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hempcrete

The Rise Of Hemp As An Environmentally Friendly Building Material For Housing 

Hemp, the non-psychoactive variant of cannabis, has been often used in holistic medicine and as a source for textiles and fabrics. Now, the natural material is being utilized as an environmentally friendly and economically friendly alternative to concrete for building.

ice

Study Finds Earth’s Carbon Dioxide Levels Are Highest In Human History 

A new study has found that the current carbon dioxide levels on Earth are the highest they’ve been in all of human history.

tree

Oslo’s Mayor Says London’s Trafalgar Square’s Christmas Tree Must Cut Its Carbon Footprint

Norway and London have a long standing holiday tradition in which Norway sends London a Christmas tree for Trafalgar Square as a way of thanking Britain for its support during World War 2. 

Anne Lindboe, the newly elected mayor of Oslo, Norway’s Capital, has recently stated that she’s looking for new ways to reduce the tree and its transport’s carbon footprint. 

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Every year a tree that’s around 60 feet tall is transported from the woodlands near Oslo to Trafalgar Square by road and sea. A month after Christmas, the tree is then turned to wood chips, which Lindboe claims is hardly environmentally friendly. 

“It’s very important for us to continue the tradition. Now it’s maybe even more important to have these good relationships between cities and between people,” Lindboe said.

“But at the same time, we have to make sure that the carbon footprint is as low as possible. So that is also something we have to take into consideration: how to decrease it as much as possible.”

Since transportation is such a major factor, Lindboe suggested that they could instead give a tree that was grown in Britain, which citizens weren’t a fan of, so she explained that she’s considering how to adjust the transportation of the tree.

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Some Norwegian media outlets have also suggested that they simply end the tradition in general. City council votes on continuing the tradition every few years, and are set to do so again next year, however, Lindboe says there’s no serious talks about discontinuing the gifting of a tree to London. 

“I haven’t heard anyone in the city council saying that we should not continue. And … as the mayor of Oslo, this is really important, so I can promise that I will do everything I can to make sure that this tradition continues,” Lindboe added.

The tree itself also garners criticism every year due to its overall look, with some citizens this year claiming the tree looked “half dead,” according to the Guardian. However, Lindboe says that the criticism doesn’t really impact whether or not the tradition should end, and making fun of its appearance is even part of it.

“It’s part of the tradition isn’t it? That you should criticize the tree. We like to criticize, particularly if there’s something we’re really fond of. That’s really important to us.”

“It’s a natural-looking tree from a natural forest, not one of these cultivated Christmas trees that you sometimes see, which are more ‘perfect’, but maybe not so natural,” the mayor added.

flights

Virgin Atlantic And British Airways Face Complaints Over Alleged Misleading Sustainability Claims 

Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are currently facing formal complaints regarding accusations that the airlines are misleading the public over their sustainability claims and environmental credentials of aviation. 

This past week, a Virgin Atlantic flight took off and was hailed as the first transatlantic flight to be fully powered by “sustainable jet fuel” from a commercial airliner. The jetfuel in question is made up of mainly cooking oil, and was partially funded by the UK government. 

This flight was emphasized as a “potentially guilt-free way to fly” according to reports, however, scientists and professional environmental groups have some issues with the airline’s claims. 

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Leigh Day, a law firm, and Possible, a climate charity, have both filed formal complaints against Virgin Atlantic and British Airways over their claims about sustainability and reducing emissions during flights. 

“The reality is that technologies for cleaner flight either don’t work, or don’t even exist yet. We think that airlines’ misleading claims about their emissions are unfair on people who want to do the right thing when they travel. It’s time for airlines to start being honest about their sky-high emissions,” senior campaigner at Possible, Alethea Warrington, said.

The complaints were filed under the National Contact point mechanism which is run by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. They disclosed that the airlines are misleading their customers over their claims of reducing carbon emissions.

 Recent research from the Royal Society found that the UK would have to devote half of its farmland or double the total amount of renewable electricity supply in order to meet its goal of net zero flying emissions.

BA’s emissions from jet fuel have consistently increased from 2016 to 2019, despite the airlines claims to be  “driving urgent action towards net-zero emissions [with a] clear roadmap to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

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“For fuels derived from biomass, land is not available to produce crops for biofuels in sufficient quantities to power aviation without causing hugely damaging deforestation, which increase emissions and makes biofuels just as bad for the climate as kerosene, if not worse,” Possible said.

A British Airways spokesperson said: “In 2019, we committed to net-zero emissions by 2050 and, while there is no single solution to this challenge, as part of our BA Better World program, we have a clear roadmap of initiatives to get there.

“We were the first airline to report our carbon footprint more than two decades ago and were the first airline to voluntarily participate in the UK emissions trading scheme.”

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said: “At Virgin Atlantic, we are committed to achieving net zero 2050 and have set interim targets on our pathway to get there, including 10% sustainable aviation fuel by 2030.

“There are two levers for delivering in-sector carbon reductions in the short to medium term: the fleet we operate and fuel we burn. We already fly one of the youngest and most efficient fleets across the Atlantic. Beyond fleet renewals, SAF presents an immediate opportunity to deliver lifecycle carbon reductions of up to 70% and is something we have been pioneering for over 15 years.”

global warming

Scientists Warn Of Multiple Tipping Points In Climate Change

A new scientific report has warned that the continued warming of the planet could trigger not only the collapse of the Greenland ice sheet, the single largest contributor to global sea levels rising, but also multiple environmental “tipping points” that will be irreversible.

planet

Young Europeans More Likely To Make Major Lifestyle Changes To Save Planet, New Survey Reveals

According to a survey taken across seven countries, younger people in Europe are more willing than older generations to make major lifestyle changes that would help combat climate change to help save the planet. 

The Guardian measured the data through the YouGov polling platform, which showed the general worldwide economic downturns in recent years have also dimmed their hopes for the future; more than half of those surveyed stated they were worried they’d be unable to own a home within the next ten years. 

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Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden participated in the survey back in August. The results showed that individuals between the ages of 18-to-24-year-olds felt like current economic conditions could also push them away from starting families. 

According to the Guardian’s report, “28% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 30% of 25- to 34-year-olds said they would be willing – or were already planning – to have fewer children than they would otherwise like.”

54% of individuals in that same age group said they would get rid of their car, or already have, and instead stick to walking, cycling, or public transportation, while only 45% of people over the age of 65 said they would do the same. 41% of the younger generation said they could switch to an electric car against 21% of the older generation. 

Both ends of the age spectrum offered a willingness to make lifestyle changes in order to do their part to combat climate change. The older age groups stated they would be more willing to create smaller adjustments such as refusing to buy single-use plastics, only buying seasonal produce, and creating more green spaces in their homes. 

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Younger generations are more likely to “support radical government measures in key policy areas than older cohorts, but were less favorable than their elders towards public policy moves that could be perceived as incremental.

A ban on the production and sale of petrol and diesel cars, for example, would have the support of 46% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 42% of 25- to 24-year-olds, against 28% of 55- to 64-year-olds and just 22% of respondents over the age of 65,” wrote Jon Henley and Michael Goodier of the Guardian. 

Both age brackets agreed on the general concern of climate change and its impact on our future. More than 70% of the total population surveyed said they were very or fairly worried. 

Additionally, the survey showed that regardless of their age, most Europeans believe that the European Union should be making decisions about how the world and its many nations can combat climate change at a larger level. 

Along with this line of thinking is the belief that a more collaborative effort among the union would lead to more success in the fight against climate change, rather than just letting individual countries make their own policies.

melting

Swiss Glaciers Have Lost 10% Of Their Volume In The Last Two Years

Swiss glaciers have lost 10% of their volume in two years, a report has found. The analysis from the Swiss Academy of Sciences have credited climate change as the reasoning behind the accelerated melting. 

The scientists have claimed that the burning of fossil fuels is the main cause of the unusually hot summers and winters with low snow levels that we’ve experienced in recent years. The overall hotter temperatures have led to glaciers all over the world experiencing accelerated melting. 

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According to the report, the volume lost in the Swiss glaciers between the summers of 2022 and 2023 equates to the volume lost between 1960 and 1990. 

The analysis also found that 4% of Switzerland’s total glacier volume disappeared last year, which marks the second biggest annual decline on record. The largest decline on record was in 2022 with a 6% drop. 

Experts have also stopped measuring certain glaciers and the amount of ice it’s lost due to the fact that their decline has been so rapid. Glacier Monitoring in Switzerland (Glamos), which keeps track of 176 glaciers, just recently stopped recording data for the St. Annafirn glacier in the central Swiss canton of Uri due to the fact that it’s mostly melted at this point. 

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Matthias Huss, the head of Glamos, stated:

“We just had some dead ice left. It’s a combination of climate change that makes such extreme events more likely, and the very bad combination of meteorological extremes. If we continue at this rate … we will see every year such bad years.” 

Small glaciers are disappearing from ice loss, and in order to stop these glaciers from melting, carbon emissions and the burning of fossil fuels must be halted. However, Huss stated that even if the world managed to “keep warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre industrial levels,” only one third of the glacier volume in Switzerland will remain. 

“All the small glaciers will be gone anyway, and the big glaciers will be much smaller. There will be some ice in the highest regions of the Alps and some glaciers that we can show to our grandchildren,” Huss stated.

Activist Author Mikaela Loach Stages Walkout At Edinburgh Book Festival Over Sponsor’s Fossil Fuel Links

Activist and author Mikaela Loach staged a protest walkout at the Edinburgh Book Festival over the event’s sponsor’s link to fossil fuel companies.

coral

Florida Just Recorded The Hottest Ocean Temperatures In History 

This summer has been breaking heat records all over the world. Most recently, Florida saw an ocean temperature reading of 101.1 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday, and 100.2 degrees on Sunday. The previous world record for hottest ocean temperature was 99.7 degrees in Kuwait Bay, according to a study from 2020. 

“This is shocking, it’s unprecedented, it’s actually quite frightening.” Stefanie Sekich, of the Surfrider Foundation, an ocean-protection advocacy group, told Yahoo News.

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July as a whole has seen the record for the hottest average global temperature broken multiple times as a result of climate change which has caused a multitude of heat waves across the country. 

The oceans have absorbed 90% of the increased heat from climate change, leading to global ocean surface temperatures to reach the highest temperature ever in 174 years of data. 

“These ocean temperatures over the globe have been increasing for the past month. In the North Atlantic, parts of Europe have seen the ocean temperature increase of 7 degrees [Fahrenheit] more than it usually is at this time of year,” Sekich said

One of the negative impacts to the ocean’s many ecosystems is coral bleaching, in the US specifically, Florida has been experiencing severe bleaching events since July. Coral bleaching occurs when the corals release algae due to warmer temperatures, causing the coral to turn white. 

On July 20th, the Coral Restoration Foundation reported that Sombrero Reef, near the Florida Keys, experienced a coral bleaching event with a 100% mortality rate. 

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“On July 20th, CRF teams visited Sombrero Reef, a restoration site we’ve been working at for over a decade. What we found was unimaginable — 100% coral mortality. We have also lost almost all the corals in the Looe Key Nursery in the Lower Keys,” said Phanor Montoya-Maya, restoration program manager at Coral Restoration Foundation, in a statement

“Sea grasses are another vital ecosystem, they’re an essential fish habitat, they’re the primary food source for manatees, which have been plummeting in recent years. Sea grasses are very vulnerable to warmer waters,” Chris Robbins, associate director of science at Oceans Conservancy, an environmental advocacy group, told Yahoo News.

“The last time we saw a massive seagrass die-off resulting from high water temperatures, high salinities, low oxygen was during the El Nino event in 2015, and of course we’re now in an El Nino event in 2023,” said Robbins.

When it comes to what we can do in order to improve, Sekich explained that “obviously, we need to get off fossil fuels. If we keep putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere we’re going to keep seeing these effects of climate change.”

Robbins also explained how the state and federal governments need to take charge and implement policies and infrastructure investments to reduce pollution and decrease the use of fertilizer and upgrading wastewater systems.

If and when these things happen, we’ll potentially need to reduce other stressors on these systems,” Robbins said.

fountain

Climate Change Activists Dump Charcoal In Rome’s Trevi Fountain

Climate change activists in Rome, Italy turned the blue water of the Trevi Fountain black with diluted charcoal this past Sunday. 

The group consisted of 10 individuals from the climate activist group Ultima Generazione, which translates to ‘Last Generation.’ The group carried multiple banners, one of which stated “Let’s not pay for fossil campaigns considering what is happening in Emilia Romagna,” specifically referring to northern Italy, where there are multiple floods which some experts have linked to climate change. 

“Our country is dying.”

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Rome police stated that all of the activists were arrested and are facing vandalism charges. 

The counselor for personnel, urban security, local police, and local authorities in the Lazio region, Luisa Regimenti, condemned the recent act in a written statement. 

“This was the umpteenth demonstrative act of eco-vandals that hit a symbol of Rome universally known in the world.”

“[Dying the fountain] was a serious gesture, a worrying escalation that must be stopped with a safety plan for the monuments and the works of art most at risk in Rome and Lazio,” she continued. 

Mayor of Rome Roberto Gualtieri tweeted: “Enough of these absurd attacks on our artistic heritage. Today the #FontanadiTrevi was smeared. Expensive and complex to restore, hoping there is no permanent damage. I invite activists to compete on a confrontational terrain without putting the monuments at risk.”

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Mayor Gualtieri also explained to the local media that in order to correct the dying of the fountain, authorities would have to empty the dyed water and dispose of it: “This will involve a significant intervention. It will cost time, effort, and water.” 

This incident marks the third time this year that a famous Italian fountain was used for activists protesting for action to be taken towards flooding cities. 

In May, charcoal was dumped into the Fountain of Four Rivers in Piazza Navona, and in April, the Barcaccia fountain at the base of the Spanish Steps endured the same fate. The Last Generation has claimed responsibility for all three incidents. 

“Charcoal in the water of the Trevi Fountain, 1 out of 4 houses in Italy is vulnerable to floods. How much longer do we have to wait for those in government to take concrete action?”

Flooding in the northern Italian area has killed at least 14 people and displaced more than 36,000 residents. 

“The climate crisis is affecting territories with increasingly intense extreme events, with risks to people’s lives, and impacts on the environment and the economy. And Italy once again proves unprepared,” said Italian environmentalist association Legambiente in a press release.