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Renting Clothes Is Less Sustainable Than Throwing Them Away, Study Finds

A recent study performed by the Finnish scientific journal Environmental Research Letters has shown that renting clothes is actually worse for the planet than just throwing them away. Before, renting clothes was thought to be one of the easier solutions when it comes to the sustainability issues the fashion industry has. 

The study specifically looked at the environmental impact of five different ways of owning and disposing of clothing; including renting, resale, and recycling. 

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The study found that “renting clothes had the highest climate impact of all. The hidden environmental cost was found to be delivery and packaging costs. Renting involves a large amount of transportation, taking the clothes back and forth between the warehouse and the renter. Dry cleaning is also harmful to the environment.”

Renting clothing was thought to be one of the more sustainable ways to lessen your impact on the fashion industry’s major sustainability issue. According to GlobalData, the rental clothing industry is expected to be valued at $2.3 billion by 2029. A report from the World Economic Forum suggested that the industry has already generated 5% of global emissions. 

Dana Thomas, author of ‘Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes’, wrote that instead of relying on rental clothing to solve fashion’s environmental crisis, the concept should just be completely recategorized. 

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“We should think of renting like second-hand shopping. It’s not something we do all the time, instead of buying our clothes and swapping out outfits nonstop, but on occasion, when the need arises, like proms or weddings.”

“Many rental brands misuse the term circular economy – the system where clothes are passed from person to person before being recycled – as a form of greenwashing. No executive wants to overhaul their business, and that’s what ‘going green’ will require, not tweaks but an entire overhaul. They are too focused on short-term gains to invest in long-term benefits,” Thomas explained. 

“Only regulation will solve that problem. No company, in any industry, will volunteer to take a loss for the sake of the planet. They’ll do so when it’s the law. The biggest obstacle is greed.”

The study concluded that if rental companies change their logistics to make the process in which they rent out clothes more environmentally friendly, then renting would be at the same level as reselling. 

Sleep Hygiene

Middle-Aged People Who Sleep Less Than 6 Hours A Night At Greater Risk Of Dementia 

According to a dementia study that used data from 10,000 volunteers, middle-aged people who regularly sleep six hours or less each night are more likely to develop dementia when compared to those in the same age group who get seven or more hours every night. 

The study found that those in their 50s, 60s, and 70s are at a 30% greater risk of developing dementia when they consistently have a short night’s sleep; regardless of other risk factors such as poor mental health, heart conditions, and genetics. 

The study obviously doesn’t work to prove that sleeping too little is a direct cause of dementia, but instead is something to be aware of for those who may be at a risk of developing the disease. Some scientists, however, have long believed that persistent poor sleep contributes to the neurodegenerative disease. 

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Dr Séverine Sabia, an author of the study at the University of Paris, claimed that while we “may not completely know whether improving sleep can reduce the risk of dementia, sleep is in general known to clear toxic waste from the brain. One hypothesis is that when people sleep less, this process becomes impaired. These findings suggest that sleep duration might be a risk factor for dementia in later life. I cannot tell you that sleep duration is a cause of dementia but it may contribute to its development.”

Sabia and the other researchers involved in the study reviewed data from the University College London’s Whitehall II study, which initially launched in 1985. Sabia and her colleagues focused on the 8,000 participants who self-reported their nightly sleep patterns, and throughout the past 25 years of follow up surveys, 521 participants developed dementia. 

Most of the individuals diagnosed were in their 70s, and the scientists described how “those who routinely got six hours of sleep or less each night in their 50s and 60s were 30% more likely to develop dementia than those who typically managed seven hours.”

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Smoking, heavy drinking, and obesity are thought to be the other major controllable risk factors that could lead to one developing dementia. The disease is estimated to affect one in 14 individuals over the age of 65, and one in six people over the age of 80. 

Dr Liz Coulthard, a consultant senior lecturer in dementia neurology at Bristol University, who was not involved in the study, spoke about how the results work to prove long-standing theories about sleep’s relationship to dementia. 

“It strengthens the evidence that poor sleep in middle age could cause or worsen dementia in later life. It makes sense to take measures to improve sleep such as going outside during daylight hours to help maintain the natural rhythms that promote good sleep, avoiding excess alcohol or caffeine, particularly before bed, and finding a bedtime routine that works for you.”

Robert Howard, professor of old age psychiatry at the University College of London, said: “We know that the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease appear in the brain 20 years before detectable cognitive impairment, so it is always possible that poor sleep might be a very early symptom of the condition, rather than a treatable risk factor. Insomniacs – who probably don’t need something else to ruminate about in bed – shouldn’t worry that they are heading for dementia unless they get off to sleep immediately. ”

Girl Vaping

Scientific Paper That Claimed Smokers Are Less Likely To Get Covid Retracted 

A scientific paper that claimed current smokers are 23% less likely to be diagnosed with Covid-19 when compared to non-smokers has been retracted by a medical journal after it was revealed that the studies authors had financial links to the tobacco industry.

The World Health Organization has warned the exact opposite, in fact, claiming that because smoking impairs lung function there is actually an increased risk of severe symptoms if one gets a respiratory infection, like the Covid-19 virus. 

The paper was initially published in July last year by the European Respiratory Journal, and it claimed to have “found that current smoking was not associated with adverse outcome in patients admitted to the hospital with Covid. Smokers are at a significantly lower risk of acquiring the virus.” 

The latest edition of the European Respiratory Journal published a retraction notice for the paper, stating: “It was brought to the editors’ attention that two of the authors had failed to disclose potential conflicts of interest at the time of the manuscript’s submission.” 

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That is, one of the authors (José M. Mier) at the time had a current and ongoing role in providing consultancy to the tobacco industry on tobacco harm reduction; and another (Konstantinos Poulas) at the time was a principal investigator for the Greek company NOSMOKE … a science and innovation hub that has received funding from the Foundation for a Smoke Free World (an organisation funded by the tobacco industry).”

NOSMOKE is based in Greece and develops vaping products as well as promotes e-cigarette research from the tobacco industry. In the paper itself, Mier, Poulas and their co-authors claimed they had no conflict of interest when it came to their role in the study. 

The retraction notice also claimed that the authors of the original study did not agree with the decision. “While failure to disclose a potential conflict of interest was not normally sufficient grounds for retraction, the editors felt the decision was justified based on the nature of the undisclosed relationship, and in the context of the sensitive subject matter presented”.

“The editors also acknowledge that at no point was there a question of any scientific misconduct on the part of any of the authors, aside from the failure of two contributing authors to disclose their conflicts of interest relating to the tobacco industry.”

Konstantinos Farsalinos is the senior author of the original paper who released a statement in which he claimed that the conflicts of interest were “irrelevant to the study’s main aims and objectives.” 

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“Additionally, I proposed to publicly release the full dataset and the statistical script so that all findings could be independently verified. The editors declined. I requested my proposal to be mentioned in the retraction letter, but that was also rejected by the editors. I disagree with the retraction and I consider it unfair and unsubstantiated.”

Dr. Sarah White, who is also the director of the Quit Victoria program, disagreed, claiming that the retraction was the right decision. 

“We really rely on research in being able to take a dispassionate look at the data but also the interpretation of that data. The reader needs to know that the authors have some potential or actual conflict of interest, or they’ve actually been involved with the industry. There was no strong evidence to support the claim that smokers are less likely to get Covid. 

The review of the original study found that “In the context of smoking and Covid-19, poor data collection can lead to several erroneous conclusions. If patients with missing smoking data are not eliminated from the total pool, smokers may be wrongly underrepresented. Furthermore, it is difficult to get accurate history from patients who are either intubated or in respiratory failure.

“If data from these patients are missing, and these patients are not removed from the denominator, it can give a false impression that smokers are less likely to develop severe disease. Second, it must be noted that most published studies have not reported the duration (years) or frequency (number of cigarettes) of smoking, hence these cannot be accounted for.”

Children Drinking Juice Box

Manchester Schools To Perform Study On Children’s Wellbeing Post-Pandemic 

A multitude of school districts in Manchester are participating in a study that’s looking into the wellbeing of children and their emotional responses to reentering the world as the pandemic reaches its eventual end. Two-thirds of parents believe that mental health should be prioritized over academic attainment in the coming school year. 

The Greater Manchester Young People’s Wellbeing Program will be running the study that will be gathering data from tens of thousands of young students across 250 secondary schools in the city of Manchester. This is the first study of its kind in the UK, and it will begin collecting data this fall. Initially, the program will attempt to learn young people’s feelings and concerns over returning to school, as well as their physical activity. 

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Research is also being conducted for the University of Manchester in association with the Anna Freud Center, the Youth Sports Trust, and the Greater Manchester combined authority. This major collaborative effort shows that Manchester authorities and educators are greatly concerned that students won’t be able to learn as successfully due to the amount of adjustments they’ve had to make within the past year. 

David Gregson is a philanthropist who first brought up the idea of performing this study. Gregson argues that “the UK has neglected the wellbeing and physical health of children in favor of academic attainment, to the detriment of their actual development.” 

The Youth Sports Trust also recently performed a survey that suggested parents agree with Gregson’s argument. The survey found that “65% of parents believed wellbeing was a key factor in choosing a child’s secondary school, while only 48% said the same of exam results. Meanwhile, 70% of parents with children between the ages of 11 and 16 said their children’s wellbeing had suffered during the pandemic.”

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“I first took this idea to Greater Manchester in 2019 and all Covid has done, as the tide has gone out, is expose the pebbles we knew existed. For me, our education system has become too focused on attainment. A necessary but insufficient assessment,” Gregson said. 

“We’ve got ourselves into the position where we think that attainment is the be-all and end-all and I don’t agree with that. I want to change that dialogue and I want to improve the wellbeing of young people in Greater Manchester to prove that point.”

Gregson claims that all the data collected in this program will be shared with local authorities and government leaders so that they can recognize, and hopefully change, areas of need within the education system. 

“My 10-year plan is to add a second leg to the assessment of young people in Britain that we don’t just think of them as people who get GCSE results,” Gregson said. 

“That we think about another equally important part of their makeup, which is their wellbeing, their sense of self-esteem, their sense of optimism. We’ll need all of that. We needed it pre-Covid and we’ll certainly need it after Covid.”

Coronavirus Vaccine in Bottles

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Proven To Reduce Symptomatic Covid-19 In Real World

Researchers in Israel this week announced that Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine has appeared to reduce symptomatic coronavirus infections by more than 90% in the real world now that more and more populations are receiving their doses. 

The preliminary findings suggest that the vaccine itself has remained as successful as researchers initially proved in their vaccine trials. Within a clinical vaccine trial the conditions are greatly controlled to monitor the actual effectiveness of the shot, however, that monitoring already eliminates a slew of other risks that exist within the real world that could impact the vaccine’s efficacy. 

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Luckily, nothing of the sort has occurred, and the vaccine is still wildly successful. The Clalit Research Institute is a major part of Israel’s healthcare system, and they’re the ones who analyzed data on 1.2 million individuals; half of which received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The researchers wanted to compare patients who had received the vaccine and individuals with similar immune systems who hadn’t.

The researchers wanted to analyze the rate in which symptomatic Covid-19 was spreading with the release of this vaccine; meaning they looked at individuals who contracted the virus and actually felt sick. Symptomatic Covid-19 was proven to decrease by 94% among individuals who have received their two doses of the vaccine, according to a press release from Clalit. The rate of serious illness caused by the virus decreased by 92%. 

The research has yet to be published by the Institute because they’re still waiting for it to be peer-reviewed so that the results are as accurate as possible. However, the results are already consistent with the data that Pfizer initially released to prove their vaccine would be effective. 

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Pfizer’s initial data from their vaccine trial showed that their Covid-19 vaccine was 95% effective against symptomatic coronavirus. In the trial itself, participants were either given the actual vaccine or a placebo. They then observed how many people from each group got infected after the fact. 

Pfizer’s clinical study was considered to be the “golden standard in clinical research” according to the Institute due to the fact that it was a randomized and controlled trial. The studies from Israel are now observational, meaning researchers aren’t randomly picking individuals who got the vaccine or not already.

Observational studies can skew the data in this case, however, due to the fact that different individuals who choose to be vaccinated are likely going to take less or more steps towards protecting themselves from potential infection. 

While the observational aspect of this study may not be as effective as a controlled trial, the combination of these new results with the results that came from Pfizer and BioNTech themselves shows the world that the vaccine is just as effective as anticipated, and we should all continue to do our parts to protect each other and bring this pandemic to an end.

FDA Claims A Covid-19 Vaccine Needs To Be 50% Effective To Be Distributed 

This past summer the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that in order for a Covid-19 vaccine to be approved for federal regulation and distribution it would need to be safe and “prevent disease or decrease its severity in at least 50% of people who are vaccinated.” 

No vaccine is 100% effective, however, some do work better than others depending on how high that percentage is. For example, one of the most successful vaccine’s out there is the treatment for measles, which after two doses works to be 97% effective in preventing the disease. Dr. Jeff Kwong is a professor of public health and family medicine and interim director of the Center for Vaccine Preventable Diseases at the University of Toronto, who recently spoke with the media about this percentage.

“I know that 50 percent does sound low but that is still some protection, and some protection is better than no protection.”

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The FDA set this percentage to be relatively low through their emergency use authorizations, which can speed up the process in which a vaccine or drug treatment is distributed to the public if the danger is imminent enough. This means, however, that a vaccine could become available that will only help half of the people receiving it. It could also impact people differently, some might become fully immune from it, and some may just have a reduced case should they be infected. 

A 50% effective Covid-19 vaccine, however, is way better than no vaccine, according to the FDA. Experts used the flu vaccine as an example, claiming that its effectiveness can vary year to year based on how severe the actual flu season is. Within the past decade alone the flu vaccine has fluctuated between 20% and 60% in terms of effectiveness, however, it always reduces the amount of illness, hospitalizations and influenza caused deaths, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dr. Gregory Poland is the director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group who recently discussed the substantial impact a 50% effective Covid-19 vaccine could actually have on the nation.

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“If you had a 60 or 70 percent effective vaccine and everybody took it, you might actually be reaching toward herd immunity and potentially then dampen down this pandemic.”

Right now, however, researchers still don’t know how effective each experimental vaccine is because the trials are ongoing. Poland explained that most of the clinical trials occurring are focusing on how much the vaccine actually prevents the disease. Once the studies are completed it will be revealed who benefited the most from vaccination. 

Researchers are focusing on different demographics to get a greater understanding over how this virus may impact certain individuals differently. For example, some studies are focusing on how a vaccine may affect a man versus a woman, individuals of different age groups, or individuals with underlying health conditions. 

Once a vaccine is one the market it’s still going to take a while for the pandemic to come to a close, as vaccinating millions of people takes time, so policies such as facial coverings, social distancing and hand washing will continue to exist in our world for quite some time. 

Happy Halloween

This Halloween Watch The Scariest Movie Ever Filmed, According To Science

Halloween is the perfect time of year to embrace your inner scary movie lover. When it comes to the scariest movie we’ve ever seen, it’s safe to say we all likely have different answers; as that’s a subjective question. However, what if there was a study that could scientifically measure how scary movies are based on physical and emotional reaction? 

Luckily, the company broadbandchoices had the same exact curiosities, and decided to perform a study so they could finally get to the bottom of what the scariest movie ever created was. The platform called the study the “Science of Scare Project,” during which they tracked the reactions of 50 people of various ages as they watched over 100 hours of scary movies. 

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Beyond just observing emotional reactions to what the participants were viewing on screen, researchers also monitored the volunteers’ heart rates to really gage how their bodies were reacting to the movies as well. By the end of the study the company created a list of what they scientifically believe to be the 35 scariest movies ever made. 

It’s important to note that with a study like this obviously there’s a lot of determining factors that could skew the results. Observing 50 individuals isn’t typically a large enough sample size to get a concrete conclusion, however, in terms of entertainment and “being scared,” the smaller sample size didn’t really matter. 

When participants arrived for the study, they would be fitted to a heart rate monitor to measure how much their heart rates would increase above their resting heart rate throughout the 100 hours of film. All of the data was averaged for each film, and by the end one movie came out superior based on those results. Daniel Clifford, who created the study, recently spoke with the media about the results. 

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“With more people than ever facing a Halloween at home, our Science of Scare study was designed to help people find the most scientifically scary films ever made, to save them the time of searching through thousands of titles across streaming services.”

According to the heart rates of all the participants, the movie that scared everyone the most was Sinister, the 2012 psychological horror/thriller movie starring Ethan Hawke as a true crime writer who investigates a gruesome string of family murders. 

The average resting heart rate of each participant was around 65 beats per minute (BPM). During Sinister, however, the average heart rate rose to 86 BPM; a 32% increase. That marked the highest rise in BPM of any movie watched throughout the 100 hours. Obviously the study wasn’t able to show every single horror movie out there, however, 100 hours allowed the researchers to show enough movies that hit all the major horror categories (slasher, paranormal, psychological, etc.).

Other results showed that the biggest jump scare came from the movie Insidious, which had a scene in it that caused heart rates to jump all the way up to 133 BPM. Insidious overall was rated second right behind Sinister in terms of overall scariness. The remaining eight movies that filled up the top ten scariest movies of all time were, in this order,  The Conjuring, Hereditary, Paranormal Activity, It Follows, The Conjuring 2, The Babadook, The Descent and The Visit.

Two Positive Covid Tests

New Study Shows Covid-19 Immunity Wearing Off In Patients Who Were Positive

A study of hundreds of thousands of individuals in the United Kingdom suggests that immunity to the coronavirus is gradually wearing off in some individuals. Researchers sent out finger-prick tests to more than 365,000 randomly selected households in England and found that over the course of three months, Covid-19 antibody presence in the UK decreased by more than 26%. 

The research team behind the study recently spoke to the press about the findings that were taken after three-rounds of national surveillance. They sent out the tests 12, 18, and 24 weeks after the first peak of infections in England and observed a significant decline in detectable antibodies as time progressed. 

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“This is consistent with evidence that immunity to seasonal coronaviruses declines over 6 to 12 months after infection and emerging data that also detected a decrease over time in antibody levels in individuals followed in longitudinal studies.”

The study was published on Monday by Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori, a market research company. The initial data in the study was recorded in June, and found that 6% of individuals who took the tests had an antibody response to the coronavirus. By September that percentage had dropped down to 4.4%.

Antibodies are the proteins in your body that are created to fight infection. The type of test the group used to find these antibodies is called an IgG test, and they’re specially designed to only detect one kind of antibody; the coronavirus. This way if the test detects one of the other antibodies your body just naturally produces it won’t flag it for the study. 

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The results also confirm that asymptomatic individuals are likely to lose their detectable antibodies sooner when compared to symptomatic individuals who had more severe infections. Younger people who have recovered from the virus had a slower loss of antibodies compared to individuals aged 75 or older. 

It’s important to note also that even if an individual has Covid-19 antibodies in their system, it’s still unknown how immune an individual will be from potential reinfection and how long that immunity will last. The study also had its limits as well, as the samples weren’t taken from the same individuals every time, but instead just focused on the UK population in general. 

“This very large study has shown that the proportion of people with detectable antibodies is falling over time. It is essential that everyone continues to follow guidance to reduce the risk to themselves and others.”

Immune responses are being heavily studied as well throughout the world. This study is showing that the virus acts like a cold, in the sense that once an individual is infected they’re not immune from getting a cold again, however, they’re body will have a stronger immune response the next time they’re infected. Also like a cold, individuals with more robust immune systems will likely have a quicker response time and are more likely to carry antibodies after the fact. 

If anything, the researchers behind this study want the world to realize that if you get the virus and survive, you are not in the clear yet, and we all must remain diligent in the way we protect ourselves and our loved ones from potential infection.

Elder Woman Wearing Mask

Who’s At The Greatest Risk Of Experiencing ‘Long Covid’?

A recent study linked age and number of Covid-19 symptoms in a positive individual to longer-lasting health problems brought on by the virus. What they found specifically is that women aged 50-60 are at the greatest risk of developing “long Covid,” which is when positive Covid patients experience ongoing symptoms for weeks, or months, after they’ve already beat the virus and are considered to be negative. 

Dr Claire Steves and Professor Tim Spector at King’s College London led the study which analyzed data from 4,182 Covid Symptom Study App users who had been consistently logging their health status after testing positive for the virus. 

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In general, based on the App data, women were twice as likely to suffer from Covid-19 symptoms that lasted longer than a month when compared to men in the same age bracket, however, after the age of 60 everyone’s risk level is relatively the same; under the assumption that they don’t have any other underlying health conditions. 

Increased age was a general association that came along with the heightened risk levels for long Covid. 22% of people aged over 70 in the study reported suffering from symptoms for four or more weeks after their initial diagnosis. For comparison only 10% of individuals aged between 18 and 30-years-old reported the same experience. 

Gender differences only appeared for individuals aged between 50 and 60-years-old, where the data suggested a women’s risk was nearly double that of a man in the same age range. Professor Spector claims these results aren’t entirely surprising, as the same trend exists for autoimmune diseases in general in relation to how they impact men versus women of that age. 

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“Things like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are two to three times more common in women until just before menopause, and then it becomes more similar. My guess is that gender differences in the way the immune system responds to coronavirus may account for this difference in risk.”

The study has also not been peer reviewed yet but it is available for viewing in preprint. The results also showed that individuals who experience five or more Covid-19 symptoms within their first week of developing the virus are at a heightened risk for experiencing long Covid symptoms as well. 

 “There’s certainly a group of long Covid sufferers that have this multi-system immune–like disease, where they get gastrointestinal problems, skin rashes, nerve problems and brain fog – so the whole body is involved rather than just one bit,” claimed Spector, who went on to explain that the immune system is likely working differently in individuals who experience these multiple body system symptoms. Those individual’s immune systems have to work a lot harder and for a lot longer to get the entire body back on track when compared to patients who contract the virus but only experience minimal to no symptoms. 

The study also suggested that individuals who have preexisting health conditions such as being medically overweight or having asthma and other respiratory diseases could increase ones risk to long Covid.

Iceberg

Earth Lost 28 Trillion Tons Of Ice In Less Than 30 Years Due To Climate Change 

Scientists working at Leeds and Edinburgh Universities and the University College London recently released a review paper that revealed data taken from surveys of the world’s glaciers, mountains, and ice sheets between the years 1994 and 2017. The information revealed a “staggering” loss in ice throughout the Earth’s many natural ice formations. 

Professor Andy Shepherd is the director of Leeds University’s Center for Polar Observation and Modeling, and recently spoke with the press about this dramatic loss in ice, and rising in sea levels as a result. 

“Melting glaciers and ice sheets could cause sea levels to rise dramatically, possibly reaching 3 feet by the end of the century.”

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The loss in ice is the least of scientists worries, it’s more about the direct, and indirect, effects of that melting that could have a detrimental impact on the planet and its billions of inhabitants. One of the biggest concerns is a major disruption in biological health within the waters of the Arctic and Antarctica. Loss in health in these waters specifically can reduce Earth’s overall ability to reflect solar radiation back into space so it doesn’t heat the planet too much. 

These findings perfectly match up with the “worst-case-scenario” predictions that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change outlined. According to Shepherd this is the first time anyone has looked at all the ice that has/is disappearing from the planet; previously studies would only map large cool areas such as Greenland or the Arctic exclusively. 

“This is the first time anyone has looked at all the ice that is disappearing from the entire planet. What we have found has stunned us.”

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Shepherd went on in the report itself to state that there is “little doubt” that the vast majority of this ice loss is a direct result of climate change. The report was released one week after scientists working at Ohio State University discovered that the ice sheet covering Greenland may have “passed the point of no return” in regards to how melted it is. 

The Greenland melting is due to a lack in annual snowfall; which is also a result of global warming. The rate at which it snows every year in Greenland isn’t enough to keep up with the pace at which the ice is melting throughout the rest of the year. This means that Greenland’s ice sheet will keep melting and losing ice even if climate change is somehow reversed in the next few years. 

Scientists are worried about Greenland specifically because its ice sheet is considered the world’s second-largest body of water, therefore if it melts, sea levels will rise to an unfathomable level. According to a NASA study 2010-2019 was the hottest decade ever recorded on Earth; which isn’t a shock to most, but the results are now starting to come to life. 

This is why the election in November is so important, as climate change has been a major point of contention among Republicans and Democrats since the term “global warming” was initially created. If you’re a US resident and have yet to register, or aren’t sure where you’re specifically registered, you can check that status here.