Another thing that is simultaneously occurring is that agriculture has the biggest effect on our environment.
The good news is, there are plenty of things we can do about it.
This week in environmental news—the highlights.
So here’s what I’ve curated from the latest environment related headlines (special thanks to our new Green Diva in Training, Anna!). If you find a WTF or encouraging news story you’d like to hear us talk about, please email me at lynn @ thegreendivas.com!
Better use of world’s existing cropland could feed 3 billion more people: study
The world’s existing cropland could feed at least 3 billion extra people if it were used more efficiently, a new study has found, showing that the large increases in population expected in the next three decades need not result in widespread hunger.
More than half of the fertiliser currently poured on to crops in many countries is wasted, according to the study. About 60 percent of the nitrogen applied to crops worldwide is not needed, as well as about half of the phosphorus, an element whose readily available sources are dwindling.
Cutting waste even by modest amounts would also feed millions, the authors found: between one-third and a half of the viable crops and food produced from them around the world are wasted, in the developing world usually because of a lack of infrastructure such as refrigerated transport, and in the rich world because of wasteful habits. Read more…
Obama Attributes Washington State Wildfires to Climate Change
President Barack Obama is part of a “very long list” of global officials slated to attend a climate summit in September in New York, United Nations Climate Chief Christiana Figueres said, and for good reason.
A wildfire that has burned nearly 400 square miles in North-Central Washington was only about half contained as of Thursday morning, and Obama minced no words Wednesday when describing its cause.
“A lot of it has to do with drought, a lot of it has to do with changing precipitation patterns and a lot of that has to do with climate change,” he said, according to the Associated Press. Read more…
The World’s Oceans Were Hotter in June Than at Any Other Time Since Humans Started Keeping Track
More not-great news on the global warming front, via Climate Central:
This June represents a significant milestone for the world’s oceans. Not only was it the hottest June for oceans since record keeping began in 1880, but it was the most anomalously warm ocean temperature for any month. That means temperatures were more freakishly above average this past June than at any other time in the period of record. The previous record was a four-way tie with May 2014 being the most recent month.
This June’s temperature record also represents a global mark for the warmest the oceans have ever been. The record heat happened to hit in June, when oceans are at their warmest, giving temperatures a further boost. Read more…
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Smog-busting roof tiles could clean tons of pollution, study says
UC Riverside researchers say they have demonstrated an inexpensive roof coating that gobbles up smog-forming pollutants and, if widely adopted, could clean tons of air pollution from Southern California each day.
In a laboratory experiment, engineering students found that ordinary clay roof tiles sprayed with titanium dioxide removed 88 to 97 percent of nitrogen oxide pollution from the air.
Nitrogen oxides, gases generated by fuel combustion and emitted from vehicle exhaust pipes, industrial stacks and power plants, react in sunlight to form ozone, the main ingredient of smog. But titanium dioxide, a chalky white compound, breaks down those pollutants into less harmful compounds. The researchers calculated that if one million roofs were sprayed with the smog-eating compound they could remove 21 tons of nitrogen oxides from the air each day. Read more…
On thin ice
The National Hockey League is worried that global warming will melt nature’s ice rinks and damage the growth of its sport.
Frozen ponds used by young hockey players around the world are melting faster and faster, the NHL said in a “sustainability” report issued on Monday with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a leading player in Washington’s climate wars.
It’s the first sustainability report of its kind by a major sports league and highlights how the NHL sees climate change as a direct threat to the next generation of hockey players.
“We need winter weather,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in the report. Read more…
A British supermarket that’s powered by its own garbage
While you’ll still find food packaging aplenty at Sainsbury’s, the United Kingdom’s second-largest supermarket chain continues to break new ground when it comes to keeping surplus foodstuffs and expired edibles as far away from landfills as humanly possible.
You see, Sainsbury’s isn’t one to toss day-old baked goods, about-to-turn produce, and leftover prepared foods at the end of the day. This isn’t a grocery store where the dumpsters are particularly dive-able.
In-line with its zero-waste ambitions, the retailer, which encourages shoppers to “Live Well For Less,” donates whatever comestibles it can to charities and local food banks. Food no longer fit for human consumption is processed into animal feed for agricultural operations. Read more…
An area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production. (According to the World Wildlife Fund)
Findings show that if nothing changes species like the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years, and Sumatran tigers less than 3 years.
In total, 50 million tons of palm oil is produced annually, supplying over 30% of the world’s vegetable oil production. This single vegetable oil is found in approximately 40-50% of household products in countries such as United States, Canada, Australia and England.
Currently, a third of all mammal species in Indonesia are considered to be critically endangered as a consequence of this unsustainable development that is rapidly encroaching on their habitat
Click here to find out what you can do to help and say no to palm oil.
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