Displaying items by tag: Environment

Friday, 12 August 2022 10:55

Drought and hosepipe bans

A prolonged dry spell and record-breaking temperatures have left rivers at exceptionally low levels, depleted reservoirs, and dried-out soils. Environment secretary George Eustice has urged more firms to take action to mitigate the effects of the prolonged dry weather. But each water company has different thresholds and demands, so we might not see a UK-wide ban. Sir Robert Goodwill, chairman of the environment, food and rural affairs select committee said, ‘It costs water companies money to impose a hosepipe ban and I suspect they have held off longer than they would have done twenty years ago when most people were unmetered and just paid their water rate.’ His comments come as the UK prepares to declare a drought. Water UK say that climate change and an increasing population mean there could be water shortages by 2050. On 10 August Thames Water sent water tankers to residents in the first place in Britain to run dry when Stokenchurch reservoir was found to contain E.coli.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 28 July 2022 22:25

UK cities warned of wildfire risk

Last week's wildfires across London showed lessons learned tackling rural blazes must urgently be applied to built-up areas after grass fires spread to forty houses and shops nearby. Prolonged dry weather parching gardens, verges and green spaces followed by temperatures of 40C sparked blazes normally seen in the countryside. 500 wildfires have been reported so far this year, compared with 237 last year. The group commander for Hereford and Worcester Fire Service said, ‘Everything is bone-dry and services need to recognise the risk they've now got. If they don't, then they're naïve. There are very urban services that think wildfires are low down on the risk list. I understand their need to prioritise resources, but there must be a review.’ A 2021 risk assessment report for the government found that two out of eight fire services made no reference to wildfires in their risk management plans.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 28 July 2022 22:23

Europe’s heatwaves: the worst is yet to come

It is not too late to avert the climate crisis from becoming even more deadly – but the window is closing. Across western Europe high temperature records are being obliterated; some had been set during the heatwave in 2003 that left tens of thousands dead. Raging wildfires are displacing thousands of people, one of the many compounding impacts of the climate crisis. This heatwave is another reminder that we have already reached unsafe levels of global heating. As our planet warms, heatwaves will become more frequent and more intense. In fact, we may look back on these years as some of the coolest, compared with what will come if we do not act now. Human life will encounter life-threatening impacts with increasing frequency and mounting consequences. Countless scientific reports have been conveying this reality for decades.

Published in Europe
Friday, 15 July 2022 09:50

Global: hunger - no time to lose

Hunger is stalking the world. In 2017 the UN vowed to eradicate it by 2030. Yet the number of people affected globally reached 828 million last year, and an unprecedented 345 million are currently experiencing acute food insecurity. Since May 2020 there has been a 55% increase in the food price index. The head of the World Food Programme said, ‘We thought it could not get any worse’ - but the Ukraine war has worsened freight and fertiliser costs due to rising fuel prices, and has blocked ports. Ukraine and Russia previously accounted for almost one-third of global wheat exports. Many middle-income countries have spent large parts of their reserves due to the pandemic. Even in wealthier countries, more parents are going hungry to feed their children. In low-income countries rising prices are deadly. Around 2.3 billion people face moderate or severe difficulty obtaining enough to eat, which could result in social unrest and political violence.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 23 June 2022 22:41

Britain has poor nature connectedness

From the romantic poets to Sir David Attenborough’s research, Britain has a reputation for being a nation of nature lovers. But citizens of this green and pleasant land are ranked bottom of fourteen European nations measured for their ‘nature connectedness’, according to a new study. This is a psychological concept which measures the closeness of an individual’s relationship with other species and the wild world. Studies have found that people with a high level of nature connectedness enjoy better mental health and are more likely to act in environmentally friendly ways. Britain. which has lost more wildlife than any other G7 country, has been shown to be one of the most nature-depleted countries on the planet. Professor Miles Richardson, the lead author of the study, is asking the UN to adopt the concept of nature connectedness as a sustainable target, with 17 sustainable development goals focused on issues for people or for nature.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 09 June 2022 22:42

Somalia: drought, famine, malnutrition

On 31 May the UN's top humanitarian official for the Horn of Africa predicted a devastating outlook for millions of Somalis, amid worsening famine. Before the end of 2022, 7.1 million people will be affected by drought and famine. He said that 1.4 million children face acute malnutrition, and 330,000 are likely to become severely malnourished. Currently 6.1 million Somalis are affected by this drought emergency. Of that number, 771,400 (mostly women and children) have been displaced from their homes in search of water, food and pasture. The outlook has worsened due to the prospects of a fifth consecutive failed rainy season. Pray for God to strengthen and empower all who are providing aid to the hundreds of thousands experiencing acute food insecurity. Pray for medics and medication to be released to those experiencing severe malnutrition and acute watery diarrhoea. Pray for those mourning the deaths of loved ones.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 19 May 2022 23:35

India: heatwave in the north

Brutal heatwaves are causing millions of people to struggle. Temperatures hit a record 49.2C (120.5F) in Delhi in its fifth heatwave since March. Officials in many parts of India are asking people to take precautions, as temperatures are set to remain high and could cause health concerns for the elderly, infants and people with chronic diseases. Pray for farmers whose wheat harvests have been affected. Pray for the poor who have fewer ways of keeping cool and fewer options to stay inside, away from the heat. They have to work outside during the hottest hours. Pray for the children in rural areas where schools are in sheds with tin roofs - unbearable in the heat. There are places in India where the temperature itself may not be that high, but when combined with high humidity, life is very difficult. These record heatwaves are a dramatic example of climate change: see

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 28 April 2022 23:31

Kenya: another tragedy - armyworms

Kenya is in a world of hurt. Joy Mueller of Kenya Hope says, ‘They look at having no food to feed their families and no money to pay school fees or buy the things they need. For the third year in a row, these poor people are just devastated. First, the pandemic locked everything down, so rural Kenyans couldn’t buy supplies or sell their livestock at the market. Then right on the heels of the pandemic, they got hit with a severe drought. All the water sources dried up; pastureland was gone and animals were dying. For the people here, their animals are their bank accounts. 2022 seemed to be the start of something better when they got some beautiful rain in February. Hope sprang again, but then they were hit by African armyworms. They’re called armyworms because they march across the field eating every green thing in their path.’

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 21 April 2022 21:35

Brownfield sites for wind farms

A recent study by scientists at the University of Sussex and Denmark’s Aarhus University found that if wind farms were established on the available and appropriate land, they could meet 140% of the UK and Ireland’s energy demand. Although not all this land would be used, in the interest of preserving biodiversity, they said the research showed how much potential onshore wind has to solve the energy crisis. Also, they need not blight the most beautiful parts of England because there is plenty of room for them next to rail lines and on brownfield land. In the recent energy strategy the Government decided to keep the curbs on onshore wind introduced by David Cameron; the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said the turbines were an ‘eyesore’. Boris Johnson emphasised his support for offshore wind but did not noticeably back onshore wind farms.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 03 March 2022 21:56

Kenya: global plastics treaty

A short drive from the United Nations complex in Nairobi where talks on a global plastics treaty took place recently is Kenya's biggest landfill - a mountain of garbage, carpeted in single-use plastic. The equivalent of thirty trucks full of throwaway plastic packaging, bags and containers is tipped onto Dandora dump every day - a trend set to worsen with global plastic pollution forecast to double over the next decade. This global waste crisis, which is destroying habitats, killing wildlife and contaminating the food chain, has sparked calls for radical action in a treaty billed as the most important environmental pact since the Paris Agreement. ‘Our expectation is that when the treaty is signed countries will commit to stop the production of such plastics’, said Hibrahim Otieno, and he is not alone. Three in four people want single-use plastics banned as soon as possible.

Published in Worldwide
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