AI firefighting, tips from ancient cities, and Brazil’s ‘highway of death’

News to know in our bi-weekly digest

In many Classic Maya cities, agricultural fields were located among urban areas. Craig James, Flickr
26 June 2021
26 June 2021

Brazil’s cattle and soy industries are driving deforestation in the Amazon – and it could end up costing them hundreds of billions by 2050.

This week in Landscape News’s bi-weekly digest of environmental news, we look into Chile’s new constitution, Bangladesh’s new migrant towns, the trials and tribulations of ancient Mayan cities, and more.

LANDSCAPE NEWS

An alley of cherry blossoms in bloom in Bonn, Germany. Tim Rüßmann, Unsplash
An alley of cherry blossoms in bloom in Bonn, Germany. Tim Rüßmann, Unsplash

It’s been 25 years since the U.N. moved into the former West German capital of Bonn. Here’s how the city reinvented itself for the 21st century.

What is sustainable finance, and why is it a big deal? Find out in our comprehensive guide to ESG, green bonds and more, freshly updated for 2021.

Africa needs at least USD 100 billion to meet its land restoration pledges by 2030, but where will that money come from?

Less than 20 percent of wood products sold in Cameroon’s major cities are of legal origin. One campaign aims to change that.

PLANET

Climate change is the main reason for the destruction for the world’s largest coral reef. Francesco Ungaro, Unsplash
Climate change is the main reason for the destruction for the world’s largest coral reef. Francesco Ungaro, Unsplash

The Great Barrier Reef is so badly damaged that it could have its world heritage status downgraded. The Australian government isn’t happy.

Brazil’s ‘highway of death’ claims the lives of over 3,000 animals each year. Could wildlife crossings be the answer?

Just four plastic products make up half of all ocean waste: plastic bags, plastic bottles, food containers and food wrappers.

From Brooklyn to Belarus, seagulls are increasingly settling in cities. Here’s why.

PEOPLE

Goldman Prize winner Liz Chicaje Churay grinds yuca to extract its starch. Courtesy of Goldman Environmental Prize
Goldman Prize winner Liz Chicaje Churay grinds yuca to extract its starch. Courtesy of Goldman Environmental Prize

The U.S. state of Louisiana loses almost a football field of coastline every hour. As their island sinks, this Indigenous community is preparing to pack up and leave.

Climate migration is already the new normal in Bangladesh, which is building ‘migrant-friendly’ towns to accommodate those displaced by the rising seas.

Were ancient Mayan and Khmer cities doomed to fail – or might they teach us valuable lessons about living with nature

Meet this year’s Goldman Environmental Prize winners, featuring:

CLIMATE

The Western U.S. is experiencing a historic drought and extreme heat. Jonathan Gross, Flickr
The Western U.S. is experiencing a historic drought and extreme heat. Jonathan Gross, Flickr

The Earth’s atmosphere is trapping twice as much heat as it did 15 years ago, which is causing the planet to heat up even more.

And as Arctic ice melts faster than ever, scientists warn we may have already crossed an irreversible tipping point.

The western U.S. is sweltering under a massive heat dome, which has sent temperatures soaring above 50 degrees Celsius in some areas. The climate crisis is likely to blame.

Meanwhile, COVID-ravaged Brazil is bracing for a destructive fire season amid its worst drought in 90 years

BUSINESS

A Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company fab in Taiwan. 曾 成訓, Flickr
A Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company fab in Taiwan. 曾 成訓, Flickr

Taiwan dominates the world’s microchip manufacturing, but the climate crisis might have other ideas.

Carbon is cheap, averaging just USD 3 a ton. It’s time to set a minimum price of USD 75 per ton for the world’s top polluters, says the International Monetary Fund.

Half of the clothes sold by online fashion brands are made from plastics, including polyester, acrylic and nylon.

Could AI help spot wildfires before humans can? Communities in the U.S., Brazil and Australia are deploying early-detection technologies to protect themselves during fire season.

POLICY

World leaders pose for a photograph during the G7 Summit at Cornwall this month. Number 10, Flickr
World leaders pose for a photograph during the G7 Summit at Cornwall this month. Number 10, Flickr

The G7 leaders have been greeted in the U.K. with ‘Mount Recyclemore’ – a sculpture of them made entirely out of electronic waste.

Belgium is violating human rights by failing to meet its climate targets, a court in Brussels has ruled.

Even during lockdown, most European cities suffered from dangerously high levels of air pollution.

And as Chile rewrites its constitution, activists are seizing the chance to enshrine environmental protections and Indigenous rights in law.


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