Sustainability Summarised - October edition


As October draws to a close, it means the scariest time of year is upon us with trick or treats and Halloween ghouls on the cards for this weekend.

So, for our October edition of Sustainability Summarised, we’ve left out any scary environmental news and instead collected some of our favourite sustainable updates we’ve spotted this month. 

What is COP26 and why is it important?

This week COP26 has dominated the headlines - from the Queen’s non-attendance, to Lego’s COP26 handbook for children. But, why is COP26 so important?

COP26, brings together the governments who have signed the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) to discuss how to jointly address the climate crisis. This year, the conference is being hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy, and it’s taking place in Glasgow from Sunday 31st October to Friday 12th November.

In order to limit global warming, the aim of COP26 is to agree collective action across governments to halve global emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050. The target is to limit warming to just 1.5 degrees and experts believe this is achievable if significant action is taken immediately.

Chatham House explains the importance of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees. ‘The difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees is substantial: every increment of a degree translates into increased risks for people, communities, and ecosystems. The UK’s overarching aim for the Glasgow summit is to ‘keep 1.5 degrees alive’.

Sixty years ago, scientists let a farm field rewild – here’s what happened

In 1961, the Monks Wood National Nature Reserve was abandoned after it’s final barley crop was harvested. At the time it was abandoned the director of the Monks Wood Experimental Station, a former research centre in Cambridgeshire, left a note suggesting it would be interesting to see what happens to the area without any interference.

Fast forward 60 years, and the Monks Wood Wilderness experiment is considered a rewilding study that began before the term even existed.

The ploughed field became a closed canopy woodland within 40 to 50 years. In fact, the area is home to almost 400 trees per hectare. Positive.News state; ‘the Wilderness experiment shows what’s possible when nature is allowed to create rich, native woodland for free.’


Why planting mangroves can help save the planet

Mangroves can restore the health of our planet's land, sea and climate. Although they seem an unlikely hero, Eco Watch argue that mangroves are ‘magic’, and planting more of them could keep many habitats safe.

Mangroves are shrubs or small trees that typically grow on coastlines where land and sea meet. They protect land by acting as a frontline defence for people and properties along coastlines, preventing damage from hurricanes, flooding and tropical storms.

But mangroves also protect marine habitats. They maintain water quality and clarity and they even aid animal and fish populations by providing a protected habitat for animals to forage, grow and hide from predators.

How to help dogs and cats manage separation anxiety when their humans return to work

Despite being over a year and a half into the pandemic, many people are yet to return to the office, with working from home becoming their new normal. Although the lack of commute is a positive for the environment, it’s left many pets anxious about being left at home alone.

The Conversation have shared a range of tips to help get your pet used to being left alone. For example, you want to make leaving feel like a part of your normal routine and avoid making too much of a big deal about it. Try not to fuss over your dog when you leave, or when you return.


Sea otters are reshaping the genetics of eelgrass meadows

Not only are Sea Otters adorable, but they’re helping to maintain other species in their habitats too. It’s long been understood that sea otters have a positive impact on the health of kelp forests by curbing populations of voracious sea urchins. However, a recent study supported by the Hakai Institute has found that they also play an important role in shaping the genetics of eelgrass.

Scientists took eelgrass samples from 15 different sites, some with sea otters, some without. They found that eelgrass taken from sites with long-established otter populations had a genetic diversity up to 30 percent higher than the sites without sea otters.

As Jane Goodall grieves climate change, she finds hope in young people's advocacy

You might recognise Jane Goodall as the naturalist and animal lover who studied chimpanzees. However, despite coming face-to-face with wild animals all of her life, it’s the climate crisis that really scares her. Jane spoke to Rachel Martin from Morning Edition about the hope she has in the face of climate change.

Jane admits that she does feel eco-grief, but despite this worry she feels young people’s  climate advocacy is a source of hope. And Jane defends the importance of having hope; and even more importantly working to make what we hope for, happen.

You can listen to Jane’s full interview here.

Have you seen any other stories about sustainability and environmental news and issues that you think we should include? Let us know!

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