Tag Archives: Waste

Four ways to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises simultaneously

A landmark report by the world’s most senior climate and biodiversity scientists argues that the world will have to tackle the climate crisis and the species extinction crisis simultaneously, or not at all.

That’s because Earth’s land and ocean already absorbs about half of the greenhouse gases that people emit. Wild animals, plants, fungi and microbes help maintain this carbon sink by keeping soils, forests and other ecosystems healthy.

Failing to tackle climate change meanwhile will accelerate biodiversity loss, as higher temperatures and changing rainfall patterns make survival for many species more difficult. Both problems are intertwined, and so solutions to one which exacerbate the other are doomed to fail.

Luckily, there are options for addressing climate change and biodiversity loss together, called nature-based solutions. If implemented properly, these measures can enhance the richness and diversity of life on Earth, help habitats store more carbon and even reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, making ecosystems more resilient while slowing the rate at which the planet warms.

1. Protect and restore ecosystems

Everyone is familiar with the need to preserve tropical rainforests, but there are other pristine habitats, on land and in the ocean, which are in dire need of protection.

Mangrove swamps occupy less than 1% of Earth’s surface, but store the equivalent of 22 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. That’s around two-thirds of total emissions from burning fossil fuels each year. These coastal habitats act as a home, nursery, and feeding ground for numerous species. More than 40 bird, ten reptile and six mammal species are only found in mangroves.

Under the canopy in a tropical mangrove forest.
Mangroves are particularly good at storing carbon. Velavan K/Shutterstock

Peatlands – those soggy ecosystems which include bogs, marshes and fens – store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests. The top 15cm stores more carbon below ground than tropical rainforests do above ground. In the UK, peatlands store the equivalent of ten billion tonnes of carbon dioxide and host precious plant and animals such as red grouse, mountain hares and marsh earwort.

Unfortunately, more than 80% of the UK’s peatlands are degraded in some way. A single hectare of damaged peatland can emit more than 30 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year – equivalent to the yearly emissions of seven family cars.

Protecting these ecosystems can prevent carbon being released into the atmosphere. Restoring them where they’ve been damaged can suck carbon dioxide from the air and guarantee shelter for rare wildlife. Diverse natural systems also bounce back better from climate extremes than do species-poor, highly degraded systems, and will keep helping biodiversity and people even as Earth continues to warm.

2. Manage farmland and fisheries sustainably

Not all of the world’s land and ocean can be left to nature, but the land and ocean people use to produce food and other resources can be managed better.

People currently use about 25% of the planet’s land surface for growing food, extracting resources and living. The global food system contributes one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Methods of farming – such as agroecology, which involves incorporating trees and habitats within farm fields – and sustainable fishing practices can protect and regenerate topsoil and seabed habitats, boosting biodiversity and improving how resilient these ecosystems are to climate change.

Rows of vegetable beds with lines of young trees.
Reforestation in tandem with food growing: lettuce, cauliflowers and tomatoes grow among saplings in Brazil. Luisaazara/Shutterstock

3. Create new forests – with care

People have already cut down three trillion trees – half of all the trees which once grew on Earth.

Creating new woodlands and forests can draw down atmospheric carbon and provide diverse habitats for a range of species, but great care must be taken to plant the right mix of trees in the right place. Vast plantations of non-native trees, particularly when they’re a single species, offer less useful habitat for wildlife, but a mix of native trees can benefit biodiversity and store more carbon in the long run.

A study in south-east China showed that forests containing several tree species stored twice as much carbon as the average single-species plantation.

We can do the same thing in the ocean by restoring seagrass meadows.

4. Shift to more plant-based diets

Globally, animal agriculture is a major contributor to biodiversity loss. Millions of hectares of Amazon rainforest, African Savanna and Central Asian grassland have been ploughed up to create pasture and plant feed crops for the cows, pigs and chickens that we eat. Nearly 60% of all planet-warming emissions from food production originate in livestock rearing.

Reducing demand for meat and dairy, through diet changes and cutting waste, would not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions – which itself benefits biodiversity by limiting climate change – it would also lower pressure for farmland and so reduce deforestation and habitat destruction, freeing more land for the wider use of nature-based solutions.

A vegan burger with a side of sweet potato fries.
A vegan diet is better for wildlife and the climate than a high-meat one. Rolande PG/Unsplash, CC BY-SA

Meat, especially highly processed meat, has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and bowel and stomach cancer. Plant-based diets are healthier, reduce healthcare costs and reduce carbon emissions.

A note of caution

It’s important to remember that nature-based solutions aren’t a substitute for the rapid phase out of fossil fuels. They should involve a wide range of ecosystems on land and in the sea, not just forests. Wherever they’re implemented, nature-based solutions must proceed with the full engagement and consent of Indigenous peoples and local communities, respecting their cultural and ecological rights. And nature-based solutions should be explicitly designed to provide measurable benefits for biodiversity – not just carbon sequestration.

With all this in mind, the world can design robust and resilient solutions for the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, sustaining nature and people together, now and into the future.

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About the authors:

Pete Smith currently receives research funding from UKRI, EU, Wellcome Trust and Scottish Government. He is on the science advisory team for Carbon Direct (https://carbon-direct.com/).

Mark Maslin is a Founding Director of Rezatec Ltd, Co-Director of The London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, a member of Cheltenham Science Festival Advisory Committee and a member of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group. He is an unpaid member of the Sopra-Steria CSR Board and Sheep Included Ltd Advisory Board. He has received grant funding in the past from the NERC, EPSRC, ESRC, DFG, Royal Society, DIFD, BEIS, DECC, FCO, Innovate UK, Carbon Trust, UK Space Agency, European Space Agency, Research England, Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme Trust, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation Sprint2020, and British Council. He has received research funding in the past from The Lancet, Laithwaites, Seventh Generation, Channel 4, JLT Re, WWF, Hermes, CAFOD, HP, and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Camille Parmesan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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The Proper Place of Excess

The Word of God given to us in the Bible or Holy Scriptures tells us to know Who we should worship and what we should not worship. Idolatry of money has crept into the soul of mankind and has poisoned their hearts.

The wisdom teacher of Ecclesiastes says, there is a time for all things under the sun, no to agree with the excess man loves so much, but as a warning how to behave and how and to what to focus.

For those who want to celebrate Christmas for whatever reason they want to give, Christians should remember that it is originally a pagan festival and should better abstain from it. But we do agree in Wintertime it is ideal to socialise at the dark hours and it may be lovely to exchange presents around the turn of the year.

When we provide presents for others they should be given with joy and when it brings such a stress like we hear many tell on television, than there is certainly something wrong.

In so called Christian countries, we also see lots of Christmas markets, but at those ‘great events’ there is not much to see about what they call would be the “reason of the season”. At most Christmas markets there are not many stall about the nativity of the Nazarene Jew nor about that man’s ransom offering. Jesus Christ his birth they often call the reason for the season, but we can not see him much in that season or in people’s homes. Also the attitude of those people gathering at those markets does not speak of such an attitude that master teacher asked from his followers. Most people strolling around at those markets are more concerned about the food and drink opportunities and in buying (ridiculous) gadgets and not to expensive presents.

So many feel obliged just to find an other gadget or an other extra surprise and do hope they themselves also will receive many presents.

In this society where excess has become a way of life, for many it might well be also a way of understanding the world, a way of being and interacting in the world, but for sure many chapters in the bible warn for such an attitude and ask us to focus on the more important immaterial things.

Those who call themselves Christian should wonder where they fall in the consumer trap of the capitalist society and why they do not keep to the festivals ordained by the Most High? the festival for the goddess of light and a celebration for a Santa Claus for sure are no part of those.

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To remember

Thanksgiving here + gone > too much to eat + drink = Excess = regular part of natural order

Excess > consequences = plays important role in survival process

Survival of the fittest + the fertilized

Northern Hemisphere winter = season of rest + recuperation

ancestral winter seasons > forebears rejoiced in gathered harvest, savored freshly slaughtered meat, + delighted in new beer + wine.

Northern Hemisphere ancestors celebrated = winter solstice = December 21 = marking the rebirth of the sun = traditionally been associated with feasts + festivals replete with excesses => secular Christmastime holiday = direct descendant of these revelries.

Roman Saturnalia + misrule, centered on feasting + gift-giving > societal role reversals where servants + peasants became lords + ladies for a day or short season => usually steady tables of fortune turned for a moment

misrule (common in European societies and colonial America) individuals of low socioeconomic status demanded wealthier neighbors + patrons treat them – the servants + peons of society – as if they were the wealthy + deserving

Puritans of Massachusetts infamously outlawing Christmas in late 1600s =/= legendary anniversary of the Savior’s birth > simultaneous misrule celebrations that exalted excesses, some acceptable + others decidedly distasteful.

1800s, misrule evolved > new type of social inversion > persisted to our own day => Christmas made for children

children = miniature adults = occupied bottom rung of social hierarchy along with peasants + servants

Modern secular Christmas – family celebration – created at this time with children becoming focus of charity + goodwill

starting with Black Friday Eve (used to be called Thanksgiving) + continuing through New Year’s Day celebrations = unmatched devotion to consumerism, materialism, consumption, waste, and over-indulgence.

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Preceding

The Culture of Excesses- Losing Humanity

Learning that stuff is just stuff

Material wealth, Submission and Heaven on earth

Looking for the consummation of presents

One can buy a lot in the supermarket, but not hope

 

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Additional reading

  1. A time for everything
  2. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  3. Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia
  4. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  5. A new year with hopes and challenges
  6. Opportunity!
  7. A season of gifts
  8. How to Find the Meaning of Life and Reach a State of Peace
  9. Material wealth, Submission and Heaven on earth

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Further reading

  1. Presents, Presents, and more Presents.
  2. Christmas Stress
  3. Buying All the Gifts
  4. Christmas time!
  5. The spirit of Christmas
  6. Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts. ~J.L.W. Brooks
  7. It’s the Thought that Counts?
  8. 30 Ways to Have Yourself a Thrifty Little Christmas
  9. 17 Things Only Girls Who Hate Shopping Understand
  10. How The Garden Grinch Saved Your Christmas
  11. 2015 Holiday Gift Guide
  12. My Christmas Gift Guide 2015
  13. 15 ways to get into the Christmas Spirit
  14. A Special Package
  15. The Gift & the Giver
  16. Baby Jesus Brings the gifts
  17. Blogmas Day 14: Christmas Gift Guide 2015
  18. On the 14th day of Christmas…
  19. Dear Santa
  20. Secret Santa!
  21. Why we don’t do Santa
  22. Nativity?
  23. Christmas Blogging Challenge Day 2 – My Favourite Christmas Tradition
  24. The Gift That Keeps on Giving
  25. The Holiday Gifting Struggle
  26. Do you search? ✨BlogMas✨
  27. Finding God
  28. Why Not Do Something Different This Christmas

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The T. Carlos Blog

Thanksgiving, once again, is here and gone. I know I had too much to eat and drink. How about you?

Excess is a regular part of the natural order. Our bodies turn excess calories into fat cells – technically, stored energy for later use. Most excess weight, however, is simply lugged around serving unwittingly as a contributing factor to health problems. Alcohol, on the other hand, is eliminated by the body. But a morning-after dehydration headache, caused by excessive drinking, lets you know you overdid it. Long-term excessive drinking, of course, will kill you.

Excess has its consequences.

Excess, nevertheless, plays an important role in the survival process. You and I are here thanks to an excessive amount of spermatozoa, from which emerged one little victor to join forces with an ovum. Survival of the fittest and the fertilized! And not only that, some of the plants which provide food, oxygen, and beauty upon the earth produce seeds for their own reproduction numbering in excess of hundreds…

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