Floating cities, climate-resistant coffee and – could the Gulf Stream shut down?

News to know in our bi-weekly digest

One of the floating islands on Lake Titicaca, where the Uros people have lived for over 4000 years. Sandro Ayalo, Unsplash
28 August 2021
28 August 2021

The Earth is rapidly closing in on 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming, and its effects will only become more intense in the decades to come.

That’s what we learned from the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released amid a litany of climate disasters this summer.

This week on Landscape News, we assess the damage so far. Plus, Indigenous superfoods, Shell shells out payments for oil spills, secondhand Teslas and more.

LANDSCAPE NEWS

A common squirrel monkey in the Colombian Amazon. Diego Guzmán, Unsplash
A common squirrel monkey in the Colombian Amazon. Diego Guzmán, Unsplash

The Amazon rainforest is one of our most formidable weapons against the climate crisis. Here’s all you need to know about the planet’s most biodiverse ecosystem.

Around 13 percent of the Amazon is located in Peru, where Indigenous leaders are battling to enshrine the rights of Mother Nature in law.

But as the western Amazon enters an unusually dry fire season, scientists are bracing for one of the ‘biggest bonfires’ on Earth.

Public development banks lend out USD 2.3 billion each year. Here’s how they can help raise funds for biodiversity.

And with just 3 percent of the Earth’s ecosystems still untouched by humans, what role could human-managed landscapes play in conservation?

CLIMATE

Experts believe that the record temperatures this summer are the result of climate change. Fabian Jones, Unsplash
Experts believe that the record temperatures this summer are the result of climate change. Fabian Jones, Unsplash

July was the world’s hottest month ever recorded, while Europe may have recorded its hottest day ever. The peak of Greenland’s ice sheet has just seen rain for the first time.

Global deaths from extreme heat are now 74 percent higher than in 1980, while deaths from extreme cold have increased by 31 percent since 1990.

The climate crisis is making downpours in Western Europe up to 20 percent heavier. That in turn made last month’s devastating floods in Germany and Belgium up to nine times more likely.

The Atlantic Ocean’s currents help moderate the Earth’s climate – but could it be on the verge of breaking down?

FOOD

The number of children under five with acute malnutrition in Haiti was expected to more than double this year – before the August earthquake. Vicente Raimundo, EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid
The number of children under five with acute malnutrition in Haiti was expected to more than double this year – before the August earthquake. Vicente Raimundo, EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid

Food is running out in Haiti following a devastating earthquake that has claimed at least 2,200 lives. Even before the quake, one in four Haitians were facing acute food insecurity.

Banned for centuries under Spanish rule, amaranth is making a comeback as Indigenous women across North and Central America join forces to swap seeds and share ancestral knowledge.

Likewise, Sokhulu women in South Africa are relearning how to sustainably harvest mussels, a tradition taken from them during apartheid.

BUSINESS

Even your daily caffeine fix will be affected by global warming. Anastasia Zhenina, Unsplash
Even your daily caffeine fix will be affected by global warming. Anastasia Zhenina, Unsplash

Is the climate crisis ruining your coffee? Producers in Brazil are increasingly ditching arabica for the less refined but more drought-resistant robusta.

Up to 14,000 tons of sunscreen ends up in coral reefs each year. ‘Reef-friendly’ brands are taking off, but how big of a difference do they really make?

More than 50 years after a series of oil spills in southern Nigeria, Shell has finally agreed to pay USD 111 million to compensate local communities.

A glut of cheap used electric cars is flooding Russia’s Far East, and it’s helping families save thousands of dollars a year in fuel costs.

POLICY

The Colorado River near the Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona. Jeremy Zero, Unsplash
The Colorado River near the Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona. Jeremy Zero, Unsplash

As the Colorado River dries up, the southwestern U.S. is facing cuts to its water supply, which could spell doom for many farmers in the region.

Indonesia is pressing ahead with ‘Jurassic Park’ – a controversial tourism project that aims to bring up to half a million annual visitors to Komodo National Park.

And with sea level rise posing a growing threat to coastal areas, could floating cities be the future of urbanism?


Leave a Reply