Newsdesk – November 17

For some children, face masks are already vital. Photo credit: Reuters.

Climate change has become a health emergency. Climate change poses a major threat to the health of the world’s children if global temperatures are not kept well below 2°C, new research shows. The 2019 Lancet Report tracks the relationship between health and climate change across five key domains and 41 indicators. The report, which was compiled by 35 global institutions, including the World Health Organization and the World Bank, clearly shows the relationship between climate change, environmental destruction and health. Rising temperatures fuel food and water insecurity, an increase in the scale and scope of infectious disease and a growing frequency of extreme weather events. Additionally air pollution has become as deadly to the human lung as smoking tobacco. “Over the past 30 years, we’ve seen progressive decline in the numbers of deaths for all people and indeed for children,” Anthony Costello, co-chair of The Lancet Countdown, told DW. “But what we’re worrying about is that all of these gains could go into reverse if we don’t urgently tackle the problem of climate change.” Without accelerated intervention, this new era will come to define the health of people at every stage of their lives. In India, malnutrition is already the reason for two thirds of deaths in children under the age of five, the Lancet report states. “It’s set to get much, much worse unless we take immediate action,” Costello said – DW Made for Mind

  • Indonesian fire expert awarded for exposing destruction by plantation firms – Mongabay
  • Germany Passes Climate-Protection Law to Ensure 2030 Goals – New York Times
  • If you can’t talk about climate when the country is burning, when can you? – The Guardian
  • Can the Catholic Church Save the Amazon? – New Republic
  • The price tag for climate change is in the trillions – The Daily Climate
  • Two of America’s biggest coal plants closed this month – Quartz
  • Melting permafrost in the Arctic is unlocking diseases and warping the landscape – Vox
  • 7 ways that supermarkets can help eliminate single-use plastic – Fast Company
  • The dread and worry keeping young Australians up at night – The Sydney Morning Herald
Famous spots like St. Mark’s Square were under several feet of water. The crypt of St. Mark’s Basilica was flooded.Credit…Marco Bertorello/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Venice Flooding Brings City to ‘Its Knees’. The Mayor Luigi Brugnaro of Venice called for a state of emergency after the Italian city was submerged under “acqua alta,” an exceptionally high tide — the worst in 50 years. Though Venetian residents have gotten used to wading through flooded streets, strong winds on Tuesday coincided with the high tide, submerging the city. Italian news outlets reported that at least one man had died by electrocution while trying to pump water from his home. The body of another man was found in his home. At the news conference the mayor said that while wandering through the city, “I found people in tears because they had lost everything. If we don’t want the city to be abandoned, we have to give certain answers. It’s not just about quantifying the damages, but about the future of this city.”The flooding was the second highest in the city’s history, after the disastrous flood of 1966, which peaked at 6.3 feet.  Last year, as severe weather in Italy killed 11 people, ferocious winds drove the high tide in Venice to more than five feet above average sea level.  The water invaded the ground floors of many historic palazzos, stores, restaurants and hotels. The crypt of St. Mark’s Basilica was flooded by more than three feet of water. While flooding is a complex phenomenon with many causes, the effects of climate change on sea-level rise, and the intense rainfall that comes with the greater capacity of a warming atmosphere to hold more moisture, are increasingly recognized as factors that can boost natural variation in weather patterns. Luigi Cavalerian engineer at the Institute of Marine Sciences in Venice said the city’s subsidence and the rising sea levels meant that Venice was sinking at a rate of one-fifth of an inch a year.  Had the flood system been operational, he said, “the city might have been spared. Hopefully, it will be for the next flood” – The New York Times 

Why Indigenous Peoples And Traditional Knowledge Are Vital To Protecting Future Global Biodiversity. The western way to protect nature has traditionally paid little attention to indigenous people, says Eli Enns, co-chair of the Indigenous Circle of Experts, which is advising the Canadian government on how to use an indigenous approach to conservation. That’s starting to change. The United Nations estimates that around 370 million people worldwide identify themselves as indigenous. Very many Asian, African and Latin American communities base the way they farm or use water and other resources on ancient practices and cultures they have tried and tested over generations. More than 28% of the global land area is owned, used or managed by indigenous peoples. The U’wa villages in the cloud forests of northeastern Colombia, who hold traditional knowledge about how to protect nature are vital to protect future global biodiversity. They are often better placed than scientists to provide information on local biodiversity and environmental change, and are important contributors to the governance of biodiversity from local to global levels.  Research shows conclusively that nature is declining less rapidly on lands that indigenous people manage than in other areas. Deforestation rates in Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia are significantly lower in places where indigenous people securely hold land, according to Peter Veit, director of the land and resource rights initiative at the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C. Indigenous knowledge is about the interconnectedness of things. It tries to increase abundance. The Western approach is to see the world in pieces and to profit from it – Ensia