New findings suggest trees are ‘our most powerful weapon in the fight against climate change’, says scientist
Norvan Falls Trail, North Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Spencer Watson/unsplash
Replenishing the world’s forests on a grand scale would suck enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to cancel out a decade of human emissions, according to an ambitious new study.
Scientists have established there is room for an additional 1.2 trillion trees to grow in parks, woods and abandoned land across the planet.
Combining data from ground-based surveys and satellites, Dr Crowther and his colleagues arrived at a figure of three trillion – over seven times more than a previous Nasa estimate. The same approach, using machine learning and AI to analyse the enormous data set, allowed the researchers to predict the number of trees that could feasibly be planted in empty patches around the world.
Dr Crowther said undervaluing trees means scientists have also been massively underestimating the potential for forests to combat climate change. MORE
Australia has reached its international conservation commitments through Indigenous Protected Areas, creating 3,000 jobs in the process. Will Canada follow suit?
…there are similarities between Australian Indigenous Rangers and Canadian Indigenous Guardians, and they run deep.
At the heart are ties to the land — the power of the land to teach, to heal, to connect to history and to provide a living.
“This is all about the land. It’s about people going back to the country and reestablishing the cultural conditions that lead to a good environment,” said Denis Rose, Gunditjmara senior land manager from Western Victoria, Australia, one of a delegation of Australian rangers who visited Canada last week to meet with their Canadian counterparts and politicians.
Canada’s Indigenous Guardians help monitor illegal fisheries and forestry activities, protect cultural sites and, in the North, monitor how climate change is affecting the Arctic.
The visit from the Australian Rangers was organized by the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, with the aim of demonstrating the benefits of a comprehensive, country-wide program. MORE
“I was wilfully deluded until I began covering global warming,” says author and journalist David Wallace-Wells. He’s the author of The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story Of The Future which begins with these gripping opening lines “It’s worse, much worse, than you think” that are like a voice from your worst nightmare. “People should be scared – I’m scared,” says Wallace-Wells.
Fear for our future and frustration with the inability of the political establishment to deal adequately with the climate crisis are driving the world’s youth to rise. And they will not take no for an answer. They are not, in any way, deluded about their future.
I began following global warming and climate change over a decade ago. At first I naively thought that climate science—the facts—would galvanize the world into taking rapid and immediate steps to bend the curve on greenhouse gases and the warming of the planet. But that did not work out that well. MORE
The term “neoliberalism” isn’t new. It was coined in 1938 at a meeting in which social democracy was framed as analogous to a collectivism like Nazism and communism. But neoliberalism today is a conundrum: its slimy tendrils claw into everyday Western life, yet it is so anonymous that we seldom even recognize it as a pervasive ideology. Neoliberalism pushes deregulation on economies around the world, forces open national markets to trade and capital, and demands that governments shrink themselves via austerity or privatization.
Neoliberalism’s anonymity is its essential symptom and cause of its power, and the Sunrise movement is seeking to make the consequences of neoliberalism transparent in society. You know Sunrise, even if you can’t immediately grasp why. They’re the cohort of primarily college-aged activists who are promoting the Green New Deal. You saw pictures of their sit-in in front of Nancy Pelosi’s congressional office in the news and on 60 Minutes when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) joined them in support of objectives to virtually eliminate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a decade.
The earth is on track for 3-4 C degrees of warming, which would cause sea level rise of several feet and make extreme weather more frequent and dangerous, among other consequences. The next 4 to 12 years are critical if the world wants to limit that warming. Waiting to reduce greenhouse gases will make the challenge harder.
The Sunrise Movement is working to build a cohort of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across the US, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on politics, and elect leaders who stand up for the health and wellbeing of all people. MORE
You’ve been hearing a lot about the Green New Deal, but you’re wondering what it’s all about? If you want a quick and chatty explainer, check out this video put together by the folks at The Leap, a climate action group.
The Leap Manifesto predates the Green New Deal, but the group has eagerly taken up the mantle. Here’s the central core of the Manifesto:
We could live in a country powered entirely by renewable energy, woven together by accessible public transit, in which the jobs and opportunities of this transition are designed to systematically eliminate racial and gender inequality. Caring for one another and caring for the planet could be the economy’s fastest growing sectors. Many more people could have higher wage jobs with fewer work hours, leaving us ample time to enjoy our loved ones and flourish in our communities.
We know that the time for this great transition is short. Climate scientists have told us that this is the decade to take decisive action to prevent catastrophic global warming. That means small steps will no longer get us where we need to go.
Whether it’s out of a sincerely held belief or a profit motive, celebrities endorse products or lifestyle choices all the time. But concern about climate change has moved certain famous folks to appeal to our shared humanity.
Earlier this week, in an attempt to draw attention to the carbon footprint of meat production, a group of celebrities including Paul McCartney and actors Woody Harrelson and Joaquin Phoenix resorted to an elaborate ruse. Co-signing an impassioned letter by a 12-year-old California eco-activist named Genesis Butler, they challenged Pope Francis to go vegan for Lent. If he agrees, the campaign will offer $1 million US to a charity of the Pope’s choice. And it stands to reason that the Pope’s participation might also inspire Catholics to reconsider their own eating habits.
Whether or not the Pope takes the bait, the Million Dollar Vegan stunt undoubtedly shines more light on the issue of meat production. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, farming livestock accounts for about 18 per cent of global carbon emissions. People are unlikely to stop eating animal proteins. But eating fewer of them, and diversifying into plant-based ones, certainly benefits the planet. MORE
JARED RODRIGUEZ / TRUTHOUT, TOKARCHUK ANDRII / SHUTTERSTOCK
With the climate change challenge growing more acute with every passing year, the need for the adoption of a new political economy that would tackle effectively both the environmental and the egalitarian concerns of progressive people worldwide grows exponentially. Yet, there is still a lot of disagreement on the left as to the nature of the corresponding political economy model. One segment of the left calls for the complete overthrow of capitalism as a means of dealing with climate change and the growing levels of economic inequality in the era of global neoliberalism, while another one argues against growth in general.
In the interview below, Robert Pollin, distinguished professor of economics and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, explains some issues raised by each of these positions, and how to move toward solutions grounded in a fuller understanding of economic development. MORE