We are living in a time of environmental anger and despair, and not without cause. Exponential growth of human consumption has led to catastrophic losses of habitats and the decimation and extinction of species. Covid-19, itself a symptom of a world out of ecological balance, has brought not only human tragedy, but also the loss of 2020 as a biodiversity and climate “super year” for planetary assessments and action. The fleeting good environmental news from the shutdown, of wildlife emerging from hiding places and an early precipitous drop in greenhouse gas emissions, has been replaced by a flood of single-use plastics, an outbreak of poaching and deforestation, and attacks on environmental regulations. … [Read more...] about Don’t despair: use the pandemic as a springboard to environmental action
How to tackle climate change
Brightening clouds with salt crystals and deploying slicks of coral larvae to try and limit the impacts of global heating on the Great Barrier Reef are among more than 40 concepts being backed by the Australian government in an ambitious $150m research and development program. … [Read more...] about Artificial fog and breeding coral: study picks best Great Barrier Reef rescue ideas
He described the bleaching as a clear signal the reef was calling for urgent help, warned the resilience of the reef was not limitless and said it would require the “strongest action possible” on climate change to save it given the planet is headed for 3C heating – a level at which science tells us coral reefs can’t be protected. … [Read more...] about Snow-white coral of once-vibrant Great Barrier Reef a sign urgent action must be taken
Because two thirds of our planet is covered in water, it would be easy to assume there's enough of this vital liquid for everyone. But not all water is created equally. Most of it is in our salty oceans and seas. Just 3% globally comes in the form of freshwater and the majority of that is stored as ice at the poles. … [Read more...] about Blue Gold: The dwindling resource of water
Runciman’s flair for turning a pithy and pungent phrase is one of the things to admire about his writing. The cogency, subtlety and style with which he teases out the paradoxes and perils faced by democracy makes this one of the very best of the great crop of recent books on the subject. What he doesn’t offer is solutions, bluntly admitting “I do not have any”. There is penetrating diagnosis here, but no suggestion of a cure. He considers the alternatives and rightly finds them wanting. The Chinese experiment with authoritarian capitalism may look seductive to those who think economic expansion is all that matters to a society, but can the repressive Beijing model survive the inevitable day when growth slows down? Government by experts, “the rule of the knowers” or “the epistocracy”, was advocated by Plato and is still promoted by those who regard citizens as too stupid to be trusted with making decisions. The public wouldn’t wear … [Read more...] about How Democracy Ends review – is people politics doomed?