Microplastic washed ashore amongst Sargassum in Bermuda. Naja Bertolt Jensen, Unsplash

Smelly seaweed, 3D-printed fish and the world’s biggest debt-for-nature swap

News to know in our bi-weekly digest

Last year, about 258 million people faced severe hunger across 58 countries and territories. Global hunger has surged by a third since 2021, largely driven by the war in Ukraine.

In this Landscape News round-up, we explore some unusual innovations to tackle the food challenges ahead. We also discuss the latest climate disasters and celebrate some small victories.

Rivers are crucial in the fight against climate change. Dan Roizer, Unsplash

LANDSCAPE NEWS

What if economic growth is fueling the destruction of our planet? Some scholars say it’s time for rich countries to consider a radical alternative: degrowth.

Rivers are a crucial solution to the climate crisis, but they don’t get the attention they deserve. Here are some ways to fix that.

Meet the local non-profit and GLFx chapter working to restore the Peruvian Amazon – one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.

And on the GLF Live podcast, we look at how Africa can achieve a just energy transition to deliver better lives to its people without burning more fossil fuels.

It’s Science Week over at our parent organization, CIFOR-ICRAF. Their new CEO, Éliane Ubalijoro, has a few thoughts to share.

Police and lawmakers are increasingly cracking down on climate protests. Alisdare Hickson, Flickr

PEOPLE

Is the green transition turning into green colonialism? Some Indigenous communities fear they could be forced off their lands for lithium, nickel and cobalt.

On an island between India and Sri Lanka, these women divers have been harvesting seaweed since childhood – a perilous and precarious job that earns them just USD 6 a day.

Dogs hold a special place in many Aboriginal Australian cultures. This woman is on a mission to keep them safe and healthy.

All over Europe, police and lawmakers are increasingly cracking down on climate demonstrations. French activists are responding by turning up the heat.

There is still a lot we don’t know about the ocean, and much of it is at risk from the climate crisis. Hiroko Yoshii, Unsplash

PLANET

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the ocean. This initiative aims to plug the gaps in our knowledge by discovering 100,000 more marine species in the next 10 years.

About time, too, because the climate crisis could wipe out 40 percent of life in the ocean’s mesopelagic zone by the end of the century.

Dams are coming down in Europe: a record 325 river barriers were removed across 16 countries last year.

An annual bloom of smelly seaweed is inundating the Caribbean, repelling tourists and threatening coastal wildlife. It’s likely caused by fertilizer runoff flowing into a warming ocean.

Fires in Estreito da Calheta, Portugal, 2016. Michael Held, Unsplash

CLIMATE

El Niño is on its way. There’s now an 80-percent chance it’ll develop by September, causing hotter global temperatures over the next few years.

More than 400 people have died in floods and landslides in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with thousands more missing. The disaster has also claimed at least 130 lives in neighboring Rwanda.

The Canadian province of Alberta has declared a state of emergency as more than 100 wildfires have forced nearly 25,000 people to evacuate their homes.

Spain and Portugal set new monthly temperature records at the end of April. Such extreme heat would have been nearly impossible so early in the year without climate change.

The Uyuni salt desert in Bolivia is estimated to hold around 5.4 million tonnes of lithium. Alexander Schimmeck, Unsplash

BUSINESS

Is this the solution to overfishing? A food tech startup has made the world’s first 3D-printed fillet using lab-grown fish.

In Sweden, restaurants are trialing a new technology to cut their rising energy bills: harvesting energy from kitchen fumes.

Google is running ads on hundreds of YouTube videos that spread climate disinformation. (Come bust some of those myths with us instead.)

Chile is set to revamp its lithium industry – the world’s second-largest. Here’s how that could impact the renewable energy industry and the country’s Indigenous communities.

Lastly, a rare op-ed: what could rising interest rates mean for the climate crisis?

Iguana, Galapagos Islands (Ecuador). Azzedine Rouichi, Unsplash

POLICY

Turkmenistan’s oil and gas fields are leaking millions of tons of methane each year. Other countries want the Central Asian nation to start cleaning up its act.

Dhaka has become the first Asian city to appoint a ‘chief heat officer.’ The Bangladeshi capital’s new recruit joins an all-female global force stretching from Miami to Melbourne.

Brazil is creating official Indigenous reservations again, but it’s also moving ahead with several major infrastructure projects in the Amazon at the same time.

And Ecuador is set for the biggest debt-for-nature swap ever, which will free up USD 18 million a year to protect the Galápagos Islands.

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