Only about three percent of the Earth's water is freshwater, of which only about 1.2 percent can be used for drinking. Erda Estremera, Unsplash

Freshwater realities, avian emissions cuts, and the Patagonia brand’s heroic new legacy

News to know in our bi-weekly digest

As large parts of West Africa face their worst floods in decades, the continent is losing up to 15 percent of its GDP growth to the climate crisis, according to the African Development Bank.

In this Landscape News round-up, discover how Africans are developing their own climate solutions with our coverage of GLF Africa, alongside your environmental headlines of the week.

LANDSCAPE NEWS

An artisanal oil palm mill in Ghana. Ahtziri Gonzalez, CIFOR
An artisanal oil palm mill in Ghana. Ahtziri Gonzalez, CIFOR

On 15 September, we brought together over 8,500 people from 104 countries to explore opportunities for Africa to regain its food sovereignty. Read our wrap-up of GLF Africa here – or sign up to watch all 31 sessions on demand and connect with fellow participants.

Ahead of the event, we interviewed several of the continent’s leading changemakers, including writer and public intellectual Chika Ezeanya Esiobu on the meaning of sovereignty and Ivorian cocoa co-op leader Awa Bamba. We also took a critical look at the connections between conservation and colonialism.

As many of the world’s cities grapple with drought, our latest mini-series looks at how SantiagoSingapore and Cape Town are adapting to mounting water shortages.

CLIMATE

The aftermath of Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico. Coast Guard News, Flickr
The aftermath of Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico. Coast Guard News, Flickr

Just five years after Hurricane Maria, most of Puerto Rico has again been left without power and clean water in the wake of Hurricane Fiona. Some communities are turning to solar panels for backup.

Water-borne diseases are running rampant in flood-hit Pakistan. The entire Indian subcontinent could also be more prone to drought than previously thought.

Elsewhere, the climate crisis is sinking homes in the Netherlandsroasting Hong Kong’s poor and aiding the spread of a brain-eating amoeba in the U.S.

PEOPLE

A historic flooding that damaged a major water pump left more than 150,000 citizens of Jackson, Mississippi without water. Steve Snodgrass, Flickr
A historic flooding that damaged a major water pump left more than 150,000 citizens of Jackson, Mississippi without water. Steve Snodgrass, Flickr

Extreme weather is making people angry – and they’re channeling their feelings into hate speech on the Internet.

Syria’s crop harvest has been decimated by drought, conflict and economic collapse. Argentina, meanwhile, is turning to genetically modified wheat to battle its driest conditions in 30 years.

Clean water has been restored to Jackson, the majority-black capital of the U.S. state of Mississippi, after more than 40 days.

Indigenous communities have successfully halted a USD 3.6 billion gas drilling project in Australia’s Tiwi Islands.

PLANET

A turkey vulture in flight. Michael Baird, Unsplash
A turkey vulture in flight. Michael Baird, Unsplash

Vultures might not be the cutest birds, but the mighty scavengers have been found to prevent tens of millions of tons of carbon emissions each year.

A team of scientists is breeding crops to be more resilient to nighttime heat, which is an increasing threat to plants.  

The Brazilian Amazon has seen more fires this year than in the entirety of 2021, representing a 75-percent increase from a decade ago.

Urban rewilding is catching on quick, but could it lead to ‘green gentrification’ by forcing out poorer communities?

BUSINESS

Partially harvested corn fields in Illinois, U.S.A. Ron Frazier, Flickr
Partially harvested corn fields in Illinois, U.S.A. Ron Frazier, Flickr

Large agribusinesses could lose up to a quarter of their value by 2030 if they don’t adapt to the climate crisis, a new report finds.

On the other hand, the world could save up to USD 12 trillion by 2050 by ditching fossil fuels for renewable energy.

Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard is giving away the USD 3 billion company to combat the climate crisis.

Coming as a big win for campaigners in South Africa, a court has upheld a decision to ban Shell from using seismic waves to explore for oil and gas.

POLICY

As an island nation, Barbados is particularly vulnerable to extreme weather and natural disasters triggered by climate change. Abdallah, Flickr
As an island nation, Barbados is particularly vulnerable to extreme weather and natural disasters triggered by climate change. Abdallah, Flickr

In a world first, Denmark has pledged USD 13 million in climate-related ‘loss and damage’ compensation to poorer countries.

Chilean voters have rejected a new progressive constitution that would have enshrined environmental protection and recognized the country’s Indigenous Peoples for the first time.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for a windfall tax on fossil fuel companies to fund climate action. The E.U. expects to raise around EUR 140 billion with such a tax.

Barbados, meanwhile, has come up with an unusual way to support marine conservation: by refinancing its sovereign debt.

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