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.
Meanwhile, GLF managing director John Colmey explains why landscapes will be key to “building back better” from the COVID-19 pandemic.
And, from Lesotho and Catalonia, here are two new recipes to add to your cooking lineup.
Carbon emissions are rebounding as countries around the world come out of lockdown: a new study finds that emissions are now just 5 percent below average 2019 levels, compared to 17 percent in April.
And as Latin America braces for peak burning season in the Amazon, health experts are warning that smoke from forest fires could aggravate COVID-19 infections in the region.
The Arctic is warming twice as quickly as the rest of the planet – and in its latest heatwave, the mercury has hit a record-breaking 38 degrees Celsius in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk. That comes in the wake of Russia’s hottest winter on record.
But Siberians might want to hold off on painting their houses white to keep cool: scientists have developed a two-layered reflective paint coating that reduces solar heating by up to 20 percent, regardless of color.
Affluence in the Global North is a leading systemic cause of environmental destruction, new research suggests. A U.S. study also finds that global warming increases pregnancy risks, particularly among black mothers and people with asthma.
There’s no tackling climate change without addressing racial injustices, say activists, both within a society and at the global level. Black academics are also calling out systemic racism in the science community.
Australian mining company BHP is holding off on destroying 40 Aboriginal heritage sites and will seek further consultation with their traditional owners. Last month, Rio Tinto destroyed a 46,000-year-old sacred site in Western Australia, prompting a major backlash.
Nigerian farmers are grappling with the worst-ever outbreak of African swine fever, which has seen almost a million pigs culled. While harmless to humans, the disease’s fatality rate in pigs is nearly 100 percent.
Mangroves are some of the planet’s most potent carbon sinks, but they could fall victim to climate change in the next 30 years unless carbon emissions are reduced.
And as much as plastic pollution is often associated with the ocean, it’s also found in even the most remote terrestrial landscapes, with over 1,000 metric tons raining down on national parks in the western U.S. per day.
The E.U. has made no progress on climate action and has moved backward on gender equality, according to Eurostat’s latest progress report on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. Member states have also been at loggerheads over the use of carbon trading to pay for COVID-19 recovery plans.
China, meanwhile, is considering easing regulations on electric cars to help its auto industry recover from the pandemic, while France is offering a EUR 15 billion bailout to its aerospace sector.
Investors are also demanding answers from Brazil for its skyrocketing deforestation.
Carbon-neutral coffee is on its way to the U.K. from Colombia – by sailboat. Chocolate brand KitKat has cut ties with Fairtrade, with parent company Nestlé opting for Rainforest Alliance-certified cocoa instead.
Ride-hailing company Lyft plans to only allow electric vehicles on its platform by 2030.
Amazon’s carbon footprint grew by 15 percent last year and is now the equivalent of 13 coal-burning power plants.
Encouraging signs for sustainable finance: most environmentally-focused funds have outperformed traditional funds for the last 10 years, according to an analysis by research agency Morningstar. There’s also a new app to connect investors with tree planters across the globe.
And now, even the Vatican is calling on Catholics to divest from the fossil fuel industry, which is facing pressure from investors to better account for climate risks.