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Monday 15 February 2016

Sustainable Development News

Sustainable development news from around the world with a focus on Australia and New Zealand.
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Top Story

The best way to protect us from climate change? Save our ecosystems
When we think about adapting humanity to the challenges of climate change, it’s tempting to reach for technological solutions… However, as we discuss in Nature Climate Change, our focus on these high-tech, heavily engineered solutions is blinding us to a much easier, cheaper, simpler and better solution to adaptation: look after our planet’s ecosystems, and they will look after us.

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Energy and Climate Change

Four billion people face severe water scarcity, new research finds
At least two-thirds of the global population, over 4 billion people, live with severe water scarcity for at least one month every year, according to a major new analysis.  The revelation shows water shortages, one of the most dangerous challenges the world faces, is far worse previously than thought.

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Environment and Biodiversity

Bird population on Scilly Isles recovers after islands are declared ‘rat-free’
A project to protect breeding seabirds from invasive rats on the Scilly Isles has been a success with the two islands declared “rat-free”.  Bird populations on St Agnes and Gugh, linked by a sand bar, are starting to recover after a quarter century of year-on-year declines following work to eradicate the non-native brown rats which were feeding on eggs and chicks, conservationists said.

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Economy and Business

Climate risks could wreak havoc on financial markets, EU watchdog warns
The EU’s financial watchdog has called for governments to consider imposing asset disclosures on industry and stress tests on banks as a guard against the economic crisis that could be caused by an emergency switchover to clean energy.  The European Systemic Risk Board – set up by the EU in the wake of the 2008 crash to monitor risks to financial markets – has warned in a new report of economic “contagion” if moves to a low carbon economy happen too late and abruptly.

Waste and the Circular Economy

When You Die, This Mushroom Suit Will Eat Your Body
The unsustainability of modern life doesn’t stop when you die. Before your body goes in a casket, it will be pumped full of formaldehyde and other toxic solvents; cremation contributes to climate change. Even if you choose a so-called green burial, chemicals in your body—like pesticides or mercury—can pollute the soil. Two designers created another option: a burial suit made with mushrooms that basically turns you into compost, consuming dead cells and filtering out pollutants in the process.

Politics and Society

Your kids may be getting a confusing education on climate change
USA – Kids are a vital part of the climate change conversation; they’re the ones, after all, who have to live in the world the rest of us are screwing up. But if they go to a public school, they could be getting a very confusing education on the subject.

Food Systems

Organic almonds sow hope in Palestine
The West Bank isn’t the most obvious location for almond farming. For starters, water and land are in short supply in the heavily contested region and almonds are notoriously thirsty. Much of the traditional knowledge associated with almond production in the region has been lost. And government help is in short supply too.

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