Swiss Senior Women for Climate Protection Verdict at ECHR. © Shervine Nafissi / Greenpeace

Super corals, smuggling greenhouse gases and the world’s worst hunger crisis

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It’s official: world leaders are violating human rights through their inaction on the climate crisis.

That was the verdict of the European Court of Human Rights on a case brought by 2,000 women against the Swiss government – a ruling that could set a major precedent for climate policy in Europe and beyond.

Find out why in this month’s digest, where we also cover the latest on global deforestation, unfolding famines in Sudan and Gaza, the dirty secrets of electric cars and much more.

Aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest, near Manaus the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas. Brazil. Photo by Neil Palmer / CIAT. Flickr.

This month on ThinkLandscape

The good news: deforestation slowed drastically across the Amazon in 2023. Here’s why.

The not-so-good news: be very wary of fake eco-labels on your clothes.

Other interesting news: three Australian housemates counted all the species in their backyard during lockdown. They ended up with more than 1,000.

Crunch time: this year is the biggest election year ever. What will 2024’s elections mean for the climate?

Throwback time: last year, we brought together two leading South Asian environmental activists – Vandana Shiva and Ayisha Siddiqa – for a conversation about the future. Here’s what they had to say.

And from the community: our Restoration Stewards share their latest reflections from the wetlands of Borneo and the white-sand beaches of Sri Lanka.

What we’re reading

Increasing melt from Greenland and Antarctica is slightly slowing the Earth’s rotation which may, in turn, affect timekeeping. Photo via envato.


Not only was 2023 by far the hottest year on record, but that heat is stretching into 2024. March was the hottest March ever – making it the 10th month in a row to break all-time records.

The ocean has broken temperature records for 365 days in a row, and yet both global sea levels and greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere are continuing to rise.

Here’s some actual news for you: is the climate crisis making us lose track of time?

83 of the 100 most polluted cities are located in India. Photo via envato.


The “world’s largest hunger crisis” is unfolding in Sudan, where more than 25 million people are now affected by food insecurity after 10 months of war.

Famine is imminent in northern Gaza, according to a UN report, while nearly half of the territory’s tree cover and farmland have been destroyed by Israeli bombing.

Only seven countries in the world have healthy air quality. Bangladesh and Pakistan have the world’s worst air pollution, whereas 83 of the 100 most polluted cities are located in India.

A new Arctic power line will slash Norway’s emissions, but will it come at the cost of Indigenous Sámi reindeer herders?

In the Indian state of Rajasthan, farmers are protecting their crops from drought – by building a wall.

Could granting whales legal personhood help protect them? Photo via envato.


Despite successes in Brazil and Colombia, the world has made no progress overall in stopping deforestation.

As the climate crisis wipes out the world’s coral reefs, could these ‘super corals’ come to the rescue?

Indigenous leaders in the Pacific have devised a new way to keep whales safe: by granting them legal personhood.

At the tip of South America, ecosystems have been thriving since salmon farming was banned in Argentine waters. Here’s why Chile should follow suit.

And lastly: why do Indian elephants keep getting hit by trains?

Mining for the precious metals used in electric vehicles and other technology is taking its toll on the environment. Photo via envato.


Don’t smuggle greenhouse gases, folks. A new report says hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are being illegally imported into Europe, while a U.S. man has been charged with smuggling them from Mexico.

Electric cars are killing Africa’s great apes – not by driving into them, but through mining for lithium and cobalt in their habitat.

Likewise, in South America, Indigenous farming communities are paying a heavy price for the green transition.

The Dutch national airline KLM has been found guilty of greenwashing. It has since taken down the misleading ads but won’t face punishment.

A herd of elephants gathering in Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana. Photo via envato.


In a landmark case, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Switzerland is violating human rights through its failure to act on the climate crisis.

In India’s revised constitution, the “right to life” now includes “protection against adverse effects of climate change.”

Botswana has threatened to send 20,000 elephants to Germany. Yes, you read that correctly.

The UN has canceled its regional climate weeks, citing a lack of funding. These events would have gathered tens of thousands of people across multiple regions ahead of the COP29 climate conference.

Meanwhile, the G20 countries have found USD 142 billion to spend on expanding fossil fuels in the Global South.



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