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Declines in biodiversity, Biden's virtual climate summit, global Earth Hour, and climate feminism

Updated: Apr 3, 2021

The Clim8


Photo Credit: Tony Gentile/Reuters

As global temperatures rise, summers are expected to become warmer and longer (CNN)

Global warming is predicted to cause hot summer weather to extend to around six months of the year by 2100. Already since the 1960s, summers have globally increased by roughly 17 days. While the idea of a longer summer seems appealing, it poses serious effects for human health, the environment and agriculture. The extremity of temperature and its change due to climate change will create difficulty for crops to flourish, leading to loss of food.

Photo Credit: Coral Reef Image Bank/Alexander via UN News

UN recognizes dangerous decline in biodiversity (UN News)

During the UNESCO Forum on Biodiversity, Director-General Audrey Azoulay pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic has proved what scientists have long feared: that the decline in biodiversity in recent years can and will lead to drastic negative effects on the human race. That being said, UNESCO announced that they will aim to make 2021 a “super year” for biodiversity, with a goal of preserving 30% of the planet in UNESCO-protected regions. Furthemore, the UN agency has asked its 193 member nations to work towards integrated topics such as sustainable development into school lesson plans. In the words of UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim: “if our environment disappears, who we are, our identity, and our way of life will disappear with it.”

Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

Biden invites world leaders to a virtual climate summit (The Guardian)

The summit, which leaders such as Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping have been invited to, begins on April 22, which also happens to be Earth Day. Before it starts, the government has announced that the US will have announced a new 2030 emissions target, along with continuing to push for other countries to increase their own Paris Agreement goals. So far in his administration, US President Biden has already placed a key focus on climate change, set many ambitious targets, and set limits on oil and gas drilling. This summit comes just as the world gets dangerously close to not being able to keep warming to an increase of 2.7 degrees F or less by 2100, a goal scientists say is necessary if we hope to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Photo Credit: via CNN

Extreme hurricanes at the US-Mexico border adding to migration crisis (CNN)

Two extreme consecutive hurricanes, Eta and Iota, displaced hundreds of thousands of Central Americans in November 2020. Many migrants from Central American countries say hurricanes like these are a big factor in their decision to seek a new life in the US. With many families already struggling to survive amongst recent mass famines, the intense flooding brought on by these storms destroyed countless homes, resources, and jobs. Combined with the devastating effects of this past year’s COVID-19 pandemic and shared hope that the US’ new presidential administration will be more welcoming to them, unprecedented numbers of Central American migrants are attempting to make the border crossing in search of a more secure life.

Photo Credit: via BBC

How climate change is slowly destroying Bangladesh (BBC)

British-Bangladeshi writer Qasa Alom reflects on the impacts climate change has had on the country of his ancestors. He recalls a time when, on their drive back to an airport in Bangladesh, he and his family were stopped by the road in front of them, which was completely submerged by water. Alom’s father, who often returns to the country to help the villagers he left behind, has remarked: “Everything is falling into ruin. It's all going to pieces, nobody is living there and it's just becoming desolate.” The author, who admits he has always been reluctant to return -- always having something better to do -- has recognized the severe toll the flooding, storms, erosions, and droughts have had on his ancestral home, and vows that he will begin to actively work to protect Bangladesh.The UN has already estimated that, by 2050, about 20% more of Bangladesh will lie under water. Extreme weather occurrences such as this affect Bangladesh’s livelihood particularly, as it is still primarily an agricultural economy. To quote the author: “while people in Bangladesh are doing their bit, it is vital that those of us in Bangladeshi diasporas all over the world to not forget the people who are still there.”

Photo Credit: Snežana Trifunović via Wikipedia

Old forests may not be as efficient at capturing CO2 in the atmosphere as previously estimated (Science Daily)

Scientists have determined that a 2008 study claiming that old and unmanaged forests continue to capture large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere may have been a result of incorrectly analyzed data. Researchers have found that these forests effects on the CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been overestimated. These researchers found that for the previous study to be correct these forests and regions would have to have an unlikely amount of externally sourced nitrogen and trees that grow continuously. Although the argument for the protection of these forests may be undermined by this research, the researchers of the study stress that protecting old-growth forests remains important for biodiversity.

Photo Credit: via Earth Hour

Some parts of the world will turn off all their lights for Earth Hour (EarthHour)

Starting in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, Earth Hour is an event on the last Saturday of March in which people are encouraged to perform a simple environmental act, turning off their lights. This year, Earth Hour occurred on March 27th from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Turning off lights can reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions but Earth Hour also hopes to use this hour of environmentalism to spark conversations about our relationship with nature, how to protect the environment, and how to combat the climate crisis.

Photo Credit: Martyn Aim/Getty Images via Eco Watch

The argument for why the climate movement should be led by women: climate feminism (Eco Watch)

The UN reported that 80 percent of people displaced by climate change are women, leaving women to be more likely to experience food insecurity, homelessness, and negative health impacts due to climate change than men. The intersections between climate justice and feminism show us that female leadership amidst the climate crisis may be the most efficient way to fight climate change. Jacqueline Patterson, the director of the NAACP Environmental and Justice Program, explains why women should be at the forefront of the environmental justice movement.

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