Drones used to repopulate forests

A recent strategy to repopulate forests uses drones to plant seeds at a safer and faster way than humans can. In different parts of the world, organisations are using drones to restore forests damaged by wildfires and other consequences of climate change.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiOPdJCukNg&ab_channel=Reuters

This short video summaries what is taking place in the United States and the process which takes place. This company’s website gives a more detailed look into how they operate.

In the UK, organisations are using drone planting techniques in order to solve the issue of Ash dieback. Ash dieback is common in most parts of Europe and is a fungal disease which often spreads from tree to tree. Therefore, the seed spreading drone program aims to help repopulate forests with healthier trees.

One UK tech company, Dendra, is aiming to plant 500 billion trees by 2060. This idea could help restore forests which are being lost to deforestation due to organisations profiteering from the newly cleared land, for example the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

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In Myanmar people are tweaking the technology to plant mangrove trees along coastal areas and places hard to reach on foot. This new innovative design looks promising as not only are the drones used to plant trees at much higher rates and in places hard to reach, they are also used to help scan sections of woodland and provide information on specific areas of forests.

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Companies at the forefront of climate action

Spreading the message and having the best intentions is a start but without action no important change can happen in the limited window we have left. There are many different ways different companies take action on climate change, some as a case of greenwashing, but others have more honest intentions.

As well as companies, nations also have a responsibility to the environment, Climate Action Tracker helps track each country and determines whether it is on track with the 2015 Paris Agreement. Furthermore, I have picked out some interesting companies that are directly linked to conservation and climate action.

Greenpeace

Source: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk

They take action on environmental harm and climate change in a multitude of different ways, one of those being boulder drops into the ocean. By dropping large boulders into the ocean, this creates a barrier from industrial fishing ships, as a result protecting marine life and ecosystems.

Climate Action

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Currently scheduled to hold many forums and summits throughout the year tackling the key issues surrounding climate change. Also, they raise the questions on what action can be taken against these issues and the most efficient ways to achieve these actions.

Rewilding Britain

Source: http://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk

Rewilding Britain are actively involved in rewilding and conservation by supporting landowners, publishing research and petitions for policy change. They are a small company which only started five years ago but provide a lot in terms of information and action.

Conservation International

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Conservation international focus primarily on the conservation of wild areas and restoring biodiversity to deprived areas of land. Their goals include reducing carbon in the atmosphere, secure ecosystems which act as carbon traps, ensure all mangroves are protected and protecting rainforests. They work in countries such as Kenya, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia.

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Why bees are integral to our ecosystems and how to restore their population

Whilst forests play an important part in maintaining habitats and provide carbon traps, bees help pollinate the food we eat as well as the trees and plants that make up forests. We rely on them to maintain a biodiverse landscape as well as pollinate 90% of food worldwide.

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We are experiencing a global decline in bee diversity and population which is a serious issue as they pollinate a large percentage of our food supply. The reasons for this loss can vary depending of geographical location. Generally, bee population decline is due to the use of pesticides, such as the ones recently allowed in the UK. Climate change also disrupts bee populations from unstable plant diversity and unpredictable weather patterns. Finally, monoculture such as palm oil plantations presents a lack of biodiversity and commercial development both impact bee populations and their chances of survival.

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There are many different ways the bee population can be restored. For example, the National Wildlife Federation has comprised a list of six different solutions:

  • Plant natives – These are accustom to your local ecosystem, provide bees with sustainable food and do not require fertilizer.
  • New garden areas – Add new garden beds and encourage others to plant more flowers.
  • Organic – Refrain from using insecticides and chemicals in your garden.
  • Water – Place shallow pools of water in your garden for bees and other pollinators to thrive.
  • Nesting places – Create nesting places in your garden to increase the likelihood of the bee population increasing.
  • Responsibility – Raise awareness of the issue and inspire others to follow the same list of resolutions.

Others suggest planting bee friendly plants to adhere more to their needs or even going further and advocating for bee protection at different levels of government.

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‘Slowing down and even reversing habitat destruction and land-conversion to intensive uses, implementation of environmentally friendly schemes in agricultural and urban settings, and programs to flower our world are urgently required. Bees cannot wait’ – Zattara, E. Aizen, M. (2021)

No matter what we decide to do in resolving this growing issue, it is undoubtedly vital that bees and other pollinators populations increase otherwise our food security and biodiversity of the planet will severely suffer.

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Agricultural strategies to climate change

One consequence of global warming and climate change is unpredictable weather patterns and extreme weather. The agricultural industry rely on predictable weather patterns in order to produce the most yield from their crop, however, global warming is affecting the production of this crop on a international scale.

Photo by Tom Fisk on Pexels.com

Many people have been looking toward adaptive measures in order to deal with unpredictable weather. For example, one approach being Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) aimed at increasing sustainable agricultural productivity, reduce emissions and helping food systems build resilience to a changing climate.

One of the main reasons for healthy soil, apart from the production of crops, is that soil is the second largest carbon sink after oceans – making it a highly valuable resource but also one that is most vulnerable to climate change. The EU have a strategy which can help protect soil from climate change but the European Environment Agency claim that a lot more information is still needed in order to implement long-term sustainable solutions.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

Others have suggested strategies which aim to make agriculture more resilient such as building healthier soil or developing new crop varieties and farming practices. One agricultural practice some suggest to use in order to tackle climate change is permaculture. Permaculture is centred around simulating the patterns and features observed in the natural ecosystem. Some have suggested that permaculture techniques can improve efficacy and sustain limited farm resources. Permaculture can be used in a variety of different environments, which is helpful as we need need something that functions like a natural habitat but also meets our needs.


These are just some of the strategies and difficulties people have expressed as climate change worsens, farming and agriculture needs to be thought of thoroughly as our current mass produced scale is something that is fragile and can easily be disrupted.

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Why climate change should be a core subject in schools

Society’s youngest generation has shown a strong concern for the environment in recent years, possibly owing its awareness to the vast information that can be found on the internet. This information is valuable in spreading awareness and educating people on the current state of our planet, however not everyone uses the internet in a productive way. Therefore, establishing a strong curriculum in schools to teach children about climate change and the environment may be more beneficial long term.


Teaching children about climate change may help set fundamental principles in most of the population as they grow older, such as the ways we need act in order to achieve sustainable goals. This can be seen in Japanese culture and the way they act at public events. These characteristics are what many aim to teach at an early age, not only can this benefit the individual but also the planet in becoming more sustainable.

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Educating children on climate change entails a multifaceted subject matter with potential to create sustainable lifestyle choices, ultimately creating a more sustainable planet long-term. One article by the UNCC states:

‘While the breadth and controversy of content related to climate change poses a challenge to educators, it is also one of the topic’s great strengths. The fact that climate change may be viewed on local, regional, and international levels — not to mention through scientific, civic, and cultural lenses — provides students with the opportunity to develop critical analysis skills and synthesize information’


‘Teaching on climate change means teaching on topics like environmental stewardship and collective responsibility — teaching students that they and those around them have a responsibility to something larger than themselves’


This helps the planet by spiking interest in children that may want to take a career focused on environmental stewardship but also teaches positive societal values at an early age.

Put more concisely:

‘Education and awareness-raising enable informed decision-making, play an essential role in increasing adaptation and mitigation capacities of communities, and empower women and men to adopt sustainable lifestyles’

UNESCO

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One scientific paper argued that schools will need to reflect sustainability as well as teaching sustainable development:

‘climate change education for sustainable development must be comprehensive and multidisciplinary; it must not only include relevant content knowledge on climate change, environmental and social issues, disaster risk reduction and sustainable consumption and lifestyles, but it should also focus on the institutional environment in which that content is learned to ensure that schools and education systems themselves are climate-proofed and resilient as well as sustainable and green’

Highlighting how climate change will need to be an in-depth part of a school’s curriculum which will encompass a range of topics and perspectives. Their evidence-based study focused on:

‘research based on scholarly methods and in-depth evidence published in scientific, peer-reviewed journals as well as monitoring reports, assessments and evaluations of climate change education projects’

‘evidence shows that educational interventions are most successful
when they focus on local, tangible, and actionable aspects of sustainable
development, climate change and environmental education, especially
those that can be addressed by individual behaviour’

Frequently focusing on climate change from a global perspective can seem overwhelming and leave one feeling powerless. However, as the findings suggest focusing locally on climate change and what one may be able to achieve in their immediate surroundings can better achieve an inspiration for change and sustainable lifestyle choices.

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The benefits of rewilding and biodiversity

‘The term biodiversity (from the phrase “biological diversity”) refers to the variety of life on Earth at all its levels, from genes to ecosystems, and can encompass the evolutionary, ecological, and cultural processes that sustain life’

– greenmatters.com

Biodiversity is needed as we rely on different ecosystems to provide water, food and medicine. If one species becomes extinct, this often creates a collateral affect on other species, increasing the loss of biodiversity within different ecosystems.

Without these intricate ecosystems human societies could not exist. The different benefits which we draw from these ecosystems is known as ecosystem services.

Due to the increase in the human population and deforestation, biodiversity is at a rapid decline, meaning different species are set to become extinct in unprecedented numbers and the ecosystems we rely on are starting to disappear.

However, one solution to the rapid loss of biodiversity is rewilding nature.

Photo by Michael Hodgins on Pexels.com

‘Rewilding is a progressive approach to conservation. It’s about letting nature take care of itself, enabling natural processes to shape land and sea, repair damaged ecosystems and restore degraded landscapes. Through rewilding, wildlife’s natural rhythms create wilder, more biodiverse habitats’

– rewildingeurope.com

This definition provides a broad overview of rewilding, however different types of rewilding also exist.

Passive rewilding: Aims to reduce human interference by letting nature take its course and thrive on its own

Pleistocene rewilding: During the Pleistocene era, a mass extinction of megafauna occurred. Some believe this left an imbalance to our ecosystems, this approach suggests including non-native species into different ecosystems to restore a balance of different species.

Translocation rewilding: A proactive approach which reintroduces species which were previously lost from certain ecosystems, with the goal of restoring areas to a state of previous wellbeing.

Rewilding not only applies to rural areas but also to urban landscapes as well. The benefits of green urban areas can be made possible by increasing the number of forests and parks in cities as well as reduced pesticides and harmful management. Allowing for a more environmentally friendly landscape has also led to some interesting developments, such as those currently underway in Singapore.

Photo by Elina Sazonova on Pexels.com

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Global climate change solutions

The problems climate change presents can seem complex at first, however below I have attempted to separate the solutions to this overwhelming problem into two categories. In order to better understand what can and must be done to prevent further damage from climate change, it is best to look at what we can do through repairing our planet and making transitions which are more sustainable for all life on earth.

Repair

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Transition

We cannot simply tackle every single issue climate change presents us with, although with divided attention each nation can do their part to work toward these issues. The natural world is defined by its many different cycles which helps operate life on earth, these issues work similarly in the way that one often has a collateral impact on the other. Therefore, we cannot focus on one single issue either as this will not be sufficient enough to slow down the consequences of our changing climate.

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How climate denial prohibits climate action

Climate denial can be defined as ‘the refusal to accept the existence or validity of climate change‘.

It is also well known that the ‘climate denial industry‘ plays an important role in preventing climate action and illuminates a certain corrupt political power which influences the public opinion for the benefit of their own agenda.

Obviously a focus on economy is beneficial for a country as it grants resources and influence in order for problems to be solved. However, environmental issues are often ignored or rejected as the focus of this corrupt political power tends to lean more towards an individualised interest centred around a select few. For example, the actions of Donald Trump or Jair Bolsonaro fit this description quite well.

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Motivations behind climate denial:

  • Large government projects interfere with individual life and people are not willing to change and make sacrifices .
  • Those invested in the oil and gas industry want to continue to profit from their exploits e.g. ExxonMobil $16 million misinformation campaign (these misinformation campaigns are often compared to the tobacco industry’s campaigns in the 20th century due to their similarity in scale and funding).
  • The trouble with fake news and social media producing unreliable sources of information creates an attitude amongst people when presented with factual and reliable statistics.
  • Refusal to accept facts in order to protect ourselves from uncomfortable truths – standard coping mechanism which can be seen throughout a lot of human psychology e.g. when dealing with addiction or trauma.

How climate denial prevents climate action:

Often it is corporations invested in the fossil fuel industry, as an attempt to keep their head above the water, actively persuade public opinion to prevent climate action.

THE CLIMATE DENIAL MACHINE: HOW THE FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY BLOCKS CLIMATE ACTION:

These organizations, which disguise themselves as advocates for the rights of average people, are just extensions of the fossil-fuel industry’s recklessly anti-regulation agenda


Funding groups like these is ultimately how Big Oil, Big Coal, and Big Gas continue obstructing urgently-needed emissions reductions – all while remaining hidden behind the scenes’

Not necessarily because they want to watch the world burn but because countries are slowly waking up to the fact that carbon emissions and fossil fuels are no longer sustainable, these corporations will no longer be useful. The simple fact of trying to preserve their own livelihood and continue their corporate greed for more money and power is the exact reason why companies like ExxonMobil will spend $16 million to sway public opinion inline with their own agenda. They don’t care about you or your country, as long as the oil money keeps flowing they are happy preventing climate action progressing for another several decades, which by that point it will be too late.

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Solutions to plastic pollution in the ocean

As I mentioned in my previous post, the scale of plastic pollution has now reached unprecedented levels. We now can identify some of the issues with plastic and microplastic. Simply, microplastic is a danger to aquatic life, human life and water filtration systems. One of the largest problems with microplastic is the abundance of it found in our oceans and our rivers. For example, the Great Pacific garbage patch demonstrates the amount of plastic and other waste which has accumulating in our oceans.

This already being common knowledge amongst environmental researchers and activists, some have already started cleaning the oceans in an effort to repair what we have damaged and help spread awareness of the problem.

The Ocean CleanUp is a non-profit organisation which aims to clean up 90% of plastic pollution from the ocean. They use different technologies to help rid our oceans of plastic pollution and have also started helping in river systems as well. One of their technologies is a U-shaped foam like barrier which traps plastic ready for it to be collected and recycled.

Ichthion is a technological company which specialises in delivering the first scalable solution to reducing plastic from our waterways. They are working towards building energy-generative systems that can be installed in rivers, coastal areas and oceans.

https://thegreatbubblebarrier.com/en/

The Great Bubble Barrier is a company which uses a current of bubbles in the water to prevent plastic from moving forward and trapping the waste. This is already an existing technology used to prevent oil spills from spreading and does not hinder fish or ships.

In summary, these are just a few examples of the different ways organisations are solving plastic pollution in our oceans and rivers. There are many more companies associated with these organisations and others which are doing similar work. With this movement where everyone takes responsibility for the planet and does not see it as someone else’s problem, a sustainable future will be all the more likely.

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Why climate change is more of a concern now than ever before

Currently, climate change is a major issue for humanity and one that cannot be solved easily. The words ‘climate change’ are somewhat natural when looking at the Earth’s history but presently represent a host of different issues which are all interlinked in some way. From deforestation, pollution, carbon emissions to overfishing, meat consumption and consumerism all affect the planet’s sustainability and biodiversity.

A recent video which helps summarise my point further can be found below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Sl28fkrozE&t=0s&ab_channel=TED

What will be looked at today is the history of global warming and the consequences melting ice and rising temperatures.

The first appearances of climate change occurred during the 1820s when Joseph Fourier discovered that atmospheric gases could trap heat emitted by the sun. Today, we now know this early discovery has degrading consequences, especially for those contributing least to the problem.

Two examples of the progression of our planet’s degradation I will draw from are the melting of ice and warming of the planet.

The melting of ice worsens with each passing year as the time-lapse below demonstrates.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7x9leQqrkc&feature=emb_logo&ab_channel=AGU

Some of the problems which follow the ice melting are associated with flooded coastal areas, disturbed marine ecosystems and the collapse of polar ecosystems. Each bring their own set of problems to the table and some of the consequences of these changes are yet unknown as our planet as never experienced such radical climate change in recent history.

The warming of the planet, which is interlinked with the melting of ice, brings a host of separate problems as well. As shown in the video below, global warming has considerably increased over the past 100 years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sqdyEpklFU&feature=emb_logo&ab_channel=NASAClimateChange

The consequences associated with global warming consist of longer breeding seasons for insects and this ultimately leads to population imbalances, such as locusts, taking place in parts of Africa and Asia leading to reduce crop yields. Global warming also causes permafrost to thaw, releasing ancient viruses and harmful gases, such as methane, back into the atmosphere.

The amalgamation of these two interlinked issues which fall under the umbrella of climate change demonstrate the complexity of the problem at hand. Demonstrating that as a collective we must take climate change seriously and invent efficient ways to deal with these complex issues.

In summary, these two main examples are clearly interlinked and disturb the planet’s natural systems. However, as mentioned earlier these are only two issues amongst a plethora of other concerns which are caused by human behaviour and affect the planet’s health. Therefore, in striving for solutions to these problems it is vital that we take a collective responsibility and not leave it in the hands of a minority of scientists and technological innovation.

Sources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Sl28fkrozE&t=0s&ab_channel=TED
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/225789568_Global_warming_and_state-corporate_crime_The_politicalization_of_global_warming_under_the_Bush_administration
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7x9leQqrkc&feature=emb_logo&ab_channel=AGU
https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/11/e1700537
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gcb.12337
https://utsc.utoronto.ca/news-events/breaking-research/most-polar-bear-populations-likely-collapse-end-century-if-global-warming
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sqdyEpklFU&feature=emb_logo&ab_channel=NASAClimateChange
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/225789568_Global_warming_and_state-corporate_crime_The_politicalization_of_global_warming_under_the_Bush_administration
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/jun/08/rolling-emergency-of-locust-swarms-decimating-africa-asia-and-middle-east
https://arcticwwf.org/newsroom/the-circle/arctic-tipping-point/thawing-permafrost/