Nine-year-old is first UK person to have air pollution listed on death certificate
The Government has been urged to set much tougher legally binding pollution targets by the coroner in an inquest into a nine-year-old girl who died of a fatal asthma attack after being exposed to toxic air.
Philip Barlow, assistant coroner for Inner South London, ruled in a landmark second inquest last year that air pollution contributed to the death of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah from an asthma attack.
In a report to prevent future deaths, he said legally binding targets for particulate matter in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines would reduce the number of deaths from air pollution in the UK and the Government should take action to address the issue.
The WHO limit is 10 micrograms of tiny “particulate” matter per cubic metre – and if the UK were to introduce such a limit about 15 million people would be living in areas with illegally high levels of pollution.The current UK – and EU – limit is 25 micrograms per cubic metre, which far exceeds the level of air pollution any part of the country, yet air pollution is responsible for an estimated 36,000 early deaths a year.
Mr Barlow also said greater public awareness of air pollution information would help individuals reduce their personal exposure.
And he warned the adverse effects of pollutants were not being sufficiently communicated to patients and their carers by medical staff
Responding to the report, Ella’s mother Rosamund Kissi-Debrah called on the Government to act on the recommendations in the coroner’s report, warning “children are dying unnecessarily because the Government is […]
Re:Thinking the Urban: UEI Workshop Report
By Daniel Dumas and Carolin Maertens The Urban Environments Initiative (UEI) held its third workshop entitled Re:Thinking the Urban on 22 January 2021.
A Sketch for Teaching the Anthropocene in the Alps
By Heidi E. Danzl (trans. Kristy Henderson) The Alps can be considered a hot spot for climate change due to changing growing seasons and tree lines, species migration, more intense weather events, increased glacial melt, droughts, mudslides, avalanches, flooding, and the omnipresence of micro-technofossils. They are therefore well suited to teaching the Anthropocene and exploring its impacts. In the following, I sketch several ideas for teaching the Anthropocene based on existing cultural events, institutions, and practices within contemporary Alpine communities.
Global Climate Change: What you must know Today
Climate change links with disturbance in the concentration of greenhouse gases, resulting in the rise of average global temperature. As goes by the studies, the effects of global climate change are impacting every sphere of life today. While this is very much told about climate change in the current sources of information, some facts still […] The post Global Climate Change: What you must know Today appeared first on Nature Talkies - We Talk about Nature.
Dazzling and Dangerous: Epidemics, Space Physics, and Settler Understandings of the Aurora Borealis
By Jennifer Fraser and Noah Stemeroff Earlier this year, Explore, a multimedia company that operates the largest live nature camera network on the planet, noticed that one of its livestreams was going viral. The feed in question broadcasts from Churchill, Manitoba. Positioned directly beneath the auroral oval, this camera offers viewers a chance to catch a glimpse of the spectacular auroral displays that grace the city’s skyline nearly three hundred days of every year.
Resisting Climate Change Apocalypticism: Environmental Justice Activism from the South Pacific
By Hanna Straß-Senol In late 2013, an Australian newspaper reported that a man from Kiribati “stood to make history as the world’s first climate refugee.” The New Zealand High Court, before which the man appeared, rejected the claim because the category of climate refugee was not included under the United Nation’s provisions for refugees.
Animal Cruelty: It’s Time You Actively Fight The Menace
Animal cruelty practices are making over the world every day where millions of animals are killed ruthlessly. And perhaps there seems no end to this brutality of people starving their dogs to death or killing them to dine on a delicious meal for the day. The animal cruelty cases present several menaces acts, including intentional […] The post Animal Cruelty: It’s Time You Actively Fight The Menace appeared first on Nature Talkies - We Talk about Nature.
Global Warming, Sea-Ice Loss Intensify Polar Bear Decline
The unabated global warming and the melting Arctic sea ice can result in the extinction of Polar years in the near-century, say the scientists. Meanwhile, studies show that all the 19 subpopulations of polar bears have experienced ice loss over the current times. If not taken charge, the situation would worsen, forcing the animals to […] The post Global Warming, Sea-Ice Loss Intensify Polar Bear Decline appeared first on Nature Talkies - We Talk about Nature.
Book Review: Elizabeth Hennessy, On the Backs of Tortoises: Darwin, the Galápagos, and the Fate of an Evolutionary Eden
By Rodrigo Salido Moulinié The reports said they wanted to kill the turtle. They surrounded the research station and refused to let supplies go through to the 33 people—and the colony of reptiles—inside the building. Yet the fishermen went on strike and took the building not because they hated that turtle (they did not even intend to harm it), but because of what it meant: an allegory of the politics of conservationism, development, and the local making of science.
Increasing Natural Disasters Are “Not So Natural” Afterall
Do you ever wonder why the news channels are always flashing news about a natural disaster raging in some or the other part of the world? The Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT) states that the occurrence of natural disasters has hiked three-fold merely in the last four decades. When the world is standing amidst a climate […] The post Increasing Natural Disasters Are “Not So Natural” Afterall appeared first on Nature Talkies - We Talk about Nature.
Understanding Ecology: A beginner’s handbook
Ecology, as we have all studied in our school times, is the study of organisms and how they interact with their surrounding environment. All living beings make up the biotic component while the nonliving things of our ecosystem comprise the abiotic component. Changes occurring in the ecosystem due to different factors like increase in temperature, […] The post Understanding Ecology: A beginner’s handbook appeared first on Nature Talkies - We Talk about Nature.
Air Pollution: Is There Any way Out?
If you look at the world that we live in, you will see both luxury and misery. However, that’s just the surface level observation — beneath it all exists the misery that nature endures due to our luxury. Pollution and air pollution mainly is what we are talking about. We gave birth to it, and now […] The post Air Pollution: Is There Any way Out? appeared first on Nature Talkies - We Talk about Nature.
Climate Change: How Did We End Up Here?
If we take our eyes off of the money and power for a moment, we are exposed to bigger issues that we have been ignoring for a long while now. Yes, we are talking about climate change. It is probably the only matter that humans, as a race, should be really concerned about. After all, […] The post Climate Change: How Did We End Up Here? appeared first on Nature Talkies - We Talk about Nature.
Top Reasons Why We Should Properly Recycle E-Waste
We live in a “futuristic” digital era, driven by innovativeness and a forward-looking approach. Each day we witness the emergence of a new technology that discards the ideas from the past. This might seem fascinating but unknowingly, technology advancement is resulting into exponential amounts of electronic trash every year. As such, proper e-waste recycling has […] The post Top Reasons Why We Should Properly Recycle E-Waste appeared first on Nature Talkies - We Talk about Nature.
Benefits of Going ‘Solar’ at Home or Business
“Solar power is the last energy resource that isn’t owned yet – nobody taxes the sun yet” ~ Bonnie Rait. And before energy resources like coal and oil get exhausted from our Mother Earth, let’s save the mankind with solar power. Keeping in view the fast-paced depletion and overutilisation of natural resources today, the benefits […] The post Benefits of Going ‘Solar’ at Home or Business appeared first on Nature Talkies - We Talk about Nature.
Potentially Harmful Environmental Factors to Keep an Eye on
“It is our collective and individual responsibility…to preserve and tend to the environment in which we all live” – Dalai Lama There exists constant interactivity between humans and a wide range of environmental factors. These interactions play a major role in affecting our health and quality of life. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), […] The post Potentially Harmful Environmental Factors to Keep an Eye on appeared first on Nature Talkies - We Talk about Nature.
Starhawk, Henry Vaughan, and the Environmental Imagination
By Zane Johnson Times of widespread crisis often challenge conventional ways of being in and seeing the world. Sometimes these challenges take on a millenarian character, heralding the end of an epoch or the dawning of a new age.
Super-enzyme breaks down plastic bottles in ‘a matter of days’
From BBC Science Focus Magazine:
Professor John McGeehan at work
The enhanced protein is made up of two enzymes produced by a type of bacteria that feeds on plastic bottles.
A so-called “super-enzyme” that eats plastic could be “a significant leap forward” in finding solutions to tackle the pollution crisis, scientists hope.
The enhanced protein is made up of two enzymes produced by a type of bacteria that feeds on plastic bottles, known as Ideonella sakaiensis.
Professor John McGeehan, director of the Centre for Enzyme Innovation (CEI) at the University of Portsmouth, said that unlike natural degradation, which can take hundreds of years, the super-enzyme is able to convert the plastic back to its original materials, or building blocks, in just a few days.
“Currently, we get those building blocks from fossil resources such as oil and gas, which is really unsustainable,” he said. “But if we can add enzymes to the waste plastic, we can start to break it down in a matter of days.”
He said the process would also allow plastics to be “made and reused endlessly, reducing our reliance on fossil resources”.
In 2018, Prof McGeehan and his team accidentally discovered that an engineered version of one of the enzymes, known as PETase, was able to break down plastic in a matter of days.
As part of their current study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of […]
Global climate goals ‘virtually impossible’ without carbon capture – IEA
Up to $160 billion needs to be invested in the technology by 2030, a ten-fold increase from the previous decade, it added. “Without it, our energy and climate goals will become virtually impossible to reach,” the IEA head Fatih Birol said in a statement.
A sharp rise in the deployment of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technology is needed globally if countries are to meet net-zero emissions targets designed to slow climate change, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday.A growing number of countries and companies are targeting net zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by around the middle of the century in the wake of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
To reach that, the amount of CO2 captured must rocket to 800 million tonnes in 2030 from around 40 million tonnes today, the IEA, which advises industrialised nations on energy policies, said in a report.
Up to $160 billion needs to be invested in the technology by 2030, a ten-fold increase from the previous decade, it added.
“Without it, our energy and climate goals will become virtually impossible to reach,” the IEA head Fatih Birol said in a statement.
The global economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic risks delaying or cancelling projects dependent on public support, the IEA said.
An oil price slide had also reduced revenues for existing CCUS facilities selling CO2 for so-called enhanced oil recovery (EOR). However, the IEA added: “Economic recovery packages are a unique window of opportunity […]
Greenpeace petitions UK Government to ban supertrawlers catching 7,000 tons of fish
A YouGov poll, commissioned by Greenpeace, has shown that more than 4 in 5 members of the British public believe supertrawlers, factory trawlers over 100m long, should be banned from fishing in the UK’s Marine Protected Areas. 81% said supertrawlers should be banned from fishing in protected areas, with just 4% saying they should be permitted to fish in them.
This comes after an investigation revealed that supertrawlers spent almost 3000 hours fishing in UK Marine Protected Areas in 2019, more than double the number of hours they spent fishing in UK protected areas in 2018. Marine Protected Areas exist to protect vulnerable ecosystems and marine life, like porpoises and reefs.
The Dutch-owned Annelies Ilena supertrawler in UK waters
A Greenpeace petition calls on the government to ban supertrawlers from protected areas, and has already gathered 125,000 signatures, including those of Sir Michael Palin, Joanna Lumley, Gillian Anderson Green MP Caroline Lucas, Alison Steadman and the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
“Britain’s departure from the EU’s Common Fisheries […]
The drive to plant one trillion trees by 2030
From TIME Magazine, an announcement by Jane Goodall and Howard Benioff (excerpt):
“By far the most cost-effective of all the big solutions to climate change is to protect and restore forests. Forests extract and store CO2 from the atmosphere and produce the oxygen we breathe. But these complex ecosystems have been systematically destroyed. We have already lost nearly half the world’s trees, most within the last 100 years. And most of the remaining trees—about 3 trillion—are still under threat, even though they are a critical tool in the fight against climate change.
At this moment in time, massive fires have yet again erupted around the world, from California to the Congo Basin to the Amazon. Far too many of these fires are intentionally set because agricultural profits have been prioritized over the health of our planet. A call to stop deforestation is more important than ever before.”
View of the Congo river, Odzala National Park Republic of Congo
A new World Economic Forum (WEF) initiative, the Trillion Tree challenge (1T.org), has been launched in an effort to bring together old and new partners to add momentum to the regreening of our planet and plant 1 trillion trees around the world by 2030. Companies joined by NGOs and youth movements as well as a number of governments, such as the U.S., have pledged their support for this solution. Those involved will be able to share best practices, […]
Scottish officials raised concerns that Shell’s £5m tree-planting scheme would be seen as “greenwashing”
As a result of UK Freedom of Information requests, internal emails seen by The Ferret investigative blog have revealed that, in the run-up to an announcement by Shell last October that it was funding a new £5m tree-planting initiative, Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) officials raised a number of concerns.
In August 2019, Jo Ellis, FLS head of planning and environment, noted “I do think we need to be cautious about how we communicate this…I don’t want us to come across as falling for the greenwashing. The fact remains that mitigation work such as tree planting will not be sufficient to offset carbon emissions for the long term (we need to be reducing the use of fossil fuels).”
“The tiny amount Shell is putting into green initiatives is dwarfed by what it is still spending on investigating new oil and gas reserves, and in blocking initiatives to set legally binding emissions reductions targets.” she added.
“What we should actually be doing is reducing emissions – e.g. stop using petrol, which Shell is not planning to do. But until such time as technology moves us to a low emissions, projects that sequester carbon such as this one will buy us time.”
Ellis continued: “Personally I would have a problem with them saying anything that implies that this is going to make what they do environmentally friendly. This is all about reducing the harm that they do, not about them doing good.”
FLS director of land management, […]
Why does earth smell so wonderful after rain ?
That wonderful smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather is called Petrichor – a heady mixture of plant oils, bacterial spores and ozone.
In 1964, two Australian scientists, Isabel Joy Bear and R. G. Thomas, determined that one of the main causes of this distinctive smell is a blend of oils secreted by some plants during arid periods. When a rainstorm comes after a drought, compounds from the oils—which accumulate over time in dry rocks and soil—are mixed and released into the air.
In moist, forested areas in particular, a common substance is geosmin, a chemical produced by a soil-dwelling bacteria known as actinomycetes. The bacteria secrete the compound when they produce spores, then the force of rain landing on the ground sends these spores up into the air and the moist air conveys the chemical into our noses.
Pulling carbon dioxide from the air by farming
Exciting news as ‘rock weathering’ experiment pulls carbon dioxide from the air and boosts crop production by 12%.
Many processes weather rocks on Earth’s surface, influenced by chemistry, biology, climate, and plate tectonics. The dominant form of chemical weathering occurs when carbon dioxide combines with water in the soil and the ocean to make carbonic acid.
About 95% of Earth’s crust and mantle – the thick layer between the planet’s crust and its core – is made of silicate minerals, which are compounds of silicon and oxygen.
When carbonic acid comes in contact with certain silicate minerals, it triggers a chemical process known as the ‘Urey reaction’. This reaction pulls gaseous carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and combines it with water and calcium or magnesium silicates, producing two bicarbonate ions. Once the carbon dioxide is trapped in these soil carbonates, or ultimately washed into the ocean, it no longer warms the climate
Now, emerging science – including at the California Collaborative for Climate Change Solutions’ (C4) WLIC – shows that it is possible to accelerate rock weathering rates.
Enhanced rock weathering could both slow global warming and improve soil health, making it […]