Featured Image: Global militaries are a major contributor to climate change, however, we face many challenges when assessing their environmental footprint. Copyright: CC BY-SA 4.0 via. wikimedia commons.
Report: Estimating the Military’s Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions (2022)
Authors: Dr. Stuart Parkinson & Linsey Cottrell
Organisations: Scientists for Global Responsibility & Conflict and Environment Observatory
War is likely to worsen in the near-future as climate change forces more disasters, political instability, and poverty onto the planet and strains resource supplies. Yet war is not just a product of climate change: it is also a major cause. In addition to the societal devastation it creates, militarism is a major emitter of greenhouse gases and contributor to environmental degradation. Politicking from the worst emitters has ensured that military emissions are shielded from the same type of accountability seen across other sectors such as agriculture, transport, land use, technology, and waste. For example, the latest installment of the IPCC report barely mentioned military emissions despite its immensely detailed analysis of other sectors. A recent report from Stuart Parkinson (Scientists for Global Responsibility) and Linsey Cottrell (Conflict and Environment Observatory) helps correct this oversight and unpacks the impact of war on climate change.
Continue reading “How Much is War Fuelling the Climate Crisis?”
Featured Image: Carson’s pioneering work in 1962 made environmental issues a topic that could no longer be ignored. Photo by Frank Hebbert via. Flickr, CC BY 2.0.
Book: Silent Spring (1962)
Author: Rachel Carson
We recently reached a milestone in our history: the amount of land used for farming is now declining, reversing millennia of expansion since early farming gave rise to larger civilizations. This has sparked a debate about how we should use remaining farmland – for example, to restore habitats – and how we can farm more efficiently. As our population continues to grow, and peak at the end of this century, we need to create more food from less land with a reduced environmental impact.
Continue reading “The Book that Launched the Environmental Movement”
Featured image: Rice paddy fields in Indonesia by Steve Douglas on Unsplash
Paper: Zhang, Y., Song, Z., Huang, S. et al. Global health effects of future atmospheric mercury emissions. Nat Commun 12, 3035 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23391-7
Methylmercury, the organic form of the element mercury, is everywhere. A common global pollutant, this form of mercury is most commonly consumed by humans in food, and subsequent impacts include heart failure and loss of IQ. Environmental mercury is nothing short of a public health crisis, and while global interventions are rolling out to protect humans from this toxic pollutant, new research published in Nature Communications is showing us that the damage isn’t just in human lives, it’s also in dollars and cents.
Continue reading “The future cost of mercury exposure”
Featured image: Microplastic thread courtesy of M.Danny25 on Wikipedia under CC BY-SA 4.0.
Paper: Ross, P.S., Chastain, S., Vassilenko, E. et al. Pervasive distribution of polyester fibres in the Arctic Ocean is driven by Atlantic inputs. Nat Commun 12, 106 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20347-1
The Arctic is full of plastic–polyester fibers to be exact. Peter S. Ross and his team found upwards of forty polyester fibers for every cubic meter of the Arctic Ocean’s surface. Their new study in Nature Communications also revealed that these fibers were more common in the East Arctic, which is fed by the Atlantic Ocean, than the West Arctic. The scientists suggest that the presence of these fibers coupled with their uneven distribution throughout the ocean could be due to an unlikely source: home laundry.
Continue reading “There’s microplastics in the Arctic, and we can probably blame home laundry”
Featured image: Anti mining protesters in Downtown Lima, Peru. Photo credit: Geraint Rowland on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).
Paper: Citizen science campaign reveals widespread fallout of contaminated dust from mining activities in the central Peruvian Andes
Authors: James B. Molloy, Donald T. Rodbell, David P. Gillikin, and Kurt T. Hollocher
At the heart of Cerro de Pasco, Peru, one of the highest cities on Earth, is an enormous open pit mine. People have been mining at the Cerro de Pasco site since pre-Incan times, but after silver was discovered there in the 1630s, it became one of the world’s richest and most heavily worked mines.
Continue reading “Citizen science project identifies extensive mining pollution in central Peru”