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Eat More Plants for A Healthy Planet | SDGs 2030
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Eat More Plants for A Healthy Planet | SDGs 2030

This week we focus on SDG 2 ( END HUNGER). Every morsel of food from every plate, bowl and cooking pot around the world takes a small bite from Earth’s resources. The human diet places a strain on the environment, water resources, biodiversity and just about every other measure of planetary health. With so much at stake, researchers have turned their attention to a pressing question: what sort of diet can the planet realistically support? The answer requires insights from fields such as nutrition, agriculture and climate research. “We need to produce food groups that are good for health in ways that are restorative to the planet, rather than extractive,” says Corinna Hawkes, director of the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London. The particular foods on the plate will vary from one place to another, she says, but those meals need to add up to something more sustainable than society’s current fare. “When you look carefully at the big systems that regulate the stability of our planet, food is a dominant player in essentially all of them,” says Johan Rockström, an environmental scientist at Stockholm University. In 2019, Rockström, Hawkes and other members of an international group of scientists proposed the EAT-Lancet diet1, a global meal plan that could, in theory, feed 2050’s estimated population of 10 billion people (see ‘Planetary-health diet’). That plan called for drastic cuts in meat consumption and a much higher intake of fruits and vegetables. But it proved controversial with meat-industry proponents and economists, and the quest for a planetary diet continues. When researchers and policymakers convene at the United Nations Food Systems Summit in late 2021, a healthy-planet diet will be near the top of the agenda. Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03443-6
Save The Planet: Coral Reefs, Life Below Water
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Save The Planet: Masks and Ocean Pollution
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Save The Planet: Masks and Ocean Pollution

Conservationists have warned that the coronavirus pandemic could spark a surge in ocean pollution – adding to a glut of plastic waste that already threatens marine life – after finding disposable masks floating like jellyfish and waterlogged latex gloves scattered across seabeds. The French non-profit Opération Mer Propre, whose activities include regularly picking up litter along the Côte d’Azur, began sounding the alarm late last month. Divers had found what Joffrey Peltier of the organization described as “Covid waste” – dozens of gloves, masks, and bottles of hand sanitizer beneath the waves of the Mediterranean, mixed in with the usual litter of disposable cups and aluminum cans. The quantities of masks and gloves found were far from enormous, said Peltier. But he worried that the discovery hinted at a new kind of pollution, one set to become ubiquitous after millions around the world turned to single-use plastics to combat the coronavirus. “It’s the promise of pollution to come if nothing is done,” said Peltier. In the years leading up to the pandemic, environmentalists had warned of the threat posed to oceans and marine life by skyrocketing plastic pollution. As much as 13 million tonnes of plastic goes into oceans each year, according to a 2018 estimate by UN Environment. The Mediterranean sees 570,000 tonnes of plastic flow into it annually – an amount the WWF has described as equal to dumping 33,800 plastic bottles every minute into the sea. These figures risk growing substantially as countries around the world confront the coronavirus pandemic. Masks often contain plastics such as polypropylene, said Éric Pauget, a French politician whose region includes the Côte d’Azur. Source: The Guardian --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Video Editor: Louisa McGrath
Save The Planet: Hurricanes & Climate Change
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Save The Planet: Hurricanes & Climate Change

Warm ocean temperatures are one of the key factors that strengthen hurricane development when overall conditions are conducive for their formation and growth. Hurricanes require high humidity, relatively constant winds at different altitudes, and can occur when surface ocean temperatures exceed about 79°F (26°C). The rising of warm, moist air from the ocean helps to power the storm. Two other factors may also be contributing to the rising intensities of hurricanes. First, warm air holds more water vapor than cold air—and the rising air temperatures since the 1970s have caused the atmospheric water vapor content to rise as well. This increased moisture provides additional fuel for hurricanes. Climate models project an increase in the average precipitation rate of hurricanes as a result of global warming. Second, as ocean temperatures rise, there is also less cold, subsurface ocean water to serve as a braking mechanism for hurricanes. When strong storm winds churn up cold subsurface water, the cooler waters can serve to weaken the storm. But if deeper waters become too warm, this natural braking mechanism weakens. For example, Hurricane Katrina intensified significantly when it hit deep pools of warm water in the Gulf of Mexico. Not all changes in climate will fuel hurricanes. For example, when there are large changes in wind speed at different altitudes (also known as "vertical wind shear") above an area of the ocean, those conditions can interfere with hurricane formation. There is evidence that climate change may increase vertical wind shear over some regions in the western tropical Atlantic Ocean. However, when scientists put the pieces together, they project that in general, hurricanes will become more intense in a warming world, with higher wind speeds and greater levels of precipitation. Recent experiences with superstorms like Sandy in 2012, Harvey, Irma and Maria, all in 2017, have left some valuable lessons: We can’t afford to ignore global warming. Investing for the present and future of a changing climate is pressing. How are we preparing our communities, and making sure that we don’t leave people behind? What actions are we taking to mitigate? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Video Editor: Joseph Sauchelli
Save The Planet: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
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Save The Planet: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Worldwide consumption and production — a driving force of the global economy — rest on the use of the natural environment and resources in a way that continues to have destructive impacts on the planet. Economic and social progress over the last century has been accompanied by environmental degradation that is endangering the very systems on which our future development — indeed, our very survival — depends. A few facts and figures: Each year, an estimated one third of all food produced – equivalent to 1.3 billion tonnes worth around $1 trillion – ends up rotting in the bins of consumers and retailers, or spoiling due to poor transportation and harvesting practices. If people worldwide switched to energy efficient light bulbs the world would save US$120 billion annually. Should the global population reach 9.6 billion by 2050, the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles. The COVID-19 pandemic offers countries an opportunity to build recovery plans that will reverse current trends and change our consumption and production patterns towards a more sustainable future. Sustainable consumption and production is about doing more and better with less. It is also about decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation, increasing resource efficiency and promoting sustainable lifestyles. Sustainable consumption and production can also contribute substantially to poverty alleviation and the transition towards low-carbon and green economies. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Video Editor: Louisa McGrath
Climate Change: Our world is changing
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Climate Change: Our world is changing

Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years, there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 11,700 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that changing the amount of solar energy our planet receives. ---------------------------------- Causes: Scientists attribute the global warming trend observed since the mid-20th century to the human expansion of the "greenhouse effect"1 — warming that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space. Certain gases in the atmosphere block heat from escaping. Long-lived gases that remain semi-permanently in the atmosphere and do not respond physically or chemically to temperature changes are described as "forcing" climate change. Gases, such as water vapor, which respond physically or chemically to temperature changes, are seen as "feedback." ---------------------------------- Effects: Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted, and trees are flowering sooner. The effects that scientists had predicted in the past would result from global climate change: loss of sea ice accelerated sea-level rise, and longer, more intense heat waves. ---------------------------------- Solution: NASA is an expert in climate and Earth science. While its role is not to set climate policy or prescribe particular responses or solutions to climate change, its purview does include providing the robust scientific data needed to understand climate change and evaluating the impact of efforts to combat it. NASA then makes this information available to the global community – the public, policy- and decision-makers and scientific and planning agencies worldwide. ---------------------------------- The 20 countries that emitted the most carbon dioxide in 2018 are: China, United States Of America, India, Russian Federation, Japan, Germany, Islamic Republic of Iran, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, Turkey, Australia, United Kingdom, Poland, France, Italy, Kazakhstan.. while the rest of the world emitted about 27% of the carbon dioxide.The top 4 emitters amount to about 50% of the entire world carbon dioxide gas. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Video Editor: Louisa McGrath

Watch some of our informational videos on how you can help save the planet and assist the United Nations in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by their deadline of 2030. 

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