Welcome to the Landscape News bi-weekly digest on landscapes, climate and sustainability. From what’s on your shelves to what’s in the atmosphere, here’s the news to know.
LANDSCAPE NEWS: I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
Between the forest fires and Hurricane Dorian, our phones have been blowing up with more climate-related news notifications than usual. We took a step back and questioned: How extreme are these events?
Scientists say: Brazil’s political conditions amplified those of the weather to add fuel to their fires; Indonesia’s fires meanwhile are testing country’s strong up environmental policies; and in the Congo Basin, the burns might not be as bad as they seem.
Getting to know Dorian requires re-visiting the water cycle theory, and the role of trees therein.
Amidst it all, there’s never not time for a celebrity: Meet the teenage Aztec hip-hop star who’s leading the global youth climate movement, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. We can’t wait to hear him speak at GLF New York.
BIODIVERSITY: A quick PSA
Stop with the selfies! Photos with wildlife might get lots of likes, but it’s stressing out the animals – and affecting their love lives, experts say.
RESEARCH: A quick history lesson
More than 255 global archaeologists contributed to a massive new project examining how humans have transformed the Earth over time. Our impact began in a significant way 3,000 years ago, with the global spread of agriculture, they found. The effects of hunting and gathering, which date back 10,000 years, remain TBD.
BUSINESS: Not so slick
Big oil’s collective approval of USD 50 billion for new projects stands in the way of reaching the Paris Agreement’s goals to limit global warming.
At least Porsche drivers will be pulling into fewer gas stations as the car company goes electric with an investment of USD 6.7 billion, as well as gives the red light to leather interiors.
The largest supermarket chain in the world’s second-largest producer of palm oil (Malaysia) has banned products that promote their lack of the commodity. This comes after neighboring Indonesia, producer number-one, banned “palm-oil-free” products full stop. Mimicry is the greatest form of flattery, but…
POLICY: Bond, climate bond
In Germany, one of the Merkel administration’s coalition parties has created a climate bond with annual returns of 2 percent. Citizens’ investments will fund the country’s goal to reduce emissions by up to 95 percent by 2050 and go coal-free.
Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, 2 October, will be celebrated by India banning single-use plastic bags, cups and straws.
Indonesia is moving its capital from Java’s sinking city of Jakarta to a more rural site in Indonesian Borneo. The country’s planning minister said it will be a conceptual “forest city.” Environmentalists raise concerns it will impinge on Indigenous and natural landscapes.
The emissions to be produced by completing the Belt and Road Initiative are so high that even if the world’s largest emitters – the U.S., China, India – meet their Paris Agreement targets, the infrastructure BRI’s involved countries must build (megaports, highways, etc.) will yield global warming goals unreachable.
CLIMATE: Around and around we go
Warming temperatures could lead to economic losses of up to 16 percent in Europe’s agriculture sector by 2050. It might be time for the continent’s farmers to start diversifying their portfolios, particularly in northwestern Europe where floods are rising in magnitude too.
Capping off a frightfully hot summer, here’s a long-read with about how air conditioning leads to global warming, which leads to more air conditioning and so on. Just remember: with great coolness comes great responsibility.