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.
On GLF Live, we learned how the Global Virome Project hopes to discover the over 500,000 zoonotic viruses that could yet be passed onto humans. We also heard from Camille Sylvester of Roots & Shoots on how to tap into growing youth interest in the environment.
This year’s lockdowns have had virtually no effect on carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, which have exceeded 410 parts per million for the first time.
Intellectual property rules could hinder access to COVID-19 vaccines and medicines in the Global South – but the U.S. and the E.U., among other wealthy countries, are opposed to waiving them.
Meanwhile in the northern hemisphere, the climate crisis is making winter ice increasingly deadly, as well as causing leaves to fall earlier in autumn. Zoonotic diseases could also move further north as the planet heats up.
Some Americans are deciding not to have children due to concerns about their well-being in a warming world – but many in the Global North are still unaware of the urgency of the climate crisis.
Youth climate activists from over 140 countries gathered online for the Mock COP 26, which amplified voices from climate-vulnerable countries in the Global South.
Six young Portuguese activists have received the green light to take 33 European countries to court for climate inaction, while communities in South Africa’s coal-mining Highveld are suing their government over the region’s suffocating air pollution.
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has reached a 12-year high under President Jair Bolsonaro, rising by 9.5 percent compared to 2019.
Globally, infrastructure is one of the main drivers of deforestation, and the continued expansion of roads, mines and dams is jeopardizing climate action.
Just 1 percent of farms operate over 70 percent of the planet’s farmland. Global land inequality is spiraling due to the growth of large-scale industrial farming, supported by free-market policies and corporate investment.
The agricultural industry has also been blamed for the eutrophication of Spain’s Mar Menor – but local activists are working to grant the lagoon legal rights.
The G20 countries have spent more on fossil fuels than on green energy as part of COVID-19 recovery plans – which puts the planet on course for 2.7 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century.
Could ecocide soon become a crime, much like genocide and crimes against humanity? International lawyers are working on it, backed by several small island nations.
The U.S. is scrambling to hand over an Indigenous holy site in Arizona to a mining company (the subject of a recent book) before President Donald Trump leaves office in January. It will also weaken protections for migratory birds.
China’s plans to build more coal power plants have been criticized as contradicting its pledge to become carbon-neutral by 2060.
Over 17,000 Dutch citizens have taken Shell to court to force the oil giant to reduce its emissions by 45 percent by 2030.
Meanwhile, the U.K.’s Russell Group universities have received over GBP 60 million in funding from fossil fuel companies since 2015, with Imperial College London accounting for around half.
And in a world first for lab-grown meat, cell-cultured chicken will soon be hitting supermarket shelves in Singapore.