Grassroots approach to climate change

When considering the issues surrounding climate change one can easily become overwhelmed and conclude that the solutions are out of reach and beyond their control. However, communities in the UK and US can be found which empower local communities and restore faith in the future. Aside from international movements such as FridaysForFuture, more local groups can be sourced if you know where to look.

If you live somewhere in the UK, websites like Climate Action can be a great source of finding a local group near you. Or if you would like to join a more national body, The Conservation Volunteers is a great way to get involved.

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If you live in the US, organisations such as Bioneers or OceansGlobal may be more for you. There are obviously a lot more groups out there, you may want to refer to the this list. However, being from an unreliable source you may want to take this list of recommendations with an eye of scrutiny.

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Unfortunately, local climate change groups was not easy to find for other countries based in places such as Asia or Africa. However, from a broader more international standpoint this website article was a great source for examining climate change in different areas of the world and also providing the names of the international bodies focused on climate change in those areas.

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Climate mitigation and adaptation

When discussing ways to reduce the speed at which the climate is changing in order to stabilise the planet as a whole, many look to various methods and solutions with little to no success. Due to the complexity of climate change and the plethora of issues it presents us with, others have looked toward more broad and encompassing framework to help tackle this crucial time period that we are all apart of today.

Climate mitigation focuses on reducing the output of greenhouse gases or increasing the potential to absorb these harmful gases from the atmosphere in order to reduce global warming. Although easy to explain, in practice this can be quite difficult. In order to achieve this approach, we need to internationally transition from using fossil fuels and focus more on renewable energy. We need to halt deforestation and start rewilding the planet, these solutions thus eliminate the source of harmful gases whilst increasing the rate at which the planet can absorb them.

Climate adaptation can be defined as adapting in different ways to a changing climate and preparing for future adaptation as the climate continues to change. Adaptive solutions often vary depending of geography, are difficult to predict and come with trade-offs. Examples of solutions include diversifying crops to withstand warmer or wetter conditions, helping communities reduce the risk of flooding and adapting infrastructure in order to withstand extreme weather.

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Although these approaches offer solutions and goals to tackle the different aspects of a changing climate, they are far from equal with varying outcomes. This disparity is due to one reason: climate justice.

From a policymaker’s perspective, adaptation is a local, private good with often clear and immediate benefits.  On the other, mitigation is a global, public good with far-away benefits‘ – http://www.climaterealityproject.org

In summary, both these approaches are necessary, however, as we have chosen to focus less on mitigation, the more adaptation we will need later. As a result, less wealthy countries will continue to fall behind as some already struggle to adapt to the climate change issues of today.

Sources:

https://climate.nasa.gov/solutions/adaptation-mitigation/

https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/what-s-the-difference-between-climate-change-mitigation-and-adaptation

https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/climate-adaptation-vs-mitigation-why-does-it-matter

The benefits of Marine Protected Areas

Marine protected areas or no-take zones are areas designated by government where no extractive activity is allowed by law. Such activity includes hunting, fishing, logging, mining and drilling. These zones do not just apply to areas of water on certain oceans but also to bodies of water on land such as certain lakes or rivers. Unfortunately, these zones are often rare as sporting or commercial fishing often make up a large percentage of industry for coastal areas. No-take zones are often used to protect the spawning grounds for different marine life to prevent population extinction and conserve wildlife.

Due to current issues such as overfishing, the surreal amount of plastic in the ocean and decaying coral reefs; the importance of these protected areas are becoming more necessary as we progress through the 21st century. Therefore, it is integral that the benefits of these zones are understood so that we can increase their use and help protect marine life from further degradation.

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One of the major benefits of marine protected areas is obviously the increase in population size for all marine life. With nature allowed to reinstate itself, a healthy ecosystem is allowed to reform for the most part. These pockets of sustainable life help repair an ocean which is currently being riddled with plastic and overfished.

Some may feel that this is a considerable loss for the fishing industry or unfair to isolated fishing villages with no other source of livelihood. However, this is not the case at all. In time, as the population sizes grow in these marine protected areas, spill over occurs where different populations of marine life start to migrate. Therefore, allowing the continued fishing of these different species in the non-protected areas whilst also allowing a sustainable area to thrive.

Currently, only 2.7% of the ocean globally is protected. Protected areas are sporadically increasing however, with areas such as the Great Barrier Reef to smaller areas consisting in and around the United Kingdom. An atlas overview of the different areas can be found here.

In summary, as information on climate change continues to spread, one thing that is certain is that we need to start living more cooperatively with nature because if we continue to progress destructively without thought for other life then this will ultimately be the very thing which stops our progression altogether.

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How drone technology can aid people and the environment

The past decade has witnessed an increased use of drone technology within different environmental roles. From farmers to scientists, drones are now being used to reduce farming costs or help survey plant and animal populations in remote areas. Below is a short list consisting of the different tasks drones can be used to help the environment and scientific research.

Reducing the cost of farming

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Drones can help with farming tasks such as planting, crop spraying, monitoring and irrigation. Increasing the success rates of planting crops whilst also decreasing planting costs. In terms of crop spraying, drones can reduce the amount amount of chemicals that work their way into ground water whilst completing the task up to five times faster than traditional machinery.

Renewable energy maintenance

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Inspecting tall structures such as wind turbines are another way drones help reduce risk and increase efficiency. Drones are now used to help with maintenance surveys and collect data on solar panel installation as well.

Ariel mapping

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Drones can also help map and collect data on areas which may be hard to reach for people on the ground. For example, environmental scientists are using drones to help survey mangroves, coral reefs and tropical rainforests. Making the task more efficient and also safer for the researchers involved.

Population surveillance

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Drone technology is also used to monitor wildlife movement, track population numbers and survey habitats. This method makes it a lot easier for ecologists to get a more accurate number of a certain species whilst reducing the risks of interfering with the animals themselves.

Disaster relief

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Finally, drones are also used to help prevent and assess natural disasters such as wildfires or typhoons. For example, In the Philippines during 2013 drones were used to assess the damage of a typhoon and help migrate people whilst finding the most ideal places for reconstruction.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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‘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.

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