Sustainability Summarised - September Edition

In this month’s sustainability summarised we explore the effects and aftermath of climate change, through two different lenses.

They say bad news sells, and the effects of climate change, pollution and excess waste are nothing short of bad news. However, throughout this fear and panic we’ve seen some glimmers of hope - togetherness, art and a leading female scientist.

Our first two stories show two different sides of the good news/bad news coin. If you want to see something positive click here but if you're keen on seeing the bleak reality of pollution, click here. There's a little more detail about each link directly below, so read on if you’d like to hear more.

Eye-Opening Photos Show How Plastic Waste is Polluting Our Planet

By now, most of us know the damaging effects of single-use plastics and in turn, plastic waste. However, seeing the true effects of the global crisis is still extremely harrowing.

This UN photo exhibition titled Plastic is Forever shows the horrors of plastic pollution across the globe. The gallery shows the impact plastic pollution has on people, wildlife and environments around the world.

The exhibition states that plastic can take between 20 and 500 years to decompose, but half of the 8.3 billion tons of plastic produced was created in the last 13 years. Unless global plastic pollution is taken seriously, this worldwide crisis isn’t likely to be going away anytime soon!

'Code Red' Climate Activism Art Around the World

For many, art is a wonderful outlet to express their emotions - it allows people to share worries that they might not be able to find in words. They say art can change the world and this gallery is a great example of activists trying to save the world with their artwork.

Newsweek has shared a gallery of some of the most thought provoking climate activism art from all over the world. From immersive underground light exhibitions to underwater forests - take a look and be inspired.

A new way to restore earth’s biodiversity - from the air

If you’ve got a couple of minutes to spare, have a listen to Susan Graham’s TED Talk about restoring biodiversity to the earth from the air.

There are currently over 2 billion hectares of degraded land across the world and we need to fix this. Susan Graham explains the impact technology can have on restoring this land at mass scale.

Until now, we’ve been limited to simple methods of vast plantations of the same type of tree. However, drones now allow us to gather data on the degraded land and plant the right mix of vegetation quickly, from the air.

This new technology can not only return forests, but it can restore whole ecosystems.

Global CO2 emissions from wildfires reached record highs this summer, satellite data shows

The Independent shared some scary findings following a number of wildfires across the globe. Satellite data found that CO2 emissions from wildfires reached a record high across the summer months.

New data from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service found that the months of July and August were both record months for wildfire emissions globally. In August alone, fires caused 1.38bn tonnes of CO2 to be released.

A recent assessment from leading scientists found that the climate crisis is increasing the likelihood of the hot, dry and windy weather that’s more likely to start fires. When forests and plants burn, their carbon storage is released into the atmosphere which contributes to the build up of greenhouse gases. 

This woman was the first scientist to chart the physics of climate change—in 1856

Here’s some lighter news to finish off this week’s sustainable summary! Did you know the first scientist to report on carbon dioxide’s power to absorb heat was female scientist, Eunice Foote, in the year 1856? Foote was the first known scientist to suggest that carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere could result in a temperature increase.

Foote conducted a simple experiment, using a thermometer to measure the temperature of two glass cylinders, one containing carbon dioxide gas and the other containing air. She set both cylinders in the sun and the cylinder containing carbon dioxide got much hotter than the one with air, and Foote concluded that carbon dioxide would absorb heat in the atmosphere.

Eunice Foote was a rare female scientist of her time and warned about the science of climate change 165 years ago. If only we’d listened!

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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