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.
Lockdown has had virtually no impact on global warming – and we’re still set for a 3-degree Celsius rise in temperatures by 2100.
But in one of the more egregious forms of biopiracy, digital technologies are also enabling corporations to take out patents on DNA.
In the last exploration of our Forgotten Forests series this year, we venture away from the tropics to the montane climes of Central Asia, where the ancient fruit and nut forests that stocked the trades of the Silk Road still grow to provide us our pistachios, pomegranates, apples and more. Happy holidays!
As the first COVID-19 vaccinations begin in the U.K., the vast majority of people in low-income countries – or nearly one in four globally – are unlikely to receive a vaccine until at least 2022.
Some countries could even be forced to wait until 2024 for a vaccine, should the WHO’s COVAX program fail.
While we still don’t know what causes severe COVID-19 conditions, it appears to be associated with exposure to a chemical called perfluorobutyrate (PFBA).
And after Denmark culled 15 million mink to contain a mutated coronavirus strain, the decomposing carcasses may now be contaminating groundwater.
But COVID-19 offers an opportunity to address both crises collectively, and by slashing emissions today, we could be reaping the benefits within 20 years.
Human-made materials now weigh more than all other life on Earth – and our plastics weigh twice as much as the entire animal kingdom.
In the U.S., too, the climate crisis is taking a disproportionate toll on low-income residents and people of color, who are more likely to live in the hottest urban neighborhoods.
Almost 60,000 koalas were among the 3 billion animals killed or harmed by Australia’s devastating bushfires a year ago.
The world’s largest mammal migration, in which some 10 billion fruit bats fly from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Zambia in a single day, is under threat from deforestation.
Deforestation may have also destroyed 8 percent of the Amazon in just 18 years, though natural regrowth could prevent its ecosystems from collapsing – for now.
The latest IUCN Red List update marks 31 species as extinct and all freshwater dolphins as threatened, although the European bison is slowly recovering.
The E.U. has agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels. The U.K. will reduce emissions by 68 percent during this period, while Denmark will end oil production by 2050.
Europe’s marine protected areas aren’t exactly protected areas, and the world has also fallen short on protecting 10 percent of the ocean by 2020 under the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity.
Coca-Cola has secured the dubious crown of top plastic polluter for the third year running, beating Pepsi and Nestlé to the title.
Calls for a ban on deep sea mining are growing ever louder – and this new Greenpeace report reveals a highly secretive and poorly regulated industry dominated by mining and arms interests.
And for those of you interested in a souvenir from 2020: meet this South Korean student designing furniture made from recycled face masks.