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Tag Archives: Environment

CO2 ǀ Hört endlich auf zu fliegen! — der Freitag

CO2 Weniger als 20 Prozent der Weltbevölkerung haben jemals ein Flugzeug bestiegen. Diese Luxuselite sind wir – eine Bedrohung für das Klima des Planeten

Kennen Sie den? Drei schwäbelnde Alt-Hippies wollen auf ein Festival nach Marseille und streiten sich über die beste Route: die eine kostet zu viel Maut, die andere zu viel Sprit. So geht das hin und her, bis die Tochter dazwischengeht: Warum fliegen wir eigentlich nicht? Die Botschaft: kostengünstig und kraftstoffsparend mit dem Flugzeug reisen, den O-Saft gibt’s umsonst dazu, „Fliegen ist das neue Öko.“ Kein Witz, sondern ein Werbevideo, mit dem sich der Bundesverband der Deutschen Luftverkehrswirtschaft, die Lobbyorganisation von deutschen Fluglinien und -häfen, im Jahr 2016 blamiert hat.

Es war der verzweifelte Versuch, dem Fliegen das schlechte Gewissen zu nehmen. Denn entgegen allen PR-Maßnahmen wissen heute immer mehr Menschen: Fliegen schadet dem Klima. Die Stimmung nähert sich langsam, aber sicher dem Kipppunkt: Rund 47 Prozent der Bundesbürger können sich laut einer Umfrage des Instituts Yougov sogar vorstellen, auf Flugreisen aus Umweltschutzgründen zu verzichten. Die Klimadebatte ist ein wachsendes Imageproblem für die Luftfahrt.

Und das aus gutem Grund. Das Flugzeug bleibt pro Kopf gerechnet das schmutzigste Verkehrsmittel: Laut Umweltbundesamt (UBA) produziert die Bahn pro Personenkilometer sechs Mal weniger Treibhausgase als ein Flug, sogar der Pkw liegt weit dahinter. Am klimafreundlichsten bewegt man sich immer noch mit dem Reisebus fort.

https://www.freitag.de/autoren/der-freitag/hoert-endlich-auf-zu-fliegen

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Posted by on May 27, 2019 in Reportages, Uncategorized

 

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Can the world quench China’s bottomless thirst for milk?

Beijing-based film-maker Jian Yi, now 43, clearly remembers the arrival of fresh milk in his life. It was an image of it, not the real thing. “It was the 1990s, and I first saw it in an advert on TV. The ad said explicitly that drinking milk would save the nation. It would make China stronger and better able to survive competition from other nations.”
Like most ethnic Han, who make up about 95% of the population, Jian was congenitally lactose-intolerant, meaning milk was hard to digest. His parents did not consume dairy at all when they were growing up; China’s economy was closed to the global market and its own production very limited. Throughout the Mao era, milk was in short supply and rationed to those deemed to have a special need: infants and the elderly, athletes and party cadres above a certain grade. Through most of the imperial dynasties until the 20th century, milk was generally shunned as the slightly disgusting food of the barbarian invaders. Foreigners brought cows to the port cities that had been ceded to them by the Chinese in the opium wars of the 19th century, and a few groups such as Mongolian pastoralists used milk that was fermented, but it was not part of the typical Chinese diet.

As China opened up to the market in the 1980s, after Mao’s death, dried milk powder began appearing in small shops where you could buy it with state-issued coupons. Jian’s parents bought it for him because they thought it would make him stronger. “It was expensive, I didn’t like it, I was intolerant, but we persuaded ourselves it was the food of the future,” he said. “You have to understand the psychology here – there is a sense in China that we have been humiliated ever since the opium wars, but that now we are no longer going to be humiliated by foreign powers.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/29/can-the-world-quench-chinas-bottomless-thirst-for-milk

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2019 in Asia, Reportages, Uncategorized

 

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Jared Diamond: There’s a 49 Percent Chance the World As We Know It Will End by 2050

Jared Diamond’s new book, Upheaval, addresses itself to a world very obviously in crisis, and tries to lift some lessons for what do about it from the distant past. In that way, it’s not so different from all the other books that have made the UCLA geographer a sort of don of “big think” history and a perennial favorite of people like Steven Pinker and Bill Gates.

Diamond’s life as a public intellectual began with his 1991 book The Third Chimpanzee, a work of evolutionary psychology, but really took off with Guns, Germs, and Steel, published in 1997, which offered a three-word explanation for the rise of the West to the status of global empire in the modern era — and, even published right at the “end of history,” got no little flak from critics who saw in it both geographic determinism and what they might today call a whiff of Western supremacy. In 2005, he published Collapse, a series of case studies about what made ancient civilizations fall into disarray in the face of environmental challenges — a doorstopper that has become a kind of touchstone work for understanding the crisis of climate change today. In The World Until Yesterday, published in 2012, he asked what we can learn from traditional societies; and in his new book, he asks what we can learn from ones more like our own that have faced upheaval but nevertheless endured.

I obviously want to talk about your new book, but I thought it might be useful to start by asking you how you saw it in the context of your life’s work.
Sure. Here’s my answer, and I think you’ll find it banal and more disappointing than what you might have hoped for. People often ask me what’s the relation between your books and the answer is there is none. Really, each book is what I was most interested in and felt most at hand when I finished my previous book.

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/05/jared-diamond-on-his-new-book-upheaval.html

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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Politicians’ reluctance on climate change is bizarre – action would not only be right but popular

Australians want environmental action.

As Katharine Murphy explained a few weeks back, “private polling conducted for the environment movement and for the major parties suggests community concern about climate change is currently sitting at levels not seen since the federal election cycle in 2007”.

A survey commissioned by the Australia Institute showed the majority of voters wanted to mobilise on climate “like they mobilised everyone during the world wars”. That result was consistent around Australia, with 57% of Queenslanders and 60% of Victorians agreeing that the country faced an emergency.

The ABC Vote Compass found the environment ranked as the most important issue by 29% of respondents, up from 9% in 2016.

Why, then, aren’t we seeing the parties in a bidding war to address such concerns?

We know that if focus groups returned equivalent anxieties about refugees, the campaign would devolve into a contest to formulate new techniques for border cruelty.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/23/politicians-reluctance-on-climate-change-is-bizarre-action-would-not-only-be-right-but-popular

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2019 in Oceania, Uncategorized

 

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Can’t-do country: how Australia is on the brink of environmental disaster

The great Australian clichés: G’day; fair dinkum; dinki-di; fair go; no worries; good on yer; she’ll be right; mateship; whingeing Poms; the lucky country. Only one of these has been known to cause its progenitor any grief. The late Donald Horne’s book The Lucky Country was published in 1964 and became an Australian phenomenon, described by one critic as “a bucket of cold saltwater emptied on to the belly of a dreaming sunbather”.

“Dad was very happy that the phrase caught on,” said Dr Julia Horne, associate professor of social history at the University of Sydney. “But if he was watching TV and saw it being used without irony he would stick his thumbs in his ears and waggle his fingers at the set. A wine started using the name and he couldn’t bear it.

“Much of the luck came from the postwar mineral boom. His point was the luck of the boom would run out. He believed that Australians were forward-thinking but that their politicians and businessmen were stunted creatively and imaginatively.”

Donald Horne died in 2005. Minerals boomed again; Australia is still lucky. Gamblers’ luck. And, as a nation of punters ought to know, that is not something that repeats itself indefinitely.

https://www.newstatesman.com/world/australasia/2019/03/can-t-do-country-how-australia-brink-environmental-disaster

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2019 in Oceania, Reportages, Uncategorized

 

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When biodegradable plastic is not biodegradable

The idea of a “biodegradable” plastic suggests a material that would degrade to little or nothing over a period of time, posing less of a hazard to wildlife and the environment. This is the sort of claim often made by plastic manufacturers, yet recent research has revealed supposedly biodegradable plastic bags still intact after three years spent either at sea or buried underground. So un-degraded were these bags that they were still able to hold more than two kilos of shopping.

The study’s authors, Imogen Napper and Richard Thompson at the University of Plymouth, tested compostable, biodegradable, oxo-biodegradable, and conventional polythene plastic bags in three different natural environments: buried in the ground, outdoors exposed to air and sunlight, and submerged in the sea. Not one of the bags broke down completely in all of the environments tested. In particular, the biodegradable bag survived in soil and sea almost unscathed.

https://theconversation.com/when-biodegradable-plastic-is-not-biodegradable-116368

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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A War Reporter Covers “The End of Ice” — and It Will Change the Way You Think About Climate Catastrophe

Focusing on breath and gratitude, Dahr Jamail’s latest book, “The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption,” stitches together personal introspection and gut-wrenching interviews with leading climate experts. The rapidly receding glaciers of Denali National Park, home to the highest peak in North America, inspired the book’s title. “Seven years of climbing in Alaska had provided me with a front-row seat from where I could witness the dramatic impact of human-caused climate disruption,” Jamail writes.

With vividly descriptive storytelling, Jamail pushes further north into the Arctic Circle where warming is occurring at double speed. He surveys rapid changes in the Pribilof Islands, where Indigenous communities have had to contend with die-offs affecting seabirds, fur seals, fish, and more — a collapsing food web. The story continues in the fragile Great Barrier Reef, utterly ravaged by the warming ocean. South Florida is faring no better: Jamail finds that 2.46 million of the state’s acreage will be submerged within his lifetime. Experts are aghast everywhere Jamail visits. In the Amazon, rich in biodiversity, the consequences are especially enormous.

https://theintercept.com/2019/05/04/climate-change-book-end-of-ice/

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2019 in Reportages

 

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Stop eating fish. It’s the only way to save the life in our seas

It is the most important news humanity has ever received: the general collapse of life on Earth. The vast international assessment of the state of nature, as revealed on Monday, tells us that the living planet is in a death spiral. Yet it’s hardly surprising that it appeared on few front pages of British newspapers. Of all the varieties of media bias, the deepest is the bias against relevance. The more important the issue, the less it is discussed.

There’s a reason for this. Were we to become fully aware of our predicament, we would demand systemic change. Systemic change is highly threatening to those who own the media. So they distract us with such baubles as a royal baby and a vicious dispute between neighbours about a patio. I am often told we get the media we deserve. We do not. We get the media its billionaire owners demand.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/09/seas-stop-eating-fish-fishing-industry-government

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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Under Water

In the morning, before she left for work, Ambika Thankappan called her son Arun to tell him their world was about to drown.

“Da, it’s already flooded to the nearby villages,” she told him in a calm voice, using an affectionate Malayalam word for boy. “And it’s starting to reach our village.”

“I’ll be there in an hour,” he replied.

Arun jumped on his motorbike and set off through the rain toward their home. But the water was already a foot and a half deep. And it was rising fast. If he didn’t get there in time, it would swallow everything they’d worked their lives to build: their home and everything they loved, including Messi, their tail-wagging, face-licking yellow dog.

On a normal day, Arun would be working at a shop at the Cochin International Airport, in India’s southwestern coastal state of Kerala. Ambika would be working at the same airport, collecting trolleys and lining them up for travelers; a man named Wilson Perez would be picking tomatoes in Immokalee, Florida; and in Toronto, two men named Klever Freire and Gabriel Otrin would be doing something that 81 million people1 do, every day, without expecting to fight for their lives: taking an elevator.

https://orbmedia.org/stories/under-water/multimedia

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2019 in Reportages

 

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The Uncanny Power of Greta Thunberg’s Climate-Change Rhetoric

During the week of Easter, Britain enjoyed—if that is the right word—a break from the intricate torment of Brexit. The country’s politicians disappeared on vacation and, in their absence, genuine public problems, the kinds of things that should be occupying their attention, rushed into view. In Northern Ireland, where political violence is worsening sharply, a twenty-nine-year-old journalist and L.G.B.T. campaigner named Lyra McKee was shot and killed while reporting on a riot in Londonderry. In London, thousands of climate-change protesters blocked Waterloo Bridge, over the River Thames, and Oxford Circus, in the West End, affixing themselves to the undersides of trucks and to a pink boat named for Berta Cáceres, an environmental activist and indigenous leader, who was murdered in Honduras. Slightly more than a thousand Extinction Rebellion activists, between the ages of nineteen and seventy-four, were arrested in eight days. On Easter Monday, a crowd performed a mass die-in at the Natural History Museum, under the skeleton of a blue whale. In a country whose politics have been entirely consumed by the maddening minutiae of leaving the European Union, it was cathartic to see citizens demanding action for a greater cause. In a video message, Christiana Figueres, the former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, compared the civil disobedience in London to the civil-rights movement of the sixties and the suffragettes of a century ago. “It is not the first time in history we have seen angry people take to the streets when the injustice has been great enough,” she said.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-uncanny-power-of-greta-thunbergs-climate-change-rhetoric

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2019 in Europe

 

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