for wild animals. This is an area which tends to succumb to the simplification of ideas that humans often prefer, especially in groupthink. On the one hand is a tradition of (over?) idealizing life in the wild and on the other of (over?) dramatizing it as a desperate struggle for survival ending in a painful death. The authors do a great job of putting the observable facts into context and showing the actuality is probably somewhere in between and, just as with human lives, some will be lucky to have much better ones than others. Overall, the article is a good read just to reinforce our gut instinct that nature is very much worthwhile in and of itself. . . .

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia | Comments Continue Reading

1.5 deg by 2027

Image by Olya Adamovich from Pixabay   A report from the World Meteorological Organization of the UN has warned that within 5 years the earth will start breaching the 1.5 deg limit on a more frequent basis. The limit refers to the average annual global temperature when compared to the average before industrialization began in the 1700s. The pledge to act to maintain temperatures below this is famously contained within the 2015 Paris Agreement from COP21 which is the only legally binding agreement on climate action to be widely signed by the global community. While the Paris Agreement refers to long-term or permanent temperatures at this level, the WMO report says that we will begin seeing temporary breaches on a frequent basis from 2027 – much earlier than anticipated. If action is not taken this may mean a permanent move above the limit quicker than we thought. This is important as scientists believe this would be a point of no return which will severely impact humanit . . .

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia | Comments Continue Reading

Sustainability round-up - interesting articles from around the web

Image by Devi Puspita Amartha on Unsplash   To solve Asia’s single-use sachet waste problem, promote reuse (Eco-business) We can stop disaster risk spiralling out of control (Eco-business) 31 Must-Watch Climate Change Documentaries (greenqueen) Regulators crack down on corporate carbon neutrality claims (CHN) Tyre-makers under pressure as too much rubber hits the road (Reuters) Can a city store as much carbon as a forest? (ScienceDaily) Nature is changing as land abandonment increases (ScienceDaily) COP27: Africa took climate action into own hands, Asia must too (Aljazeera) . . .

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia | Comments Continue Reading

Halfway in the 2030 Agenda

Image by linked sdgs   Later this year will see the release of the Global Sustainable Development Report marking the halfway point in the 2030 Agenda. As a precursor to that, a High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism has just released a report offering insight on how to boost the progress towards the SDGs which seem to be lagging, and to propose solutions to the challenges holding change back. The report calls for six transformational shifts: Rebuilding trust in multilateralism through inclusion and accountability; Regaining balance with nature and providing clean energy for all; Ensuring abundant and sustainable finance that delivers for all; Supporting a just digital transition that unlocks the value of data and protects against digital harms; Empowering effective, equitable collective security arrangements; and Managing current and emerging transnational risks. “Multilateralism can work, but it must work better and faster,” said co-Cha . . .

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia | Comments Continue Reading

International Day of Living Together in Peace

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay   Tomorrow is the UN observance of the International Day of Living Together in Peace. This is perhaps one of the lesser known days of observance but it has been held on May 16 since 2018 having being enacted by Resolution in 2017. It is important for two very clear reasons. Firstly, the UN itself was born from the ashes of the second world war and a universal desire not to go down that path again. To have an inter-governmental platform that would bring government representatives together to work towards common goals and to recognize stability as an underlying, fundamental requirement for a prosperous world. Secondly, it is clear that without Peace, people cannot even begin to build the societies that we desire. The Day aims to uphold the desire to live and act together, united in differences and diversity, in order to build a sustainable world of peace, solidarity and harmony. . . .

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia | Comments Continue Reading

Sustainability round-up - interesting articles from around the web

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay   World not ready to ‘switch off’ fossil fuels, UAE says (Aljazeera) Pollen production could impact climate change by helping clouds form (ScienceDaily) Factbox: Debt-for-nature swaps swell in climate finance response (Reuters) Helion Energy will provide Microsoft with fusion power starting in 2028 (techcrunch) Germany promises €2bn to global Green Climate Fund (CHN) How To Get Your Portfolio Into Climate Shape (greenqueen) Microbes discovered that can digest plastics at low temperatures (The Guardian) Renewables will be world’s top electricity source within three years, IEA data reveals (Eco-business) How to make your next holiday better for the environment (The Conversation) . . .

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia | Comments Continue Reading
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